Quick Start Challenge – Week 2

Firstly, congratulations to everyone on the Quick Start Challenge who has made it this far. From the 1000 who registered, only 356 got this far in the last 7 days. There may be a few late arrivals, but I doubt it.

So where are you now? Well, you now have a domain name of your choice, web hosting for WordPress, and content including some core pages and a welcome post.

That’s the hardest technical part done. There is much more to do, but it is less time critical than getting your blog set up and started.

This Weeks Quick Start Challenge Focus

This weeks focus is on Traffic; Getting people to visit your site. There are hundreds of ways to get traffic, but the two easiest when starting out, and free methods are:

Signature Traffic
Whatever niche you are in with your blog, there are always forums of like minded people, asking questions and wanting answers. Join the forums relevant to you, and set up an account with them. The account will have a signature footer where you can put in 1 web address link to a genuine blog. Now simply read through some of the questions on the forums that you can genuinely answer, and write a decent, quality reply. By submitting your reply, the forum will show your signature, including the link. Curious members can follow the link to your site; hey, free traffic!

Blog Hop Traffic
Write a comment on another persons blog, and include your name, email and web address in the boxes displayed. Only your web address is disclosed, but this is visible to the world to click though and visit your site, as well as for search engines to see as a backlink. Make sure the comment is sensible, quality, relevant and not spammy.

Whenever you are writing comments or forum replies, always ask yourself “does this comment look like I have read the article and that I am responding sincerely”. (You always want the answer Yes, just in case there is any doubt.)

Track Your Traffic

You need to know where your traffic comes from, so that you can both improve your traffic generating efforts as well as improve the content for the traffic you get. There really is only one tool to do this and that is Google Analytics. It is the industry standard, and although very powerful, it is also very straightforward to use.

I have written a setup guide on how to add it to your site available here.

You can also us a Google Analytics Plugin to display core stats from within your blog dashboard, but this is not actually necessary unless you really want to keep everything in one place. If you want to make real money online, then you need to learn how Google Analytics reports and to look at it every day.

Hard Slog or Rinse and Repeat?

This week is also when the real, regular, disciplined work needs to start happening. First impressions count hugely to visitors, and you need to get your site into shape. Think of how you feel when you visit websites, including any of those doing this challenge (their addresses are on the website in comments or Facebook posts) Does it make you want to stay and engage, or will you click back instantly and never return? How do you think people will react when they see your site?

So firstly, you need content. Quality content of 600-1000 words. And you need it daily. This may sound like a difficult ask, especially when a decent article may take you an hour to write, but it needs to be done. Get into the habit of writing a post a day, or more if you can (and schedule them for days when you want time off!) In this 4 week challenge, assuming you started on day 1, you would still only have 28 posts by the time you want to make your first money online. It’s what your visitors would expect to see.

Once you have 10 posts, only then I would suggest choosing a theme that displays your blog in the style you would like it to. You really need those 10 posts in order to fill up the blog homepage with enough content that you can see what a theme will look like. There are plenty of free themes that can be tried within the WordPress site, or you can buy some of the higher performance themes if you really want to.

Personally, I see little point in driving traffic to your site if you are not capturing it (or at least giving it the option to subscribe to you – that’s coming soon) but the practice of actually doing the work to get traffic is hugely important. You need to make it part of your daily routine:

  • Wake Up
  • Write a Post
  • Comment on others sites
  • Answer some forum questions
  • Continue life as normal until the money comes in

Build up the quality and content of your blog, drive traffic to it. Repeat this every day, and you know you will be moving forward towards the money.

Quick Start Challenge – Week 1

Over 1000 people have signed up for this challenge and I want to be clear; There is nothing in this challenge that cannot be done by anybody. All the setup tasks required are basic site building tasks that need to be done by every website. Some may appear difficult, but there are numerous resources available to explain each step. Just ask a question in the comments if you need to. Hey – If you get really stuck you can even pay people to set it up for you!

So what are you looking to achieve this first week?

Well, starting from nothing, you are going to build a blog site, with a web address name that you have chosen, and then populate it with some content so that visitors to it can see who you are and what your blog is about. This is the basic foundations upon which your future content can be delivered and that you future income can be generated from.

By breaking the objectives down into specific tasks, you can also use this week to start your time management and effective planning. If you want to be an internet marketer then you need to get into a work routine. This weeks tasks should take a maximum of 7 hours, though most Challenge members will do it much quicker, especially if they have set up sites before.

The tasks you need to do fit into the following structure:

  1. Choose a domain name
  2. Choose a hosting company for you blog
  3. Install WordPress
  4. Create your email address
  5. Write 3 basic site pages
  6. Write 1 new post with content representing your blog

I have written a 25 point guide on how to choose a domain name that may help you if you are stuck.
25 Rules for Choosing a Domain Name (US)
25 Rules for Choosing a Domain Name (EU)

There are plenty of online resources to help you with steps 1 – 4, and the process does differ slightly depending on which companies you choose to get the domain and hosting from. I have a guidelines document that outlines each step and will get you up and running if anyone wants it.

Step 3, Installing WordPress should be an automatic process on most hosting platforms and take less than a minute. You simply need to select WordPress from the control panel of your account and it will be setup for you.

This almost goes hand in hand with Step 4, creating an email address for your site. Most hosting companies include a free email account with the web hosting, and again it’s a matter of minutes to set it up. Why would you want an email address? Well consider how much more professional it looks when you sign off using your domain name rather than a generic Hotmail of gmail account. From a visitor to your sites perspective (think “customer”) wouldn’t it appear more trustworthy if they can mail you at your site rather than to some other free email account.

Remember you are making your future here so you need to make the right impression from day 1. Spending a bit of time getting it right now will pay dividends (and $) down the line.

Conform to Standards

Search engines, and visitors, expect a website or blog to have at least 3 standard pages.

  • About Us
  • Privacy Policy
  • Terms & Conditions

These are going to be WordPress ‘pages’, which are static webpages normally displayed on a menu or tab on every page of the site.

The About Us (or About Me for more personal blogs) informs the visitor who is behind the blog. It adds credibility and reassurance, and should act as an anchor for visitors wanting to see who is behind the site. The use of a picture of yourself is strongly recommended, and it should always show your face, as you want to be open and welcoming. If this is a problem then think of other ways of putting yourself into the picture without being too distant from your audience. I have seen pictures of bloggers on mountain bikes, face hidden under a helmet and mud, in some action shot, and the picture referenced in the text so it links together adding credibility.

The Privacy Policy can just be a reworded version from any other site similar to yours, and there are even privacy policy generators online that can write them for you for free.

The same goes for the Terms and Conditions. See what others have written and write something similar or use online tools to generate it for you. If you get really worried about this stuff then you can get them done using online legal companies for not a lot of money

Stand Out And Be Different

Once that is done you can move onto the first post you are going to write. From here on you will almost always be writing posts – they are the lifeblood for your site, so get used to writing and aim to write one every day.

Whatever subject your blog is going to be about, every post on your site needs to be in harmony with the sites purpose, and add value to your readers lives. You want them to enjoy what you say and you want them to return to read more in the future, or subscribe to your email list

Don’t copy someone else’s style and don’t copy other peoples work. Make sure the content is unique and genuinely how you write. Consistency of style, layout and design helps to reassure visitors that you are credible. If you try to look like someone else, why would anyone want to follow you rather than the original?

A post should be between 500 and 1000 words, although there really isn’t an upper limit. You can have some with less words but be aware search engines may rate your content as light, not offering enough value and penalize you.

There are lots of tips and templates on how to write good posts, and I can share them with you if you are interested. Following a template definitely makes it easier when starting out, but after a while it will all come naturally for you.

So once you have finished your first post, go and reward yourself! You will now have a live blog, visible to the world, and be on the start of a whole new, profitable, future.

Quick Start Challenge

Every year there is an internet Quick Start Challenge, created and run by three fellow internet marketers Dean Holland, Craig Crawford, and Robert Phillips. The purpose of this challenge is simple:Quick Start Challenge

  • Start with nothing
  • Build a site
  • Monetise it
  • Make your first sale for real $
  • Do it all in 28 days

It’s a challenge that anyone can take up, and builds on the promise that anyone can make money on the internet within 28 days (4 weeks)

It is not a promise of get rich quick, or press button software that can make you millions.  Aren’t you sick of all those promises made by people who can never deliver?  It is a structured 4 week course, with nothing missing, that will make you a sale by the end if you are willing to make the effort.

It is best approached with the attitude that you are starting from scratch without any pre-conceived ideas. After all if you haven’t made any money online then maybe a reboot of your ideas is what is needed.

It is also a challenge that some well-established internet marketers also take up. Why? Well it’s a chance to show that you really do have the skills and resources to help someone build their business up from scratch. It is something I can do alongside you and share my experiences and resources with you, helping you at any stage you may have problems with. Questions? Just ask in the comments section.

It is also reassuring to know that if you lost everything, you could still get up and running, with money coming in, within 28 days.

This is an ideal challenge for anyone wanting to make money online to take part in. It is not a promise of push button software, or easy profits in 24 hours, but a thorough 28 day course, with task you need to do each week in order to make money at the end. Ideally you would do some work on it every day, but that may not be realistic depending on your own circumstances, so I suggest setting out a weekly time sheet where you can allocate time for the tasks to be done. The tasks all break down into clear individual steps, but the amount of time you spend on each depends on your skill levels. There are loads of free resources that can help you at each stage, so look out for links to these as I document the weekly stages of the course.

I have created a PDF document you can download and print for each week, along with the tasks that need to be done. Look for the link in the weekly posts.

If you can allocate an hour a day then you will make money by the end of the Quick Start Challenge. If you can do more then you will simply be in a stronger position at the end of the challenge. Any less and you won’t get there in 4 weeks, but will still be on the right path, so please don’t even think about giving up once started.

There are some costs you will have to cover in order to make the Quick Start Challenge work for you, but it is small, around $20, and only required for things like hosting, domain name purchase, email service and possibly a few dollars for a logo or banner creation if you cannot do that yourself, although this is not strictly needed.

Frustrated that you haven’t had the success you see others have so far? You are not alone. Many people spend years in the Internet Marketing niche but never actually make any money; not even $1. The industry figure puts it at about 97%. If you are one of those people then the Quick Start Challenge is the right course for you, and you could be making money 4 weeks from now.

 

How To Stay Focused For Success

Assuming you have set you goals, and made a plan of action, now is the time to implement that plan. Take it task by task in the agreed timescales and you cannot fail.

But then real life gets in the way, and before you know it the day has passed, you achieved nothing and everything slips.  All your good intentions to spend an hour a day writing a post or creating a product have gone by the wayside, and you need to play catch-up.  Only you know you never will.

This is one area where most new internet marketers give up, and they turn away from the potential of making millions for themselves in the future to simply manage their day to day life.  Please don’t be one of these people.

The following steps will enable you to stay on track and work towards your internet marketing freedom and financial rewards without really changing your day to day actions.

Step 1.

Plan out when you think you can work best, and what tasks you need to do in these times.  Some people can work late at night, others early in the morning. Science shows that we are often the most creative first thing in the morning, which could be great for writing posts.

Some can fit in time in their lunch hour to focus on their own internet marketing work.  Could you watch less TV?  Think how many hours you could save, and how rich you could get to be, simply not watching an hour of TV a night.

An hour a day, per week would equate to a full working day where you are working for yourself.  Write out a weekly plan and what you want to do. Be realistic to how much time you can give to your internet marketing venture, and then stick to it.

Step 2.

Turn off all interruptions when you want to start working.  Turn off the TV. Turn off your phone.  Close the door so no one disturbs you.  If you have kids then let them know that you do have some important ‘do not disturb’ time.  You need to spend that limited time you have totally focused on the task in hand.

Step 3.

Your computer is your work tool.  So turn off eMail.  Turn off Facebook.  Turn off YouTube. Turn off eBay. Turn off skype/hangouts/msn etc.

If you really want to get a post written, or your blog design built, you need to give it 100% attention.  You need to remove as many distractions as possible so that you only focus on the task in hand.

You know this all makes sense – 1 hour with no interruptions can get you more done than 6 hours with.  The expression ‘too busy doing nothing’ is not one you want to hear applied to your internet marketing future.

Step 4.

Outsource what you cannot do easily or timely. All successful internet marketers, whether starting out or established, outsource tasks to others in order to save them time.  If there is a task on your plan you cannot do, or feel would take you too long to learn how to do it, then simply outsource it.  Most of these outsourced service cost around $5-$10 per specific task, and free you up to progress with what you can do.

For example, I find it difficult to design logos or graphics, so I simply get an outsourcer to make something up for me that matches the brief I give them.  I can get on with building a site and a day or so later the graphics are done and emailed over to me.

When you become successful you may well actually hire an outsource service full time, for example, responding to emails and customer service.  If you are starting out simply ignore anything that says ‘hire’; you are not there yet!

Step 5.

Reward yourself when you have completed a task on the plan.  If you can, get out, get fresh air and maybe do some exercise (which stimulates the brain anyway).  Play with the kids. Or just sit and watch TV, grab some food etc.

If you have spent a few hours solid then you will definitely feel the need for something different.  That’s good though as it proves to yourself that you have been working towards your internet marketing goal, and you can use that feeling of accomplishment to motivate you for the next task.

Step 6.

Expect interruptions.  Even if you follow everything above, there are bound to be times when something crops up that you have to do, meaning you miss out on time you should be spending on your internet marketing.  Accept it, and reorganize your plan so you know if you have to catch up for lost time or if it is just a small delay.  Remember that you are working towards your own future so I am sure you will know what is the best course of action.

 

If you follow the above steps, then you will become a successful internet marketer, as success comes from good habits.  Don’t think it is easy at first, as there are always things that try to fill up your time.  But never forget that it is your time and your future.  Some discipline now will give you freedom later.