Buying Domains: The Way Forward

As an Internet Marketer, it is important to me to make sure that I keep increasing the right kind of traffic to my commercial websites so that I continue to make sales from which I make my living online. Times change fast online and what were easy ways to make money a couple of years ago are now not viable. But one thing that has always remained a constant is investing in domains. This is why it will continue to be the way forward for anyone who is serious about earning money online.

Free Blogs and their Problems

There are more free blog platforms than ever these days, but that doesn’t make them the right way to build a long term business. They are fine when you are just starting out on a low budget, but their stability is questionable. You can put ads on blogger blogs, but they are harder to rank in the search engines and this is where you need to get your traffic from. You can use WordPress free blogs, but you can’t place ads (unless you abuse the system and do it anyway and hope that you don’t get found by the WordPress social police like the blog I highlighted in my last post WordPress Do Not Allow Ads on Their Free Blogs.

Other free blog platforms may be around today but drop out of existence tomorrow, as in the case of today.com which took a lot of people’s content then disappeared. A free blog platform may allow you to place links in your posts to begin with, but then go ahead and make them all nofollow as happened with wetpaint.com and others. The bottom line is that if you are going to put a lot of work into writing a load of original, well thought out and researched content you might as well put it onto a domain that you own and you call the shots on.

Self Hosted Domains

There are many benefits to hosting websites on your own domains. Aside from the cost of maintaining hosting, which can be had for as little a $5 a month, building your own website(s) is the most solid long term plan you can have. You get to choose what you write about and as long as it is not going to break any laws, you can publish it and no one is going to come along and call you out and get your blog flagged and even deleted as has happened to me on more than one occasion. Not that those blogs were bad, they just focused on weight loss which for some blog platforms is a disliked niche and seen as spammy. I’m sure the 60 million obese American citizens would beg to differ when there is a resource built to help them reduce their weight and get their lives back.

But on my own domains, I can write about weight loss and help people to help themselves and no one is going to tell me I can’t.

Blog or Static?

Now for the big question, do you create blogs or static sites on your domains? There are pros and cons to doing either, but here is my own reasoning and why the vast majority of my websites are actually NOT blogs, but static html sites.

Benefits of Static Sites:

  • Have no database to maintain and therefore do not present such a temptation to hackers to get in and cause mayhem.
  • Use far less server resources and are therefore faster to load and won’t eat up your hosting resources
  • All content is created on your PC and uploaded to the server, so there is always a backup copy of all your files if your server crashes and you have to recreate your site(s)

Benefits of Blogs:

  • Are easy to post articles to and publish
  • Have built-in blog service pinging for immediate recognition across the web
  • Can use widgets for social interaction
  • Posts can easily be commented on by visitors
  • Make it easy to join social groups

For my own peace of mind, going with static sites means less chance I’ll lose my sites because of hackers. The few blogs I still maintain regularly get attacked and I have had one blog have its database wiped by some nice person. That alone was enough for me to backwards engineer that blog to a static site and start doing the same with many smaller blogs. After all, why were many of them even blogs in the first place?

Many of the blogs I created a few years ago, were never meant to be social animals, but to exist as platforms to sell affiliate products and make money. Blogs are not really all that good for that, because of their setup and the difficulty with navigation. Plus for me, there is really no need to have any social interaction on a site that promotes a group of affiliate products from say, Amazon or CJ. All they need to do is present a decent review of the product and get the visitor to click through to buy it if they want it.

Blogs are for writing your thoughts, putting your points of view out there for others to comment on and discuss and for generally being social. Static sites are better for selling stuff. That’s my viewpoint and it may not be the viewpoint of others. Some may disagree and that’s fine, we all have our own preferences and ways of working.

It leads me to the way that search engines and Google in particular are talking about rating the worth of websites. They give the impression that they are going all out to use social recognition metrics as a way of gauging the value of a website.

How can this be if such a large proportion of websites are not blogs or have no database that can interact with the social buttons and widgets that they intend to use to gather these metrics? Does this mean that all static websites will be viewed as of less value than blogs simply because they do not have the mechanics to socially interact?

That is something I have already posted about here. I still maintain that Google cannot use social metrics to gauge the value or worth of a website if so many websites don’t have the gubbins to display social interactive buttons or widgets. So make your own mind up on how that will pan out.

Terry Didcott

Freedom Writers SubDomain Sites

In my last post Freedom Writers PR Chaos Again!, I looked at the new changes that seemed to come very early from Google with regards to Page Rank and how they affected this freedom writer and his sites. This time, I’m not going to go back into that rat’s nest of controversy, so instead I’ll get on to something that has got this freedom writers interested in subdomains again.

A while ago, I posted about the possible advantages of using a short, generic domain name to act as a base for keyword-specific subdomain names and then to set up subdomain niche sites that were tightly focused to exploit certain aspects of those niches.

Well, back then I didn’t get very far – only setting up a pretty good PayDay Loans site and creating several other niche sites but not populating them with much of anything. Time, or the lack of it was my freedom writers undoing!

Since then (and a few months have passed) I’ve had a little time to turn my attention to these neglected niche sites once again. Since I’ve been buying up expired domains, it has been painfully obvious to this freedom writers that in order to dominate any niches, I need several sites focused on each niche and there simply is not the quality of expired domain name available to do that effectively. Sure, one or two domains have come along and I’ve grabbed them, but in the main, most are rubbish and not worth the effort.

But from a freedom writers perspective, its back to the subdomain thing. Yes, they are free and the keyword is easy to place in the fully qualified subdomain.domain name. The downside is that they are not individual sites that can be sold at a later date for big profit. But if that’s not a concern and they’re really only for adding presence to any one niche where I have got a dedicated domain (or domains) with good sites set up, then its a very good idea to use them.

I’ve since updated two of my neglected subdomain niche sites with a nice template that I jigged together myself from a certain WordPress theme and modified it to work as static web pages. Well, they not only look pretty good, but they are SEO’d to the hilt and have a great additional money making feature. I’ll explain…

A while ago, I heard about BANS sites, so I decided to find out more about what they are, from a freedom writers curiosity. Essentially, BANS is a package you buy that gives you the ability to create sites that promote niche oriented products on eBay. You get a Commission Junction account, set up an affiliate account with eBay and then promote their stuff. Anything that your site promotes that directs a buyer to the auction and they buy, you get a commission on the sale.

Its a trick I was using almost a year ago but slightly differently – this freedom writers method back then was I scanned craigslist and found the want ads and simply contacted the owners of the ads and directed them to my affiliate link to eBay where there were a selection of the item they wanted. Same result, different method.

So BANs intrigued my freedom writers curiosity. Once I figured out that BANs was simply doing what I already knew how to do, except this time you use a website to do the promoting rather than actively researching craigslist, I set about finding how I could use eBay’s affiliate program to set this up. Its was easy!

There are editor tools that you can generate a search on a particular item, say, iPods. You put in your CJ id, create links and the the editor creates a search results panel you can display on your website. It looks pretty good and all I have to do is build some content around this tool on each of my subdomain sites and I have myself some free BANs style sites!

Ha! I’m a perennial tinkerer as well as a freedom writers and when I get an idea and have the time to follow it through, it amazes me what I can sometimes achieve! Why pay for some software to do what I can already do for myself?

So the Freedom Writer’s experiment is now on. It’ll take a while for the new sites to get recognised in the SERPs, but once they get up there, it’ll be interesting to see how much traffic they get, how high Google will place them and how much commission they can make for me by just sitting there as static niche sites.

We’ll see!

Terry Didcott

How To Install a Self Hosted WordPress Blog

Ok, following on from the last Freedom Writer post: Freedom Writer Domains to Make Money, concerning buying expired domains, let’s look at one of the things you can do withe them once you’ve got them!

If you’ve decided to get some professional hosting with a company that allows you to host multiple domains (a very economical way of hosting all those nice expired domains!) so that you can start collecting WordPress blogs and keep them all in one place, this short primer might help you to get started setting up those blogs!

Here’s my step by step starter’s guide to setting up your first self-hosted WordPress blog.

Once you get the hosting account set up with HostGator (and I won’t talk generally about multi-domain hosting companies, I’ll be specific here as I can talk you through this from first hand experience, having a HostGator account myself), if I remember correctly the first domain you register with them becomes your primary domain. So choose your main domain for that – a short domain name here is a good idea.

All other new domains you add become subdomains of the primary domain as viewed from your cPanel and also via FTP (which is why a short name is preferable), but as far as the rest of the world see them they are top level domains in their own right.

So – whichever domains you want to use as WordPress blogs, you need to complete a few steps in cPanel.

1. Add the domain as an “Add-On Domain” (Not a “subdomain” – there are separate icons for each). Let cPanel choose the name of the folder – it will take your domain name as the folder name making it easy for you to know where everything is. Once you start getting over the 20 domain mark, you’ll be glad you did – I’ve got quite a long list to scroll down in my FTP box and they’re all in alphabetical order making life easy. Oh, by the way, you can’t have duplicate folders – I tried that and it caused me problems as I had one folder called Make Money for a domain, then I created a subdomain on another site and also called it Make Money – Ha! That’s what you get for trying to make too much money lol!!!

Ok, kidding aside, once you get the hang of the process, it gets real easy.

2. Once the domain is added, open Fantastico from within cPanel and you’ll see WordPress in the left sidebar under the Blogs subheader. Click it and you’ll be asked if you want to set up an new WordPress account – YES!

3. The next panel asks you what subdomain you want WordPress to install in – in the drop down list of domains, you’ll likely see your main domain on its own and all add-on domains as subdomains of the main domain plus each domain separately. Its confusing writing about it – you’ll see it better when you have it in front of you. Well, click on the domain you want to install wordpress in – not one of the subdomains (unless… oh boy I won’t go there as it will confuse the issue even more)

Let it install in the root directory for the domain if you want the homepage to be the blog, as it looks like:

www.myblog.com

or specify a subfolder if you want something like:

www.mydomain.com/blog

4. Enter a username, password etc and then click “Install WordPress” to let it do its thing!

Voila, you now have a basic self- hosted WordPress blog on your domain!

You’ll want to tart it up a bit, by adding a nice theme, some plug-ins etc, but you can do that later. First thing you need to do now is to log-in and write your first post!

I’ll go through the set-up of themes and plug-ins in my next post

Terry Didcott