Challenge Plus Moves to The Immediate Edge

I have written before about the Challenge that Ed Dale runs every year (for free). It is “awesome” training for those wanting to learn about Internet Marketing. There was a subscription program that coincided with it called Challenge Plus. The big news is that Challenge Plus will be merging with a more in-depth membership group called the Immediate Edge.

What is The Immediate Edge?

The Immediate Edge is one of the longest running membership groups that Internet marketers have gone for training, tips, and strategies to build their online businesses. The organization was started by Dan Raine and Ed Dale. There is so much content and training there it is nearly impossible for me to tell you everything. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Edge Blueprints – training courses about creating specific products or websites (such as making iPhone & Android Apps, creating income using Adsense, learn how to buy and sell websites and domain names, etc.)
  • Training Center – how to find a niche, SEO, keyword research, link building, and more
  • Monthly Newsletters
  • Member Forum
  • Library of useful information
  • Tool – Backlink tools, article tools, keyword research tools, and more
  • A Blog to keep you informed
  • All of the Challenge Plus content will be here, too!

I could go on and on – but if you are interested, you can read the details for yourself. Let me just add that if you are looking for some totally unique and hard to find information about what REAL (and successful) Internet marketers are doing online, you will want to join the Immediate Edge. And, for a while there is a dollar trial – yes for $1 you can get a trial membership and take a peek inside this depository of extremely helpful information.


One Dollar Trial (regular price is $97/month)

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Renewing Domains – How Much Should It Cost?

I am trying hard to calm down. I just was on the phone with a domain registration company, because I thought I had waited too long to renew a domain name. Fortunately, I was not looking at the correct date, and it was not too late to get the name renewed. That put an edge to my nerves, but the thing that made me almost blow my cool was the price they wanted to renew the domain – $34.95. My reaction was, “WHAT!!??” I also let them know I thought that was a rip-off, and I felt it was unbelievable for a company to just have a domain listed with them for so much more than others charge – it doesn’t seem like they have to do very much work to earn their money for one measly domain name! If hosting was involved, it would be more logical to have a higher price, but today even hosting prices are much more affordable.

Domain Registration Then and Now

When I first started to purchase domains and was learning about registering them, I felt that I had crossed over to some secret world (inhabited by possibly shady characters) and I was a total outsider who didn’t know the secret password or handshake. Becoming more comfortable with how buying domains and how to transfer them works has been a great relief to my nerves. Hosting was the next hurdle, but I am over that one too.

What I did not know was that when you “buy” a domain name. You are the owner but the names are managed by companies that called registrars. The registrars maintain the databases of all the domain names and have regulations to follow in order to allocate names as people buy them. They also have to work with the organization that gives these names the ability to be part of the internet (by giving each a IP address).

You see, most of the domains I own are registered with different companies that charges far less (around $8-10). I try to avoid the really, really cheap domain registrars because the functionality of their sites is usually not very good. Most companies have discount coupons available and special codes for those who buy bulk domains (more than 50 seems to be the amount that will get you a code for a discount on your purchases or renewals).

I have received scam letters which notified my to renew domains (for $24). Those letters I were from Domain Registry of America. The reason they are scams is because that company WAS NOT the registrar for my domains. They basically collect the domain registration data which is listed in the whois database for websites with which they have no existing business relationship. Then, they try to trick uninformed domain owners into thinking they need to respond to these “official-looking” renewal letters. Those who know better, know that the company that is in charge of the registration details of their domains will send them an email when it is time to renew a domain. And, the renewals can be managed through the registrar’s website – they are rarely done through the postal mail.

What Should You Pay for a Domain Registration?

One thing I knew for sure (as soon as I realized I still had time to transfer that domain away from the current registrar) – I knew I was NOT paying almost $35 for a year. I quickly transferred the domain to my favorite (NameCheap). And it cost me under $9* and the privacy feature (which they call WhoisGuard) is free when you transfer to them. Many companies will offer a low first-time purchase price and specials on domain transfers. Do your research if you like saving money as much as I do!

I save money when I register domain names with Namecheap. Their prices are not the rock-bottom, but their domain management system is easy-to-use and the time it takes to manage domain transfers seems to be faster and simpler than some other companies I have used. - Cheap domain name registration, renewal and transfers - Free SSL Certificates - Web Hosting

My second favorite place to buy domains is

GoDaddy. They used to have a kind of bad reputation, but I think they have made significant improvements and I haven’t had any problems using their services for a long time.

Sale! $ domains at - 468x60

So, don’t get ripped off when you buy a domain name – both of the companies I have recommended here are reputable and they have good support for anyone who is new at this (or nervous about it, as I was when I started).

*price is based on the fact that the domain was a .biz and I used a coupon for the transfer (SWITH2NC).


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How I Un-hacked a WordPress Blog

WordPress blogs can get hacked into fairly easily if the host has software that is outdated. Another thing that can put your WordPress blog at risk is if you don’t update the site and the plugins.

A friend of mine who is an art teacher at the local high school had her site hacked. She really didn’t have a clue how to fix it. Part of her problem was the hacker somehow got into the cpanel of the website where it was hosted (on Blue Host). Since that time, Blue Host may have increased security and they did send my friend a new, more secure password.

The hacker had made the home page say “by real_Karizma” and also made it impossible to edit any posts within the WordPress dashboard. When I logged into the cpanel, I was quite relieved to find that all the files and the databases were still there. Fixing the home page back to normal was easy. I replaced the index.php file that was in the folder of the theme that was in use. Fixing that file made the site look back like it should have when viewed in a browser. What took a bit longer to figure out was why, when logging into the WordPress site and not being able to see the entire dashboard. I was seeing the dashboard the way a user might see it if they did not have the administrator role.

I really didn’t want to take the entire site down, reinstall WordPress software and then restore the database to get all the content for the blog back on the site. My shortcut to this was to log back into the cpanel on the host and look at the database tables. (I backed up the database first using myphpadmin.)

Looking at the database tables in myphpadmin I noticed that there was data for the wp_users with the hacker’s name and email address. I deleted that user. That left the original user listed but the field code on the right side of the table had the number 2. I guessed (and it seemed to be a correct guess) that if I just changed that number 2 to a 1 that the user would have all the administrator roles assigned to them. To my delight, just changing that number in the database table fixed the problem!

The next thing to do was to update the blog to the latest WordPress version. Again, I lucked out that the plugins in use were compatible and the blog was still functioning correctly.

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Ecommerce Website Building Tools

Personal or Business Website Builder with e-commerce capabilities that won’t “break the bank”

The Internet is becoming the only “real estate” worth investing in at the moment. So many people are trying to sell you on how to make money online. The websites that sell products or have a shopping cart that is integrated for taking payments are called e-commerce websites. Websites used to be time consuming to create and many web owners had to depend on a webmaster to fix things or changes things. Those days are over!

I have built websites from scratch and have started using tools that help build them faster and easier – to save time and money. There are several that are not worth the time, and I’ve noticed a trend of large companies coming up with “make a website” kits. Some of these are probably good, while others may not have the options you really need. I want to recommend one website builder (for business or personal websites) that is a great, low-cost solution with tons of features. The place to go for building your own website is Quick Pro Website Builder.


Free 15-day trial – Full featured service to
make your own website with customizable templates.

Wanna know what features are included?

Here is a summary of the features and they are compared to other popular website builders: Compare Website Builders. A few of those features are:

  • Builder starts by helping you build a site for your industry
  • Domain registration included
  • Hosting included
  • Customer Database and Stats
  • Add Appointment Schedulers, Calendars, Feedback & Contact Forms
  • Auto Responder, Article Pages, and Event Calendars
  • Ecommerce Shopping Cart  integrated
  • Easily Add Product Pictures and Descriptions to your Ecommerce Shop
  • Configure Shipping and Sales Tax
  • Merchant Account

And there are more features that you won’t need at first but can grow into. They have a package that includes hosting and there are many templates to choose to start building a website in 5 minutes. Then, you can upload your own photos or website banner and change everything. You can also add e-commerce (a shopping cart) easily because they are one of the few services that have that ability as a built in option. Again, you don’t have to worry about what to do with hosting because they host your website for you!

If you are thinking of making a website to promote your business (such as a doctor’s office, dental office, vet services, real estate, automobile sales, beauty salon, books, gardening supplies, etc.) or sell your own products (including crafts, knitting, clothing, beads, or gifts), please check out this great place to make a website! I also want to add that their customer service is excellent – something that is hard to find online these days. Ask for any kind of help, and you will get a detailed reply (plus they have online help available).

Note: for selling affiliate products, read this post: My Secret Weapon – Building Affiliate Marketing Websites

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Internet Marketing Stuff – the Good, the Bad & the Ugly

I’m a little “riled up” at the moment. I just avoided getting ripped off and I really need to say something about this!

Here is some background. I am a relatively new internet marketer. I am trying, like so many others, to make money online with websites and blogs that review products and offer links to buy those products. I sign up for emails from other marketers and check out their techniques and products. This can be a very educational thing. It can also be dangerous to your pocketbook if you end being tricked by a scammer.

I guess I should consult a lawyer before I write what I am about to, but I am not a rich internet marketer and I don’t even HAVE a lawyer. I hope I can say this diplomatically so that I won’t need one.

Here’s what has me ticked off. I signed up to read about the stuff that Shawn Casey promotes. I mean, I know he’s rich and I thought, maybe there are some pointers I can learn. I also was suspicious of some of his methods and wanted to check him out. Well, I was offered this DVD if I just paid for the shipping. And I ordered it for just over $7. It was very late in arriving. But after it got to me, I watched some of it and wasn’t that impressed. But what was really sad is I never saw the folded up letter in the package – and it had a very important thing (that wasn’t really emphasized in any emails and the part of the letter wasn’t in bold either! That was the fact that I had actually joined this club (that I never wanted to join) and that I was going to be charged $99 a month.

Needless to say, it never really mentions that fact anywhere but in that one piece of paper that was crumpled down at the bottom of the shipping envelope. And I only realized that I was about to lose some money when I got a “your order has been shipped” email. Then, I went to my online banking to see what my credit card was charged (and it was more than $99).

I quickly called and cancelled the “membership” and was promised that the charge would be removed from my credit card. I’ll have to update you on that later. But, my point is, that this may not be an actual scam, but it comes very close in that the contact information is never clear. You can’t find where to sign in to cancel the order – and the fact that you HAVE TO CANCEL isn’t obvious. This explains why some internet marketers get so rich!

I stil haven’t found out where (if there is a place) to go cancel your “membership”. And there are no phone numbers to call (unless you end up getting charged and you get that phone number from your credit card bill).

So, don’t do what I did unless you actually want to pay for this kind of membership! I’ll describe more about it in another post. Needless to say, this is one internet marketer that I will not be “copying” their business practices… (read the ongoing updates about my $10K club problem).

I plan to write more about these people with their email lists and what they are all about. I think I will call it Internet Marketing Waves and Warnings. Waves would be marketers or products I find favorable (do the wave) and warnings is self explanatory – things to be aware of before you get involved.

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Cool Internet Video Maker – Article Video Robot

This could be one of the coolest things I’ve seen in all of 2009. I am struggling with the fact that to market well, I need to make videos. I don’t really have all the equipment and stuff I need. I may not have the technical expertise, either.

So, someone just sent me this to look at: Article Video Robot. This helps you turn articles into videos – so you can get more traffic from articles by posting them on video sites! Go read more – or see the demo (it is so cool).

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Kudos to Ed Dale’s Thirty Day Challenge

I started this series of “Waves & Warnings” about Internet marketing programs that are currently making the rounds and being promoted. My last post was about a warning with anyone thinking of trying out the “free” DVD from Shawn Casey – it’s not free – you are agreeing to sign up for a $99 / per month subscription. Oh yeah, you can cancel it if you ever can find out how – read my “warning” post here: Warning – Feeling Almost Scammed

Now I have good news to report. There ARE Internet marketers that won’t scam you. In fact, the person I am going to talk about (Ed Dale) won’t even charge you a penny. No tricks, no lies, no shady tactics! Of course he does sell other programs and products, but the one I am going to talk about is totally free – and has so much value it is almost unbelievable.

I am talking about the Thirty Day Challenge that is held every August. This is a challenge to make $1 online in a month (without spending any money in the process). It has been going on for about five years. I’ve particpated in those that took place in 2007 and 2008. Right now, you can go check out the pre-season information at Thirty Day Challenge. If you go to that website, you can sign up and start recieving the emails that will walk you through each day of the challenge.  Also, you will be able to go look at the training here: Thirty Day Challenge Training. And there is a blog to keep people informed, as well as an awesome forum where participants post messages and help each other.

How does the free training and the challenge work?

In July, there are sporadic emails you will receive with instructions about tools and internet techniques that will be used during the challenge. These are good to get started with right away, because, if you are going to do the 30 day challenge, you will be busy each day in August. Every day that month, there will be at least one video (usually more than one). Each day the videos will walk you through a system for making money online with no investment on your part. Many people apply the techniques they learn to their existing online businesses. Others – probably the majority of participants – are just starting out and use this as an opportunity to learn more aobut Internet marketing. There are also live Internet broadcasts where Ed Dale will answer questions (and the place those take place have a chat feature where participants can talk to Ed and to each other during the broadcast).

I’ve learned tons from this guy -  and I have successfully applied many of those “secrets” and tricks or techniques of how to make money to some of my websites where I am trying to make an income.  OK -  I guess I should “fess up” that during the 2007 challenge I didn’t make my $1 in the first month – but in 2008 I did make more than a dollar in that first month!

So if you want to learn more about how people make money online, or if you want to learn ways to do that more successfully, you would really like this program.

Summary: I give a big “Wave” (thumbs up, kudos, bravo) to the Thirty Day Challenge for being one of the best Internet marketing training programs available.

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Thesis Theme Rocks!

In the world of WordPress themes, there are only a handful that stand out above the many amateur themes. One of those that is worth noting is the Thesis theme for WordPress blogs. There is a developer’s version and a personal version. Thesis boasts the strongest SEO of any theme on the market today due to expertly-coded CSS, HTML, and PHP framework. There are guides that show you how to use the theme (and videos), upgrades for later versions of WordPress and support is available.

Thesis Demo Site — See the Thesis Theme in action!

Check out the many ways Thesis can be customized:

Thesis Gallery Showcase — See killer customizations from around the Thesis community!

The Thesis Theme from Chris Pearson and DIYthemes

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Why I Love Affiliate Marketing (and my Secret Weapon)

Why I Love Affiliate Marketing of Physical Products.

  • I don’t have to buy the products and store them to sell them.
  • No customer service needed, no 800 phone numbers, no dealing with shipping hassles.
  • I can test markets cheaply and easily to see which I want to spend more time or money on.
  • The products sell themselves and I don’t have to create a squeeze page or separate website for each one.
  • Products do not change as rapidly as other affiliate stuff (like CPA offers which come and go all the time).
  • I can set up a niched product website with departments and categories (which customers AND search engines love)
  • I can make an online store with many pages and products – which is considered more authoritative than a blog with a couple of products.
  • I can do market research in order to convert a store from affiliate marketing to drop shipping if I decide the products will sell.
  • And I make money WHILE I SLEEP!

My Secret Weapon for Creating Web Stores for Products

I use this inexpensive but powerful affiliate store builder that gets my products found in the search engines. This system is the best I have seen for adding affiliate products with the image, price, affiliate link, description and the ability to edit all of those things. Plus you can put in your own meta tags (for those in SEO, you know how important that is).

The system I use is from Bizzites (which used to be Traffic Genesis and My Affiliate Store). With it, I have build several successful websites that look like e-commerce stores but are actually affiliate marketing websites. The customer comes in, finds a product and the product pages link to the vendor that sells them – where the customer uses their website. EVERYTHING they buy in that session counts toward my commission. And the cookies that keep track of where someone went to that vendor from last for a month or more. So, if that customer goes back to purchase something within that time frame, I am credited with that sale, too.

The commissions are not high for physical products (not like selling downloadable stuff from Clickbank), but you CAN add clickbank products or any affiliate product from any affilate network or even a store you are an affiliate of.  

Here is the BIG difference – this is a store builder that has products (from datafeeds) already loaded into the system. All you do is add them to your website – they come in with the price, picture, description, keywords, etc. and you can design your store to have departments and categories to make it easy for people to find what they are looking for.

Actually, there are so many features I find it hard to tell you all of them, so click on that banner and try it out! If you end up buying the system, I would recommend the plan that allows you to build multiple sites. I am telling you, this is NOT expensive – and you can get the hosting included, which makes it really easy for a new online marketer.

Here are some stores that were built with Bizzites:

Drawing Tables and Easels

Woodworking Heaven

All Scrapbook Albums

On the first one, there is not even a custom logo or banner, but the site converts and sells really well – an real no brainer to make a site like this!

The other 2 example sites have had more artwork added, but nothing that difficult (except for the professionally designed banner at the top of Woodworking Heaven which was something I did to customize the template).

I’m telling you, if you’d like to try this out for yourself, go check out the promotional page. There is a free trial. You have to get on their mailing list to do the trial. Als, if you do the trial, contact me and I will personally give you some tips from the standpoint of someone who’s been using this system for 2 years (only contact me if you are serious about this, though). I give better tips than the guys who sell this, so trust me, I can help you if you need it.

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Victims of Internet Marketer Perry Belcher

This news is not good to know if you have any faith at all in the things being promoted and sold on the Internet. I admit that I dabble in internet marketing and I have been a student of all the things that relate to the industry. This has included many things to do with creating websites, affiliate marketing physical products and downloadable products (such as ebooks). I’ve learned about using blogs, Twitter, Facebook and other methods to share offers and connect with potential customers.

In the process of learning about marketing online,  I have signed up for many “guru” marketers email lists. One of those “gurus” is Perry Belcher. I have just learned that he was charged with internet marketing fraud in 2008. He entered a guilty plea to multiple felony and misdemeanor charges. He was given 10 years of probation and there were many special conditions to his probation. His property was seized including his home, the money in his many bank accounts, his audio/video equipment, his four ATVs, his Harley motorcycle, his vintage Desoto, his Jaguar, and a Toyota and a Dodge truck were also seized. All of his property was sold at auction in order to provide the funds to pay his victims back. (see more about the court records). This means he’s gellin’ like a felon (for real, people are calling him the Internet Felon).

I knew he sold programs to internet marketers, but I was not aware of the medical products he sold. This is the shameful part, in my opinion. Selling fake pills to sick people is just PITIFUL and evil. He had a company called Selmedica. He created a persona of a doctor (using a clip art photo and made-up name) in order to give his products credibility. He also quoted fake statistics about supposed medical trials for his “cures”. This type of snake oil product promotion is as old as the hills, but the internet allows unscrupulous people to put a slick new spin on selling ineffective and unproven medicine. It is really sad that people don’t know any better (some say they are just plain stupid) to buy pills to enlarge breasts or dissolve freckles (yes he sold stuff like that). But the worst offense is the supposed cures for serious diseases and medical problems that he was selling. Here is a page that explains the fraudulent medical remedies in detail: Perry Belcher Victim Search.

The search is on for victims of Perry Belcher’s marketing schemes.

If you bought his Secret Cure Disease Ebook, any Selmedica or Increase Media product, the police want to hear from you. To contact them, call the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office at (901) 545-3268 or email them at

Do I still belive there are reputable products being marketed online? Yes, I do, but I will be far more careful and will check out the websites, their owners,  the products, and the claims being made about them. I hope everone will do the same.

I first read about this at a seriously entertaining website (from which I borrowed the term “Internet felon”): Salty Droid. Hat’s off to that site for covering the topic so well.

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Affiliate Marketing – Finding a Niche

I’ve struggled with finding niches that have a potential to make money online. At first I was trying to be too much of a perfectionist – as if I had to find the perfect niche right away. I’ve realized that I don’t have to keep anything I try to do online. I know now that I am not “locked in” to anything I try – it is more of a blackboard on which I am still working on a formula. The blackboard or whiteboard can be erased and changed – or I can just start over if necessary.

I say that for those of you that are not risk takers (I really am not).  So, when I have taking a chance on things, I have tried to make those the most informed chance with the least financial risk possible. There are ways to get into affiliate marketing with very little up-front investment. That is why I posted about the Thirty Day Challenge in other posts – it is a free course on how to use WordPress and do affiliate marketing online. (UPDATE: the challenge is now at The Challenge) It is far superior to the many subscriptions being sold (and really you should do the free course before you start paying for one). Though it has a particular strategy (using WordPress blogs) the information is useful to selling online using other types of websites or online stores.

My other favorite low cost way to get started in online selling is with affiliate product stores (using Bizzites award winning website builder) but those are not free. The play I have costs less than $100 per month. As I have learned how to use the affiliate stores I have not had trouble making a profit each month. It did take me a few months to get to that point – but a few months at less than $100/month is a very small price for a business start up!

So, whichever way you plan to build websites to sell anything online, you have to start with a niche – you have to know what products you will be selling and what kind of customers buy those products. These are the harder things to do. Making websites is easy. Getting traffic is harder. Making actual sales is the thing that you have to do to survive in any business. And you have to find a niche and know how to provide what sells in that niche.

There are lots of niches (for physical products) that have online traffic, but much of that traffic is just people looking for information or for something free. One thing I have advised people about is this: think about what the customer is searching for and if possible try to focus on search terms that are for things people buy. For example, the search term, hardwood floors could include any number of people searching for how to install or to find someone to install them, or for looking at samples online. They may have no intention of buying flooring from a website. So, the flooring niche would have to be studied to make sure you get the buyers to view your website – and possibly the niche would never be profitable! This is where researching a market and understanding it and what goes on in the online marketplace is essential.

One thing that is helpful for new internet marketers is to find a niche where items are purchased and used up and purchased again. For example, hobby supplies that are used or tools that are necessary. It is likely that if you were selling a specific product for hobbiests, that many of the people searching for those products have the intention of actually buying them when they find them online (instead of just looking at them or finding information about them). For example, if you sold some kind of saw or drill, it is unlikely that many people would be looking for them online just to see what they look like (whereas in decorative items, a higher percentage are just looking at them and comparison shopping).

So, to summarize some of the things I have learned about finding niches for selling stuff online, here are some key points:

  • Try to focus on areas that you like or love – you may find that you become successful in a niche and you will need to keep up-to-date with it, and you may need to write articles about it.
  • If there are industry magazines for specific topics, these generally are good niches with customers willing to buy products in those niches
  • Do online research about things you have a strong interest in (or a passion about) to see if they might be a niche for you to sell products in (such as pets, hobbies, health, etc.)
  • Some niches may have pricey products that you want to try to sell – be aware that these niches are often far to competitive for new internet marketers.
  • Try to identify the sub-niches to start out in (also called micro-niches), for example, Automobiles is a general category (not even a niche), hybrid vehicles is a niche (but is probably very competitive), price comparisons of hybrid vehicles or the top 10 benefits to buying a hybrid would be more micro niched.
  • Once you even know that you have a few niches that could be possible avenues for you to sell in, please do keyword research! If you haven’t used keyword tools, you will have to in order to get found in the search engines.
  • Don’t be afraid to try out SOMETHING (but not something that will break the bank), even if your first attempts fail or don’t make a ton of money, because while you make the effort, you are learning valuable things (even from mistakes) that will help you in the future.
  • For those that are not risk takers, don’t wait until you think you have found the perfect product to sell – nothing is perfect and everything that matters requires hard work. There is no way to have instant success, but there are tools and knowledge to help you be successful.

I wish I could say I have the magic formula for making tons of money online. I can make money online, and hope to make more than I currently do – and as I learn I intend to keep sharing what I know here on this website!

Free Resources (that I do not own or profit from but I think are invaluable):

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Tips for Buying Domains and Hosting Websites

If you are an internet marketer, graphic designer or domain buyer/seller, at some point you will find that you have to re-assess what you are spending on domains and website hosting. Here are a few tips on what has been working well for me as far as buying domain names and website hosting (and also for my blogs).

I want to recommend the easiest to use (and a low cost option) for buying domains (domain registration). For buying domains, I totally recommend Namecheap. Their interface is really easy to use (I have never gotten confused with it, as I have with other places I have bought domains). Compared to 1 and 1 (which is awful) and GoDaddy (which is just ok) I think Namecheap is far superior and the domains cost less. For the first year, the privacy feature for your domain is free.  There are many coupon codes available – look them up online whenever you are about to buy a domain – one place that seems to keep them up-to-date is retailmenot. - Cheap domain name registration, renewal and transfers - Free SSL Certificates - Web Hosting

For hosting, I have never had any problems with HostGator – in fact I like this hosting company a lot! You can host one site for less than five dollars a month – of course, few people do that anymore. For multiple (unlimited) domain hosting (with all the bells and whistles) it only costs 7.95/month – though there is a slight “catch” – you have to pay for an entire year to get that low price. Still, there are other payment plans (monthly or every 6 months). And there are often coupon codes to be found to save extra money, so don’t forget to look those up before you plan on paying for hosting. There are also reseller hosting accounts that are great and don’t cost too much (for you webmasters and graphic designers).


I hope these tips help you when you start building your web empire ;-)

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WordPress Maintenance and Security

It has become more and more important to do some routine maintance to your WordPress blogs. Many people love the fact that WordPress is easy to get started with and to use to post articles. But, most of the newer users of this blogging platform have no idea of the maintenance issues involved with their website. I also have heard recently that keeping your blog updated may help with search engine results (more about that will be in another post).

Here are a few things that are recommended to do – especially for those of you that host your own blog:

1,  Keep your version updated

2.  Update/ugrade your plugins

3.  Backup your database

Easy Way to Get the Latest Version of WordPress

The older, unpatched versions of WordPress (older than 2.8.4) are not secure and are vulnerable to being attacked by a worm that will infect your site. This is what says about it:

Right now there is a worm making its way around old, unpatched versions of WordPress. This particular worm, like many before it, is clever: it registers a user, uses a security bug (fixed earlier in the year) to allow evaluated code to be executed through the permalink structure, makes itself an admin, then uses JavaScript to hide itself when you look at users page, attempts to clean up after itself, then goes quiet so you never notice while it inserts hidden spam and malware into your old posts.

These things are similar to doing routine maintenance on an automobile – and the ones I am recommending are as easy as putting in windshield wiper fluid or adding oil to your engine. I won’t recommend the ones that would be as difficult as doing a complete oil change (because I am too busy to do any of these things the long and boring way). So, my recommendations are to use more automated methods (which have been created by brilliant programmers for people like me to use – I am not a programmer).  I have written before about a plugin that helps you upgrade your WordPress to the latest version in an automated step-by-step process. And really, this is so easy! You don’t have to download software and know anything about programming. All you need to do is download a plugin and put it in the “plugins” folder. To get the plugin go here: Download Upgrade Plugin. Then you log into your wp-admin (WordPress admin) dashboard. Click on the Plugins on the left, activate your new plugin. Then, at the top of your WordPress administrative dashboard a prompt will appear that says, “Click Here to Automatically Upgrade WordPress to latest Version.” Basically, if you click that there will be instructions that walk you through upgrading. It’s so easy to do, and it will keep your site more secure.

Update/upgrade WordPress Plugins

I also think you should try to keep any plugins updated. Here is some good information on the site about site maintenance – Ugrading plugins usually only requires you to click the “update now” links on the plugins page. Sometimes you may have to actually download the latest plugin and then upload it to your hosted files.

Keep Backups of your WordPress Database

After you get your site upgraded, there is also a plugin to use to have backups of the database (which holds all the posts, comments, user and other data for your blog). If you were ever to experience a site problem or hosting problem, you can use the backups to set your site back up. My favorite plugin for scheduling these backups is the WP-DB-Backup plugin. This one is really easy and can be downloaded here: WordPress Database Backup.

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WordPress 12-Step Set-Up Guide

This is a twelve-step process I use to set up a new WordPress blog. This is for blogs that are self-hosted on a host that provides a cpanel (not for the free WordPress blogs from These are not the steps in detail, they are just the overview. I may be writing more in detail about issues or instructions for each one at a later time.

Before setup:

Gather the folders for all plugins and put them into one folder to speed up set up later.

Have your WordPress theme selected and downloaded and put it in a folder you can find easily.

Step 1: Log into the cpanel of the site and click on Fantastico Icon

Step 2: Select wordpress and install wordpress (which installs the core files) 

Step 3: Log out of the cpanel and launch your FTP software. Using FTP, copy the folder of the theme into the wp-content/themes folder

Step 4: Using FTP, copy the folders of the plugins into wp-content/plugins folder

Step 5: Log into WordPress dashboard on one site, go to Appearance and select/activate the theme.

Step 6: Go to Plugins and ativate plugins – also for any plugin that requires it, look under Settings for that plugin to add information. One example is the All-in-one SEO plugin that will need the title, description and keywords added.

Step 7: Go to Settings (on the dashboard) and select “General” to check that the url and email are showing correct info

Step 8: Under Settings, select “Writing” and add the Update Services that you want to ping

Step 9: Under Settings, select “Permalinks” and change the Custom Structure to /%category%/%postname%/  … or just to /%postname%/ (note, I recommend this for advanced users only – it will require an .htaccess file and that can get complicated).

Step 10: Click Pages on the Dashboard and add or edit pages for “about us” and other pages if necessary (such as terms or privacy policies) – a Contact us page can be added with a form in it too if you are using a plug in such as cformsII.

Step 11: Select Appearance and then select widgets to add items to the sidebar of your blog (if you are using widget ready themes).

Step 12: Click “Posts” from the dashboard and select “Categories” – enter the categories you want posts to be shown under

Now your blog is ready for you to write your posts. Go to it, and be original, add value with what you share and be interesting!

Note: If you are setting up multiple websites, keep a matrix (using an excel spreadsheet or create a Word file or even a Google doc) of the urls and cpanel logins, as well as wordpress user names and passwords for easy reference.

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Keywords and Web Traffic

This is a hot topic for internet marketers or for anyone who wants to get websites to be found in the search engines. Using the right keywords on your pages and in the code (meta tags for the title, etc.) is one of the most basic and effective SEO techniques. That is easy, but knowing which keywords are the best to use is not easy. I have to say that with the tool I use, it is far easier than ever before.

Market Samurai can replace an entire team of SEO researchers.

Market Samurai Free TrialI am a total, die-hard fan of this tool I used called Market Samurai. It is software that helps me analyze keywords. This tool gives you so much information, it is like having a huge team of SEO experts at your fingertips. I use it to get statistics about whether a keyword is good (in that it is actually searched for on the internet). I can also find out how good it is – such as, how often is it searched for and how many pages are already using it. Another awesome bit of detective work that Market Samurai does is it will show you the top 10 websites that rank for a keyword or keyword phrase. In other words, you can take a look at your competition before you even try to optimize for a phrase. This kind of research used to take hours or even days (and the results were still often vague). Now you can find your keywords quickly and the data associated with them (numbers of people, numbers of websites) is more accurate.

Spying on the competition in this way can alter your decision to use a particular phrase. You may find that the competition is too hard to beat – at least in the short term. Finding that out can make the difference between not having any traffic for a new site using a highly-competitive keyword phrase or getting some traffic by using less competitive phrases.

Don’t pay for keywords – Get some FREE!

Don’t let the cuteness of the samurai logo dissuade you from taking this software or these guys who created it seriously. They are at the cutting edge of the industry! I’ve told many friends about this tool – and that is because I think it rocks! Also, you can use it for a while for free and get free keywords. I honestly believe in this tool and have bragged on the creators many times in the past. Now I’m excited to have become an affiliate of theirs. I wanted to let you know about that and disclose it so that if you think my opinion is tainted by the fact that I might make a few dollars when someone uses the links on this page to purchase Market Samurai, then I can understand that. But I really want to assure you that just because I rave about it, you don’t have to take my word for it, you can try it for yourself. And there is no risk to try it, but you’ll  have access to tons of help with how to use the software. The training videos alone teach you good keyword research strategies and are worth watching.

Anyway, I could talk all day about why I love using a keyword research tool – and why I think Market Samurai is the best. But you can check it out for yourself and use their free trial.

Market  Samurai free trial

A bit about the creators of Market Samurai: The company, Noble Samurai and their team have been into internet marketing for a while now. They actually developed their keyword research tool because they found the other products on the market hard to use and they felt there were too many gaps in the data – or the data was ambiguous and, therefore, not very helpful. I’ve heard them speak about how they created this and how to use Market Samurai and they are dedicated and smart. They actually understand the intricacies and importance of SEO and the use of keywords, as well as the frustrations of trying to get more traffic for websites.

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WordPress Comment Spam is Increasing

Have any of you other bloggers out there noticed that the amount of spam comments has increased lately?  I am getting really tired of going through the comments and clicking on the “spam” button.

I think there are too many automated commenting software tools around lately. I am using the Askimet plugin and another one to stop spam called:  WP-Spam Free, but they aren’t stopping the flood of ridiculous comments. I am about to make sure I am upgraded to the latest version of WordPress.  (I am not but will be as soon as I post this.)

I’ll try to post again to see if upgrading to WordPress 3.0.1 helps at all. I really don’t want to turn off the commenting features of my blog. So, if anyone has a tip to make these dumb comments stop, please let me know! Also, if I marked someone’s legitimate comment as spam, let me know and I will fix my error.

UPDATE: I looked up more ways to stop comment spam. In the WordPress Dashboard, under the Settings, there are a couple of places to either moderate or blacklist words commonly used in spam comments or you can enter the IP address of the spammers and moderate or blacklist those! Since I get repeat spam comments from some of the same people I used this feature (that I had not tried before) and so far it has successfully stopped most of the WordPress comment spam.

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Traffic-Bug – Improves Search Engine Rankings

Traffic-bug is a great tool for improving your website’s search engine rankings. With it’s ability to help you post your site to search engines, social bookmarking sites, Website directories and RSS directories, you’ll be able to to on autopilot while gaining more backlinks.

The great news for you, if you have any doubts, is that you can sign up for an 11 day free trial!

Traffic-Bug Free Trial

Try Traffic-Bug

Here are a few more details about the features and benefits:

  • Submits bookmarks to 43 of the top Social Bookmarking sites
  • Builds more bookmarks than any of their competitors – Over 200!
  • Rotates IP’s and social bookmarking accounts for every single submission
  • Automatically rotates titles and descriptions for every single post
  • Unlike other programs, you don’t have to create any social bookmarking accounts – Traffic-Bug creates all of them!
  • Constantly expanding the number of social bookmarking accounts!
  • Traffic-Bug submits your Blog Feed or RSS Feed to all the major RSS feed directories automatically.
  • Traffic-Bug submits your site to over 138 different search engines getting you indexed even faster by Google! Below are just some of the sites we submit to:
  • Traffic-Bug submits sites to 1,000+ directories, building backlinks while doing so
  • We can also submit sites to micro blogs such as squidoo, hub, weebly, etc because when you build backlinks to micro blogs it builds deep, powerful 3-way backlinks.
  • Most companies charge $120 per 1,000 directory submissions
  • Traffic-Bug lets you submit an unlimited number of sites to build 1,000 backlinks at a low, monthly price

As you might know by now – the name of the game is backlinks to be successful on the internet. So, try this awesome tool to promote your website or blog and have every article you write bookmarked and get your site added to hundreds of directories.

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