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How to avoid mistakes in creating websites and in doing affiliate marketing
Let me start right off by saying that the aim of this article is not to compare the official WordPress website to the blogspot.com one. I am simply going to weigh the first blog I created free using blogspot.com with Web Colleagues and the paid blog I’m building now on WordPress with Wealthy Affiliate. So this has more to do with what I obtained from the trainings. It’s my hope that the following points will be a guide for people wishing to create websites and/or planning to go into affiliate marketing.
The Blogspot.com versus the WordPress platform
Well, I said I wasn’t going to compare the two website creating platforms but this sub-title makes it look as if I’m going to contradict myself here. No, it’s simply that you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs.
Out of the top three most popular platforms out there for creating websites in 2015, blogspot.com does not even feature in the list while WordPress tops it.
Here are the three most popular website building platforms in 2015
As you can see, a little over half of the websites on the internet are running on the WordPress website platform.
Free versus paid platform
When I created my blogspot.com blog and needed feedback, what people often said was that if I needed to be taken very serious as a blogger, then I must have a paid website but not a free one. This haunted me for a long time as success was not coming as expected for me to set up a blogspot custom domain. Now, it’s done, rather with WordPress, and I feel good about it.
Site idea or theme
When I was creating my blogspot site, I didn’t know that the theme played such a big role in the type of site being created. When presented with the 34 themes on blogspot (7 simple, 7 dynamic views, 3 picture window, 6 Awesome Inc., 4 Watermark, 3 Ethereal, and 4 Travel) I just chose the bogspot Simple Template with image by DNY59 for its appeal to me. But Wealthy Affiliate put such a stress on the theme that I really put much thought into it before choosing the one I thought was appropriate for an affiliate marketer among the thousands available. Not surprising many people commenting on my new blog have admired the theme and even asked for its name. For those who want to know, it’s down here.
I still somewhat love the blogspot.com dashboard. Not only is it more detailed but it also really facilitated tasks for me.
Another thing Wealthy Affiliate taught me to give deep thought to is my blog’s name. Gurus have conditioned many newbie to believe that it is so easy to succeed online that I didn’t hesitate to name my blog it-is-easy-to-succeed-at-home. But when my blog and affiliate business weren’t bringing any success I found myself wondering why the heck did I give such an “embarrassing name” to my blog. This obliged me to write a piece in which I told people the internet will rather allow them to work smart.
Successful online workers tell us that in the beginning of an online/work from home job, one would have to work so hard that later on one could afford to do so at leisure. That is what the “easy” should mean, not “get rich quick.”
Now, supposing you had the possibility to check one of the two websites online, which name will attract you: “It is easy to make money at home” or “Secure your future with us”? (Please let me know in the comment box below)
Being a google offered product, my free blogspot site was automatically registered and hosted on google and people said that made it vulnerable to Google’s caprices. They could shut it down at will if they esteem it breaks their rules. This fear heightened in me when Facebook put me in their jail doubting that Akoli was my real name and, especially when Google plus blocked my account for a month for violating one of their rules.
Fortunately Wealthy Affiliate directed me to NameCheap.com where I bought a domain name for $10.87 a whole year! For less than $1 a month, I have full control over my site and instead of my former domain ending in blogspot.com (which people say does not look very professional), now it is .com.
As already said, my blogspot.com site is hosted by Google and given their reputation that should mean secure. But how seriously would a profit-making company “waste” its resources on a free option? Of course, not in the same manner as a paid one.
Now my secure your future website is hosted on the Wealthy Affiliate systems where I get:
• WordPress optimized servers
• Full redundancy
• Daily backups
• 24/7 website monitoring
• Fully managed
• Email & forwards
• Site Health analyzing
• Website auto login
• State of the Art Secure and Fast Hosting (the most dependable in the WordPress World!)
• State of the Art, Unlimited Cloud Hosting (For Premium Members Like Myself Only)
• Access to over 2,400 WordPress website templates/themes
• The ability to add over 30,000 different “features” to your website
But the first thing Wealthy Affiliate taught me to write on my “secure your future” website was these three pages. They even later advised me to move them to the right widget page as “Important pages”.
If there was an area where my blogspot.com site suffered most, it was with the issue of keywords in writing articles. The only time I used keywords was in the header description of my site “so that search engines can find it,” as WEB Colleagues said. But I completely ignored keywords while writing my posts. How on earth did I expect my posts to rank in Google and be found in searches? No doubt my site’s visitor rank sucked.
On the contrary Wealthy Affiliate placed a price (but not a premium) on doing keyword research for any article I write. They even have a keyword research tool called Jaaxy.
If there is something not to criticize Web Colleagues about, it is in the area of submitting my website to the search engines. They had such an exhaustive list of links ready to submit to that it took me days to accomplish! But the question is: what traffic did that bring me?
For Wealthy Affiliate, the emphasis is on Yahoo/Bing who own 30% of the search engine market share. That is the potential traffic I’m going to tap into!
Site topic (content) and purpose
Both the “it is easy” and “secure your future” sites focus on affiliate marketing. However since WEB Colleagues didn’t really let me know that an affiliate marketing site should have only topics relevant to it and since I was a learner then, sometimes I wrote or posted about matters which I thought would interest a website visitor such as “The Ten Most Dangerous Gangs of Africa” (which, curiously, is the second most consulted article on the blogpost site), “Do you know African societies” (to let people know how impossible it is here to keep people from disturbing you while working), etc.
But Wealthy Affiliate placed such an accent on themed content that I write only about topics concerning affiliate marketing and website matters on my new blog. One thing I’m concentrating on now (and maybe the near absence of which was not helping my it’s easy site to grow) is the issue of reviews.
Before people buy anything online they first consult reviews of products and companies. So if you don’t have reviews on your affiliate site, then you are simply leaving money on the table. This, from Wealthy Affiliate, was an eye-opener. What was special is that they gave a template for writing reviews so that our site visitors could have a smooth experience from one review to the other. This is a far cry from what I pasted on my it is easy blog.
Quality content and service
I noticed WEB Colleagues is now concentrating on teaching people to create content and seems to have abandoned the website building option. When I built my website with them, it was the opposite.
This is in stark contrast to Wealthy Affiliate.
Right from phase 2, the main focus is on content, as they say “This includes the actual creation of content on your site, how to make it presentable and readable, how to leverage “keywords” to create content that ranks, and how to make your content to convert.
There is a big difference between just creating content and creating quality content that carries a substantial benefit. Upon completing this course, you are going to be prepared for a world of success with your content.”
There is also certainly a world of difference between WEB Colleagues’ training and Wealthy Affiliate’s on this subject.
Installing plugins to get the most out of your website
On the blogspot.com site are a whole lot of plugins one only needed to drag into the right place on the site’s layout to use. I also installed external plugins from Chitika, etc.
WordPress however gives you the opportunity to install thousands of different plugins that all add value and make your website more “personal” and unique.
Below is a list of the plugins that webmasters recommend as the most popular and the most useful:
Contact form 7: While my blogspot.com site has a contact form, I haven’t yet added one to the WordPress. However it’s important, as people can simply fill in the form and send you an email without logging into their email provider. I heard I include one by installing the Contact Form 7.
Social boxes: Social plugins help you drive more traffic to your site. I had one on the “it is easy” site and it would dramatically increase my traffic anytime I relayed my posts to Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Apsense, Xing, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Delicious, Diigo, etc. the traffic simply dwindled back to insignificant the following day!
I installed one on my “secure your future” site only a week ago and I’m yet to judge its efficiency in driving traffic to the site.
Forum: I’ve seen the plugin named “bbPress” on my WordPress dashboard but haven’t decided on installing it yet to start a forum on my site. This was totally missing on my former site.
I was doing research on the internet for companies which could sell goods on credit (difficult to get if you live in Africa where scammers have destroyed everybody’s reputation) and that was how I discovered WEB Colleagues as their section on signing up to affiliate companies showed up. And I embraced blogging when they said it was the best way to do affiliate marketing. Blogging also appealed to me for its use of writing and teaching.
But knowing the importance of reviews, why WEB Colleagues did not t really each its learner to write in-depth company and product reviews beats my imagination.
Wealthy Affiliate made it clear that not writing one was like leaving money on the table. This did not let me regret signing up to many affiliate companies as I can now have many reviews on my site for my visitors to make their purchasing judgements on. Read my Wealthy Affiliate review here.
Use of affiliate links
While WEB Colleagues gave me the impression that I could use affiliate links how and as I wished, Wealthy Affiliate recommends just one per article in order not to be slapped by Google.
Feedback from community
Creating an affiliate website is not easy for a newbie. Matters apparently as simple as how to post to the site, how to place affiliate links in posts, etc. could block a newbie for days, if not force them to abandon the site creation all together.
At Web Colleagues there was no community from whom to get a feedback on a web creation problem. There is a contact page but when I ran into a problem and reached out to them, they never answered, even after sending them reminders.
Wealthy Affiliate however has 100,000s members, including millionaires and seasoned marketers, from whom to get help. This helped me get overcome problems, as when I needed someone to tell me how to get a comment plugin for my WP Hiero theme and a member advised me to choose another theme instead, which led me to the Ares theme.
Uploading images into posts and saving them
I find it easy to upload images into both blogspot and WordPress. However due to my low internet connectivity, many times images were slow to save in blogspot and sometimes failed altogether, especially if they were many or too heavy. I haven’t yet experienced that with WordPress.
Table of contents of each training course
To give you a quick scan of each training, here are their tables of contents:
WEB Colleagues’ training:
PART 1 – Setting Up and Creating Your Blog
1. Multiple Stream of Income Paid By Companies.
2. Setting Up Your Free Blogger Account.
3. Blogger Main Account Features.
4. Posting – Making Posts to Your Blog.
5. Monetize – Getting Signed Up With Contextual Ads Companies.
6. Design – Learning the Design Page Element Features.
7. Getting Signed Up With Companies to Earn Money.
8. Create Money-Making Blog.
9. Adding Banners and Text Links to Your Blog.
10. Using Special Meta Tag Codes for Search Engine Recognition.
PART 2 – Getting Blogs Indexed and Traffic to your Blog
1. Submitting Your Blogs to Search Engines.
2. Adding RSS Feeds to Get Internet Exposure.
3. Submit Your Blog to Free Internet Directories.
4. Adding Your Blog to Article Submitting Companies.
A. Ezine Article Submitting
B. Article Auto-Submitter Software
5. Using Internet Traffic Exchanges to Create Instant Traffic to Your Blog.
N.B.: Be on the watch out for a summary blog post of all the above points and detailed ones based on each of them.
Now, let’s see the contents of the Wealthy Affiliate training:
WA Affiliate Bootcamp – Starting Your Foundation (PHASE 1)
Lesson 1: Getting rolling
Lesson 2: Get your domain, get your website
Lesson 3: Get your website organized
Lesson 4: Creating a scalable, idea-friendly site
Lesson 5: A break, catch up, learn more
Lesson 6: Writing out themed content
Lesson 7: Getting your content engine ready
Lesson 8: Adding reviews to your site
Lesson 9: Leveraging content from WA on your site
Lesson 10: Putting the idea engines to work
WA Affiliate Bootcamp – Content, Keywords and Conversions (PHASE 2)
Lesson 1: Creating readable content that converts
Lesson 2: Properly using affiliate links
Lesson 3: Understanding keywords and a day of selling
Lesson 4: Creating reviews and using targeted keywords
Lesson 5: Take a break, catch up
Lesson 6: Backing up your website
Lesson 7: Enhancing your website “experience”
Lesson 8: Building MORE contents through internal links
Lesson 9 : Write a review and share it
Lesson 10 : Creating Bonuses the easy way
WA Affiliate Bootcamp – Giving Your Site Social Value (PHASE 3)
Lesson 1: Making your site social with plugins
Lesson 2: Making your social profile brand friendly
Lesson 3: How to create socially engaging content
Lesson 4: It’s all about making friends with Google
Lesson 5: Take a social hiatus!
Lesson 6: Power writing gone wild!
Lesson 7: Adding Google analytics to your site
Lesson 8: Leveraging the Jaaxy affiliate programme
Lesson 9: Making promotional use of your sidebar
Lesson 10: Build, build, and BUILD!
WA Affiliate Bootcamp – Get Visual. Get Aesthetic. Get a Brand Through Media (Phase 4)
Lesson 1: Introduction to website design
Lesson 2: An image says a THOUSAND things!
Lesson 3: Leveraging Wealthy Affiliate videos for …
Lesson 4: Creating logos and images
Lesson 5: Give yourself a break!
Lesson 6: Creating an effective Jaaxy review!
Lesson 7: Research Jaaxy keywords, then show and tell them !
Lesson 8: Pinning habits lead to Pinterest power
Lesson 9: Creating your own videos
Lesson 10: A lesson on customer perspective
WA Affiliate Bootcamp – Knowing Your Audiences & Catapulting Your Referrals (Phase 5)
Lesson 1: Creating content with INTENT
Lesson 2: Getting your comments to convert!
Lesson 3: Video,a HUGE source of traffic
Lesson 4: From keywords to LIVE on YouTube
Lesson 5: A discussion on reviews (and a break)
Lesson 6: The ultimate referral tool!
Lesson 7: Incorporating your custom sign-up forms
Lesson 8: Helping folks is critical!
Lesson 9: Create a custom video sign-up pages
Lesson 10: Creating a six-week plan of attack!
WA Affiliate Bootcamp – Bing, Yahoo, & The Power of PPC (Phase 6)
Lesson 1: An introduction to PPC on Bing Ads
Lesson 2: Letting Bing and Yahoo! know about your site
Lesson 3: Paying for traffic on Bing and Yahoo!
Lesson 4: Setting up your first PPC campaign
Lesson 5: Take a break, do a little math
Lesson 6: Creating small, bite size review ad groups
Lesson 7: Setting up conversion tracking
Lesson 8: Capitalizing on hidden PPC landing pages
Lesson 9: Getting real creative with keywords
Lesson 10: Refining your PPC campaign and your journey
WA Affiliate Bootcamp – How to Scale Successful PPC Campaigns (PHASE 7)
Lesson 1: Blasting your WA affiliate earnings with …
Lesson 2: Understanding the Google Adwords opportunity
Lesson 3: Maximizing review pages with PPC
Lesson 4: You, the Affiliate, are responsible for …
Lesson 5: Mastering the flow of relevance
Lesson 6: The « Double Down » approach to PPC
Lesson 7: To direct link or not to direct link
Lesson 8: The mathematical business model of PPC
Lesson 9: Using concise pages for PPC
Lesson 10: Creating a long term, scalable PPC campaign
N.B.: Be on the watch out also for a summary blog post of all the above points and detailed ones based on each of them.
Now, your comments
Now, tell me, if you were looking for training to create a website to do online work, which of the two would entice you and why? Leave your comments in the comments box below or contact me on my Wealthy Affiliate Profile and I will get back to you in less than 24 hours!
Given that anyway you would choose Wealthy Affiliate to secure your future online (WEB Colleague even seem to have ceased their web creation course and rather concentrating on content creation), I would invite you to check it here. Then, if you have some comments, leave them in the comment box below.
Your personal guide to securing your future online.