For my next online “challenge” I received a very worrying message from the Google webmaster tools last week: Google had “noticed” that one of my health sites had blocked access to Googlebot over 13,000 times! This is what the message said: “Googlebot couldn’t crawl your
Regular readers may remember that I ALMOST fell foul of what I now call the Windows key and R scam. You can read more about it here, but in short it involves a stranger ringing you up and trying to get access to your computer
In one of my frequent “lack of focus” moments I have been working with my son Russ to set up an additional income stream for him, working online, helping small businesses set up a blog on a combined hosting and auto-responder package. Our site is
If you’re a regular reader of my blog, do you remember the agonies I went through about 6 months ago because this blog was SOO slow to load? Remember that I spent ages trying to speed it up? Notice something when you come back here
I was very sad today because someone unsubscribed from my list. It wasn’t so much that she had “gone”, but I felt that I had let her down by not providing what she wanted from me. The comment she left me was: “This takes too
Building a list of customers and prospects is the most important part of any business. It can’t be repeated often enough. NOT building a list from “day 1″ was the biggest mistake I made when starting my business online. So while I am trying VERY
One of the most frequent questions online marketers ask about is free traffic methods. I have found a really useful resource with good advice on free traffic methods for you; but first I want to remind you that free traffic is something of a myth,
For my next online “challenge” I received a very worrying message from the Google webmaster tools last week: Google had “noticed” that one of my health sites had blocked access to Googlebot over 13,000 times!
This is what the message said: “Googlebot couldn’t crawl your URL because your server either requires authentication to access the page, or it is blocking Googlebot from accessing your site.” They concluded by saying that if that was intentional, fine – otherwise I might like to fix it!
When we all spend so much time and effort trying to make our sites attractive to Google, it’s depressing to say the least, to find that something is blocking access. It’s even more depressing when it turns out you’re blocking Google yourself – which is what emerged.
That particular site is hosted with Hostgator, so I asked for their help and they replied to the effect that my .htaccess file was blocking Google and other search engines. It actually included some code to specifically do this!
Hostgator responded very quickly and were very helpful. They edited the file to remove the offending code and I managed to follow the Google webmaster instructions to inform Google that unblocking should have been completed.
Of course that didn’t solve the mystery of how it had happened in the first place!
My biggest worry was that there had been a breach of security at Hostgator and someone had been able to edit my .htaccess to insert that blocking code. It certainly wasn’t the type of thing I would have known how to insert even if I wanted to. My passwords and username are not easily guessable, although I suppose there are some clever pieces of hacking software out there.
I quizzed Hostgator further, they checked their logs for me and they said there had been no breach at their end, which I’m happy to believe as only one blog was affected – the blog where I had added a new plugin. Hostgator said it looked as if the plugin I had recently installed security had done the blocking and advised me to change the settings. I’m not going name the plugin because when I looked at the settings I couldn’t see any that would have had that effect. (I contacted the plugin support team for advice but had no reply – fair enough, it IS a free plugin.)
However, I would be interested to hear from the more experienced bloggers in the community which security plugin they recommend. It needs to be light-weight in both impact on this blog, which already runs like treacle, and on my brain – ditto!
Update: Someone on a help site I use has recommended Better WP Security, so I added that instead of the earlier one and keeping fingers crossed!
Which security plugin do YOU recommend?
You can read more about it here, but in short it involves a stranger ringing you up and trying to get access to your computer by scaring you into thinking you have a virus and asking you to press these keys. I guessed that they were either trying to infect you “good and proper”, or sell you their anti-virus software.
Happily I saw sense and stopped in plenty of time, but out of interest I told my 91 year-old Dad about this as he enjoys hearing about scams avoided. And I also feel I need to keep them warned about the many telephone scams that there are these days.
So imagine my delight when he rang me up triumphantly a few days ago to tell me that he had received one of these calls and how well he had dealt with it.
He had asked the caller to wait while he moved him to another phone in another room, then told him he didn’t know where to find the “Window Key”, also it was quite high up so he needed to fetch something to stand on – that was out in the garage. Then he asked for a detailed explanation of how to switch on a computer and where all the necessary buttons were as his daughter usually looked after all computers.
When he’d spent a good twenty minutes talking to the caller, he mentioned the fact that he didn’t actually have a computer but it had been interesting chatting and learning so much about computers and the dangers of viruses – perhaps he should get the doctor to check him over at his next appointment.
Surprisingly enough the caller put the phone down on him!
Well done Dad
Another approach I’ve heard about how to frustrate these callers is to play along for a while then proudly admit you have an Apple Mac – on which none of this works. Can’t comment on any Mac technicalities as I don’t have one.
To be honest I don’t have time to waste on the “play along” approach, but it gave my Dad the best fun he’d had in months and a good story to relate.
More seriously, if you DO have elderly (or young) relatives with computers, please warn them not to fall for this telephone scam and hopefully it will eventually die out.
In one of my frequent “lack of focus” moments I have been working with my son Russ to set up an additional income stream for him, working online, helping small businesses set up a blog on a combined hosting and auto-responder package.
Our site is SystemicsLtd.com – this is the bespoke software company I have run for over 30 years now, but as we no longer advertise the accounting software, it seemed reasonable to use the domain for a current purpose!
While starting up this service we have been introduced to “Host Then Profit” an excellent online hosting and marketing package that comes at an unbeatable price, so I mention it here in case it’s of interest to anyone.
Costing less than $10 a month the package includes:
- Hosting for 4 domains
- Auto-responder for 500 subscribers
- Video Producer
- Blog Builder
- Conferencing Facilities
- Training videos, plus fully staffed support desk
The feature that excites me most is the thought of combining an auto-responder and hosting at under $10 a month! I’m currently paying $19 a month to Aweber on top of my hosting costs with Hostgator.
I have moved this blog across from Hostgator to test the HostThenProfit (HTP) service, and all seems well so far. In fact HTP did the move for me, free of charge, which was another bonus. Obviously Russ’s site is also hosted with HTP.
When I have had support questions they have been answered promptly and – what’s most important to me – the answers come from humans, because they answer my actual questions. Nothing irritates me more than automated answers that have obviously just found a keyword in my question and guessed at an answer to send me away for another 24hrs. (Sorry, rant over!)
HostThenProfit is a newish package added to the GVO / Joel Therien offerings, so the parent company is well-established, and their hosting service is used by many well-known Internet Marketers. They will have far more stringent requirements than I am likely to hit, and still seem happy to recommend the GVO brand. Although I hasten to add that they won’t be using the $10 service…. There are, obviously, upgrade paths to as your business expands.
However, if you know a small business looking to get on-line for a minimal cost, HTP seems to offer an extremely well-thought-out package. Until Russ has a small portfolio of sites under his belt, we are making an excellent start-up offer. I’m bound to have forgotten something that potential clients should be sending us, so please do let me know what I’ve missed
If you already have a site, and are dissatisfied with your present hosting company, HTP is well worth a look. Click here. Should you purchase hosting, you will also be qualified as an affiliate and can earn a commission for introducing other customers.
If you’re a regular reader of my blog, do you remember the agonies I went through about 6 months ago because this blog was SOO slow to load?
Remember that I spent ages trying to speed it up?
Notice something when you come back here 5 months later?
Despite all that stress and time spent on technical challenges and speeding up my blog, and despite the helpful suggestions people gave me, IT IS STILL ROTTEN WELL SLOW.
My blogging business is part-time alongside my “day-business” and I got to the stage where I was just spending the time available to me in fighting technical challenges instead of blogging about my health topics etc.
It was so dispiriting because no matter what I did improvements were minimal and even after spending time and money (on a premium theme) I reached the stage where I was too embarrassed to give out my URLs.
Yes, I expect there are more things I could try, perhaps going right down to the bare bones of my WordPress blog, but to be honest I had just HAD it.
So what did I do? I stopped blogging here other than occasionally, and almost completely stopped at my Hair Analysis site. After all, those sales weren’t coming from the blog, they were coming from my static website.
Then a colleague I’ve known for a few years told me about the blogging system he’s using in his property business.
So I signed up for it (Empower Network) as a way to continue with my blogging, more simply; and that’s why I haven’t been blogging here much, because however much I genuinely like WordPress, it wasn’t giving me the simplicity and speed I wanted.
How I Have Been Speeding Up My Blog
Having been blogging with Empower for three months now, I decided it was time to check out this speed aspect that had caused me so much grief. To do this I made two very similar posts – one on my Empower blog and one here – about a scam phone call I fielded the other day.
Here they are, my posts about: Windows Key and R Scam Warning
- on this blog: JoyHealey.com
- and on the OnlineBusinessTruth.com (my custom domain redirected from Empower)
- and that post where it’s hosted on the Empower Blog itself
Then I used tools.pingdom.com to check out the load speed of the three links.
I’ve displayed the results as an image above. To keep things here as fast as possible I’ve left the image small. If you want to read the stats, there’s a larger image on my Empower blog post just briefly explaining how I use that platform to speed up my blog.
Now that I can blog without worrying about technical issues I’m back to blogging daily (almost) and have been concentrating on getting plenty of content on the blog.
Is the Empower blogging platform better than WordPress?
Measured in features and flexibility, it’s probably NOT better…. if you’re good with WordPress (which I was most certainly not). However, I have much more experience in WordPress, so there could be features in Empower I still haven’t exploited.
At my present level of knowledge of both platforms WordPress has more features. Initially I was devastated to find I couldn’t add plug-ins to my Empower blogs. But I got over it and found I can live without them – and at least people no longer tell me to deactivate all my WP plugins to debug crashes!
Empower blogs are faster and simple to get going, and KEEP going with, for someone non-technical and new to Internet Marketing.
Because of the switch I’m back to blogging about what I WANT to write about, instead of fighting technical challenges for hour after hour.
Oh – and I have seen some of my “similar” test posts ranking far better on the Empower site than on WordPress.
If your blog is slow and you’d like to learn more about Empower’s platform, here’s a link.
Have I made money with Empower yet?
Well I’ve made more sales from it than I have made from JoyHealey.com (which wasn’t much of a hurdle to beat) despite having put a LOT more time into JoyHealey.com.
Have I made a LOT of money? No – because since I joined I’ve been away on two holidays and I’ve been inundated with paid work from my regular business plus some family “challenges” – nice ones, like my son’s wedding and looking after his dog over the honeymoon period!
Tomorrow my parents arrive for more family wedding parties and Christmas, so I’ll be spending time enjoying myself, just making quick blog posts.
Have OTHER PEOPLE made money with Empower? Most certainly, and some of them were complete newbies too. They are now helping train me (and my team) to do what they did.
Have people lost money? Yes – just as they (and I) have with other businesses. They had the same opportunity to earn money as the people who ran with it.
Will I make money in the future? Yes, I will, because once Christmas leaves some spare time in the day I’m completely changing my previous strategy, and following the Empower training – which isn’t just marketing training, it’s mindset training too.
If you’re interested in the (optional) affiliate program, click here.
The comment she left me was: “This takes too much time and money and isn’t for beginners”.
My first instinct (which I actually did) was to email her to apologize for not meeting her needs, and I attached some completely free training that I’d already got lined up as my next newsletter. I was quite dejected.
Then I changed my thinking.
- I had produced a survey for my readers asking: “How Can I Help You?” By process of elimination I am fairly certain she hadn’t filled it in to ask for what she wanted.
- If she has learned, by reading my posts, that she doesn’t have a big enough desire to commit herself to building an online business, I’ve probably done her a huge favor by saving her time and money. So long as she doesn’t follow the “bright shiny object” trail….
- Everyone was a beginner at some time. I don’t think any one of us started out online infused with a free drip-feed of Internet Marketing knowledge. We learned it the hard way, bit by bit!
A classic example of this is the image posted here in this blog. Whether you think it’s “neat” or completely amateurish, I’m actually proud of it – because it represents a huge advance in my online skills. I produced it using Logo Creator, a piece of software that I bought a few months ago – at the stage when I couldn’t even produce anything with Paint!
I spent a few dollars, and over the last few month some hours working with the software and learning, so each time it got just a little easier. Then today I went into the software and suddenly realized that I had created the “Fired Up” logo (which I used in a broadcast to my list about “Learning as we go along”) in just ten minutes.
To some here that will be no big deal. But it’s a big deal for me, and shows just how much progress I’ve made in that one weak area of mine as a result of spending a little money and a little time.
But back to my dilemma of the lady who left my list, and what I could have done better.
The people who DID fill in my survey ranged from Complete Beginner to Advanced. So i’m learning that it’s actually quite tough to meet everyone’s needs. I’d be really interested in comments from people more experienced than I am as to how you pitch the level of your newsletters. Please comment at the bottom of this post.
Incidentally, most of my blog posts are happening elsewhere these days so I’d really welcome anyone to join my newsletter, which normally comes out about 3 times a week. You can subscribe free here.
Building a list of customers and prospects is the most important part of any business. It can’t be repeated often enough. NOT building a list from “day 1″ was the biggest mistake I made when starting my business online.
So while I am trying VERY hard (and mostly succeeding) to stay away from “Bright Shiny Objects” – I’m a sucker for ways to get new subscribers onto my list, and have presented a few of them to you before.
While these previous offerings are excellent (and I’m still using them) I’ve found a few problems with them:
Some try to convert you to their own business, or at least sell you something else
One of them was really, really good but SO complicated I kept “losing the plot”
So I was very pleased to find a new, free, system Get Paid To Build Your List that I’ve been using very successfully for a couple of weeks now. I won’t try to explain it, because the video below and the training when you take a free account does that far better than I can.
But wait – “How can you get paid if it’s free to join” – I asked myself, and I’m sure you’re wondering that too. Of course there’s an optional paid upgrade for anyone you introduce and it’s from that upgrade fee that your commissions are paid (even to free members). But the neat part is that YOU choose how much you want to pay to upgrade, with the lowest price being $10.
Click to watch the video and I hope you’ll give it a try.
Just a few points to watch out for:
- There is a $5 admin fee for any upgrade, so if you take a $5 upgrade you pay an extra $5 admin fee, bringing you to the minimum of $10. I feel that is still very reasonable – given that you can stay a free member and use the system for as long as you like. Although you can upgrade to higher levels whenever you wish, bear in mind that the admin fee is payable every time you upgrade to a higher level – which is fair enough, as the admin work needs to be done for each upgrade. But don’t make the mistake I made and plan to upgrade $5 in steps of $5 or you’ll double your costs.
- Another slight failing at the moment (in my opinion) is that you can’t pay for upgrades with your earnings, so you’d incur payment processing fees every time. I hope this will be fixed in the future.
- To benefit fully from the paid membership you will need an auto-responder account. But, if you’re a serious business person you know that anyway! PBL handles a far wider range than most similar systems I’ve seen. Take a $1 trial of Aweber here. I have never regretted moving to Aweber having tried at least three different systems.
- In case you hadn’t guessed, this is targeted at the Internet Marketing community.
I feel those are only minor glitches compared to the value of this clever system where you can get paid to build a list.
PS In a very short time PBL will be bringing out their “version 3″ which includes an optional way to get traffic from adverts on their site. It will cost a modest monthly fee, and bring with it an excellent way to earn a monthly income. Again, excellent training videos when you open a free account at Paid To Build Your List.
One of the most frequent questions online marketers ask about is free traffic methods.
I have found a really useful resource with good advice on free traffic methods for you; but first I want to remind you that free traffic is something of a myth, because you will have either spent time or money in generating it.
Perhaps you have spent money on:
- Pay-per-click(PPC) where you can easily overspend unless you keep a close eye on budgets
- Buying solo-ads – select your supplier by recommendation from someone you trust
- Paid-for advertising (such as Facebook ads, text and banner advertising)
- Traffic exchanges – spend a little time surfing these yourself and consider what you think about how this traffic is generated and therefore what you think of its value
Then – when we start to investigate free traffic methods – you will soon realize that you pay for this kind of traffic with your TIME. Of course sometimes there will be reasons why you have more time than money, so this is your only choice.
Remember that there are some tasks that it’s more efficient to pass onto an acknowledged expert rather than scrabbling about trying to learn yet another new skill. No-one can be a master of every traffic method.
With those caveats out of the way, as promised, we’ll get onto …..
Free Traffic Methods
Instead of producing information in this post that can easily go out-of-date, or is just my opinion, I have chosen to direct you to an Internet Q&A forum where some of the most skilful online marketers gather to pool their knowledge. This will give you access to a broad range of discussions between these very experienced marketers, and be updated as new ideas surface.
This is one of the most helpful free resources I’ve come across online. Not only can you join free, have your questions answered and/or give answers yourself, in addition by joining in with the forum topics you will earn credits that you can use to advertise on the forum or even exchange for free software.
Of course the forum itself is one of the free traffic methods you can take advantage of. When you have participated at even a low level you can post with a signature that will promote your business in this forum which is rapidly building up to become a high traffic and well-respected authority site.
So whether you are:
- A new-comer looking for answers
- An expert with answers and advice to contribute
- Somewhere in between
- An experienced marketer with a relevant service to promote….
…..this forum has a benefits you will love You can join free here.
To return to the topic of the post, free traffic methods is just one of many recent questions being discussed on the forum. To read the answers, click on: What’s your best source of free traffic? (opens in a new window). Before you read the answer, be sure to register, and the more you participate, the more points you accumulate.
The other clever twist recently introduced is a WordPress plugin I’ve added to this blog and you’ll see underneath this post that it is generating “related questions” – and potentially taking visitors into the forum where they may stumble across your advert or signature.
If you think this is a helpful forum, someone else will too, so do your friends a favor – please “Share” this post.
You wouldn’t think that a failed advertising campaign would give me cause for pleasure would you? Here’s what happened.
Some of you know that, as a strand of my Hair Mineral Analysis business, I sell Simply Naturals Sizzling Minerals. They’re great products and the customers who buy them from me come back month after month, so it’s a business I have great hopes for. (Currently as of July 2013 it’s UK-based, but will be world-wide in the future.)
Bearing in mind my happy experiences to date, when head office offered distributors a chance to participate in a customer-finding exercise, I was pleased to join in.
However, after three weeks I was feeling very disappointed with response, having only had one lead. More money down the drain? Has anyone EVER made money from a paid advertising campaign? I guess someone must have, but it’s never been me!
Imagine my delight when I got an email from head office saying that they were so disappointed with response rates themselves that they would be absorbing the cost into their general marketing budget and RETURNING MY MONEY! How decent is that? Have you ever had any-one send your money back after a failed advertising campaign. (Probably someone will have, but it’s never happened to me before.)
I am so pleased to be associated with Simply Naturals an honest Management company. You can learn more about their Sizzling Minerals flagship product here. Their honesty literally made my day today.
I’ve been threatening to do it for months….. what? Get new business cards for my Hair Mineral Analysis service. So then I just kept bumping into “business card” stuff day after day (including Angela, of course!) – finally culminating in someone offering to display my cards on their front desk. But I was so embarrassed by the old-fashioned and cheap look of them that I felt a re-design was in order. Here are two I’ve produced myself….
This is possible card 1:
and its reverse…..
And here’s possible card 2:
and its reverse…..
Which do you think looks best? (Slight changes may be made to the wording, and there are others voting too!)
Apologies to Vistaprint for temporarily borrowing their business card images. I WILL be placing an order once I’ve thought about it!
(As an aside, if you the marketers among you are wondering where Simply Naturals fits into this, they are a follow on product AFTER the test.)
Please comment and let me know which card you prefer. Thanks.