Saturday, February 18, 2017

Why do most startups fail?

If you stop to think about it, this is quite surprising. After all, entrepreneurs who choose to found a startup are usually bright, confident, and willing to take on risks . Even though they know that the startup mortality rate is so high, they are happy to challenge the existing players in the market, because they feel they can do a better job than the incumbents.

They're well-informed and expert, and the very fact that they've been able to raise money from funders means they are charismatic and can do a good job convincing mature investors that they have a dream which is worth backing. Also, one would expect that the combination of an accomplished , ambitious hard-working founder who has considerable domain expertise, along with seasoned investors with deep pockets should make for a winning combination !

Reason 1: Market Problems

A major reason why companies fail, is that they run into the problem of their being little or no market for the product that they have built. Here are some common symptoms:

There is not a compelling enough value proposition, or compelling event, to cause the buyer to actually commit to purchasing. Good sales reps will tell you that to get an order in today’s tough conditions, you have to find buyers that have their “hair on fire”, or are “in extreme pain”. You also hear people talking about whether a product is a Vitamin (nice to have), or an Aspirin (must have).

The market timing is wrong. You could be ahead of your market by a few years, and they are not ready for your particular solution at this stage. For example when EqualLogic first launched their product, iSCSI was still very early, and it needed the arrival of VMWare which required a storage area network to do VMotion to really kick their market into gear. Fortunately they had the funding to last through the early years.

The market size of people that have pain, and have funds is simply not large enough

Reason 2: Business Model Failure

As outlined in the introduction to Business Models section, after spending time with hundreds of startups, I realized that one of the most common causes of failure in the startup world is that entrepreneurs are too optimistic about how easy it will be to acquire customers. They assume that because they will build an interesting web site, product, or service, that customers will beat a path to their door. That may happen with the first few customers, but after that, it rapidly becomes an expensive task to attract and win customers, and in many cases the cost of acquiring the customer (CAC) is actually higher than the lifetime value of that customer (LTV).

The observation that you have to be able to acquire your customers for less money than they will generate in value of the lifetime of your relationship with them is stunningly obvious. Yet despite that, I see the vast majority of entrepreneurs failing to pay adequate attention to figuring out a realistic cost of customer acquisition. A very large number of the business plans that I see as a venture capitalist have no thought given to this critical number, and as I work through the topic with the entrepreneur, they often begin to realize that their business model may not work because CAC will be greater than LTV.

The Essence of a Business Model

As outlined in the Business Models introduction, a simple way to focus on what matters in your business model is look at these two questions:

  • Can you find a scalable way to acquire customers
  • Can you then monetize those customers at a significantly higher level than your cost of acquisition

Thinking about things in such simple terms can be very helpful. I have also developed two “rules” around the business model, which are less hard and fast “rules, but more guidelines. These are outlined below:

The CAC / LTV “Rule”

The rule is extremely simple:

CAC must be less than LTV

To compute CAC, you should take the entire cost of your sales and marketing functions, (including salaries, marketing programs, lead generation, travel, etc.) and divide it by the number of customers that you closed during that period of time. So for example, if your total sales and marketing spend in Q1 was $1m, and you closed 1000 customers, then your average cost to acquire a customer (CAC) is $1,000.

To compute LTV, you will want to look at the gross margin associated with the customer (net of all installation, support, and operational expenses) over their lifetime. For businesses with one time fees, this is pretty simple. For businesses that have recurring subscription revenue, this is computed by taking the monthly recurring revenue, and dividing that by the monthly churn rate.

Because most businesses have a series of other functions such as G&A, and Product Development that are additional expenses beyond sales and marketing, and delivering the product, for a profitable business, you will want CAC to be less than LTV by some significant multiple. For SaaS businesses, it seems that to break even, that multiple is around three, and that to be really profitable and generate the cash needed to grow, the number may need to be closer to five. But here I am interested in getting feedback from the community on their experiences to test these numbers.

The Capital Efficiency “Rule”

If you would like to have a capital efficient business, I believe it is also important to recover the cost of acquiring your customers in under 12 months. Wireless carriers and banks break this rule, but they have the luxury of access to cheap capital. So stated simply, the “rule” is:

Reason 3: Poor Management Team

An incredibly common problem that causes startups to fail is a weak management team. A good management team will be smart enough to avoid Reasons 2, 4, and 5. Weak management teams make mistakes in multiple areas:


  • They are often weak on strategy, building a product that no-one wants to buy as they failed to do enough work to validate the ideas before and during development. This can carry through to poorly thought through go-to-market strategies.
  • They are usually poor at execution, which leads to issues with the product not getting built correctly or on time, and the go-to market execution will be poorly implemented.
  • They will build weak teams below them. There is the well proven saying: A players hire A players, and B players only get to hire C players (because B players don’t want to work for other B players). So the rest of the company will end up as weak, and poor execution will be rampant.


Reason 4: Running out of Cash

A fourth major reason that startups fail is because they ran out of cash. A key job of the CEO is to understand how much cash is left and whether that will carry the company to a milestone that can lead to a successful financing, or to cash flow positive.

Milestones for Raising Cash

The valuations of a startup don’t change in a linear fashion over time. Simply because it was twelve months since you raised your Series A round, does not mean that you are now worth more money. To reach an increase in valuation, a company must achieve certain key milestones.

What goes wrong

What frequently goes wrong, and leads to a company running out of cash, and unable to raise more, is that management failed to achieve the next milestone before cash ran out. Many times it is still possible to raise cash, but the valuation will be significantly lower.

When to hit Accelerator Pedal

One of a CEO’s most important jobs is knowing how to regulate the accelerator pedal. In the early stages of a business, while the product is being developed, and the business model refined, the pedal needs to be set very lightly to conserve cash. There is no point hiring lots of sales and marketing people if the company is still in the process of finishing the product to the point where it really meets the market need. This is a really common mistake, and will just result in a fast burn, and lots of frustration.

However, on the flip side of this coin, there comes a time when it finally becomes apparent that the business model has been proven, and that is the time when the accelerator pedal should be pressed down hard. As hard as the capital resources available to the company permit. By “business model has been proven”, I mean that the data is available that conclusively shows the cost to acquire a customer, (and that this cost can be maintained as you scale), and that you are able to monetize those customers at a rate which is significantly higher than CAC (as a rough starting point, three times higher). And that CAC can be recovered in under 12 months.

Reason 5: Product Problems

Another reason that companies fail is because they fail to develop a product that meets the market need. This can either be due to simple execution. Or it can be a far more strategic problem, which is a failure to achieve Product/Market fit.

Most of the time the first product that a startup brings to market won’t meet the market need. In the best cases, it will take a few revisions to get the product/market fit right. In the worst cases, the product will be way off base, and a complete re-think is required. If this happens it is a clear indication of a team that didn’t do the work to get out and validate their ideas with customers before, and during, development.

Reason 6: Ignoring Prospective Customers

It has always been difficult for startups to decide on whether to work on their product towards perfection or let the market test it first. Well, talking to customers about ideas and improvements is always going to work to some extent, but this might lead startups to having almost no profit at all.

The foundation of startup-success is based on validating the market and if you fail to come up with a good product, your startup is surely going to fail. The best possible way to make sure everything works well is by measuring, tracking, validating and optimizing the data that you receive from your customers or clients.

Friday, February 17, 2017

The Future of Work is the Freelancer

There is no doubt that being an entrepreneur is hard work, the hardest I’ve had to work in my whole career. Corporate life was, by comparison, easy. However the rewards have been plentiful, and entirely within my control and influence. I can’t imagine returning to the insecurity of a corporate role.

Yes, you read that right, the insecurity of a corporate role. Why do I say that? Because the regular paycheck that employees receive gives the illusion of security. When you realize that many states in the USA operate an “at will” employment relationship, you understand that this “security” is merely an illusion. You could walk into the office tomorrow and find yourself without a job for any reason; not a heinous mistake; not a poor performance review; simply because.

The reality is we are all insecure workers in the 21st Century workplace.

It’s reported that more than 40% of the workforce is likely to be an independent worker by 2020 it’s apparent that legislation will need to move quickly in order to keep up. In the book The Alliance, Reid Hoffman (Cofounder of LinkedIn), shares his vision for the future of work. He states that the days of the career for life are gone, instead it’s the concept of “tours of duty” where the nature of work is becoming more fluid, and where individuals with specific skills are hired to complete a specific project.

Work has come full circle

In many ways the freelance workforce is old news. Look back two-hundred years, before the industrial revolution that brought about the modern workplace, and you’d find a freelance economy where work was a 24x7 endeavor. In fact, the very word “freelance” is from medieval times when knights, who had not pledged loyalty to one family, were available to fight, whether in tournaments or in battle, for those willing to pay for their service—the ultimate Free-Lancers.

Prior to the Industrial Revolution people worked for themselves or in small family groups, and usually out of their home or nearby. The proverbial butcher, baker, and candlestick maker were the industries of their day. People's relationship with work was fluid, and integrated into their lifestyle. The Industrial revolution brought about automation which centralized production, brought the individual worker out of their weaving loft into the factories, and brought the farm workers to the burgeoning towns to seek a different type of employment, as the hired hands within the factories.

We're all 21st Century Freelancers
These times were not all idyllic and painless. There were riots, there was resistance, and there were even organized protests. “Luddites” were real people, textile workers, who saw the newfangled factories and massive looms as a threat to their existence and way of life. It's safe to say the stress-management industry we know today was not yet in existence.

The Luddite of today may not be smashing equipment with hammers or throwing clogs into the machinery, but their concerns are very real. Warnings of driverless cars and advances in artificial intelligence fuel a new fear, a fear of the unknown impact on how we interact as human beings.

The rapid acceleration of new technologies is having a direct impact on how and where work is done, and a transformational impact that far surpasses the impact of the Industrial Revolution. We’re now in the midst of the digital revolution, one that requires not just hired hands, but the hired minds and hired hearts that fuel creativity and innovation.

Fiverr.com, Upwork.com, and TaskRabbit.com are platforms connecting a global army of freelancers with opportunities that match their skills. Tapping into the flexible economy will allow companies to scale up and down rapidly in response to market and project needs. Tapping into the flexible economy allows each of us to augment our ‘day-job’ with part time, in the moment work that supplements our income or taps into our creative passions through our shopfronts on Etsy.com. It is also the launching point for many start-up service businesses, easing the transition for the founder from employee to solopreneur.

Make sure you pack your waterwings.

The 21st century workplace makes it much harder to be the big fish in a small pond. No longer are individual employees competing in a local market for the next opportunity, instead we’re all swimming in the Global Talent Pool.

When it comes to finding new sources of talent it seems that 21st Century companies are destined to play a never-ending game of global whack-a-mole. As fast as a new talent hot spot pops up, whether it’s a city or a country, other companies quickly follow—draining the pond and market of talent. Everyon then rushes off to anticipate and capture the next talent hot spot.

Transparency and opportunity on the Internet means we are now competing with an unseen colleague who may be thousands of miles, and many time zones, away. When you’re sleeping, they’re working.

Work is no longer the mythical 9-5 office-bound activity. In today’s world, work can happen anytime, anyplace, and with anyone. The lines between work-time and personal-time are blurred. It’s no longer a question of work-life balance and trying to fit everything else around a standard workday. Rather, the evolving expectation is how work and life are a braided system, blended, overlapping, and seamless.

The future of work will center on the fluid workforce, the gig economy, and the freelancer. As such we all need to embrace the insecure workplace, and change our mindset from “I’m an employee” to “I’m a freelancer who is currently retained by this company.”

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Google's Mobile-Friendly Test API

Google Mobile-Friendly Test API
Google Introducing the Mobile-Friendly Test API

Tuesday, January 31, 2017 at Webmaster Central Blog Google Introduced the Mobile-Friendly Test API. As You already know that from last year, Google is pushing to promote and reward mobile-friendly websites continues today with the news that it’s opening up its mobile-friendly test tool to developers via an application programming interface (API).

Google first launched the tool back in 2014 as an easy way to help businesses, bloggers, and developers figure out whether their website fit Google’s “mobile friendly” criteria. These include whether the site avoids software such as Flash, uses text that can be easily read on a small screen, and has content that adapts to suit a screen without requiring the user to “scroll” horizontally or zoom. With the mobile-friendly test tool, all you need to do is plug your web address into the search box, and Google will tell you if it passes the Google’s “mobile friendly” criteria.

Google’s John Mueller Wrote,
"With so many users on mobile devices, having a mobile-friendly web is important to us all. The Mobile-Friendly Test is a great way to check individual pages manually. We're happy to announce that this test is now available via API as well. 
The Mobile-Friendly Test API lets you test URLs using automated tools. For example, you could use it to monitor important pages in your website in order to prevent accidental regressions in templates that you use. The API method runs all tests, and returns the same information - including a list of the blocked URLs - as the manual test. The documentation includes simple samples to help get you started quickly.  
We hope this API makes it easier to check your pages for mobile-friendliness and to get any such issues resolved faster. We'd love to hear how you use the API -- leave us a comment here, and feel free to link to any code or implementation that you've set up! As always, if you have any questions, feel free to drop by our webmaster help forum."
The testing tool is a useful way to manually check whether a specific Website or URL plays nice with mobile phones, but by introducing an API, Google is enabling webmasters and developers to integrate the tool with automated software. So, for example, this could be used to automatically track specific pages on a website to avert accidental changes that make a page not-so-suitable for small screens.

The API launch fits in with Google’s broader push to treat websites that have been built with mobile users in mind more favorably. Last year, the search giant revealed it would begin ranking “mobile-friendly” sites even higher in their organic search results, though it had been labeling sites as mobile-friendly for some time already. And back in November, Google announced it would “eventually” switch to using the mobile versions of websites, rather than desktop versions, in search result rankings.


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

WordPress Site Security: What Can You Do About It?

WordPress Site Two-Factor Authentication
Want WordPress Site Security? Enable Two-Factor Authentication on WordPress Site?

How you are protecting your website from Hackers ? Security issues using WordPress!! Headache?? Don’t be nervous, here’s easy two-factor authentication to make your WordPress Website Safe & Secure.

More and more sites are using two-factor or multi-factor authentication to ramp up security. I mean, Google wants my cell phone number to confirm my identity before I can log into Gmail. And it’s a good idea. I mean, do you see how often hacking stories hit the mainstream news? Security (or the lack thereof) is a real problem and while you may not be able to prevent a big security breach like the one that happened at The Home Depot recently, you can do your part as an individual to protect your information and your site.

What is Two Factor Authentication?

As its name suggests, two factor authentication is a process that requires two sets of authentication before you’re logged into a site. Many big name sites currently make use of it in one way or another. I already mentioned Google, but sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Amazon use it, too.

What is  WordPress Two-Factor Authentication?

Passwords are the de-facto standard for logging in on the web, but they’re relatively easy to break. Even if you make good passwords and change them regularly, they need to be stored wherever you’re logging in, and a server breach can leak them. There are three ways to identify a person, things they are, things they have, and things they know.

Logging in with a password is single-step authentication. It relies only on something you know. Two-step authentication, by definition, is a system where you use two of the three possible factors to prove your identity, instead of just one. In practice, however, current two-step implementations still rely on a password you know, but use your Phone or another device to authenticate with something you have.

A WordPress user can increase their website’s security by installing a plugin, which gives them the two-factor authentication feature. There are several plugins widely available and can be found in the plugin tab on the WordPress Dashboard. On installing a plugin, a user needs to activate it and follow the instructions that are prompted. It’s an easy procedure offering a better chance at security.

However, there are several other kinds of two factor authentication on the market. For instance, you might be required to input a specific personal identification number (PIN) along with the username and password. Or you might need to confirm a specific visual pattern before being granted access. Many banks use this form of authentication.

A fob is another popular choice for confirming identity before sign-ons. The fob (that you can easily attach to your keychain) displays a random series of numbers that you are then required to input into a text field on the site before you’re allowed to login.

While two factor authentication might feel like a new thing, rest assured it’s not. When you pay with a credit card, you often have to show your ID to the person behind the checkout counter. Or you have to input your zip code. Or if shopping online, you need to input the security code from the back of your card. So you see, it’s nothing new. But the application to website logins is sort of a new thing and that’s why more and more people have started asking about it.

Why Do You Need Two-Factor Authentication?

As I mentioned in my opening paragraphs, two factor authentication adds another layer of security in a world where hacking has become commonplace. In short, you need it because you need to protect your personal information and your site from malicious people out there. And they are out there.

Brute force attacks occur constantly and unless you have your site secured properly, odds are good that a hacker will one day break through your defenses and steal your info, upload malware, or perform a whole host of other malicious acts.

Two factor authentication makes hacking your site harder. And unless you’re running a high-profile site, most hackers and bots are going to give up after a time when they can’t break in right away.

You want an even shorter answer, Right?

Anything you can do to make hacking your site harder is worth doing.

A lot of people are reluctant to jump on the two factor bandwagon, however. Because in the process of improving site security, it makes the login process more complicated and more time-consuming. Arguably, it doesn’t take that much longer but there is a definite time factor involved here. You can always opt for the “stay logged in” option to reduce the number of times you have to go through the double authentication process in a given week, too, if it’s a major concern for you.

How To Enable Two-Factor Authentication on WordPress Site?

You have several options for plugins that make setting up two factor authentication a snap. You can use DuoClefWordfenceOpenIDAuthyGoogle Authenticator & Many More. In this article we're going to tell you about Google Authenticator for your WordPress Site.

WordPress Two-Factor Authentication with Google Authenticator

To set up two step authentication via an authenticator application on your device, you’ll need to start in a desktop browser.

First, go to your Two-Step Authentication settings page at WordPress.com. Or, you can reach Settings by clicking on your Gravatar image from the WordPress.com home page:

Next, click the “Security” link in the navigation on the left-hand side of the screen:

Then, click on Two-Step Authentication and then Get Started.

Here you’ll be prompted to select your country and to provide your mobile phone number (without country code and spaces or dashes). After doing so, click Verify Via App.

Next, scan the QR code presented with your authenticator app. A six-digit number will appear in the authenticator app. Enter it in the blank provided and click Enable.

Lastly, you’ll be prompted to print backup codes. Don’t skip this step, as it’ll be your only way to log back into your account without staff assistance should your device go missing!

If your web browser is set to block pop-up windows, you may need to temporarily disable this feature as it will prevent the window with your backup codes from opening.

Click All Finished.

At this point, your site is enabled for two-step authentication. A follow-up step allows you to confirm that your backup codes work by entering one of the printed codes.

Setup with SMS Codes

If you’re unable to set up two step authentication using an authenticator app, you can also set it up to work via SMS messages. To do so, set up your phone number as described above, but then click Verify via SMS.

Within a few moments, you should receive a text message that includes a 7-digit number. Enter this number in the blank provided and click Enable. From this point forward, you can print and verify backup codes as documented above. Your account is now protected by two step authentication.

Logging In

The login process varies slightly from the usual process once you have two step authentication enabled. Regardless of whether you used the Google Authenticator method or the SMS method to enable two step authentication, you’ll start by logging in as usual with your username and password.

Next, you’ll be prompted to enter the verification code that was sent to your device.

If you’re using SMS for two step authentication, we’ll send you a text message with a six-digit number. If you set up two step authentication with the Google Authenticator app, open the Google Authenticator app on your device and provide the six-digit number listed for the account. Once you’ve entered the code, you’ll be logged in and ready to blog.

Backup Codes
We don’t want you to lose access to your WordPress.com account—you’ll still need to be able to log in if it’s is lost, stolen, you’re locked out for any reason, or your device needs to be wiped clean (which will delete Google Authenticator). To make sure you’re never locked out of your blog, you can generate a set of ten, one-time-use backup codes. We recommend that you print the backup codes out and keep them in a secure place like a wallet or document safe. (Don’t save them on your computer. They’d be accessible to anyone using your machine.) Generating backup codes is essential and must be done. If you ever need to use a backup code, just log in like you normally would, and when asked about the login code enter the backup code instead.

At the end of the setup process for Two Step Authorization, you’ll be given the option to generate backup codes:

Just click “Generate Backup Codes,” print the screen containing the codes—don’t save it—and then close the screen. If you lose your list of backups or it’s compromised, you can generate a new set of codes. For added security, this will disable any previously-generated codes.

Important: You can only generate the backup codes from a desktop browser. For example, Safari on iOS will not display the backup codes. Additionally, if your web browser is set to block pop-up windows, you will need to temporarily disable this feature as it will prevent the window with your backup codes from opening.

Application-Specific Passwords

There may be some apps that connect to your WordPress.com account that don’t yet fully support Two Step Authentication; the most common are the WordPress mobile apps or Jabber apps used to subscribe to WordPress.com blogs. For these apps, you can generate unique passwords for each application (e.g., you can have a different password on your phone and your tablet). You can then disable individual passwords and lock applications out of your account to prevent others from accessing your sites.

To generate application-specific passwords, head back to Two-Step Authentication and then down to “Application Passwords”:

Give the application a name—you’re the only one who will see this name, so call it whatever you’d like—and click “Generate Password.” WordPress.com will create a unique 16-character password that you can copy and paste the next time you log in to your account on that device. The application will remember this password, so you don’t need to.

Your Security page will maintain a list of all the applications for which you’ve generated passwords. If any of your devices are lost or stolen, or you simply wish to revoke access for a particular application, you can visit this page at any time and click “X” to disable the password and prevent the app from accessing your account:

Disabling Two Step Authentication

We don’t recommend disabling Two Step Authentication, as it’s much less secure, even if you believe your password is very strong. But if you insist, you can disable the feature by going to your Two-Step Authentication page.

The page will show that the feature is enabled, and you can click the Disable Two-Step Authentication button. This will prompt you to enter a code to confirm that you still have access to the device you originally used to set two step authentication up. If you’re using an authenticator app, open it and provide the code it lists. If you’re using SMS, you’ll be sent a code to use. (This code is different from the code you used to log in to your account. You can also use one of your backup codes for this step.)

Click Disable after entering the code and your account will no longer be protected by Two Step Authentication.

Moving to a New Device

If you are planning on switching to a new device, and you have enabled Two Step Authentication, you will want to take the following steps to avoid being accidentally locked out of your user account.

If you are using an authenticator app to generate verification codes:


  1. Print a set of backup codes for your user account by following the steps here. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP.
  2. On your new device, install the authenticator app.
  3. Disable the Two Step Authentication link with your old device by following the steps here.
  4. Set up your user account to link to your new device by following the steps here.
  5. If you are prompted to enter your verification code, use a code from your list of backup codes. Backup codes are one-time use only.
  6. You can now uninstall the authenticator app from your old device.



If you are using the WordPress.com mobile app to manage and publish to your blog:


  • Create a new application-specific password by following the steps here.
  • Enter your new application password when using this app on your new device.


If you are using SMS to receive authentication codes, you will not need to update your settings unless you are also changing to a new phone number. In that case, you will want to set up a new recovery number prior to disconnecting your old SMS number by following the steps here.

If You Lose Your Device

If you lose your device, accidentally remove the authenticator app, or are otherwise locked out of your account, the only way to get back in to your account is by using a Backup Code.

To use a backup code, fill in your login details like you normally would. When asked about the login code enter the backup code instead. Remember: backup codes are only valid for one time each so be careful when using them.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

SEO Tips for Affiliate Website

Nowadays, search engine's organic ranking is much harder, especially for an affiliate marketing website. So how do you get higher organic ranking? The SEO Strategy can be different from site to site, but some of the standards remain the same regardless of the topic or niche.

Here’s How To Do SEO For An Affiliate Website That Gets Higher Search Ranking:

Branded Domain Names
Choosing a strategic domain name that represent your affiliate business is not just a task for those starting up their own businesses. For many, the decision to launch your own affiliate website comes many years after you’ve already built a profitable affiliate business. Use a keyword rich domain name, but avoid looking spammy.

Shopify Have a list of 10 free tools can help you choose a great domain name.

Keyword Strategy
Keyword Strategies are essential to develop a search engine optimized website. The best keyword strategies rely on highly relevant keywords & placement on important parts thought your affiliate website, which are keywords that relate closely to your affiliate business or are associated with the industry you are promoting.

Follow these my standard on-site optimization guidelines:

Make sure the title title tag of each page uses 1-2 keywords, is less than 65 characters in length, and doesn’t contain stop words like “and, of, is,” etc.

The meta description tag should be between 150 and 160 characters snippet used to summarize a web page's content. You should include at least 2-4 relevant keywords in the meta description.

The meta description tag won't help you rank, but it will often appear as the text snippet below your website search listing. Search engines sometimes use these snippets in search results to let visitors know what a page is about before they click on it.

Use HTML header tags (H1, H2, H3, H4, H5, H6), short paragraphs, and lists (UL or OL) to make your written content easy for readers to scan, and be sure to use keywords in these elements (just don’t stuff keywords where they don’t really belong).

In content links are the most powerful links on a page – footer and sidebar links have fairly low value. Therefore, some of your most powerful on-site links are from in-text links in your website’s articles or blogs.

Use keywords in every page’s file name or URL, every image file name, etc.

When you add an image to a page, be sure to use an alt tag that contains appropriate keyword(s) relevant to the surrounding content.

Link images to pages – the “anchor text” of an image link is the text you place in the alt tag.

Don’t place important content in IFRAMEs, Javascript tags, or as text inside an image.

Don’t use javascript or CSS tricks to try and “hide” text from the user for the purposes of fooling the search engines – this is a great way to get your site penalized by Google or Bing.

When you name files, avoid using underscores, capital letters, or spaces – these characters can lead to broken links and/or crawling issues. Instead, use a dash to separate keywords in file names (just-like-this.html).

Truly Unique Content
By Truly Unique Content, I means content should be original and not duplicated from anywhere else. Unique content plays a crucial role in search rankings organic ranking because search algorithms rate unique content highly and penalize websites for posting duplicate content.

Invest in quality, unique content & add new content to your site on a regular basis. Focus your SEO efforts on creating great content, and then promote that content one link at a time.

Backlinks
The Importance of Backlinks. If you've read anything about or studied Search Engine Optimization, you've come across the term "backlink" at least once. For those of you new to SEO, you may be wondering what a backlink is, and why they are important.

When a website links to any other site, it's called a backlink. In the past, backlinks were the major metric for the ranking of a webpage. A page with a lot of backlinks tended to rank higher on all major search engines, including Google.

Due to link spamming, search engine like google don't pay much attention to all links. All Links are Not Equal & and some are worth a lot more than others.

Get a link from the manufacturer: Get a link from the manufacturer who’s products you promoting. Often it’s very easy & just sending them an email and asking them for a link that will do the trick. You may have to convince them you are legit, so if you have a ho-hum website with crappy content, they won’t buy it and will probably think you are a spammer.

Business Directory Listing
When you list your business in high traffic business directory sites, you are putting your company in front of people searching for services and products just your like yours.

Search Engine Submission
Search engine submission should be one of the first steps to take for SEO. I don't have this as number one because this list is not a top ranking guide. The purpose of SEO is to rank on search engines, so your first initiative will be to get your website indexed by Google, Yahoo and Bing. There are other search engines you can submit to, checkout this list out.

Video Submission
You can use videos for brand interaction and engagement. After running a couple of text videos, I found out - you can get more interactions and engage with videos than you would with an image or text.

Article Submission
You have written a very informative article, how will you share it? The best way is through article submission sites. Content submission techniques work best because you are bringing instant value to the table.

Web 2.0 submission sites
These sites can have you post content with a do-follow link back to your website. As the internet grows, you start to take control of what you can post and how you want it viewed online.

Guest Posting
When you are an expert, you can find platforms that accept guest posts. When you guest post, you can include a backlink to your website from your content.

Classified Posting
Remember when you ad to post in a classified ad magazine? Well now, you can find classified sites that where you can post your advertisement online and build traffic.

Blog Posting & Submission
Unless you have thousands of dollars to spend on bring relevant or targeted traffic to your site, you will need a blog that is connected to your website. With your blog, you can post news, updates and other informative content that can nurture your visitors.

Press Release Submission
When you submit a press release, your release is hosted on different high authoritative sites that help with more visibility online. This is not necessarily a link building technique, but it's very important as to how you get your website news to the media.

Nich Blog Commenting
Make sure to read the blog post and keep your comments simple. You don't want to talk about anything else than the post. As for your backlink, make sure to include your name, domain and email in the signature section of the comment form.

Blog comment links is NOT a sustainable or effective way to get links. In fact, they can actually hurt your site in the following instances:

The blog where you posted the comment link is not related to your site.
The blog has been blasted with other spam comments.
If the site where you posted the comment link is penalized.
You use your keyword as the anchor text instead of your name.
If all the links pointing to your site are only from blog comments

Social Profile Creation
When you create a social media account, make sure to include you url in your account details and also fill-out the description box appropriately. Most quality social sites are indexed frequently, so it's good to be a part of them as to grow your brand and increase exposure.

Social Bookmarking Submission
You want your site indexed by search engines faster? Then look for quality social bookmarking sites. With these sites, you can save pages of your website that can be shared on the web.

Photo Sharing
How time has changed, with technology comes different visual ways of interaction. Photo sharing sites are one of the most authoritative sites on the web today. This will include your website in search engine images and rank your website for related keywords. For best results make sure all inbound links are do-follow.

Infographic Submission
Thinking about it - 10 years ago, no one really knew how effective infographics where at the time. today you need them for presentations and visual interactive content. Infographs can help you build quality authoritative links from expert sources online. See a list of sites.

Memes Submission
Photo to snippet videos is becoming a trend. Most post on social media are memes today, so use them to your advantage. Create your own memes, include them in your content and link back to your post on meme sites.

Niche Directory Submission
Submitting your site to niche directories can help you build a brand recognition. When people get to see your site on different directories they frequently visit, the end result will be them trying out your service or product. The are hundreds of niche directories online, just focus on the ones that are directly related to your site and content.

Question & Answers Sites
With the landscape for learning increasing, you can find question and answer site that can allow you to flex your knowledge and skills to help others looking for answers. With question and answer sites you can be sure to include links to valuable content within your site or on your site blog.

Review & Rating Sites
Review and rating sites are becoming more popular due to the fact that today, most people prefer to buy products with recommendations from others who have used it before. Get involved on review submission sites to create high quality do-follow links and increase web targeted traffic to your website.

Micro-blogging Submission
When you create a lot of short content pieces, how do you get your articles or message out there? Micro-blogging sites can help get you there. These sites allow you to publish your own content and curate it. Within your content and profile account, you can post your url and build referral traffic to your website.

PDF Submission Sites
Create white label content like; e-books, guides and checklist manuals to share on these sites. PDF submission sites can be a tremendous way for building quality inbound links because they are easy to link to and share on other channels. See a list of PDF submission sites.

Backlins By Interviews
Backlins By Interviews is an awesome way to build links(or at least get tweets or shares) for your affiliate site. Just find an influencer in your niche and interview them. People can never get enough publicity, so a little bit of flattery goes a long, long way!

You can find influencer on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook

Broken Link Building
Broken Link Building is a link building tactic, broken link building is an effective, white-hat, scalable, content-focused link building strategy that builds links through finding broken links, recreating that broken content, and helping webmasters replace broken links with your corrected link.

Using Check My Links, a handy and free Chrome extension(find it in the Toolkit), you can get see which links are broken. Next step? Email the webmaster informing them of the broken links, and casually ask for a link back to your site.

If the website doesn’t have a contact page or social profiles, you can search the domain name on Whois and if the domain info is public, you can find the site owner’s email address. Send them an email, and see what happens. Success rates will vary from niche to niche, but expect one or two replies for every fifty to one hundred messages you send(Yes, it’s that much work!)

Competitive Link Building
Competitive link building is the art of identifying and acquiring links to your competitors' websites. Going after these types of links is a great way to rank higher on search engine.

Think about it, you search on google & find "abcdotcom" top of google search. Then you find out all incoming links to "abcdotcom" & acquired links to your site from each of the website links to "abcdotcom".

Guess What?

your affiliate website is on the top of "abcdotcom".

Link Prospecting
Link Prospecting is the another art of identifying and acquiring links to your websites. But it often time-consuming and challenging parts of link building. In order to build and maintain a natural link profile for your affiliate website, your prospecting activity needs to cover a wide range of opportunities and generate the right targets and leads for your project/campaign. So prospecting is usually pretty easy to start off with - run a few Google searches and you've got yourself a set of content-rich websites within your target industry.

Ran A Contests or Giveaways
There’s absolutely tons of freebie websites out there or websites that share sweepstakes or contests. This one is a no-brainer, yet so many people don’t do it. It’s a great method to get links AND e-mail addresses.

Maybe not the best option if you sell expensive things like 24 karat gold cufflinks, but if you sell something within a $100-$150 price range, a contest is something worth looking into. With a contest, you approach a blog(or blogs), and ask them to sponsor the contest for you. Usually they will require you to buy ad space or send them a product sample. They review the product and host the contest on their blog, and the way people can enter is that they have to like/follow you for an entry. If your host blog is big, the contest will be picked up by other smaller blogs that will link to that blog and maybe your site as well. For one or two samples of your product, you end up getting a few hundred likes/followers and a nice link or two.

Beware of Paid links, automated link building tools, cheap link building services, and other link building schemes.

Site speed matters.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Self-Hosted WordPress VS Free WordPress

WordPress Hosted vs Free
Self Hosted WordPress.org vs. Free WordPress.com

Today I had to answer on an ever-ending debate "Self-Hosted WordPress VS Free WordPress" which is better for personal blogging. The actual question was Is it recommended to buy a domain for blogging over the free one on WordPress?

Here're all the opinions expressed on https://www.quora.com/

Ferdinand Brueggemann
Runs a Wordpress blog since 2004

It depends. If you new to blogging, start with the free version. Thus you can start blogging immediately and don’t have to care about anything else, except selecting a nice theme. 
On the long run I would move to a self hosted blog. This is the only way to control (and own) everything and to create a blog 100% to your liking by adding plugins and implementing design changes.

Ryan Biddulph
I can help you create content and connect with leaders to build a pro blog.

Hi Ben, 
Oh hell yeah :) 
But….make sure to buy your domain *and* hosting for these reasons:
  • Own your online real estate
  • brand yourself effectively
  • build a professional looking blog
  • tap into the amazing functionality of Wordpress
  • avoid getting kicked off free blogging platforms, like a squatter is kicked out of a home after somebody buys the property

Adame Dahmani
11 years freelance { WordPress; Web design & development; Web marketing; }

Using a domain will cost you at least a personal plan ($2.99 a month at WordPress.com). The free one doesn’t allow using custom domains. 
One of the new component of SEO in 2017 is building personal brands, and having a domain is one step to achieve that. 
Get a domain name if you want to do things properly. If you want to blog for the sake of sharing, you can do that without using a domain :)

Manasa Jain
I do a little blogging too :)

If your intension is to just to convey information over the web, then you can stick to the free version, however there are lot of limitations when it comes to customising your website. 
If you are willing to make some money through online advertising then you should definitely get your own domain. Here is my answer for why: Manasa Jain's answer to What are the advantages of owning your own domain for blogging and earning money?

Adeel Sami
Blogger

You’re not build to call a rented place your home. So the same applies to the free domain. You need to build yourself around the premium domain, the domain you have control of. The domain you’re given the full access of. So, must buy the domain for blogging!

Exabee Sg
3 years of experience as internet marketing executive

Well, the answers is YES. 
Free wordpress has limited theme support which limit you to modify the CSS or other codes within the theme. Also, most of the free wordpress also does not allow users to upload any free, pad or custom plugins. 
So of you wish to have full control on your website and keep 100% of the revenue you make, it is better to opt for paid wordpress. There are much more low rate and affordable web hosting service available to host your wordpress.

Hope this helps:)

Brian McIntomney
Been buying and selling domains for awhile now

My recommendation would be to start off with a free blog. Post unique content regularly. Promote your blog on social media, sites like Twitter, Facebook and others. Keep an eye on the traffic (visits) that you blog receives. 
If your blog starts receiving a fair amount of visits (depends on topic, in some “niches” 25 visits per day is fantastic while in others, not so impressive), then I would get a domain name and hosting. 
Basically, a lot of blogs fail because of commitment. A successful blog doesn’t happen overnight.

Sohel Parvez
Online Marketing Consultant Specializing in Local SEO (It's Me Folk)

If you’re looking to build your own WordPress website, the most important difference between Self-Hosted WordPress and Free WordPress is the ability to customize almost anything. Self-Hosted WordPress lets you do it, Free WordPress does not. That’s it. 
Both Self-Hosted WordPress and Free WordPress are Great Options and It All Depends on Few Factors:
  • The Nature of Your Website
  • Your Technical Expertise.
  • The Amount of Time You can Invest in it.
  • Your Budget.
For instance, if you want to operate a simple blog and don’t need powerful functionality like eCommerse? In such cases, it’s best to go with free WordPress Version. You’ll have your site up and running within minutes, won’t have to worry about maintenance, and you’ll be able to share your content with the world – all without having to reach for your wallet.

But what if you’re thinking about operating an Membership or eCommerse Website then it’s best to go with Self-Hosted WordPress simply because free WordPress doesn’t offer these advanced functionality.

Alwin Reyes
Life Lover!

For me, have your own domain name is better, but not a must if you’re just starting out. I said it’s better mainly because of the control you have with your website in terms of customization of theme and plugins you’re allowed to use. 
In a paid version, you can select any theme you like (free or paid), as long as it is WordPress compatible. Plus, you can use any plugins you need. For a free version, you can’t do these things, which I think is very important in blogging.

Santo Singh
Web Developer & Content Writer

Recommend to buy one personal domain name if you want to be listed in google

Zara Balika
No not at all you can go for Freebies..