Your website is your place of business; it’s where visitors-customers-show up, your office and storefront.
There are many options today for creating a website, but for this Blueprint, we’re focusing on one: WordPress.
There are many reasons for this, but the most significant is it that it’s the easiest and most manageable means of putting up a website that you own and control.
Note: this may be a bit confusing if you’re new, but there are actually two WordPress implementations. WordPress.com is a platform managed by the company on which you can build a free word press blog. Separate and apart, there is the WordPress software that gets installed on your own hosting account.
We are going to be using the WordPress software on our own web hosting account. If you’re not familiar with what this is or how to do it, have no fear: it’s relatively simple and straightforward - and we have over 50 video tutorials covering every aspect of it, available to you free on our forum.
There are various free platforms that can be used to launch a website such as a tumbler, blogger, Squidoo, and many others.
These platforms have two things going for them: first, they are free. Second, some of them have significant “pre-existing” traffic, and even ranking authority.
As we’ll discuss in the section Growing Your Business And Becoming A “Super Affiliate”, you WILL want to take advantage of the visibility & reach offered by some of the alternate platforms.
One aspect of being a Super Affiliate is taking advantage of opportunities to grow and improve your business through leverage.
With the investment already made – or soon to be made – in building our website, we will at some point want to leverage that investment as far as possible. This may include re-using content, ‘cross-linking’, and other opportunities.
Separately, we will also want to leverage our business by extending it to “non-website platforms”.
Specifically, I’m referring to article directories, document sharing sites, and the like.
Having chosen our niche, developed our content, etc., we absolutely will want to use some of these “non-website platforms” to broaden and extend our “surface area” – the number of places someone encounters our affiliate links.
But that will come later.
Setting Up Your Site
Setting up your site consists of registering a domain name, getting a hosting account, and installing & configuring WordPress.
I’m not going to spend a lot of time on the technicalities of setup – most hosting accounts provide “one-button” WordPress installation via a script such as Fantastico – and again, we have over 50 video tutorials covering every aspect of this that are available to you for free on our forum.
What we will touch on is your hosting account, your domain name, your WordPress theme, and WordPress “plug-ins”.
There is a maxim in Internet marketing that says “own everything that impacts your sales funnel”. It was actually borrowed from the offline business world.
The idea is a simple one: don’t leave critical parts of your business vulnerable to things outside your control.
It’s not unheard of, for instance, for a free hosting provider to close down a website due to some real or even perceived violation in their terms of service.
When that happens, you are almost always stuck with a complete loss.
And even if you have backups, you have no way to transfer the traffic that thinks your website is on that free platform over to another destination.
Trust me when I say, the Internet is rife with stories like this. Some of the greatest wisdom comes down to just lack of Folly: the absence of avoidable mistakes.
your domain name is important-very important. It’s effectively the name of your business and your website.
That said, we don’t want to complicate or overthink it. Much has changed in the online world regarding domain names.
Google used to give tremendous weight to the domain name when it came to deciding where to rank a website. As you might imagine, this resulted in people choosing domain names almost exclusively for its ranking benefits. This resulted in Google reducing the amount of weight a domain name carries, with the added significant side effect that if Google determines you are using your domain name largely for its ranking value, they will actually penalize you.
Sounds pretty dumb, huh? For better or worse, this is the world we live in.
So how do you go about choosing your domain name? Simple: your first objective should be something memorable, ideally something memorable that includes a word or phrase describing the actual topic.
We wanted to be as short as possible, and we want it to end in .com, which unfortunately eliminates many possibilities because virtually all short descriptive .com domain names are already taken.
Remember that shorter is better, we don’t need to have every word of our niche in the name, and memorable is best.
Avoid hyphens, and don’t use more than 3 words.
If our niche is pets for apartment dwellers, for instance, a name like “PetsIn3B.com” would be more desirable than trying to do something like “PetsForApartmentDwellers.com”
Your theme is your WordPress ‘skin’ and defines its look & feel.
Don’t gloss over selecting your theme. Most people look for themes like they’re shopping for arts and crafts. Things need the right colors, they need to have big flashy images, they need to look “fancy”... but you can snap out of that mindset. Here are the things you should
ACTUALLY be looking for when you are hunting down themes.
- Is it easy to read? Not just for you, but for people that are looking to buy your products.
Don’t write this off with “well, they’ll fix their font size” – they won’t. Make sure the color combinations aren’t too “artistic” and abrasive, make sure there’s some intelligent line spacing.
- Where are they going to look? The point of the site isn’t to have someone visit and go “how attractive” – it’s for them to buy. There’s nothing wrong with a nice looking site, but your first priority should be to get a theme that’s simple enough to put emphasis on the things that are important – that’s your products, your opt-ins, and your advertisements.
That means you don’t need a bunch of cool “widgets” to make your site “interactive”. Just make sure they can easily find important things.
All that said, there are some awesome themes out there. WordPress themes are in abundance and can be found on various website directories like:
Each of these directories offers various themes that you can choose from to find a suitable look and feel for your blog. You can also use the Revolution themes you’ve probably seen around the web ( http://www.wordpress-themes.co/revolution-wordpress-themes). They’re old, but still look professional and get the job done.
If you’ve got money to throw around and want to pay for a WordPress theme, check out:
A lot of very talented people are making extremely attractive themes for a relatively low price, so if you need that extra visual flair to stand out, these sites are a good starting point. As you search for a theme for your blog,
you can install as many as you’d like to, switching and manipulating them until you find the theme that works best for your needs.
For Experienced WordPress’ers
If you’re really looking for a way to customize your blog without needing to become a great CSS/PHP/HTML/WTF coder, a great product to use is Stylizer
( http://www.skybound.ca). I highly recommend it, nothing on the market is quite as fast and easy as using Stylizer to edit your blog’s design. This amazing product allows you to make live preview edits to the CSS of your page, instantly seeing what results your changes would make, which means you can say goodbye forever to the clunky trial and error that plagues even the most experienced CSS designer.
And if you know you want something in your design to change but aren’t quite sure what, check out Adobe Kuler ( http://kuler.adobe.com) – this is an excellent resource for finding color schemes even if you aren’t “color savvy”.
Now, let’s talk about plugins. A plugin is an “addon” to your site that increases its functionality. If you’ve got plugins, your blog has a bit of a more user-friendly environment. Without using any plugins, your site is close to sunk before you’re even out of the gate. Every site is different, and using plugins is a big help to making you’re your site fits your needs.
Many people look at plugins the way a starving man looks at a buffet, thinking ‘more is better’.
Instead, you want to keep it simple and get a couple of plugins that’ll keep people moving on the funnel. Don’t worry about making your site “more interactive” or whatever. Just make sure they find your site, read it, send it to others, subscribe to it, and buy.
But let’s start talking about the must-haves.
Yoast SEO (This makes it nice and easy to adjust meta information – this is what visitors will see when they search for you on Google.)
W3 Total Cache (Page loading is important! This helps.)
Redirection (Fight off 404 Errors and loose ends.)
TinyMCE Advanced (Lots more options for formatting your blog post, right at your fingertips.)
ShareThis (This plugin lets people “like” your content on whatever social network they use, and send it to friends.)
Google XML SiteMaps
Also be sure to check out WP Touch, and Google Analytics for WordPress. You can locate all the available free plugins by selecting "Add New" at the top of your dashboard plugin page and running a search on the page that appears after you've selected it:
For even more plugins available, you can go directly to the WordPress site at http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/