СС9 -- Meg Chamber

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badya122

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Hi everyone! I am the lucky winner of Meg Chamber ticket.

I hope I can make this thread useful and exciting for the ones who follow CC9 and leave some legacy for future generations of Internet Marketers, so they can learn from my successes and mistakes. I would like to say that I have never been an active forum user, and really, this one is my first, where I will constantly post updates, interact with others, ask and answer questions, so forgive my mistakes.

Quick Intro about Me
I am very new to internet marketing, to websites, to advertisement and to all the other aspects that are somehow related to what we do here, on BuilderSociety (and WickedFire). Although I am new to this, I am not a complete noob and do understand a little how computers compute, as I am a Software Engineering student and just completed my first semester. I was inspired to try myself in internet marketing by @CCarter and @Tavin. I first started with advertising some ads from ad networks with paid traffic from search engines, however within my first 2 days of trying I lost $100. After, I decided to go in slowly, learning as much as I can building the Big Brand and going from there further on.

Chosen Niche
I wanted to be in the niche that I know a lot about, to ease the process of learning and building. My chosen industry was technology, specifically dedicated to one, very popular electronics and computers brand (you can probably guess it fairly easy). The site provides news, leaks and rumours, along with some tutorials and guides for resolving issues. Because I am the only person working on the site with *very* limited budget, the building process is slow, but very steady.

The Overall Goal of this Experiment
The main idea, the overall goal if you like, is to build a "go-to" brand that provides useful information regarding the industry without depending on Google. The brand that has an active audience, that gets naturally shared by the audience on social networks, forums, yahoo answers, comments and shares on competitors' sites/blogs.

What I hope to gain
Most importantly, I want to gain the knowledge of proper traffic leaking, monetising that traffic and making money. But doing it the proper way, without harming the domain name, without getting the site penalised and without having a bad reputation in the industry.

Time
I am going to dedicate as much of my time to the project as the project requires to grow big and successful. To put it in numbers, the minimum amount of hours a day will be 2. In total, it will be about 14 hours a week dedicated to the project for the following 3 weeks. After, the amount of time is likely to increase significantly to 20+ hours per week. Spent amount of hours will be recorded and stated in the reports, of course.

Site stats
Here is the interesting part, the current statistics. This is interesting because there will something to compare the achieved progress later to, when the project is nearing the final stage. Here are some basic stats:
  • Currently, traffic numbers amount to 15-25 people per day.
  • 40-50% of that traffic is sent from Google.
  • Other traffic is sent from previous link building and traffic leaking (big and small competitors, blogs and forums, and yahoo answers)
  • Bounce rate is 75-90%.
  • US, UK, Australia are the most popular visitors' countries.
Personal Goal
My goal with this experiment/site is to learn how to build a Big Brand, successful business online, and then flip it on an auction. Hopefully, after I learn how to turn luck into consistency with traffic and internet marketing, this is my personal goal:


Where I'm At
The site was made before I submitted the application for CC9, however the traffic stats are low as can be seen. Once I got chosen, the site got a nice redesign with a new, premium theme, a new logo, and redesign for Twitter and Facebook pages. I also created Google+ page and made it look the same as Twitter and FB to stay consistent. Created Pinterest Page, however did not submit any posts to it, yet.
 
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How bad ass would it be if you built this site up over the next year or two, flipped it, and bought that car! Good luck with this. I'm so excited to see you build this up.

Based on what you said about being able to guess the niche, I hope you haven't gone "Too Broad". If it's huge huge, it'll be hard to tackle as one person. But I bet if you focus on just one angle you can take it down. Of course i have no clue what you're doing. I hope you slay it like nobody's business :smile:
 

badya122

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How bad ass would it be if you built this site up over the next year or two, flipped it, and bought that car! Good luck with this. I'm so excited to see you build this up.

Based on what you said about being able to guess the niche, I hope you haven't gone "Too Broad". If it's huge huge, it'll be hard to tackle as one person. But I bet if you focus on just one angle you can take it down. Of course i have no clue what you're doing. I hope you slay it like nobody's business :smile:
Yeah that GTR will keep me awake at night to work on the site :smile:

The niche I am in is pretty big and saturated, but I went very specific with just one company. I think I can manage it, because the things that I have to focus are the news, rumours and all that good stuff to keep people coming back for more and guides, tutorials and other stuff to make for better ranking. I'm not sure of tutorials and guides will help with better ranking, but that's what data showed me. I created a few pages for tutorials and Google started sending more traffic to my site right after. It is not my focus point, but just good to have :smile:

Thank you for your kind words btw, I hope you enjoy this case study :smile:
 

vinnypolston

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Awesome intro @badya122 --but even more awesome car! That would be epic. Wish the the best and good to be a part of this with you. I can definitely relate on the "not being an active forum member" type of thing. That's been me before but this community is just great. Looking forward to following your progress!
 
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That's quite the car, hoping for the best. The gtr is one of the only super cars I haven't driven. I have heard it's the best bang for your buck if u want something affordable and highly modifiable.

Good luck for the site, we're all rooting you guys on!
 

badya122

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@red_devil010 thanks man! I've been reading and doing a lot of research about this car. And the more I did, the more I though it was exactly what I wanted. All I have to do now is make some bucks to buy it, simple :smile:
 

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My Official Take:

The prodigy child returns... Sometimes starting with a clean slate, mentally, is better then starting from an expert level.

"A young person sees limitless possibilities, a wiseman sees limitless problems."

When Badya originally approached me, I saw his site was like "meh, been there don't that". I didn't like his site cause of the topic, it seemed everyone was talking about the same topic. There was no challenge for me to help him. I gave him some pointers and he came back and was doing 800+ visitors a day within a week I believe. When I saw that, I was like, oh shit, he took it seriously. Maybe it was his lack of knowledge, therefore he had no jaded feeling about internet marketing. I know he did go through a struggle of 1-3 people a day for 3 months before we originally talked. So he knows the struggle, now seeing that he's diversified his traffic and is still riding past traffic leaks, well that's just icing on the cake.

Badya is the inspiration for doing this live case study. I remember thinking and marinating on the idea once I saw his success. If we had a group bootcamp, that could take a lot more people to the next level. A couple months later, here we are.

Thinking about it now, I remember the first iteration of this site, oh man, the social accounts - it was a mess. Now I'm looking at them and it's come a long long way from where it was at. I do recall Badya saying something about 15% upon flipping, well see if he keeps his word :wink:

The market is huge, but it is dependent and circles one company, which is ironic since SEO circles around one search engine lately. The site looks a lot better, but there are still higher levels which can be achieved. Let's see how far we can take this.
 

badya122

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Thanks @CCarter! I really don't know what to say, it's awesome to not only be a part of this but also the inspiration for this project. Of course, the 15% deal is on. I do keep my words and you will see later on.

Starting on the "Big Brand Refresh" now.
 
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@badya122 you will definitely have to put BUS sticker or number plate on the car when you get it ;-) good luck with the project, looking forward to following the progress!
 

badya122

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Okay, almost everyone seems to have started working on their websites and I want to share some things I have done, need to do and how I am going to do it.

*Recap: My site is informative/entertainment type in consumer electronics niche. The site posts news and some interesting, semi quality information that gets 0 shares from 10-30 visitors a day. There is no affiliate links, no direct links ads, just one little Adsense banner on the right side bar. You can say it is still innocent.*

This is the theme I am using on my website: http://www.famethemes.com/preview/?theme=Techone
Very nice looking theme and I think it perfectly suits the type of website that I have.

Here is a long list what is done to ensure strong foundation of the Big Brand:
  • The site does not look like a WP blog.
  • There is a self-made Logo/Title combined into one. (I used Inkscape to make it. Very powerful, flexible and free tool for vector graphics design.)
  • There is Facebook like box and Twitter Timeline widget on the right side bar.
  • There are 6 main social network sharing button on the side. Totalling to about 10 shares right now on the home page. There are also 4 social sharing buttons for each article at the top and bottom to the main text.
  • I am using JetPack plugin for commenting (just commenting plugin). I did have Disqus system installed before, but red online that it discourages people from commenting due to having to register. Now all they have to do is provide their name, email and the comment and click submit. Should work.
  • There is a main CTA (click to action) on the site in the form of a pop up box to join the Newsletter by submitting their email. So far, there is about 12 people signed up. The first email newsletter was not sent out yet. (Using Mailchimp for email collection and storage and AppSumo for the pop up and sharing functionality).
  • I do have “About Us” page written nicely with 3 more people listed as writers. All the names are imaginary as well as the personas. I also have “Contact Us” page with a short sentence and a form to fill out. There also is “Privacy Policy” page that I made using some online software for free. Covers the most important points regarding ads, affiliates, age etc.
  • At the very bottom there is also an email subscribe CTA. I placed it there, first of all because nobody used it when it was in the right side bar, and secondly because I had to put something else at the bottom of the page. :D
  • Facebook page is made (Very little engagement due to the most people being bought to get the ball rolling and encourage others to “Like”. The ball did not get rolling in the end but a few people actually liked the page. Recently got a redesign with a new logo, and Banner).
  • Twitter account is made (Also, no engagement for the same reason as Facebook. Same story with design).
  • Pinterest Page created (Although no posts as of right now).
  • Google+ account is made (Surprisingly, after about 5 posts/links to the side, got 3 followers. Did not buy any fake followers on G+ not to mess with G. Same design as FB and Twitter).
  • YouTube account is made (however has no videos).
  • The site's analytics were initially tracked using Google Analytics. After reading some threads on WF and BuSo about sites having GA losing their ranks in search engine, I tried Piwik as an alternative, however, for some reason it didn’t record about 30% of the total traffic and was real slow. Maybe because it was on the same server and set up as www.analytics.mydomainname.com (I had both GA and PIWIK running at the same time to compare the results). After a little bit of research I found some cool looking analytics, but they all came with a price and were too much for what I needed. I ended up using Clicky. Easy to set up and looks like its ahead of the game. The coolest looking one was this one: https://www.gosquared.com/demo/now/tf2
  • I’ve also recently applied and got approved for Amazon Partner Network to promote and sell relevant accessories and other goods. I tried registering on W4 ad network, however I have to call them to get approved, which is a pain in the ass because I’m in the time zone 15 hours ahead of them. MaxBounty is pending for approval for the same reason. I’ve been registered with PeerFly and adworkmedia for a while now. I did set up one campaign using PeerFly, and it had clicks (which are email submits) but no actual leads recorded (Even after I tried different IP address on a different computer to complete the survey.)
  • I have accounts on 3 major forums that I leak traffic from from time to time, however it is not much. I also have top 5 biggest sites that I leak traffic from and it generates quite good amounts.
  • Also, I’ve been sharing some tutorials on Yahoo Answers and linking back to my site. Not a single one visit was recorded from Yahoo, even though the questions were only from hours to days old and my answers were exactly what people wanted.
  • I also purchased BuzzBundle on CyberMonday to do the traffic leaking and managing all social accounts, thinking it would help. However, I was more productive doing it the traditional way.
  • Site speed is different from time to time due to shared hosting, one day it was 1.39 seconds, which I was really proud of, and the other day it showed 10 seconds, which is dreadful. Now its somewhere in the middle.

It’s about it for my long list of things done, and here is a short list of the things to be done:
  • Create more forum accounts on the same forums and more forum accounts on other forums.
  • Write a lot of evergreen content that can be shared to and is in constant demand.
  • Find some good stuff on Amazon and write reviews/promotional content and post the articles up to get ready for increased traffic from future leaks).
  • Write more news! It’s been a while since the news were posted. :D
  • Reduce site speed:
    • Reduce http requests
    • Set up CDN
    • Validate Code
    • Use CCarter’s .htaccess file for speed
    • Minify CSS and JS
    • Get rid of unnecessary plugins
    • Use Image compressions
  • On-site search engine is present, however no data is tracked. Set up tracking.
  • Create videos for YouTube account
  • Add more content.
  • Submit articles to Digg and other social bookmarking websites.

*Some notes: I did look in to Flat File Content Management Systems and they looked like a lot of fun! But, I can’t use them due to my site having a to have different categories, a lot of content, different authors ect. Although there is a way to create a blog using FFCMS, it would be real basic though and would not satisfy the Big Brand Checklist. Maybe next time*

Question, asking for your opinion! What is more important: building an email list to email newsletter to or building a larger Facebook/Twitter/G+/Pinterest Audience to share links to the site to? Why?
 
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Calamari

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That's a long to-do list. You'll probably find it useful to prioritize those tasks and work on them from the most important to the least. Unfortunately, the most important ones are also the biggest pain in the ass.

I can only venture a guess as to which will be better, email or social. So instead of guessing I'll say it's niche dependent. You'll get an idea pretty quickly of whether or not a social media campaign can turn a profit by buying ads. And one of those social media audiences will probably be more receptive to your offer than the others.

Throwing a form up on your site and collecting emails doesn't take too much effort.

You're going to have to try all those options.

I know. That answer sucks.
 

CCarter

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1. Do NOT do this: #1 Create more forum accounts on the same forums and more forum accounts on other forums.

2. Emails are more important, Facebook, twitter, G+, and Pinterest can all kick you off their sites whenever they want. When you've gathered an email list - hopefully internally then upload it to mailchimp - in case mailchimp kicks you off and you lose access, then you'll always be able to email your audience. Never give your ability to communicate with your audience, at least the primary way, in the hands of a 3rd party, they can kick you off and you just lost all your work. With Mailchimp taking the emails, make sure you are doing weekly backups at the bare minimum.

3. I'd concentrate on getting your site on a CDN right now. Cloudflare is okay, but I have it turned off, and am only using their nameservers. Your hosting is too slow, so you'll need a CDN. MaxCDN is great, but I figure for that cost you might as well get a VPS instead of wasting time with a shared hosting solution. If you have to do absolutely free, use Cloudflare and test whether the speed has increased, if so, keep it, if not, just use it for your nameserver until you get a better hosting solution. 5.32 seconds, that's way too long.
 

badya122

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Work in progress...


The site went back live after the CDN was disabled. However, after setting up W3 Caching plugin to minify CSS, JS and HTML, the whole website got messed up. The layout, the fonts, the buttons, everything. I thought maybe after disabling the plugin things would get back to normal, I was wrong.

Took it down for maintenance. Hopefully will be up and running better than before soon.
 
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Do not use or never use caching plugins and Database optimizing plugins, mostly they will cause you big troubles you can't fix them easily, if your website is too big.

- CSS always put them in root directory like this : /css (You need to config the location in your script)
- Reduce images size
 

badya122

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Do not use or never use caching plugins and Database optimizing plugins, mostly they will cause you big troubles you can't fix them easily, if your website is too big.

- CSS always put them in root directory like this : /css (You need to config the location in your script)
- Reduce images size
Thanks for your advice, @MoneyStalker, I wish you've said it earlier. For these past 3-4 days I've been having a real hard time speeding my site up. Mostly because caching plugins should be set up by someone who knows how to set them up correctly. Check out more in the post below.
 

badya122

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Hi everyone! Here is a quick update on my progress:

12/12/1, 13/12/14 and 14/12/14:
I spent far too long playing around with site speed and optimization due to not knowing how to set up caching and CDN correctly. Also .htaccess file was a bit of a mess too, but now everything is almost finished and ready to go. Just a few minor things left to do. I added code to prevent sites from hotlinking my images to .htaccess file (not that anyone does, but just to be safe) and all of the images on the site got broken, at once, suddenly. Deleted the code.

By looking at the Pingdom results, I could see 3 major problems:
  • Google fonts took very long time to load — Disabled.
  • Images took ages to load — Shrank all that I could, deleted all the unnecessary ones.
  • CloudFlare CDN was taking a long time to basically do all its loading — Disabled.
Here are the solutions for those problems:
  • Installed WP Super Cache Plugin instead of CloudFlare and W3, because W3 Cache Plugin had too many customization options and more often than not I would break something and the site would be messed up when I change settings. Cloudflare overall was not performing well with images.
  • Got rid of the huge plugin that created a contact us form. Copypasted code from this guide.
  • Installed widget cache (Description says this will reduce the number of database SQL queries, thus speeding up the site a little more.)
  • Installed CSS and JS minification.
  • Thanks to @Satvrn for pointing to Mailmunch in his case study here. Great looking mail pop up is on and is ready to collect some emails!
  • External JS loading such as Twitter Timeline and Facebook Page Like Box were taking a really long time to load, according to Pingdom. I had to find a solution to increase site speed. Here is what I did (these are displayed in the sidebar):

These are just images, when clicked opening new tab in the browsers with either Facebook or Twitter pages shown, depending on which one you clicked. Works for now. CCarter mentioned a good way to implemented all this social jazz without sacrificing the site speed, can't find where I red it though... Those are text widgets that also get cached with Widget caching.
My site is very image dependent and so is the theme, and that is why there are that many requests. Not so fun fact: the Perf. grade of the site only increased by 2, even though the load time, page size and number of requests decreased significantly. What is bad still though is that I have 6 active plugins. 3 are for caching, 1 stripped "contact us" form, 1 Google XML sitemaps generator, 1 code mification plugin.



Here is what's left on the to do list:



Also, content, content and more content are what is coming to the Priority of To-Do list.​
 
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What template do you use in that To-Do list image ?
Looks good and productive.

I read your post and you use a lot of plugins, use this one :

https://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-fastest-cache/

Features
  1. Mod_Rewrite which is the fastest method is used in this plugin
  2. All cache files are deleted when a post or page is published
  3. Admin can delete all cached files from the options page
  4. Admin can delete minified css and js files from the options page
  5. Block cache for specific page or post with Short Code
  6. Cache Timeout - All cached files are deleted at the determinated time
  7. Enable/Disable cache option for mobile devices
  8. Enable/Disable cache option for logged-in users
  9. SSL support
Performance Optimization
  1. Generating static html files from your dynamic WordPress blog
  2. Minify Html - You can decrease the size of page
  3. Minify Css - You can decrease the size of css files
  4. Enable Gzip Compression - Reduce the size of files sent from your server to increase the speed to which they are transferred to the browser.
  5. Leverage browser caching - Reduce page load times for repeat visitors
  6. Combine CSS - Reduce number of HTTP round-trips by combining multiple CSS resources into one
  7. Combine JS
 
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badya122

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What template do you use in that To-Do list image ?
Looks good and productive.
I'm using Evernote to keep all of my notes on mac and iPhone, so they are always synced and I can see and use them anywhere. Very convenient.

Looks good and productive.

I read your post and you use a lot of plugins, use this one :

https://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-fastest-cache/
Thanks @MoneyStalker for pointing it out! I've actually seen it beofre and I was wondering how it would perform. Well, I deactivated caching and minifying plugins I was using before and set up WP Fastest Cache. Number of requests decreased, the Perf. Grade increased, the time is never consistent and increased by 0.09-0.1 seconds, but that's fine.





Google Fonts. I though I disabled them, but that only disabled them in the back end (wp-admin) area. I contacted theme guys and asked the way how to disable the fonts, and was advised against it, because the way they implemented it really complex. Damn it.

Top Priority To-Do:
Add Sign up for newsletter at the bottom of each post
Validate the code (at least what I can) and
Send the first Newsletter with new content

Important:
This section hasn't changed, so take a look at the first to-do image I shared above. Will start working on it as soon as I'm done with Top Priority.

Not so important:
Start working on my own, custom, lightweight, heavily modified 2012 (standard WP) theme as per @CCarter tips. But that will be later, just want to learn how to create themes and use them in the future instead of spending ages looking for a good one and setting myself back $50+ each time.
 

badya122

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Here is the update on my progress.

From the last post:
Top Priority To-Do:
Add Sign up for newsletter at the bottom of each post - DONE
Validate the code (at least what I can) - Partially DONE. Didn't have much time to go through all of the code and fix the errors. Will finish of when I get back home in a few days.
Send the first Newsletter with new content - Partially DONE. Exactly:

- created multiple designs for the newsletter and chosen the best one I created.
- created a template based on my designed newsletter.
- got feed back on it all and noted down everything that needs to be changed.
- added a little bit of a content.

At the moment, I am studying all of CCarter's new posts and trying to have my final 2 days of my vacation at the same time, hence I am no very productive.

Just need to finish off the Top Priority list before I jump and find something else to do. Right now, I think, the site is ready to go.

I know, this update is pretty thin and lame. There will be more good info coming in a few days.
 

badya122

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Just wanted to give a small update on what is going on at the moment.

I will admit I did very little over the Christmas/New Years time period. However, all assignments are now complete and everything is all caught up and I am really looking forward to do traffic leaking the right way and finally start making money with the site.

I am now interacting on forums and doing some light posting. About 10-15 posts a day. The forum is directly related to my niche and is very active, so there is a potential to get good amounts of traffic from it if done right.

None of the traffic leaking/trolling relating to my brand has been done. Can't wait to do all the stuff and see the results.
 
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badya122

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Here is what was done in the past 10 days since the last update and a small reflection on recent activity:

1. I kept interacting on the main forum, which is my main traffic leaking platform. I've been providing some helpful advices for people having issues and questions. Really, being helpful and contributing good stuff on the forum is quite easy if you know the topic well, which I do. Otherwise, Googling it is a saver.

2. I've also been fairly active (but careful) on reddit and had a comment that got about 2k upvotes. That was in a subreddit that is related to my niche, but a bit broader. Proof:

I follow CCarter's advice on submitting worthy articles and making comments, getting some points (building the brand), however not yet doing his advised ratio of 19:1. I'm just impatient and want to see the results straight away... But I know I should follow the ratio and I will.

3. I thought I had two main problems that kind of discouraged me from doing any work. However, after asking these 3 awesome dudes, @CCarter, @MetaData and @emp, I now know exactly what to do and how to do it to achieve my main goal - a successful website flip.

The two problems that I thought had:
  • Monetisation
My way of thinking was that if I have a news website, I have to get the news first and be the first to post them too. However, with my budget it is impossible. Again, because I am impatient, I wanted to make money right away, and made a mistake of using cheap and bogus offers from affiliate networks. Now, I know that good traffic needs to be treated good, and then that traffic will be coming back. Offering them cheap ads would only make them want to get away from my site - not the right way to build the audience. Now I am going to build the audience and email newsletter first, and then use those leads to generate revenue by offering them good quality products or services. I would like to say that I am highly skeptical that anyone would buy anything, since I never bought anything myself, but I see competitors doing well and I am hopeful I can, too.
  • Quality Content
I am the sole writer, moderator and technician for my site, and hence I struggle to keep up with all the work. Mainly, the content. The news, I thought, was the hardest content to produce, but seems like I was totally wrong. I was given a nice advice on how to deal with the production of good content. Also, I was pointed to google alerts, and after not hearing about them at all, they seem like a total time and life saver. Also, here is the authority content post that may be helpful for people reading this (written by @emp).

Enough of the reflection, here are some traffic leaking results from last night. Here is a step by step what I did:
  1. Created a compelling title for the article with "FREE" in it, just to test out what I could do.
  2. The content was a promotion of something free for limited time. Maybe because people love getting stuff for free, did I get such results. Don't know.
  3. There was little text, mainly rewritten from the sources where that something free came from. And good looking, high quality (but compressed) images, with buttons that provided a feel of close relation between my niche and my brand. (Does it make sense?)
  4. Once that was done, I was good to go. Thank's to CC9, I already have traffic leaking platforms figured out, and ways to do it. So I went ahead, found a matching subreddit with metareddit and dropped the link in there. First it got 1 or 2 down votes, but this morning when I checked, it had 17 upvotes and 10 comments of people discussing the stuff and thanking me. I did not stop there, so I went ahead and did the same on the main forum. The thread in the forum, to my surprise, was accepted by the users fairly well and they shared what they picked and also thanked me. Those words were a nice addition to this:

Mind you, this happened over night, and its been about 10 hours total since the traffic leaking attempt. This is my record at the moment, last time being 800 visitors.

Oh yeah, there is a downside to this exciting traffic leaking attempt. Out of 1,393 visitors, I only got 3 email sign ups (and that is using email sign up pop up).
2 out of those 3 were these:
"fuckrightoff@yourmoms.com" and "anus@anus.com".
And I only got about $0.70 from Adsense.

Now my main priority is the content and email newsletter to keep people coming back and make them my bitches to sell stuff to :D

P.S.: I also tried 2 other forums, which resulted in me having my accounts permanently banned. The reddit post was "against the subreddit rules" and is now deleted. I also got a message on my main forum that I can't promote my own blog, "no matter how good and helpful it is". Need to practice (!)subtle traffic leaking rather than direct traffic leaking to get better results.
 
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Calamari

BuSo Pro
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Glad to see you've had some good success to go along with your setbacks.

Success isn't linear, and it is synergystic. So don't give up, because all of a sudden those small successes add up, begin to fit together, and success comes much more easily.
 

Kimoto

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Congratulations Badya! Cool & inspirational!
I'm also testing on Reddit, up to now haven't dropped my own link yet. So, do you say you prefer creating text posts on Reddit?
 
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