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Author: Will Chatham

Will Chatham is the Security Assessment Engineer for Arbor Networks. Since Netscape 2.0, he has worked in a wide array of environments including non-profit, corporate, small business, and government. He started as a web developer, moved into Linux system administration, and ultimately found his place as a security professional. Having most recently conquered the OSCP certification, Will continues to hack his way into various things in an effort to make them more secure.

Self Hosting – Cloudron

I have been using Cloudron recently, and after initially trying it out a couple years ago, I found it to be a really easy, awesome way to create my own, personal, cloud, keeping the peering eyes of big-tech out of my life.

So far I have been using Cloudron to manage my OnlyOffice office instance (better than MS Office or Google Docs) and my instance of Nextcloud, a Google Drive-like file storage and sharing center. They integrate with each other to create your own, secure, private office suite with file storage.

The best part is that you can do all this simply from the DigitalOcean Marketplace – a one-click shop for easy installation of everything. All you need is a domain name to point at it.

Once you have it installed, you can set it and forget it, as Cloudron will keep itself updated, patched, and secure.

Cloudron Coupon Code

It isn’t cheap to run Cloudron, but it lets you host 2 app without a subscriotion. I have yet to find a working Cloudron coupon code out there, but there are Cloudron referral codes such as my own (https://cloudron.io/?refcode=901142a319d1498b) which earn the referee a small discount. Once you have your own Cloudron account set up, you can use your own referral code and encourage others to use.

So that is me encouraging you to use my referrer code 😀

7 Steps For Creating A Profitable Website

Let’s face it: some websites aren’t worth much, whereas others rake in several thousand dollars each month in revenue. The surprising truth about the latter is most examples aren’t operated by well-known businesses.

It might shock you to learn that many of today’s profitable websites come from humble roots and typically start off as side projects by individuals with full-time jobs. These days, various Internet resources make it easy to build profitable websites.

With that in mind, what is the “secret sauce” for building a website that can offer an excellent passive income stream? Take a look at the following steps for inspiration if you wish to become next year’s Internet entrepreneur of the year:

1. Choose A Niche

One of the biggest mistakes some would-be Internet entrepreneurs make is being too broad about the aim of their website. It’s a far better idea to look at specific niche markets and determine which one is the right fit for your ideas.

The niche you choose should be one where there is little competition, yet you’ll be providing a valuable online resource or service. Consider using free online tools like Google Trends to help you find the popularity and competitiveness of specific niche phrases and keywords.

2. Buy A Relevant Domain Name

Once you’ve determined which niche is right for you, the next stage is buying a relevant domain name. There are a couple of options open to you; it’s worth considering which ones are most appropriate to your objectives.

For example, you could register a fresh new domain name that no one owns. Another idea is to buy an existing domain that isn’t getting used by the owner. A domain broker can help negotiate the best price for purchasing a domain owned by someone else.

3. Use A Reliable Yet Low-Cost Host

After you’ve organized a domain name for your new online project, the next step is finding a hosting company that you can pay to host your new website. Your goal is to find one that is reliable, offers the features and benefits you need, and is affordable.

Thankfully, the Internet is awash with hosting companies that tick all those boxes, so you shouldn’t have trouble finding the right web host for your needs. Always read online reviews and feedback of potential web hosts you shortlist before coming to a decision.

4. Install WordPress

Now that you’ve got a hosting platform sorted out, you can begin building your website. The thing is, how can you achieve that goal? There was once a time where you would have needed to code some HTML or use software like Microsoft FrontPage.

Nowadays, most people use the free and highly versatile WordPress CMS (content management system). You can easily apply themes and add-ons (plugins) in WordPress to create a unique website that fully meets your design and function requirements.

You can use WordPress as a fully functional website, e-commerce solution, blog, and community forum, to name but a few examples.

5. Start Monetizing Your Website

So far, you’ve invested some time and money into your new website. Now is the time to make it pay for itself and provide you with a passive income stream. You might be asking yourself, what are the best ways to monetize your new site?

There are several options at your disposal. For example, you can publish regular content on your site and use affiliate links to earn a commission from any sales made via your site. You could even allow advertising on your site like banner and text ads from Google AdSense.

6. Supercharge Your SEO

Your website is now up and running, and you’re adding fresh new content to it regularly. You’ve started monetizing your site, but you notice that you aren’t getting thousands of visitors to your website each week. The way to correct that problem is through SEO.

SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is necessary for links to your website to appear in relevant search engine results pages. Take a look at Google’s SEO Starter Guide for help in supercharging your SEO.

7. Decide Whether To Continue Or Sell

Once you’ve got more unique visitors accessing your content each month, and your passive revenue increases, you should decide whether you want to continue with your project or sell it to the highest bidder.

Many online entrepreneurs build profitable websites and sell them afterward, either to other entrepreneurs or companies looking to integrate your content into their own sites. The choice is a personal one; don’t feel pressured to keep your site or sell it.

Good luck!

8 Steps To Establish Your Company Voice

condenser microphone with black background

A strong brand is important regardless of your industry. Without it, your business will fail to maintain consistency and struggle to compete with more established companies, meaning you’ll quickly fall by the wayside. 

One of the best ways to establish a strong brand is through your company voice. The problem many smaller businesses encounter is not knowing what type of voice they want to present. Rather than decide on one tone, they chop and change depending on the day and the customer. While this can help appeal to a broader audience, it also means they fail to stay in line with their key values. So, how can you establish a recognizable company voice? Here are eight ideas to consider. 

Know Your Company Values 

Without knowing your company values, you will never be able to establish a clear and consistent voice. Before anything else, ask yourself what you stand for. Do you want to provide something different from the norm? Are you focused on eliminating the tricky tedium of complicated processes? 

Once you know what you stand for, you can establish your voice more easily. If you want to offer something different from the minimalist and distant approach of many businesses (and you can blame Apple for that), think about how you will approach your communications. Rather than short, almost abstract information, opt for warm and welcoming language that makes people understand that this is something different.

Establish What You Are Not

Often, you can establish what you are without knowing what you are not. There is more to this than a simple mind-mapping session, though, especially as your team may have a range of different ideas about what you are not. 

To overcome this and get everyone on the same page, This, Not That exercises are exceptionally useful. Tell yourselves that you are using something positive and then back it up by reminding ourselves that you are not a negative aspect of this, such as We are friendly, but not sycophantic. Other ideas could be Caring, but not disingenuous. With this, you can focus on being something rather than trying not to be something else, which comes across as more authentic.

Evaluate Your Content 

If you have decided to re-establish your company voice, there could be thousands of words worth of content lurking on your website waiting to trip you up. This means you will need to evaluate your content to consider how it aligns with your new voice. 

Adjusting your content to match your voice will save any embarrassment, especially if someone comes poking around trying to highlight any hypocrisy. Besides this, it can also increase your ranking, as you will be able to refresh old content that is out of date, misinformed, or simply irrelevant when compared to your current image.

Be An Authority 

If you have confidence in your knowledge, people will listen. Becoming an authority in your industry allows you to establish your voice quickly and often without anyone having the guts to doubt or challenge you. 

Using online courses is one of the most efficient and dependable ways to become an authority, and considering the benefits of Podia vs Kajabi will help you choose a hosting resource to develop a course that clients will get plenty of value from. Sharting this course and marketing it as a must-have for customers and clients will further increase its reputation and make your company voice more commanding. 

Let Your Website Do the Talking 

Sometimes, you don’t have the opportunity to speak loudly. Instead, you must rely on how the company image is to do the talking for you. Still, you can use this image to establish a strong brand voice, especially in moments where you don’t need to say anything at all. 

You can start this by understanding how to improve your homepage and grab attention. For many people, your website is the first point of contact, so you must make a good impression. Immediately, visitors will get an idea of who you are and what you’re all about, and you may not even need to say anything at all. 

Research What Your Market Wants 

Businesses can often struggle to establish a successful voice because they do not know what their audience wants. Instead, they make assumptions that fall wide of the mark, and this can put your company in abject peril almost immediately. 

It’s always beneficial to research what your market wants and needs. You may discover some elements are missing, whereas there is an abundance of other elements which you can ignore. This not only helps you cultivate the right voice, but it also makes you more efficient in delivering the right service. 

Create a Chart 

You want your voice to be authentic, but this is not always possible, especially when introducing new employees to the business. Use a voice chart that will help them get to grips with how to approach different interactions and communications. 

This chart can provide the Dos and Don’ts of your company voice and it will avoid any mistakes or sending out correspondence that sounds unlike you, which could confuse consumers. 

Make It Consistent 

With this chart, you will find it easy to maintain consistency. As time goes on, your brand’s voice will become second nature to everyone at your company. It’s important to match this brand voice across all of your channels. You don’t want a friendly Instagram account but a sarcastic, almost rude Twitter presence. 

The more consistent your voice is across all platforms, the easier it will be to establish your voice online and in the local community. You will slowly but surely build a recognizable image and boost your company’s reputation as a business that knows exactly what it is about, and this is one of the most appealing elements to consumers. They don’t want wishy-washy uncertainty. They want confidence. 

Shout It Loud and Proud 

Your company voice is one of the most significant elements of your business. Because of this, establish it as quickly as possible and make sure this voice remains. Whether it’s press releases, social media, content marketing, or other communications, a powerful brand voice will make you stand out and make you a business that customers, clients, and competitors recognize instantly.

New Music

I have been cranking away at some new songs. I just released two over the last week. I hope you enjoy them. Please comment, subscribe, yada yada.

For the Sake of Everything

Rahu, Rahu

And, of course, you can hear the full album I released back in June:

If you’d like a copy of that album on CD, just shoot me your name and address. It is free, and I will cover the shipping cost!

How To Improve Your Homepage

Your website is your virtual place of business. Just like your regular place of business, your website needs to be neat, clean, attractive, inviting, and professional. Here are some easy, low-cost ways to improve your homepage. It’s actually easier than you think.

Freshen The Content Regularly

Schedule a monthly reminder to check your website and update the content on the homepage. This will stop you from having seasonal content sticking around too long, such as your Black Friday deals still showing in the New Year. If you have downloadable PDFs, such as menus, that need updating, SodaPDF Online lets you convert pdf to docx.

Make Sure It Has A Call To Action

What is the top action that you want visitors to your website to take? Here are three examples of calls to action:

  • Sign up for your email list. When people sign up for your email list, you create an ongoing connection that lets you market to them. Most email marketing software offers an easy way to insert a signup box to your homepage. 
  • Shop in your e-commerce store. If you sell products online, embed pictures of some products on your homepage to encourage buyers to click through, and add a prominent ‘Shop Now’ button. 
  • Fill out a lead form. If you sell services rather than products, encourage visitors to fill out a lead form. These capture contact information so you can follow up with them. 

Add Contact Information Prominently

Look at your homepage objectively. Are you making your visitors look for or guess how to reach you? 

Many small businesses add contact information in the header and or footer of every page. At the least, you should include an email address and a phone number. If customers can visit your location, add your address too. If you want to have a separate contact page, make sure it has a large and prominent link. 

Add Images Or Video

Is your home page text heavy? Images help to break up large blocks of text and look more inviting to visitors. Include at least one photograph that shows your business, team, or products. If nobody in-house is a decent photographer, invest in some professional photography. In most areas, you can hire someone for a reasonable price. 

Videos are good too. Create a how-to video or one that demonstrates your products, or of you welcoming visitors. Load this video onto YouTube or another video platform, then embed the code onto your site. 

Update Your Design To Current Standards

A website that was designed a few years ago will look very dated compared to one designed more recently. Outdated web design gives the impression that your business isn’t up to date either. Update the whole website if you can, but if time and money are tight, at least redesign your homepage to give a better first impression. Update other pages later on as time and money allow. 

Ask your web developer to give the homepage a facelift. If you manage your website yourself, buy a low-cost template to make sure you have something that will work and look good.

Improving Conversion Rates Easily

Your conversion rate is the rate at which visitors to your site follow through and complete a transaction. While many websites have a conversion rate of less than 1%, the optimal conversion should be between 2-5%. This means for every 100 people that visit your site, 2-5 people complete checkout or the required action.

While this might seem low, it is a target to aim for as a minimum when looking to improve conversion rates.

What is the best way to determine the conversion rate on my website?

If you want to determine your conversion rate, divide the number of goals you achieved in a given period by the total number of visitors to your website, then multiply that number by one hundred. For example, if your landing page received 20,000 visitors, and 5,307 of those visitors completed the desired action, your conversion rate is 26.53 percent.

Improving your website and thus your conversion rates can be achieved by addressing a few different areas.

Conduct Testing

Having a compelling headline can make or break the success of a landing page. If you approach the subject in the wrong way, some people will not continue reading. They’ll hit the “back” button on their browser and disappear forever.

On average, eight out of ten people will read the headline copy, but only two out of ten people will read the rest of the content. Consider the implications of that. Eight out of every ten visitors to your landing page may not bother to read anything past the headline.

Analyze Customer Behaviors

Without understanding how users are interacting with your site, it won’t be easy to improve your conversion rate.

But how do you identify the points at which visitors become tripped up? With website analysis tools, you can view screen recordings of users interacting with your website. You’ll be able to see what they click on, whether they skip over an offer, and whether they abandon a form in the middle of it.

These tools should also include heat maps of your website so that you can see which elements stand out and which ones draw the viewer’s attention to your site.

Make sure the software you have in place supports conversions, and all of your applications are geared towards improving what you do and automating processes. Check out testrigor.com intuitive testing that enhances your applications.

Upsell

While it does not directly affect conversion rates, it does have a positive impact on revenue while not involving your current funnel. Offer a similar product or service that can be added to a customer’s order with a single click just before the customer completes their purchase.

Because of this one trick, your average order value will regularly increase by approximately 10 to 20 percent. You’ll want to experiment with different point-of-purchase upsells to see which ones work best. One offer may be rejected, while another might increase your average order value by 20 percent.

Focus on CTAs

The call-to-action button is a critical component of conversion (CTA). An example of a call-to-action is downloading an offer, sharing a post on social media, or subscribing to a newsletter via email.

Whatever it is, you must include CTAs on every page of your website and landing pages. They should be unobtrusive and easily accessible.

Typically, each landing page will have only one call to action, but that call to action will be incorporated several times throughout the page. Repetition will garner tremendous success and conversion rates for your chosen activity.

Add Live Chat

If someone is visiting your site, it is a sure sign you are offering something they are looking for. If they fail to convert, chances are something is holding them back. Live chat tools are ideal for assisting people in this situation.

Live chat tools, like pop-ups, are simple to integrate into any website and provide an immediate boost to your conversion rates. You can program them with answers to FAQs or easy to answer queries and be around to answer requests outside of usual working hours.

Add Reviews

Consumers want to know immediately what others thought of your service or product. Were they happy? Did you excel at what you offered, or were they disappointed? Know this; people are more likely to look for reviews, around 9/10 people search for reviews before committing to purchase via all the significant sites online regardless of your industry. So harness this power by including reviews and testimonials to your website to work in your favor and push for conversions positively.