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How to learn digital marketing - 99+ resources and 8+ learning paths
Hey guys! With the whole self-isolation thing going on, it’s an awesome time to learn a new skill (or ten). Me and my bud (Nick) basically self-taught ourselves digital marketing over the past 6 years, and have been hoarding a bunch of cool guides and resources. We recently decided to turn all of it into a giant resource package on how to learn digital marketing. Thought you guys would appreciate it! So, here we go...
Before we begin, here’s how to learn digital marketing
Before we dive deep into the guide and start teaching you individual digital marketing channels, let’s cover some basics. First things first - you need to decide which channel to start with. If you have a knack for writing, we’d recommend going with Content Marketing or Copywriting. On the other hand, if you’re more analytics-oriented, go for Search Ads or PPC. As a given, you DON’T have to learn all the channels. You can just pick one that you like, and specialize in it! Once you’ve decided on which channel to roll with, you should also establish a learning methodology. As with most things in life, reading on digital marketing won’t take you far. You need to also put everything into practice. We usually recommend going with one of these 4 options:
Create a test learning environment. Basically, you create a website for a basic product or service (heck, even a blog would do!), and start applying whatever you learned about digital marketing to get leads and customers. Even if you have ZERO budget, this can be an interesting learning experience. And yes - it’s possible to start w/ a zero budget.
Get an internship. This can be a bit painful if you’re in the middle of your current career, but hey, swallow the pride. If you do your best, you’ll be doing some real work 6 months after the internship.
Offer a local business to help them with marketing for free. Find a business you think you can help in your area and reach out to them!
Create an affiliate blog. Pick a niche, create an affiliate blog, and start pumping out some content. This is mainly relevant if you want to learn SEO or content marketing.
And here’s what you SHOULD NOT DO: Read a guide or two, buy a course, whip out your own website, repurpose the course and start pretending to be a marketing expert to potential clients. There are way too many people doing this as-is. Please stop! You’re setting yourself up for failure. You’d be surprised how many people we see on Facebook Ads groups asking, “Hey guys, I closed my first client, now how the heck do I deliver on my promises?” ...Now that we got that out of the way, let’s get to learning some digital marketing! The ones we’re going to cover in this guide are:
Social media marketing
Quick Note We took some liberties with splitting up some channels. For example, search ads fall under PPC, but since they require different skills/knowledge than most PPC channels, we split them up. Finally, Copywriting is also NOT a digital marketing channel. However, it’s an essential skill that helps with literally any other channel, so we decided to include it to the list. Sue us.
Learn Content Marketing
This one’s our bread and butter. Most traditional advertising channels are focused on directly selling a product. If you turn on the TV, you’ll see a TON of ads for this product, or that product or service. Content marketing is a form of indirect advertisement. The idea here is, instead of directly pitching your product to your target audience, you create content (article, video, infographic, etc.) around the problem your product solves, and pitch that instead. To make this a LOT clearer, here’s a practical example. Let’s say you’re a marketing agency that specializes in helping SaaS companies with their digital marketing (meta, right?). Instead of directly running ads yelling “We help SaaS companies!” you create a mega-guide on the topic and advertise that. ...Which is what we did. We created a mega-guide to SaaS marketing and promoted the hell out of it all over the web. This netted us around ~10,000+ traffic and 15+ leads in the first week, and we STILL get traffic to the piece, 2 months later. We even posted it on Entrepreneur and got around 600 upboats. Sweet, right? Now, you’re probably wondering, is this option better than just running ads to your service/product? Yes, yes it is. Here’s why:
It’s free (ish). The only resources it took was our time to write the post, edit it, and promote it. Ads, on the other hand, can be super expensive.
It builds your brand authority. Who’d you trust with your marketing? A random guy that popped up on your Facebook newsfeed, or the guys that wrote the most comprehensive guide to SaaS marketing you’ve ever read? Exactly!
Content Marketing Learning Path
Looking for the top resources to learn content marketing? Here is a mini-roadmap to get you going:
First, learn the basics. You can find a ton of online courses or articles on this. Here are some of our favorites:
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is another super popular digital marketing channel. In a nutshell, SEO is the act of optimizing your web pages and content for Google so that your website pops up when people look up certain terms. For example, let’s say you’re a project management software. Would it benefit you if you popped up #1 when people Google for your keyword? Yes, yes it would. You’d be getting highly qualified leads for your software every day, for free, with ZERO ad spend. Cool, right? Here’s what an SEO specialist does on a daily basis:
Content Creation - Create SEO content (or work with freelance writers)
On-page SEO - Make sure that all content on the blog is optimized for Google and interlinked to each other
Technical SEO - Make sure that the web dev team is following SEO best practices when working on the website
SEO Strategy - Doing keyword research and finding new web pages and content to create
Losslessly compress all your images. This should save ~75% of space for your images and drastically increase site load speed (which improves SEO). If you’re using WordPress, you can use Smush to automatically compress all images on your site. If you’re NOT using WP, you can use Compressor.io.
If you’re learning digital marketing because you own a local business, then the game is a bit different. While 90% of the principles above still apply, you should also read about local SEO and how it works.
Other SEO Resources
Looking for additional resources? Here are some of our favorite SEO blogs:
Finally, a big part of SEO is using the right tools. Here are the ones we use every day (and love):
All-in-one SEO tool. Usually, that’s either SEMrush or Ahrefs. You’re going to use this tool for literally anything - keyword research, content audit, technical audit, backlink analysis, etc.
Scraping tool. That could be URL Profiler or Screaming Frog, the best tool out there for content/technical audits.
Rank checker tool. We use the MozBar extension, a super nifty tool for checking DA/PA.
Content gap analysis tool. For us, that’s Surfer SEO. This is mainly used for performing a gap analysis between your content and that of the competition. You can get a top-down view of what all the top-ranking articles have in common for any given keyword, and whether your content is up to par.
Keyword research tool. UberSuggest is our #1 favorite here (and it’s free-ish!).
Learn Search Ads
Search ads are basically paid SEO. Instead of waiting for months or years to rank on your keyword, you can start bidding on it instantaneously. Seen the “Sponsored” results on top of your organic searches on Google? Those are search ads. Of course, unlike SEO, they’re not free. You have to pay for each click you get. The way search ads work is as follows. Each time someone Googles any keyword, Google holds a small auction. Each advertiser on the keyword has a specific bid indicated on their account. The one that bids the highest, gets the highest ranking. Now given, this is a gross oversimplification, but that’s the general idea behind it. Usually, you’d use search ads if you are any type of business with inbound demand. For example…
Are you a bar in London, UK? You can advertise on “bars sofia,” “best bars sofia,” and “sofia nightlife.”
Are you a legal firm in New York? You’d advertise on “law firm new york,” “immigration law firm new york”, “immigration lawyer new york”, and so on.
Are you an online resume builder? You can advertise on “resume template,” “resume builder”, “ how to make a resume”, and so on.
Want to learn how to do search ads? Here are some of the best resources out there:
...And that’s it. You’re probably wondering: “Wtf Nick, you mention 934 resources on SEO, but just 3 for search ads?” Yep. The thing w/ search ads is, it’s easy to learn, hard to master. Going through Google’s course on its own is enough to give you everything you need to know about search ads. From then on, you need to apply what you learned into practice, and learn from there (and Google any problems/questions you might have).
PPC stands for “pay-per-click” and is an umbrella term for pretty much ALL online advertising types - Facebook ads, LinkedIn ads, Reddit ads, and all other social media ads. In this case, we decided to focus on Facebook Ads, mainly for 2 reasons:
It’s the most popular advertising channel out there. There’s a lot more demand for Facebook ad specialists, and you can get a lot more done with it
If you learn how to do Facebook ads, all other channels follow the same principles
So, let’s get right into it! The way PPC works, in a nutshell, is as follows:
You need to figure out the right targeting
And you need to come up with the right ad creatives (both ad image and the ad copy)
Given, this is a LOT more complex than you’d think. The main responsibility for a PPC specialist is to test dozens of targeting options, mixed with dozens of ad creatives, and find what gets them the best results. Want to learn how to do PPC? Here’s how…
“Wait, isn’t social media marketing the same as PPC?” Technically, yes. For the purpose of this guide? Nope. Social Media Marketing (SMM) as a whole is anything that has to do with marketing on social media (as the name suggests). Yes, that includes PPC. However, “Social Media Manager” and “Facebook Ad Expert” are 2 completely different things that require different skill-sets. Hence, we decided to split up PPC and SMM. SMM, as defined for the purpose of this guide, includes:
Creating engaging content on Facebook/Instagram/TwitteLinkedIn
Managing social media profiles of companies and replying to comments
Organizing giveaways on social media
Promoting company news or content on social media
If you’ve seen Wendy’s social media account, that’s a top-tier SMM marketing right there. Now, how do you learn Social Media Marketing? Unlike most of the other guides we’ve mentioned, it’s not nearly as step-by-step. The general idea is:
Master how specific social media platforms work. Follow people that are actively posting and have a dynamic followers group. Borrow what works best.
Learn how to create engaging content (both written and visual).
Post frequently and monitor the company’s social media presence
So, accordingly, 90% of the work here is learning about each individual social media. Here are some of our favorite guides for that:
Unlike most of the other digital marketing channels we’ve covered, learning copywriting isn’t as straightforward. There’s no step-by-step, read this, skim that, then read that, and BAM you’re a copywriter! Unfortunately, it takes a lot of reading, time, and practice. To get started, however, we recommend reading a handful of the following guides:
Learn some copywriting. Yeah, you can’t get away from this one. If you want to be a good email marketer, you need to know how to write well-converting emails. Check the previous section (“Learn Copywriting”) for more info on how.
If you want to take your analytics game to the next level, you should also learn how to use Google Tag Manager (GTM). You can use GTM to set up conversion tracking by channel, and a ton of other stuff.
Hope you guys found this useful. This isn’t 100% comprehensive since we haven’t read literally everything ever, but most of the guides/content we’ve covered are the stuff we’ve personally used and think are awesome. If you guys have any other top stuff you think we should add to the list, let us know :) You can check out the full blog post on our blog.
SEO is Not Hard . A step-by-step SEO Tutorial for beginners that will get you ranked every single time
Note: This is a chapter out of my Growth Hacking Book called Secret Sauce: The Ultimate Growth Hacking Guide. This is only one of the 17 chapters that read just like this. Also, the links I posted here are broken, but you can view the whole thing beautifully formatted on Medium here After my post about making money from an affiliate site was at the top of this sub for a couple days, I've received more than 50 PMs asking for more info on how SEO works and how to get authority sites ranking. I have a chapter about that in my book, so I'm just going to publish it for free. For what it's worth, I drive millions of dollars of traffic in the most competitive key terms online, including with new sites, so if you come in here to comment "this won't work" you're wrong. It's hard work, but it's not unreasonably hard. So much so that I decided to call it "SEO is not hard." Formatting on reddit is hard, so it's also on Medium here. It's also one of the several chapters of a book I wrote, which you can purchase here
SEO is Not Hard — A step-by-step SEO Tutorial for beginners that will get you ranked every single time
SEO In One Day
SEO is simply not as hard as people pretend like it is; you can get 95% of the effort with 5% of the work, and you absolutely do not need to hire a professional SEO to do it, nor will it be hard to start ranking for well-picked key terms. Of all the channels we’ll be discussing, SEO is the one that there is the most misinformation about. Some of it is subtle, but some of it is widely spread and believed by so-called SEO consultants who actually don’t know what they’re doing. SEO is very simple, and unless you’re a very large company it’s probably not worth hiring somebody else to do. It’s also something that has a lot of faux veneer around it. Consultants want to make it seem incredibly difficult so that they can charge you a lot, but I'll show you exactly how to do it, step by step, and you'll win. How Google Works In order to understand what we need to do for SEO let’s look back at how Google started, how it’s evolving today, and develop a groundwork from which we can understand how to get ranked on Google. First, we're going to reverse engineer what Google is doing, and then simply follow their rules, picking the right keywords, and get your sites ranked.
The Early Days of Google
The idea for PageRank — Google’s early ranking algorithm — stemmed from Einstein. Larry Page and Sergei Brin were students at Stanford, and they noticed how often scientific studies referred to famous papers, such as the theory of relativity. These references acted almost like a vote — the more your work was referenced the more important it must be. If they downloaded every scientific paper and looked at the references, they could theoretically decide which papers were the most important, and rank them. They realized that because of links, the Internet could be analyzed and ranked in a similar way, except instead of using references they could use links. So they set about attempting to “download” (or crawl) the entire Internet, figuring out which sites were linked to the most. The sites with the most links were, theoretically, the best sites. And if you did a search for “university,” they could look at the pages that talked about “university” and rank them.
Google works largely the same way today, although with much more sophistication and nuance. For example, not all links carry the same weight. A link from an authoritative site (as seen by how many links a site has pointing at it) is much more valuable than a link from a non-authoritative site. A link from Wikipedia is probably worth about 10,000 links from sites that don’t have much authority. At the end of the day the purpose of Google is to find the “best” (or most popular) web page for the words you type into the search bar. All this means is we need to make it clear to google what our page is about, and then make it clear that we’re popular. If we do that we win. In order to do that, we’ll follow a very simple process that works every single time with less effort than you probably think is required.
Gaming the System
Google is a very smart company. The sophistication of the algorithms they write is incredible; bear in mind that there are currently cars driving themselves around Silicon Valley powered by Google’s algorithms. If you get too far into the SEO rabbit hole you’ll start stumbling upon spammy ways to attempt to speed up this process. Automated software like RankerX, GSA SER, and Scraperbox, instructions to create spam or spin content, linkwheels, PBNs, hacking domains, etc. Some of that stuff works very short term, but Google is smart and it is getting smarter. It gets harder to beat Google every day, and Google gets faster at shutting down spammy sites every day. Most don’t even last a week before everything you’ve done disappears and your work evaporates. That’s not the way you should do things. Instead of Internet-based churn and burn we’ll be focusing on building equity in the Internet. So if you see some highly-paid SEO consultant telling you to use software and spun content to generate links, or when you see some blackhatter beating the system, just know that it’s not worth it. We’re going to build authority and get traffic fast, but we’re going to do it in a way that doesn’t disappear or cripple your site in the future.
The first step in getting our site ready to rank is making it clear to Google what our site is about. For now we’re going to focus our home page (our landing page) on ranking for one keyword that isn’t our brand or company name. Once we do that and get that ranking we can branch out into other keywords and start to dominate the search landscape, but for now we’ll stay laser focused. Keyword Research The first thing we need to do is to figure out what that keyword is. Depending on how popular our site is and how long it’s been around, the level of traffic and difficulty we’ll get from this effort may vary.
The Long Tail
There’s a concept we need to be familiar with known as the “long tail.” If we were to graph “popularity” of most things with “popularity” being the Y axis and the rank order being the Y axis, we’d get something like a power law graph: https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/800/0*BJTF2S1LVXK5ig75 There are some big hits that get the majority of attention, and after a few hits the graph falls sharply. The long-tail theory says that as we become more diverse as a society the yellow end of the above graph will stretch forever and get taller. Think of Amazon. They probably have a few best-selling products, but the majority of their retail revenue comes from a wide variety of things that aren’t bought anywhere nearly as often as their best-selling products. Similarly, if we were to rank the popularity of the songs played in the last 10 years, there would be a few hits that would garner the majority of plays, and an enormous number of songs that have only a few plays. Those less popular products and songs are what we call the long tail. In SEO this matters because, at least in the beginning, we’re going to go after long tail keywords — very exact, intention-driven keywords with lower competition that we know can win, then gradually we’ll work our way to the left. Our site isn’t going to outrank ultra-competitive keywords in the beginning, but by being more specific we can start winning very targeted traffic with much less effort. The keywords we’re looking for we will refer to as “long-tail keywords.”
Finding the Long Tail
In order to find our perfect long-tail keywords, we’re going to use a combination of four tools, all of which are free. The process looks like this:
Use UberSuggest, KeywordShitter and a little bit of brainstorming to come up with some keywords
Export those keywords to the Google Keyword Planner to estimate traffic level
Search for those keywords with the SEOQuake chrome extension installed to analyze the true keyword difficulty
Don’t be intimidated — it’s actually very simple. For this example we’ll pretend like we were finding a keyword for this book (and we’ll probably have to build out a site so you see if we’re ranked there in a few months).
Step 1: Brainstorming and Keyword Generating
In this step we’re simply going to identify a few keywords that seem like they might work. Don’t concentrate too much on culling the list at this point, as most bad keywords will be automatically eliminated as a part of the process. So since this is a book about growth hacking, I’m going to list out a few keywords that would be a good fit:
Growth hacking guide
Growth hacking book
Book about growth hacking
What is growth hacking
Growth hacking instructions
That’s a good enough list to start. If you start running out of ideas go ahead and check out keywordshitter.com. If you plug in one keyword it will start spitting out thousands of variations in just a few minutes. Try to get a solid list of 5–10 to start with. Now we’ll plug each keyword into UberSuggest. When I plug the first one — “growth hacking” — in, I get 246 results. Clicking “view as text” will let us copy and paste all of our keywords into a text editor and create an enormous list. https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/800/0*BkT8uUYV3p2hsXCI. Go through that process with each keyword you came up with. Now we’ll assume you have 500+ keywords. If you don’t, try to start with something more generic and broad as a keyword, and you’ll have that many quickly. Ideally you’ll have over 1500.
Step 2: Traffic Estimating
Now that we have a pretty good list of keywords. Our next step is to figure out if they have enough search volume to be worth our while. You’ll likely notice that some are so far down the long tail they wouldn’t do much for us. For example, my growth hacking list came up with “5 internet marketing techniques.” We probably won’t go after that one, but instead of guessing we can let Google do the work for us. This will be our weeding out step.
Google Keyword Planner
The Google Keyword Planner is a tool meant for advertisers, but it does give us some rough idea of traffic levels. Google doesn’t make any promise of accuracy, so these numbers are likely only directionally correct, but they’re enough to get us on the right track. You’ll have to have an AdWords account to be able to use the tool, but you can create one for free if you haven’t use AdWords in the past. Once you’ve logged in, select “Get search volume data and trends.” Paste in your enormous list of keywords, and click “Get search volume.” Once you’ve done so, you’ll see a lot of graphs and data. Unfortunately the Keyword Planner interface is a little bit of a nightmare to work within, so instead we’re going to export our data to excel with the “download” button and play with it there. Now what we’re going to do is decide what traffic we want to go after. This varies a bit based on how much authority your site has. So let’s try to determine how easy it will be for you to rank. Go to SEMrush.com and enter your URL, looking at the total backlinks in the third column: https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/800/0*aV3sF59d8Bt3Aqqw. As a general rule (this may vary based on how old your site is, who the links are from, etc.), based on the number of links you have, this is the maximum level of “difficulty” you should go after. Number of Backlinks:Maximum Difficulty <30:40 <100:40–50 <1000:50–70 1000+:70+ Go ahead and sort the data by difficulty, and eliminate all of the stuff that is too high for your site (don’t worry, we’ll get those keywords later). For now you can simply delete those rows.
One important thing to note is that Google gives us this volume as “exact match” volume. This means that if there is a slight variation of a keyword we will see it if the words are synonyms, but not if they are used in a phrase, so the traffic will be underestimated from what you would expect overall. Now with that disclaimer sort the traffic volume highest to lowest, and from this data pick out five keywords that seem like a good fit. Here are mine:
growth hacking strategies
growth hacking techniques
growth hacking 101
growth hacking instagram
growth hacking twitter
Mine all look the same, but that may not necessarily be the case.
Unfortunately the “keyword difficulty” that Google gives us is based on paid search traffic, not on natural search traffic. First, let’s use Google Trends to view the keyword volume and trajectory simultaneously. You can enter all of the keywords at the same time and see them graphed against each other. For my keywords it looks like this: https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/800/0*10BiNkXI3C3mEvYb. The ones I’m most excited about are purple and red, which are “Growth hacking techniques” and “Growth hacking Twitter.” Now we’ll take a deeper look at what the competition is like for those two keywords.
Manual Keyword Difficulty Analysis
In order to analyze how difficult it will be to rank for a certain keyword, we’re going to have to look at the keywords manually, one by one. That’s why we started by finding some long-tail keywords and narrowing the list. This process gets a lot easier if you download the SEOQuake Chrome extension. Once you’ve done that, do a Google search and you’ll notice a few changes. With SEOQuake turned on the relevant SEO data of each site is displayed below each search result. We’re going to alter what is displayed, so in the left-hand sidebar click “parameters” and set them to the following: https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/800/0*qVN8Re6-d0RqvJ07. Now when you search, you’ll see something like this: https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/800/0*9c46odS5ItXx3F5X. SEOQuake adds a ranking number, and the following at the bottom: The Google Index: This is how many pages from this base URL Google has indexed Page Links: The number of pages linking to the exact domain that is ranking according to SEMrush’s index (usually very low compared to reality, but since we’ll be using this number to compare it wil be somewhat apples to apples) URL Links: The number of pages pointing to any page on the base URL Age: The first time the page was indexed by the Internet Archive Traffic: A very rough monthly traffic number for the base URL Looking at these we can try to determine approximately what it would take to overtake the sites in these positions. You’ll notice that the weight of the indicators change. Not all links are from as good of sources, direct page links matter much more than URL links, etc., but if you google around and play with it for a while you’ll get a pretty good idea of what it takes. If you have a brand new site it will take a month or two to start generating the number of links to get to page one. If you have an older site with more links it may just be a matter of getting your on-page SEO in place. Generally it will be a mixture of both. Keep in mind that we’re going to optimize our page for this exact keyword, so we have a bit of an advantage. That said, if you start to see pages from sites like Wikipedia, you will know it’s an uphill battle. Here are a couple of examples so you can see how you should think through these things, starting with “Growth hacking techniques.” https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/800/0*YErpxe0guQCv8f2E. Entrepreneur.com is definitely a big name, and “growth hacking techniques” is in the title explicitly. This will be difficult to beat, but there are no links in the SEMRush index that point direct to the page. (By the way, I wonder how hard it would be to write an article for entrepreneur.com — I could probably do that and build a few links to that easily, even linking to my site in the article). https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/800/0*hJxs4ukw38FD_rzA. Yongfook.com, have never heard of that site. 206 total links, not much traffic, this one I could pass up. It does have quite a bit of age and “Growth hacking tactics” in the title explicitly, so that would make it tough, but this one is doable to pass up after a while. https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/800/0*FXNrc-YR8rEbVY90. Alright, so quicksprout is relatively popular, a lot of links, good age, lots of traffic, a few links direct to the page but not a ton. But the word “tactics” doesn’t even appear here. This page isn’t optimized for this keyword, so I could probably knock it out by being optimized specifically for “growth hacking tactics.” Let’s jump down a ways to see how hard it would be to get on the front page. 17 total pages indexed? Created in 2014? No links in the index, even to the root URL? This one’s mine. I should be able to front-page easily. So this looks like a good keyword. Now we just have to get the on-page SEO in place and start building a few links. (Note: After doing this a few more times I learned that I could probably get austenallred.com toward the top of "growth hacking press," so I changed the on-page optimization of one of those pages to focus on that keyword, and we'll see how it goes.
Now that we have our keyword selected, we need to make sure Google knows what our site is about. This is as simple as making sure the right keywords are in the right places. Most of this has to do with html tags, which make up the structure of a webpage. If you don’t know html or understand how it works, just pass this list to a developer and they should be able to help you. Here is a simple checklist you can follow to see if your content is optimized.
On-Page SEO Checklist
☐ Your keyword is in the tag, ideally at the front (or close to the front) of the tag ☐ Your keyword is close to the beginning of the tag (ideally the first words) ☐ The title tag contains less than the viewable limit of 65 characters (optional but recommended) ☐ Your keyword is in the first
tag (and your page has an
tag) ☐ If your page contains additional header tags (
, etc) your keyword or synonyms are in most of them ☐ Any images on the page have an tag that contain your chosen keyword ☐ Your keyword is in the meta description (and there is a meta description) ☐ There is at least 300 words of text on the page ☐ Your keyword appears in the URL (if not the homepage) ☐ Your keyword appears in the first paragraph of the copy ☐ Your keyword (or synonyms — Google recognizes them now) is used other times throughout the page ☐ Your keyword density is between .5% and 2.5% ☐ The page contains dofollow links to other pages (this just means you’re not using nofollow links to every other page) ☐ The page is original content not taken from another page and dissimilar from other pages on your site If you have all of that in place you should be pretty well set from an on-page perspective. You’ll likely be the best-optimized page for your chosen keyword unless you’re in a very competitive space. All we have left now is off-page optimization.
Off-Page SEO is just a fancy way to say links. (Sometimes we call them backlinks, but it’s really the same thing.) Google looks at each link on the web as a weighted vote. If you link to something, in Google’s eyes you’re saying, “This is worth checking out.” The more legit you are the more weight your vote carries.
SEOs have a weird way to describe this voting process; they call it “link juice.” If an authoritative site, we’ll say Wikipedia for example, links to you, they’re passing you “link juice.” But link juice doesn’t only work site to site — if your homepage is very authoritative and it links off to other pages on your site, it passes link juice as well. For this reason our link structure becomes very important.
Checking Link Juice
There are a number of tools that let you check how many links are pointing to a site and what the authority of those pages are. Unfortunately none of them are perfect — the only way to know what links are pointing to your site is to have crawled those pages. Google crawls most popular pages several times per day, but they don’t want you manipulating them, so they update their index pretty slowly. That said, you can check at least a sample of Google’s index in the Google Search Console (formerly known as Webmaster Tools). Once you navigate to your site, In the left-hand side select “Search Traffic” then “Links to your site.” There’s a debate raging over whether or not this actually shows you all of the links Google knows about (I’m 99% convinced it’s only a sample), but it’s at least a representative sample. To see all of your links, click on “More” under “Who links to you the most” then “Download this table.” This, again, seems to only download a sample of what Google knows about. You can also select “Download latest links” which provides more recent links than the other option. Unfortunately this doesn’t let us see much a to the value of the links, nor does it show us links that have dropped or where those links are from. To use those there are a wide variety of tools: If you have a budget I’d go with ahrefs.com as they have the biggest index, followed by Moz’s Open Site Explorer (most of the data you can get with a free account, if not then it’s slightly cheaper than ahrefs), and finally SEMrush, which is free for most purposes we need. MajesticSEO uses a combination of “trust flow” and “citation flow” which also works fairly well to give you an idea as to the overall health and number of links pointing to your site. All of these use different internal metrics to determine the “authority” of a link, but using them to compare apples to apples can be beneficial.
HTML links look something like this: Anchor text Where http://www.somesite.com is the place the link directs you to, the title is largely a remnant of time gone by, and the linked text — think the words that are blue and you click on — is called the “anchor text.” In addition to the amount of link juice a page has, the relevance of the anchor text matters. Generally speaking you want to use your keyword as the anchor text for your internal linking whenever possible. External linking (from other sites) shouldn’t be very heavily optimized for anchor text. If 90% of your links all have the same anchor text Google can throw a red flag, assuming that you’re doing something fishy. If you’re ever creating links (like we’ll show you in the future) I only ever use something generic like the site name, “here” or the full URL.
Generally speaking you don’t want orphan pages (those that aren’t linked to by other pages), nor do you want an overly-messy link structure. Some say the ideal link structure for a site is something like this: https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/800/0*tWHFIzBzG7zq6uii. That’s close, but it gets a couple things wrong. First, you’ll never have a structure that organized, and second, in an ideal world every page would link to every other page on its same level. This can easily be done with a footer that feels like a sitemap or “recommended” pages. That allows you to specify anchor text, and pass link juice freely from page to page. Unfortunately it’s impossible to draw such a web without it becoming a mess, so you’ll just have to imagine what that actually looks like. We have just one more thing to go over before we start getting those first links pointing to our site.
Robots.txt, disavow, nofollow, and other minutia###
Most of SEO at this point is now managing stuff that can go wrong. There is a lot of that, but we’ll go over what will cover 99% of needs, and you can Google if there’s something really crazy.
Almost every site has a page at url.com/robots.txt — even google has one. This is just a plain text file that lets you tell search engine crawlers what to crawl and not to crawl. Most are pretty good about listening, except the Bingbot, which pretty much does whatever it wants no matter what you tell it. (I’m mostly kidding.) If you don’t want Google to crawl a page (maybe it’s a login page you don’t want indexed, a landing page, etc.) you can just “disallow” it in your robots.txt by saying disallow: /somepage. If you add a trailing / to it (e.g. disallow: /somepage/) it will also disallow all child pages. Technically you can specify different rules for different bots (or user agents), but it’s easiest to start your file with “User-agent: *” if you don’t have a need for separate crawling rules.
Google will penalize spammy sites, and unfortunately this causes some bad behavior from bad actors. Say, for example, you wanted to take out a competitor. You could send a bunch of obviously spammy links to their site and get them penalized. This is called “negative SEO,” and is something that happens often in highly contested keywords. Google generally tries to pretend like it doesn’t happen. In the case that this does happen, however, you can “Disavow” links in the Search Console, which is pretty much saying, “Hey Google, don’t count this one.” I hope you’ll never have to use it, but if you hire (or have hired) a bad SEO or are being attacked by a competitor, that is how you combat it.
A link can have a property called “nofollow” such as this: Anchor text. If you want to link to somebody but you don’t want it to count as a vote (you don’t want to pass link-juice), or you support user-generated content and want to deter spammers, you can use a nofollow link. Google says it discounts the value of those links. I’m not convinced they discount them heavily, but other SEOs are so they seem to deter spammers if nothing else.
If you’re going to change a URL, but you don’t want its link juice to disappear, you can use a 301 redirect. A 301 will pass a majority of the link juice. Importantly, Google views www.austenallred.com and austenallred.com as different sites. So decide on one, and redirect all of one type to the other.
If you have two pages that are virtually the same, you can add something like to say “hey, treat this page as if it were that page instead, but I don’t want to 301 it.” And with that, we’re ready to build our first links.
Link building is where SEO really starts to matter, and where a lot of people end up in a world of hurt. The best way to build links is to not build links. I’ve worked for companies in the past that don’t have to ask for them, they just flow in from press, customer blogs, their awesome blog posts, etc. If this is an option (and we’ll go over a couple of ways to make it more likely) you’re in a great place. If not, at least in the beginning, we’re going to manually create just a few. We’re going to create them in legitimate ways and not hire somebody in India to do so. That is a recipe for disaster, and I can’t even count the number of times I’ve seen that take down a site. Web 2.0s The easiest way to build high quality links are what SEOs call “web 2.0s.” That’s just a way to say “social sites” or sites that let you post stuff. Now tweeting a link into the abyss won’t do you anything, but profiles, status pages, etc. do carry some weight. And if they come from a popular domain that counts as a link. Some of the easiest are:
Twitter (in your bio)
Github (the readme of a repo)
YouTube (the description of a video — it has to actually get views)
Wordpress (yes, you’ll have to actually create a blog)
If nothing else you can start there and get a half dozen to a dozen links. There are always big lists of “web 2.0s” you can find online, but keep in mind if you’re going to build something out on a blogging platform you’re going to have to really build something out. That’s a lot of content and time, but you have to do it the right way. We generally keep a bigger list of Web 2.0s here. Some may be out of date, but you should probably only build a half dozen to a dozen Web 2.0s anyway.
Another way to get link juice is by purchasing an expired domain. This is more difficult to do, but there are a lot of options such as expireddomains.net. (Google “expired domains” and you’ll find dozens of sites monitoring them.) You’ll want to purchase a domain that has expired and restore it as closely as you can to its original form using an archive. These sites likely have some link juice to pass on and you can pass it to yourself.
Another way to find places you can build links is by using a link intersection tool. These find sites that link to “competitor a” and “competitor b” but not to you. Theoretically, if they link to both of your competitors, they should be willing to link to you. Moz, Ahrefs, LunaMetrics and others have link intersection tools that work quite well. Now that we have a few basic links flowing, we’re going to work on some strategies that will send continual links and press, eventually getting to a point where we don’t have to build any more links.
Your First Drip of Traffic — Becoming an Authority Site
Awesome — you have a site that converts well, your SEO is in place, ready for you to drive traffic. Now what? As you’re probably learned at this point, a site that converts very well but has no traffic flowing to it still converts zero traffic. We’re going to fix that. This section takes a lot of time and effort, and in the beginning you’ll likely wonder if you’re doing anything at all. Remember that class in college that is so difficult it’s the point where most people give up, effectively weeding out the people who aren’t ready to major in a specific subject?
Well this is the weeder-out chapter of growth hacking.
Take a Long-Term View The reason so many people stumble on this step is the same reason people stumble on so many steps that take a little effort under time — losing weight, investing in a 401(k), etc. In the beginning you’re going to have a little seedling of traffic, and you’ll be looking up to those who have giant oak trees, thinking, “I must be doing something wrong.” You’re not doing anything wrong. The traffic starts as a trickle before it becomes a flood. But don’t worry if you’re a startup. Our goal is to get enough traffic that continuing to do this effort will be sustainable (meaning we won’t die before we start to see the rewards), but at the same time we’re building equity in the Internet. The type of traffic we want to build is the type that will compound and will never go away. We want to create traffic today that will still give us a little trickle in five years. Combining hundreds (or thousands) of little trickles, our site that converts, and a great product we will create a giant river. Future chapters will go into depth on the networks we need to drive traffic from, so in this chapter we’re going to focus on traffic that’s network-agnostic. Traffic that we can’t get by tapping any specific network. Just to give you some idea of scale, I’ve seen this process drive over 500,000 visits per day, though the build up to that level took almost a full year. What could you do with 500,000 visits per day?
To start we’re going to use the keywords we found in the SEO chapter, and inject ourselves (and our company) into the conversation wherever it’s taking place. To do this we’re going to use software called BuzzBundle. BuzzBundle This software lets us do a few things: Constantly monitor all mentions of a specific topic, competitor, or keyword across multiple locations on the Internet (from Facebook groups to Quora questions to blog posts) where comments are available Allow us to leave a constructive comment that references our product or company Disclaimer: This is not the SEO comment spam you’ve seen This step takes thought, effort, and a real human who understands what they’re typing. I don’t often say this, but you cannot effectively automate this step without it becoming spammy. If you’re trying to replicate the automated SEO spam you’ve seen on various blogs and sites this will probably work, but you’ll get banned, your clickthrough will be a fraction of what it could be, and you’ll be banned
We’re not going to fire up some awful software to drop spun mentions of garbage onto various comment sections online hoping that brings us SEO traffic. Our comments must do two things:
Be contextual. We are only going to talk about the topic presented in an article or tweet, and only mention our company when it naturally fits in
Contribute to the conversation. I should learn something or have value added to my life by reading your comment
If you do these two things a few changes will take place: First, you’ll notice that people click on your links because you’re a thoughtful person who likes to contribute. Second, people will respect your company because you’re a thoughtful person who likes to contribute. And with that disclaimer, we’ll move on to the nitty gritty of how this is done. Let’s fire up BuzzBundle and get to work.
Accounts and Personas
The first thing you’ll want to do in BuzzBundle is go to Accounts -> Add new accounts. This is the starting point for everything we’ll do, as we need accounts to comment. One thing you’ll notice about BuzzBundle is that it lets you use multiple accounts. I find it beneficial to think from multiple perspectives and therefore multiple points of view, but I don’t want to go too far overboard and be spammy. I’d recommend doing something simple — create 2–3 personas, each of whom you identify with (or are you), and enter them into your BuzzBundle accounts. Personally I don’t even change my name, I just use a different one (eg. Austen J. Allred vs. Austen Allred) or use a few photos, just so it isn’t literally the same name and same photo blanketing the Internet.
Disqus is a comment system used all over the place, and it carries some caveates. Disqus will ban you if you use the same link in every post, so there are two workarounds: Use a lot of different accounts, rotating IPs or using a proxy every two days or so Use your site URL as your “display name” Both of these work, but the second one is much easier in my view.
Using links with our UTM parameters here will be very beneficial. We’ll be able to track traffic back to each individual blog or site, and if necessary double down on the ones that are driving traffic. Link Shorteners If you ever start to run into problems with getting your link posted, it may be useful to use a few link shorteners or some 301 redirects. To keep it simple you can use a link shortener that 301s such as bit.ly, or if you want to spend a little more time you can set up your own site and 301 the traffic from a certain page to your money site.
Let’s get started with the BuzzBundle. First, it’s going to ask you for a keyword. We already have a keyword from the SEO section, but we may want to do something even a bit more generic. For this one I’m going to go with “growth hacking.” Simply hit “go” and let BuzzBundle get started. It will load different content types into different columns, but generally we are going to be scrolling through until we find something that looks compelling and like we can actually contribute to. The first thing I clicked on was this: https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/800/0*FtoN2kYmo5y3Oc1w. It’s a review of another book about growth hacking. All I had to do was comment, tag the author, ask him if he were willing to review our book, and offer to send him one for free. (If you’re that person reading this now it’s going to be pretty awkward). My assumption is this person will find the conversation to be completely authentic, because it is. When you're authentically reaching out to people you get rid of all of the icky-ickyThe fact that there’s now a link on his video that people who are searching for something else will find is just an added bonus. As an aside, I much prefer to hold “shift” and click on a link to open it in my normal browser if I’m just going to be commenting as myself. The next one I found was a roundup of great growth hacking blog posts from the week. I left the following comment: https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/800/0*m-1C10p2aY9Ymjjz. Note how I followed him on Twitter so that it’s obviously personal and not an automated spam comment. I even went a little bit overboard and tweeted at him just for kicks. That is how you get people on your team. As you get further along and have an idea of how to get a good response, I’d recommend starting to sort by reach, ramping up the number of keywords you’re searching for, and possibly even -gasp- upgrading to the paid version of BuzzBundle.
The Sadist Guide to Making Money Online: How can I start my own T-shirt business?
Get the original full length PDF containing images HERE provided at no cost. Reddit is not allowing me to insert pics in this post and I am only allowed to post less than half of the original text. So if this information looks useful to you, I highly encourage you to download the full PDF. Preamble Note: This was originally a Quora.com answer but the modbots deleted it. Guess AI and interpreting policies don’t go hand-in-hand after all? So bear in mind that I refer to other answers on this thread which can be found here: https://www.quora.com/How-can-I-start-my-own-T-shirt-business/answeAlbie-Kross I have made updates to my original answer so that it makes more sense when I post it on other platforms. Where I remembered to, I formatted the updates in red. I am going to be rather blunt here - the information given on this thread ranges from general | vague | theoretical to false to outright dangerous financial suicide. Yes, there is some links and references that will definitely help but I have yet to see an answer that explains step-by-step on how to do this. After all, who would you rather want to listen to - someone who Googled their info, someone who is marketing their printing services or someone who has his own online shop and social presence? Before I get to the technical info, let me first dispel some incorrect and/or misleading information and then I will get to a brief theoretical introduction. The bulk of this post, however, will be technical information to show you exactly what you need to do to set a business like this up. Disclaimer 1: There is no way that I can fit all the information necessary in this answer. It is enough to fill an entire book. Perhaps I should do a video on it though? Let me know in the comments if there is a need for this. I am definitely not going to spend hours and hours on producing a video tutorial if people don’t indicate beforehand that they would like to see something like that. Disclaimer 2: I will be using my own business as an example. So there will be links and screenshots to my own stuff. Do I hope that this article will drive some traffic? Of course I do. But I believe that the value I will be providing will be so awesome that this is not seen as spam, as per Quora’s spam policy.
Dispelling the Myths
Myth 1: Setting up an online tshirt shop is quick and easy.
Excuse me while I try to recover from laughing. To put this in perspective, I am a web developer and graphic designer. And I can tell you that to set up a PROPER online presence is neither easy nor quick. You are either lucky or really, REALLY good of you start seeing sales within the first two months. I would wager that most online businesses of this nature never see any income.
Myth 2: You need to borrow money from friends and family and buy stock and printing equipment.
Yes, do this if you are completely off your rocker and you want to make life-long enemies of your friends and family. You need to start off by spending as little as possible. Remember, the odds are against you and you likely to fail for quite some time before you hopefully get it right. You can’t afford to have debt during the start-up stage!
These are your costs:
Computer with broadband Internet access. This is kinda non-negotiable. Yes, you can get away with a cheapie laptop but definitely upgrade your PC as soon as you can afford it. This is the tool that you are going to be using for up to 30 hours per day especially during the startup phase so you can’t afford to be frustrated and hindered in your production. At least if the business fails you will still be able to use the PC, it won’t be a very expensive doorstop like useless printing equipment.
This is my hardware setup:
Core i5 processor - really the bare minimum in processing power as graphic design and especially video production takes up lots and lots of processing juice.
GTX 660 graphics card (a bit old in the tooth but gets the job done)
16GB RAM - As with the processor, you really need plenty of RAM for high-quality design work.
10TB Hard drive storage - you can get away with less but I am admittedly a bit of a hoarder.
CMStorm mechanical keyboard - go as clicky as you can get. You can thank me later. You will be spending lots and lots of time typing,
Razor Naga mouse - this one was a bit of a disappointment. Get a mouse that is ergonomically superior. Carpal tunnel syndrome is real and is a bitch.
49″ + 27″ dual monitors - You need screen real estate and plenty of it for proper design work. The cool thing is that 4k TV’s have now become much cheaper and can be effectively used as PC monitors. Dual monitor setup is HIGHLY recommended.
Marantz 4140 hifi with Dyna speakers — ok you are not likely to be fortunate enough to get your paws on a system like this but good sound is a must. You will want to do audio stuff like video and you need to be able to hear properly. And it helps to keep you putting in 30 hour days if you listen to good music. I recommend EBM like Funker Vogt to keep you going. Get a good headset at the very least.
Sound recording setup - I have a variety of mics, mixers etc. Getting your voice to sound right in recordings is VERY difficult.
Canon DSLR & Gitup Git2 actioncam - Your cellphone camera is probably not going to cut it for video productions. The Gitup is pretty cool quality at half the price of the comparable GoPro model.
Start off by using Gimp for image editing, it is free. It can be downloaded here: GIMP You can also download Adobe CS2 for free here: Get a Free Photoshop Download Legally from Adobe (Not a Torrent) | PCsteps.com Later on you will want to purchase a more recent version of Adobe’s products. You will primarily use Photoshop, Illustrator, Premiere Pro and Audition. You will need to watch YouTube tutorials on how to use these applications, I am not going to teach you that in this answer. Nuance Dragon dictation software is a nice-to-have that you might want to check out. You can probably churn out words faster with your mouth than with your fingers. And you are going to be churning out lots and lots of words.
My hosting is around $15 per year at Host4Africa.com GET MORE FOR LESS!, main page, low cost Web Hosting for South Africa and the world. but they do have some stuff that you need to be able to work around e.g. if you are developing your website locally on DesktopServer and then you try to migrate to the live host you will run into server timeouts. You need to contact them with specific instructions on how to temporarily adjust their server-side settings in order for this to work. If you need details on these instructions you can send me a query at https://krossbait.com/contact/ and I will send you the instructions. I don’t think it is a good idea to post it publicly here. BTW - I highly recommend this approach where you first develop locally and then migrate. You could be stuck for months on development and then you are paying for hosting that you don’t need. I lost 10 months on my one site due to getting busy with other projects. What a waste! Get Desktopserver here : DesktopServer - Create locally installed WordPress Websites • ServerPress, LLC. and install it on your PC, it is free. Use this plugin to migrate the website to the live server: All-in-One WP Migration So now it is settled, you need three things to start - PC, Internet access, Web hosting.
Myth 3: Once your store is set up the money start rolling in
The truth is that the Interwebs doesn’t even know that you exist. You won’t be found in the search engines. Nobody will find you online, even if they searched for your store name.
Myth 4: Shopify is your best option (as recommended by many answers on this thread)
I don’t have anything per se against Shopify. For all I know it is a wonderful platform. But it has a monthly subscription fee. That means it is not a viable option in my opinion. If Shopify’s business model was similar to MailChip’s model where they only start charging you when your business has reached a certain level my opinion would have been different. Fixed expense with an uncertain income? No way baby. I bumped my head hard enough previously with Aweber.
Myth 5: Step 1 - Research your market / know your market / find the right opportunity
Nonsense. I might know that the robotics market is a vastly untapped market that screams for more engineers. Can I action any ideas there? Highly unlikely if not impossible. The first step is to make a shortlist of things that YOU are interested in. You are going to be spending an awful lot of time and energy on this business, it better be about something that you are passionate about and that you have lots of affinity for. If the topic isn’t your passionate heartbeat, there is no way that you are going to stick with it. Only after you have identified your topic, do you seek to match it with market opportunities. How do you do that? Let’s move on to the next section so that I can explain the technical stuff:
The Technical Stuff
Finding a Market Opportunity
Let’s have a looksie at the process that I went through in order to identify my main business topic: Orgasm Art Memes Genre: BDSM I wondered to myself what I really like. I have worked in a number of industries before and most of them bored the living hell out of me. I have an exceptional imagination (I know because I had myself professionally tested), I have a dark sense of humour and I like sex (Duh). So my thoughts started wandering towards our deep and dark sexual desires and I thought of ways to make fun of it. Very subtle fun - sensual before funny. I have some experience in the life-style which I think is crucial. If you embark on something with theoretical knowledge only you will soon be seen as a fake or a wannabee. I then quickly evaluated the idea in my head:
Will I have a target market?
Yes, almost all people are interested in sex
Can I find a viable niche market?
Sure, BDSM is a recognized niche. 50 Shades proved that the niche is large enough to be viable. So far so good, now it was time to look at real numbers.
Keyword research is a field of study in its own so I am really just going to show you a few basics.
A vague keyword/phrase with lots of traffic and also lots of competition.
A detailed keyword/phrase with low traffic and hopefully also low competition. Why is this important? Let’s have a looksie at Google Adwords. You will need to register a free account here: Google PPC Online Advertising We will be using the keyword tool that is accessible on the top right-hand side of the screen. First, we will get keyword ideas and then we will match them against specific key phrase search volumes and competition. Here we have used the keyword “BDSM” and sorted according to competition. We are only interested in phrases with low competition. We are looking for two categories of volume 1k - 10k and 10k - 100k. More than 100k and you are trying to compete in the field where all the big boys are and you are not likely to appear in search results. 1k - 10k is less competitive and you are more likely to be able to compete here. Less than 1k and the volume is not high enough to make it worth your while. Make a spreadsheet listing all the key phrases that matches these criteria AND that are related to the central topic that you are starting to formulate in your head. In my case I wanted it to be a sexy and funny spanking themed idea producing art, clothing and stories. I was definitely not going to hire actors and start making BDSM films. Also, I know very little of the Japanese BDSM culture so for these reasons phrases like “bondage video” and “japanese bondage” did not make my list, even though they fit the volume and competition parameters. Then an idea struck - memes is a very popular method of making fun of things and lends itself very well to the medium of printed tshirts. Checking actual search volumes for specific phrases to following helped guide me to come up with “orgasm art memes” as my site’s central theme. 📷 “Art”, “memes” & “orgasm” are all short tail. The competition might be low but good luck trying to compete using those three by themselves. “Orgasm art”, “orgasm meme” & “orgasm art meme” are all long tail with the latter being the most specific. Now we can also see something interesting here - why did I used “orgasm meme” as a keyword. Well the easy answer is that at the time when I did this research it fit my criteria. Google Trends is a useful tool to see how keyword popularity goes up and down over time: Google Trends But in any case, I will rank if someone searches for “orgasm art” or for “orgasm meme”. Of course I will be very competitive if someone searches for “orgasm art meme” but very few people search for that specific term. Now, as I did this check now for the article, my website has magically disappeared from the search rankings so I am rather alarmed. But fortunately I have a backup plan - my web presence extends beyond my website only. I wanted to discuss it later but this might as well be a good place to just show you the value of being present on as many places as possible: 📷 And on Quora 📷 Quick investigation So my website has all but disappeared from Google. Yesterday I still ranked quite prominently. The Google Search Console might provide a clue, seems like the host server is giving errors when Google tries to crawl it. I will have to investigate further once I have completed this article. 📷 I know I jumped a bit ahead but I feel that it’s good that you get to have a look over my shoulder in realtime as I do these things. Don’t worry, we’ll come back to the Search Console. Update: Hey it is back today, thank God. Who knows what had happened yesterday when I typed this article? I rank on the first two spots for my primary key phrase on krossbait.com and I take the 6th spot for my Redbubble shop. Yay for me! 📷
Topic Research Conclusion
We now have the three necessary elements in place:
Something that I know fairly well and that I am passionate about. Something that I will want to keep researching and that I am willing to spend most of my waking hours with.
A general idea that the topic and its specific niche is viable.
A specific, refined keyword analysis that proves that there are enough search volumes and the competition is low enough for me to be able to compete.
Hosting and Domain Name
Your domain name is crucial. I slipped up here because I decided on https://krossbait.com before I did proper keyword research. I can kinda kick myself but I compensate by branding “krossbait.com” as prominently as possible. But it would have been better if my keywords appeared in my URL. The https:// part is very important. You want to buy a SSL certificate right off the bat. It certifies your website as secure and accomplishes two things:
Helps search rankings.
Makes customers trust you more and therefore more likely to buy.
Use a domain checker such as the one at Domain Registration to check for name availability. Some of the decisions you will have to make are:
Length of name
Likelihood of typing errors
Extension e.g. .com or .org. If you want whoisguard (keeping your details private) .com is the way to go.
Similar names of the competition
Content Management Platform
I use Wordpress and therefore I will only use it in my discussion. You will need to install Wordpress on your hosting, typically using something like Softalicious. ***Important**\* Your hosting plan needs to include at least one database or Wordpress will not be able to run.
This is really not as simple as people make it out to be. Fortunately, there are quite a number of good tutorials on YouTube on Wordpress development. I am not going to explain it here, I am just going to show you a couple of important points. I use the Storefront theme as its Woocommerce’s native theme.
Plugins I use
Add From Server - to bypass the 4mb upload limit of media files. I FTP large files directly and then use the plugin to associate them in the media library.
Advanced Woo Search - A cool search bar that is much more user-friendly than the default search bar.
Akismet Anti-Spam - Keeps the leeches from spamming your website.
Contact Form 7 - This is how your audience communicates with you.
Custom Twitter Feeds - I am very active on Twitter. This displays my twitter feed on my site in the footer. Always good to link platforms.
Dashboard Directory Size - Helps me keep an eye on how much disk space I am using on the server.
Easy FancyBox - Necessary for lightbox, a nice way to display images.
Flamingo - Stores all contact form queries in the database. Absolutely critical!
Google Analytics for WordPress by MonsterInsights - Helps me to analyze web stats.
MailChimp for WordPress - Used for email marketing.
Max Mega Menu - A real nice menu
Max Mega Menu - StoreFront Integration - makes Max Mega Menu work with the Storefront theme.
MetaSlider - Method to display images.
Orbisius Child Theme Creator - Always create a child theme. Quite a lengthy topic, please have a look on YouTube for discussions on child themes.
Printful Integration for WooCommerce - I use Printful as a partner for printing and shipping. This plugin automates the process.
Redux Framework - Necessary for lightbox support.
Sassy Social Share - Critical, gives me as well as visitors a way to share my products and posts on various social media platforms.
Social Count Plus - Social credibility, tells people how many followers I have. Unfortunately, the plugin is no longer being developed and supported and does seem to be buggy when it comes to updating your stats. I will keep looking for a replacement.
Storefront Footer Text - Gives you the ability to edit the default footer text of the theme.
Storefront Top Bar - Gives me two additional widget areas at the top of the screen, I use one for my search bar.
Woo Product Slider and Carousel with category - Way to display products.
WooCommerce - The heart of the website, the ecommerce platform.
WooCommerce PayPal Express Checkout Gateway - Gateway that enables me to receive moolah from people when they buy my stuff.
WooCommerce shop to Facebook - My shop is on Facebook as well. Cross-linking platforms, remember?
WP Add Custom CSS - I can enter CSS code here to alter the appearance of website elements e.g. hide the default search bar.
WP Super Cache - Makes my site faster
WP User Avatars - Put my pic next to my posts. Good for branding purposes.
WP-DBManager - Optimize and backup the database. If things go wrong with the database, you are in a world of hurt.
WP-Optimize - Makes my site run efficiently.
Yoast SEO - Highly critical, help me to let my site be discovered by the search engines.
Select YouTube - Way for me to embed YouTube videos in my site.
Absolute Privacy (not active) - Locks my website down when I am busy developing.
All in one wp migration (not active) — Migrates my website from Desktopserver to the live environment. Also used to make backups.
wp all import (not active) - make bulk changes to product data by importing and exporting
wp all export (not active) - make bulk changes to product data by importing and exporting
Your branding needs to be consistent yet everything must not just be an exact copy of a copy. Your keyword list is of crucial importance here. 📷 Update: The site Icon can be a real bitch to get right. I have decided on the lady with the cane as my primary branding image. But translating that to a teensy weensy site icon didn’t produce good results at all. The icon was simply too small and just looked like an “I”. I first considered changing the icon back to the skull that I had previously used but I felt that it really didn’t connect to my brand. 📷 I mean, when you look at the Google or Twitter site icons on your browser tabs you have no trouble recognizing them, right? I never thought that these were particularly good branding images but an exercise like this makes you realize their true value. And it makes you realize that the Whatsapp logo is better than the FireFox logo even though the FireFox logo is cleverder and beautifuller (see how awesomely I rock at the written word?). I kid you not, I only accidentally realized after years of looking at the FireFox logo that it was actually a fox that morphs into a flame that engulfs the earth. It is a really clever concept but I just never paid attention to the damn thing. My solution was to combine three things in my icon to make it recognizable:
A cross for Krossbait
Cross + Caning Lady forms a capital letter “K”. Well sorta …
Colours to make it stand out. Purple is associated with BDSM and there is a National Fetish Day with the slogan “Perverts wear purple”. So there.
Now let’s have a look at one that I consider to be really bad – the Redbubble site icon. If you look at the screenshot of my browser tabs below, we can see some pretty interesting things:
Twitter: Easy to recognize.
Quora: Also easy to navigate to.
Krossbait a t positions 3 & 4, hopefully over time this will become a widely recognized icon. To my eye it looks pretty unique and it does stand out.
Wordpress sitemaps: Also the icon when your site just fell over and you got something like a NGINX error. Mini heart attacks erupt in my chest whenever I see this icon.
Amazon: Pretty recognizable.
DeviantArt: Recognizable shape but I struggle to link it to DeviantArt.
RedBubble: HOLY CRAP!!! IT IS A NGINX ERROR!!! PANICK ATTACK!!! Oh wait, it’s just RedBubble and my eye involuntarily inverted the colours because the shapes are similar. Thanks a lot for that, RedBubble.
Pinterest: Yeah, very easy to spot and recognize.
Twitter Nonfollwers: Nah, too much detail that one can’t make out at such a small size. Not effective at all.
Building SEO Pages
Yoast is your friend here. You really, really need to have it installed. First things first, we are going to build the home page. Don’t just call it “Home”, rather use this opportunity to stuff you main key phrase in there like so: Now add your content. Be sure to add some attractive and relevant pics that are not copyright protected. And easy way of finding images is with Google Images and selecting “Labelled for reuse” And seeing that you will be creating your own designs you should have images to put on your pages. You will need to refer back to your keyword spreadsheet and make sure that you use your keywords but in normal, natural language. In the old days people just stuffed keywords but Google has gotten clever and will penalize you for that. Use the Yoast control panel at the bottom of the screen to make your SEO as good as possible. You goal is to convert red and orange lights to green lights. You SEO status is also displayed on the right hand of the screen; So you build page for page and then you set up product categories. For each of these you follow the same meticulous process. (Are you convinced yet that people are talking nonsense when they say that it is quick and easy to build a website?) Your final outcome of all this is that you want to build a menu that reflects the hierarchy of pages and categories like this: You will need to activate Product Categories in the Screen Options to be able to add them to the menu. I know it has been quite an information overload so far but the good news is that there is still plenty to come. If you have gotten stuck up to this point, you are welcome to drop me a line at https://krossbait.com/contact/
I have products that exist on five platforms. All of the platforms have their own tools with its own positives and negatives. I like the detail and control that is built into the Prinful mockup interface. Redbubble is good for putting the same design on multiple types of products all at once. Printful: The primary source of products that appears on my website. They have a pretty cool affiliate program that I incorporate on my website. If you register you will get a link like this that will enable you to receive profits from the sales of people who sign up through you: https://www.printful.com/a/654207:667a00219ee4cfbfd631314c86f9b2fe In case you were wondering, the above link is a shameless attempt from me to get you to sign up to Printful as my affiliate so that I can make additional money from Printful. I don’t believe in incorporating misleading marketing tactics, when I am trying to market to you I will tell you that I am doing it. Interestprint: I only use them because Printful doesn’t do underwear. For my specific market this is very important. People are more likely to wear something naughty if only they and their intimate partners know about it. This: is an easier sale than this: Redbubble: A separate set of products exist here: krossbait: Top Selling T-Shirts, Posters, Greeting Cards, Stickers, Wall Art and More. The benefit, as shown earlier is that this goes on no matter what happens to my website. Plus, Redbubble is much bigger and receives more traffic than I do. Rather than to compete, I joined forces. A link to the Redbubble store is in the sidebar that appears on every page. Crosslinking, remember? DeviantArt: Prints of the original artwork can be bought here: krossbait on DeviantArt Not only is it a potential source of income, but like everything, it is crosslinked and I am hoping that DeviantArt visitors might visit my site as well. Here you can see that another user has added my works to his watchlist. That is the beauty of joining forces and working collaboratively. The idea is to pass on as much love as possible and then people will do the same for you. Internet marketing is like jail … you can’t make it on your own. Amazon: I make use of Kindle Direct Printing and it is linked to my website: Remember that all products must be tagged properly. Your keyword research comes into play here and it might be more efficient for you to export your products to Excel, do the tagging and the import back to Wordpress. Be careful with the WP All Import process, don’t wipe out all of the products that you have so painstakingly created.
Up to this point Google and Bing has virtually no idea that you even exist. You need to kindly inform them that they need to tell people about you. You accomplish this by submitting sitemaps. Step 1 is to create the sitemaps in Yoast. Open the configuration wizard and follow the prompts: The next part is quite tricky - to find the damn sitemaps. Click on the “Features” tab in Yoast and then on the question mark next to “XML Sitemaps”. Then the “See the Sitemaps” link. A new tab should open with the sitemaps. You want to copy and paste them one by one in the sitemaps dialogue box in the Google Search Console: Search Console - Home. You will have to sign up and create a property. This can be really confusing. Remember you can drop me a line on https://krossbait.com/contact/ if you need help. Just copy and paste the part directly after .com/ as illustrated below. Wait a couple of days until the sitemaps are indexed. Follow the same process for Bing: Bing - Webmaster Tools
Backlinks are one of the ways in which Google determines how relevant your site is. If a high authority site links to yours then you get some delicious link juice. But how the hell are you supposed to get that, right?
Asking prominent bloggers whether you can be a guest blogger and make sure that your blogpost contains backlinks. Ugh … personally I am way too shy to ever consider doing this.
Backlinks in social media - when you create a Pinterest profile, for example, you get the opportunity to put your website link in your bio. Unfortunately, many social media platforms mark links as “nofollow” which means that it won’t really count as backlinks.
Social Media Marketing
And you thought that it was hard up to here. Fear not, now the real work starts. You can’t just be on one place. You need to be as everywhere as possible. You need to get the maximum followers everywhere and accomplish that without triggering ant-spam policies that could get you suspended or banned. You also need to understand the difference in post persistence between the different platforms. I will discuss the posting strategy to the different platforms after all the platforms have been introduced. What is important to keep in mind regarding followers and likes is that it not only determines your potential audience but it also demonstrates credibility. So we might run campaigns simply to collect Facebook likes or we might jump on a SDV train in Twitter to collect followers but none of those will be potential customers for us. Those are just social credibility numbers and should be seen as only that. The last thing before we get to the individual platforms is stats and measurability. All the platforms have some way of analyzing who sees your posts, tweets etc. Use the analytics to get a better understanding of your potential. I can guarantee that some of your most brilliant posts will receive little attention while the post that you wrote half asleep suddenly goes viral. Social media is a temperamental beast.
I will admit, I have no love for Facebook. I am there just because I have to be. It is the only platform where I get random video calls throughout the day and night from virtual strangers. It creeps the hell out of me. And Facebook probably has the harshest anti-spam triggers. Screw with that and they will lock you out of your account for days. Don’t try to send too many friend requests at a time. Don’t try to post too many posts in direct succession. You will need an account with a business page. Fill in all the relevant details. You will need to come back to this page to update it with links to your other social accounts - everything needs to crosslink, remember? Note how my branding is aligned to my website as well as to my other platforms and how my other platforms are linked - Albie Kross On the business page you will need to have a store. In order to do this you need to open a Please Login again - StoreYa.com account and the WooCommerce shop to Facebook plugin installed on your website. Follow the instructions and port your Woocommerce products to the Facebook store. Can be a bit tricky, make sure you read the StoreYa instructions carefully. To get Facebook friends you can basically do things to start off:
Search for topics on Facebook relevant to your business and invite people who show up in these searches.
Search for groups relevant to your business and join. Some of the groups will first ask some screening questions.
As mentioned before … be very, very careful on how you send friend requests. Facebook WILL get its panties in a bunch and lock you out of your account if irregular activity is detected. Posts on Facebook timelines are moderately persistent. People generally get a couple of moments to view before it moves down out of sight on the screen. This means that you will need to repost stuff, but certainly not as frequently as with Twitter. If you would like to know how to get 10 000 likes on Facebook within three to four days, you can contact me on https://krossbait.com/contact/. Facebook’s paid advertising is probably the most powerful out there due to the power of demographics that you get to harness. But for now I am going to skip over it. First start making sales before you start spending money on paid advertising, right?
Tweets are the least persistent of all. If you login to Tweetdeck you will be amazed how quickly your timeline moves when you have a sizable amount of followers. This means that you really have to stand out in order to catch the audience’s attention. When you fill out your bio, include some hashtags to make it easier to be discovered. There is plenty of info on the interwebs about hashtags so I am not going to repeat it. What I will mention is to include #SDV and #IFB. You are telling people that you will follow them back if they follow you. (You must actually do it as well, don’t be a prick) This is how mine looks, notice the branding and the use of hashtags: KrossBait (@albie_kross) | Twitter I recommend using Unfollower Stats :: Track and unfollow your unfollowers! to manage your followers. Follow back all the little darling angels who followed you and unfollow all the ratbastard psychotics who don’t follow you back. Be very careful here, although Twitter doesn’t really care about spam when you post, it does get all PMSsy when you start mass unfollowing people. How do you get Twitter followers:
Post some really funny and original tweets.
Follow people, bearing in mind that Twitter has a ratio lock meaning that you will need at some point to get more followers before you can follow again. If memory serves me correctly it is 1000 follows.
Like and retweet good tweets.
Engage with people either by comments or by retweeting and including a comment. Most twits don’t really bother to interact so you can really stand out if you interact regularly.
Jump on an SDV train every now and then when it comes along. It is basically a pact between a bunch of people that everybody will retweet a tweet and follow everybody that retweeted. You can pick up quite a few followers like this.
Ooh, a tough question but a fair one. bhalp1, there's no single answer. Some students respond to my integrity, others are more impressed with my incorruptibility. Still others buy my determination to lower textbook prices. And the bureaucrats in the publishing companies can put that in their pipes and smoke it!
Unlike Amazon or Half, we don't have a physical warehouse or our own stock of books. We work with companies like Amazon and Half (and Chegg, ValoreBooks, etc.) to price-compare their deals. We recognize that we can't possibly compete with the likes of Amazon or Chegg, so we partner up and then display the best prices to our users.
Here's an example listing from our site to give you a sense of how it works-- Link to texts.com
AbeBooks is one of our top partners, and we're not directly competitive. Instead, we work with them (and other top retailers who really have their act together) to compare their deals. So, we tell whether AbeBooks is better than Half is better than Amazon, etc. on any particular book.
The main differentiator is our student exchange. We list student deals right alongside the retail prices, which you won't find elsewhere. CampusBooks is the real deal, though. They've got a nice site. Here's a time-saving tip for you: you can search our site instantly by typing the book title after Texts.com/b IE: Texts.com/b/Without Their Permission It will bring you directly to the book result you're looking for. Additionally, we'll be working to include Project Gutenberg listings, and suitable international / older editions going forward.
The short answer is that we need to give our SEO game a little more love. Our hypothesis was that the clean URL would give us a boost, but I'd definitely believe that getting the Title/Author in the URL would help us out.
Hmm, that's an interesting way to think about it. I guess the classical thought is that competition = lower prices. I think there's some prisoner's dilemma in play. They'd all do better if they price-fix, but if just one breaks ranks they'll win-out.
I think, in general, our service (and ones like it) help to push prices lower, but I'd be open to other thoughts.
This is a massive and foundational problem which we won't really be able to address at the source. Publishers lose out on the (massive) used textbook market (those are dominated by the campus bookstore, Amazon, Chegg, et. al.), so they use various strategies to really push new editions where they're able to profit. There's nothing about our platform that really attacks that dynamic, as we really focus on the used textbook market and generally encourage people to avoid the bookstore entirely (which are their strongest distribution channels). While we do aggregate new listings from sites like Amazon and/or Chegg, they're rarely students' first choice.
That said, we intend to implement crowd-sourcing features where students can indicate whether an older edition was a suitable substitute. This information is currently fragmented, and tends to force the average student into buying the latest edition, as they're worried the information and/or problem sets might differ slightly. We hope that our developing efforts to aggregate and organize this information will ease the reliance on new editions.
That's a long way of saying: no, we don't have a silver bullet. But we'll try and increase information to help students make informed decisions when considering older editions.
We think that we can accomplish this using crowd-sourcing as opposed to algorithms. It's still a work in progress, but I hope that this is one day part of our "secret sauce" that really provides a compelling value-proposition.
Old editions can sometimes be 1/4 of the price; create a set of "changelogs" would be hugely valuable.
I knew this question was coming, and I generally shy away from answering it. But this is an AMA, after all.
I used to be a domain speculator back in the day (I was very active on NamePros, if anyone remembers me). I bought this for roughly ~$15k when I was a sophomore in high school (2006). I'd earned that money from constantly flipping domains-- a lot of LLL.com's and the like.
Looking back, there was some amount of tulip-frenzy in the domain name aftermarket; but I'm very glad to have emerged with this solid name.
I've been out of the "domain game" for a few years now, but back in the day it would have been very easy to quickly find a reseller who'd pay a fair price. With the economic downturn of 2008, it seemed like enthusiasm and discretionary income waned across the board, so the aftermarket really lost a lot of liquidity.
Selling a domain like Texts.com (a generic, single-word .COM) should really be a thorough and strategic process of identifying the right end-user for the name. Because of that, there's really no proper answer on timeline.
That was back when there were more opportunities and (probably unreasonable) fervor around domain names. Getting in early, and all that. I'd read up in /Entrepreneur and /startups as much as possible. Keep costs as lean as possible as you learn the ropes. You'll learn so much more by doing than by dreaming, so keep at it through the inevitable failures. I had so many hair-brained ideas and (expensive) mistakes, but it's all part of the process. Feel free to PM / email me (peter -at- texts.com) if you want to chat in more detail.
Our whole model is to host a free student exchange bolstered by a price-comparison engine. Student-to-student is always free, and we don't take a cut.
But when there are no student deals, and a person uses one of our links to go to Amazon, Chegg, or one of those other sites, we earn a cut as part of their affiliate programs. It doesn't affect the student price-- they'll get the same deal as if they'd gone to the retailer directly.
Thanks, this is very insightful advice, and I'd love to hear your feedback. We are fairly staunch in our objection to include any fee / commission to student-to-student listings. I like your donation suggestion. Maybe we could someday offer additional premium services when facilitating campus-to-campus sales (IE students connecting to students at other schools). I think that new editions and convenience will always guarantee us some activity through our affiliate links. And I'd prefer to have a smaller piece of a much bigger pie than a bigger piece of a smaller pie. I'm somewhat of the opinion that if we just put the student first at all times, and remain lean as a company, we can make it.
I think that textbook piracy will always exist-- when you have an expensive product that can be (fairly easily) replaced by a free substitute, people will always take advantage. That said, over time, I think that innovation will continually lessen student's reliance on pirated material. We look at the shift catalyzed by Netflix, Spotify, etc., who offer a reasonable pricing model and fantastic user experience -- you can still pirate movies / music, but they've made a compelling case to use their services. In all honesty, PackBackBooks seems like they're making a promising run with this strategy -- we'll be watching them.
We're in total agreement that the pricing structure of textbooks is totally broken. We're doing our best to fix it, but we concede that no matter what, textbooks will always be too expensive for some sub-set of students. We can only control what we control: we'll continue trying to make the best tools to buy/sell books, and/or find them at the cheapest prices.
At the end of the day, no matter what, students will continue pirating textbooks.
We're planning on integrating Project Gutenberg listings, which is somewhat related to this idea. We want to also include library catalogues, but it's a whole can of worms to get permission and integrate it properly.
It would be super interesting if this were a sophisticated "domain tasting" bot. Back in the day, you could "taste" domains for like 5 days and then return them with no cost (or like $.0001/domain). I think they've made it more expensive.
But it would be super cool if there were a bot that crawled "trending unregistered domains," reg'd them, planted ads, then returned them when the "hype" had died down.
Hell yeah. Totally supportive. Whether this is the pie-in-the-sky solution we need is unclear. But what's totally obvious is that there needs to be more experimentation and innovation, and less bending to traditional power structures.
I guess I would be disappointed that we weren't nimble enough to respond to the shift and capitalize on a new wave. But we're fundamentally just trying to make textbooks cheaper. If we were able to do that, it'd be a huge win in my book.
I think it's broken that students generally buy from the bookstore, sell back to the bookstore, only for their friends to buy the same book, from the same bookstore, at a huge markup. It's way more efficient to connect directly and avoid the middleman cut. I understand that bookstores have costs and need to make a living, but I think it's inefficient and that's the main problem we're tackling. We work with Amazon, Chegg, et. al., and they each have their own rules about rental conditions and the like. Generally, in order to sell a book, it must be in "good condition" (meaning no water damage, missing pages, excessive highlighting, etc.).
Textbook exchanges are really hard because of the network effect issue. Chicken/egg. How do you get sellers when you don't have buyers; how do you get buyers when you don't have sellers?
We've addressed this problem by always trying to fulfill the "supply side." Even where there are no student deals, we'll price-compare the top retailers to ensure that you'll have a good experience. In startup lingo, they call it "single user utility." By ensuring value for a single user at a single school, we've found some success where most exchanges (immediately) fall flat.
Additionally, students are lazy. We previously listed the seller's e-mail on the site, and assumed most students would go ahead and contact them for the book they wanted. For many, too much work. Now, it's a one-click process to e-mail directly from the site.
In the same vein, it has to be a frictionless experience to add your books for sale. Too many sites request Title, Author, Keywords, etc. etc. We provide a simple search bar so you can quickly add books.
This advice probably goes for most business -- not just textbook exchanges -- but ensure that you are ALWAYS giving the people what they want. We wasted time creating a really robust site that just had too much fluff and self-congratulation. Stay focused on the core service, and you'll be rewarded.
I have never really talked about it publicly. When I sold it, I deliberately tried to distance myself from it. I don't want to distract from my new business, which I'm actually proud of and really believe in. But I'll treat your top comment as an AMAA if others are interested.
It's now defunct, but has been replaced by similar sites. In short, it was an ACB (anonymous confession board) where people could post anonymously about whatever was on their mind.
It was intended to act as a place to share secrets, get advice on relationships, classes, and the like, but it (regrettably) turned into something of a cesspool of libel, defamation, calling people sluts, etc. I ended up being profiled by Time Magazine, went live on the Huckabee show, etc. etc.
It was a great experience, but not something I'm overwhelmingly proud of. The site kind of ran away from me, and I'm guilty over all of the people who were hurt.
We actually have a unique launch story. I went back to my alma mater, Wesleyan University, and gave away 60 pizzas on 4/20. Everyone was blazing on the hill, and then there was just a stampede of hungry zombies descending on the pizza.
Traffic is very seasonal, so I don't have a great answer. On peak textbook buying days (beginning of the semester), we have thousands and thousands of unique visitors. On any given day, in the middle of the semester, we have hardly any appreciable traffic. Seasonality has been one of our biggest challenges.
Thank you! At the risk of coming across as fake / smarmy, there's no way we'd be here without the support of the Wesleyan student body. Every platform needs a proof-of-concept market to work out the bugs, and everyone was patient as we pushed forward with our launch (on a very buggy / over-complicated site).
This is absolutely ridiculous, and it's one of the biggest impediments to a healthy exchange. One-time access codes are totally absurd, and go against the spirit of the Higher Education Opportunity Act.
It makes sense why publishers are trying this-- they don't take part in the lucrative used textbook marketplace. But it's almost bordering on comicbook super-villain status, and I really hope legislation is passed, or added to the HEOA which stems these tactics.
Hmm, we haven't really explored negotiating bulk deals. My honest answer is that it wouldn't help all that much. Even with a fairly significant "buying group," I don't think you'd have the leverage to negotiate bulk deals.
4/20 pizza budget... let's see: 30 of them were from Nino's, and they cut us a good deal. 20 from Mondo's, since they did gluten free. And 10 from It's Only Natural. I think it was roughly $600 and change (a little over $10/pie) when all was said and done. I really wanted to support local businesses and not try to just hit up multiple Domino's franchises.
Solo Cups are insanely cheap. Costco has got that market on lock. I have about 2,000 cups still sitting in my storage unit in Middletown. Hit me up next time I'm on campus and I'll give you a massive sleeve. They're like $10 for 500 cups.
Fundamentally, we're not all that different. I'd argue we have a better user experience, but that's all subjective.
Here are a few differences--
We host a free student exchange, in addition to "just" price-comparison - We are going to integrate international listings and Project Gutenberg links - In the ~15 months I've followed BigWords, I haven't seen any major improvements / updates. So to that end, I'd argue that we're more nimble and willing to try new things to really respond to user feedback and make sure they're getting the best possible experience.
Near-term: more cooperation in buying/selling books between students. Better information about past editions suitability to assigned editions. Wider adoption of international editions.
Medium-term: a better platform for e-books. In all honesty, PackBackBooks might be onto something here.
Long-term: open-source textbooks. Flatworld Knowledge, Boundless, etc. are some cool companies doing things in the space. Until the existing top-down power structure is toppled (publishers), the landscape won't be dramatically jolted.
This is definitely an issue. We don't have a good answer for the online access code. If you have any ideas, please do let us know.
Our site is a free student exchange, so hopefully we're able to make it easier to sell your Syracuse-specific book to the people in your community. But agreed, most of our across-the-board buyback tools won't be able to help you in that regard.
I guess I have a problem with your premise of publishers "ceasing to exist." I agree that content creation must be rewarded, but I think that forcing one-time access codes at exorbitant prices and pushing new editions with cosmetic changes is something of a crime. The Higher Education Opportunity Act dictates that publishers need to make professors aware of the changes between editions. I really wish that the provision stipulated that these changes be made public. It would level the playing field dramatically and still leave room (and probably increase trust) for publishers to release new, meritorious, edition updates.
We're hoping to crowdsource features that would allow people to contribute to "change logs" between editions. We hope that this would help people choose an older edition that happens to be perfectly suitable, just much cheaper!
No, I meant that we're not a funded team working out of a Soho loft with a ping pong table, back-to-back-to-back 24" monitors, and a stocked beer fridge (we do have a half-empty bottle of Fireball, though). We're two recent college grads hustling to try and fight the good fight on a shoestring budget.
I've answered this elsewhere, but... our student to student exchange. Additionally, we'll be integrating Project Gutenberg listings and working to show info about suitable older / international editions.
Also, I think our site is faster / more user-friendly, but that's totally up for debate.
Y'know, as a kid, my favorite color was green. But then I shifted with the herd, and would say blue. I don't even know why; peer pressure? But fuck it, I wanna feel my feelings. My favorite color is definitely green!
Last updated: 2014-04-01 16:15 UTC This post was generated by a robot! Send all complaints to epsy.
The toys give me orgasms 100% of the time, but I like foreplay a lot (especially kisses all over), and toys can't do that, so I'd definitely go with the real thing even if it means an orgasm 1 out of 5 times.
There was one guy who kept calling me every. single. day. at like 9AM (pst) asking me questions on what his first toy should be. It didn't sound like he wanted to buy anything though, just a guy that wanted to chat.
Hands down the Fetish Fantasy nipple stimulators (Link to dressupdown.com) I'm not really even a fan of someone stimulating my nipples with their tongue, so the toy didn't really do it for me. It feels like that feeling when you're cleaning your belly button? Just a weird sensation. Haha.
Yes, my partner said the cockring enhanced his orgasms more than usual. And he did last a little longer which is always good.
My customer demo is about 65% men / 35% women. I feel like women are more inclined to actually go into a store to browse whereas men would rather browse online (this is true for shopping in general actually). I do see the sex toy market having more male focused products. There seems to be a demand for them.
Maybe you can have a session where you completely dominate! you restrain her and just please her until she orgasms. maybe tie/restrain her hands somehow so she has no control. incorporate toys during foreplay (vibrator on clit while fingering or oral) then screw her silly. mix it up and have fun :)
Jopen #16!!! The very very very best. It is a bit pricey which I wouldn't usually recommend to other people, but the little rabbit ears are what do the trick for me. The lelo gigi looks a lot nicer aesthetically though.
To be honest, I actually hate using lubricant. It just gets too wet and lessens the friction. I have tried them before though, and my favorite would have to be the strawberry moist cause I looove the smell! Link to dressupdown.com
I am using social traffic (fb, twitter, blogging, forums), SEO, and paid advertising (Google Adwords, Traffic Junky). The adult niche is extremely hard to market because a lot of companies refuse to work with you, but you just have to get creative and find ways around it without using blackhat methods of course.
This niche is extremely competitive, and I knew that going in, but I wanted to be different by offering free shipping and a clean uncluttered site, unlike most of my competitors (a lot are affiliate sites). I think as long as you have your value proposition, you can get into any competitive niche.
Not at all. It's always been harder to achieve orgasm with someone vs. using toys on myself just because I know what what feels good. I don't think the use of toys has affected my ability to orgasm through regular intercourse though. It's always just taken longer because there's two people involved.
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