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WordPress Is Affordable On Virtually Any Business Budget

This is a guest post by Sophia Zollmann

When I started my business last October, I was literally running on a shoestring budget. I had been working as a part-time freelance transcriptionist up to that point and had minimal income at that time. Credit cards and loans were not an option.

As a new business owner, I knew I needed a website. It is imperative to have a website to be successful in today’s business world. Fortunately, there is WordPress. It is affordable and easy to use for creating a website. It allowed me to get online quickly without much monetary investment. After registering my domain name and purchasing hosting, I was on my way.

My WordPress website allowed people to see me and my business. They could get to know me and learn of my expertise in my field. After a few months of marketing myself and my site on Twitter and Facebook, I was bringing in new clients and income regularly. By February of this year, I was able to expand my business to include a team of VAs to offer more services to more people. By May, I was asked to be the Certified VA Team for Ladies Who Launch.

Without WordPress, I would not be where I am today. In less than a year, I have quadrupled my client base and income. If WordPress was not affordable, I don’t know how I would have created my website to build my business. If you are starting a business or need an affordable way to get your business online, I highly recommend WordPress. It is affordable and easy to use to get you going. Take time today to check it out for yourself.

Sophie Zollmann of SophieZo Virtually There For You is a Virtual Assistant committed to working with online entrepreneurs to increase their productivity and income potential. She provides virtual assistance in blog/email/social media management, 1ShoppingCart set up & maintenance, contact management, newsletter/ezine management, internet marketing, event planning, Real Estate support, schedule management, proofreading, article submission, social bookmarking, dictation/transcription and much more. Find out more at http://sophiezo.com

Profit with Your Niche Blog (site)

Having an online presence is vital for any enterprise you engage in order to connect with the widest variety of people.  There isn’t a bigger forum than the Internet. If you want to show off your expertise and also make a little money doing it, a niche blog is a great place to start.

What is a Niche Blog (or site)?

16 Augmented Reality Business ModelsA niche blog is a chronological ordered series of posts with information and/or products for your niche or target market. It’s purpose is to get traffic so you can eventually make money either as an affiliate, with Google Adsense, writing and selling e-books and/or selling advertising.

How to Attract Traffic to your Site

  • Have updated and fresh content for those who visit your blog
  • Market your site to attract traffic
  • Use any and all of the tools on the net that are at your disposal

(For a more indepth article about specific tools to attract traffic, click here to read this article )
For tips on optimizing your posts for the search engines, sign up here for my Free Simple SEO for WordPress 6-part Tutorial


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We’ll never sell, rent, or lend your email.

How to Start

Before you start posting, decide who your audience, theme, and niche will be.  It is said that if you sell to everyone, you sell to no one. You need to narrow your niche to the slimmest possible group.  A jack-of-all-trades blog doesn’t do well — you need to be focused toward a particular niche (group of people).

(For a more indepth article about niche markets, click here to read this article)

If you are interested in crafts, let this be your niche. You could create posts that discuss how to craft, what to craft, how to make crafting profitable, and so on. After deciding on a subject and who the people are that would be interested in your content, you can begin to write (great content) about it.

How Can You Make Money?

To make money with your blog, you need to have a lot of traffic. To get traffic, you will have to market your site and get it known out there on the internet.  There are many ways of doing this, and it takes time and patience.

Money comes only after you have built a strong readership by offering interesting posts to people who are interested in reading them. You’ve probably heard it before, but this cannot be said enough: Content is king!  Give lots of free information.  Give hints and tips to help others when they are stuck. Offer free tutorials.  Do whatever you need to do to get people to come to your site and then return over and over for your latest content.

Although Google Ads aren’t recommended for a personal business site,  if you intend to run your blog as a niche site, then you can add some or all of the following programs and/or products:

  • Google AdSense
  • Selling Advertising
  • Affiliate Marketing
  • EBook Marketing

The simplest to set up and use is Google AdSense. These are targeted advertisements (targeted based on keywords that your niche would be using) to create revenue for your blog. You are paid if someone clicks on the complimentary ad that Google has placed on your site.

You can also become an affiliate for products and/or services sold by others. Most businesses on the internet have some sort of affiliate program that you can join. You are paid if someone clicks on your affiliate link (on your site) and they purchase the package, program or service you are an affiliate for.

The best possible case for being an affiliate is when you have tried the product or service yourself and would recommend it to your niche. You can lose credibility quickly by recommending shoddy products or services, so be careful in your affiliations.

E-books are downloadable electronic books that you can create yourself and sell on your website. You can turn your expertise into written work that your niche is willing to pay for.  E-books should contain your best possible content, as there are millions of people writing ebooks, often substandard. Don’t be tempted into thinking that you can ask money for badly written or uninteresting content. It must be information that is new and helpful to your customers.

So that is a summary of several ways you can make money with a niche blog.

Do you have any tips on attracting traffic to your niche site?

If you are looking to have a niche site built, are new to online business, or you want to move your existing site to WordPress, contact me. I’d love to help you get your business rolling. Call me today toll free at 800.921.4812

I am known for:

1. overdelivering on my promise to you
2. for being able to take complex ideas and making them easy to understand
3. I can put together a pretty snappy looking site too


Backing up your WordPress Site

On crashing WordPress sites and other not-so-nice business mistakes

Not quite a year ago, I crashed my WordPress site and lost all of my content.  I was creating a course and using one of my parked domains to show the steps to building a WordPress site. Unbeknownst to me, a parked domain points directly to your main domain, so whatever you do on a parked, you are also doing to your main domain.

Long story short, I called my hosting company to see if they could recover my site for me, but was told that my site had long ago become too large for the automatic backup service (up to 2 gig) and there was no backup available.

So what have I learned about hosting that could help you in the future?

  1. That once your account (not just your site) gets bigger than 2 gig, it will no longer be automatically backed up.
  2. That you do not get any warning that lets you know you are close or have exceeded the 2 gig limit.  But you can go into your C-Panel (the back end of your hosting) and check the file space and usage anytime to see how close you are to the 2 gig point.
  3. You can backup your site yourself and I highly recommend that you do this.
  4. Bluehost has wonderful tutorials that will walk you through this process.  Go to tutorials.bluehost.com for the best info available.
  5. That PARKED domains are redirected to your main domain.  What you do to a parked domain, you will be doing to your main domain.  (Remember I installed WordPress on a domain I wasn’t using? It was a parked domain.)
  6. I highly recommend that you learn all you can about your hosting package.  Bluehost offers C-Panel which is a user friendly, highly intuitive program allowing end users (you) to manage your hosting/sites/account yourself. Read up on all that you can get your hands on from your Hosting company.
  7. Wherever possible, use other sites to upload content to. For example, did you know that you can create the coolest sales page in Twitwall (thank you Lauren McMullen for this tip)?  And you can host your videos on YouTube and so on.  Get really creative and monitor the size of your account frequently.
  8. If you don’t use a file anymore, take it out of your directory.

You can read the complete story by clicking this link, but in the meantime, schedule a weekly manual backup of your WordPress site. Go to your hosting company and find the information you need to do this yourself.  It’s not difficult to do, but playing around in the back end of your hosting can be intimidating. Good hosting companies will have videos or some way of instucting you on how to do this.

Contact me today to get yourself online with a WordPress site. Click here to check out my WordPress packages

Local Online Business Listings Stats

100 block of Atlantic Avenue (north side), Brooklyn Heights, New  YorkI was just checking out the Local Business Listings online, and I ran across these statistics.

85 % of the population has Internet access

50 % of the population uses the Internet when searching for local businesses

55 % of people who find a local business online end up recommending it to others

2 million users visit weblocal.ca every month

Close to two Canadians out of three wish to consult online reviews of past experiences with merchants left by other consumers

So what does this mean for business?

Online business listings are incredibly powerful, especially if you are a local business working with local shoppers/patrons.

Contact me for more information about the many local listings sites and ways you can utilize them to get found in your local area.

PayPal as a payment method for your business?

PayPal Fail

Scenario 1.

  1. You have USD funds in your PayPal account, but you want to pay someone in CAD.
  2. Paypal will not convert the USD to CAD and pay the person.
  3. Instead they will send that person an echeck.
  4. You only find out that this is what they’ve done when you get an email saying that your transaction will be pending until March 9th 2010 (it is Feb 24th today).
  5. An echeck can take 7-10 business days to clear your personal/business bank account.
  6. You call them (see scenario 3 below) to ask them to stop the transaction, and you promise to convert the USD to CAD
  7. They cannot stop anything.  Sorry.
  8. So now my client waits (and waits and waits).
  9. Finally your client gets notification that the echeck has cleared.
  10. They can then click to deposit the money into their bank account.
  11. They find that they need to set up a PayPal account to access their money.
  12. Once they’ve set up an account, they can then click to deposit their money into their bank account.
  13. They now get to wait an additional 7 – 10 business days before the money is deposited.

Scenario 2.

  1. You pay someone with PayPal (using the correct currency and ensuring that you have more than  enough money to cover the payment)
  2. They get notification of an instant payment
  3. They click to deposit into their bank account
  4. They find that they have to set up a PayPal account to get their money
  5. They have to wait 7-10 business days to finally receive their instant payment.

Scenario 3

(and I thought it was just me being frustrated by PayPal)

  1. I call Paypal from Canada.
  2. The recorded prompting message wants to verify my account and asks me for my Social Security number
  3. Canadians don’t have Social Security numbers
  4. I don’t know how to answer and find myself saying (to the recording), “I don’t have a Social Security number.”
  5. I am stuck in this loop with this recording of a person asking me over and over for my Social Security number
  6. Then I hear the magic words, “OK we STILL can’t verify your account–let’s try something else.”
  7. FINALLY they ask for the last 4 numbers of my bank account.  I have that handy.
  8. I tell them the number, but they cannot verify my account with the numbers I’ve given
  9. Strange, but they can only recognize my bank account number when they are sending someone an echeck
  10. The recording asks me for the last 4 numbers of my bank account several more times
  11. I fail the test each time
  12. (10 minutes have gone by)
  13. “OK we STILL can’t verify your account–let’s try something else.  Enter or say the last 4 numbers of you Social Security number… “
  14. Exactly 17 minutes from start to finally being able to speak to a living, breathing human being.

Scenario 4

  1. I’ve made a purchase with my PayPal balance.
  2. They charge my credit card instead.
  3. I call them (see scenario 3) to find out how and why this has happened
  4. I am told that there are a lot of fraudulent purchases for that exact amount of money
  5. So they use the credit card that is on file to make the payment.
  6. I ask what would happen if I didn’t have a credit card on file
  7. They answer that they would use the money in my account.
  8. Enough said–I’ve removed my credit card.

All I can say to any of my clients who have been caught in this long waiting game to be paid or to receive a refund, I am very sorry. If I had known, I would have been looking for an alternate payment method/system a lot sooner.

Have you checked out your systems lately?  Are they customer friendly?