James Michael

I’m James Michael and I’ve been in the digital marketing world as long as I can remember. I’ve worked in the marketing trenches for VC backed startups, large corporations, and mom and pop shops. This blog is everything I’ve learned, passed down to you.

The Beginners Guide to Making a Good Business Blog!

Every business should have a blog, yet few take the time to create a blog and even fewer actively create content for their blogs. It seems like every other day I see new business courses on Facebook marketing, Instagram marketing, and Pinterest marketing—yet very few people are taking advantage of the biggest search engine in the world—Google.

54% of people search monthly for local business related topics and 12% of people are searching for a local business everyday. If we break that down into the U.S., that’s 160 million people searching each week for a business like yours.

And to go a step deeper, people aren’t just searching for a business, they are searching for answers to their questions, which in time, leads them to become customers as they trust you. People crave information and it’s your prerogative as a business to educate them. Let’s look at how a business blog can revolutionize your business.

What makes a good business blog?

A good business blog needs to accomplish a few things simultaneously. This isn’t difficult, but it’s important to have a formula you can use every time. Whenever your fingers hit the keyboard, you should know exactly what you are about to do.

A good business blog should provide incredible information, generate consistent organic traffic (free traffic), and create powerful content to share on other networks. Think of your blog as the place where you create industry authority.

Let’s dive a bit deeper into each of these blogging needs.

A business blog needs to offer great information

The main reason you start a business blog is to answer questions, offer advice, and show authority. And this is precisely the reason you need to create compelling content. Content is everything.


You will be tempted to air-out industry frustrations or personal battles, but your blog is not the place. Remember, every new visitor is a potential new customer, and their first impression will be shaped by your words.

A customer, no matter what industry, will start off with a need or a question. That’s how they will find you. Chances are, they’ll be searching the internet for specific type of company or help with a specific issue.

A search engine is where people go to find the answer to their problems—and you should be first in line to help them.

And here is the golden nugget to always keep in mind: Content is meant to FIRST help your customer, and then to show your expertise and authority. It’s all about the needs of the customer.

Far too many companies write about how great they are, their big wins, and yet, no one ever finds their page because they aren’t searching for conceited content.

Whenever you are wondering what to write, first think, “Will this help my customer?” And, “Is this truly valuable content?”

If the answer is yes to both of the those questions, start writing.

An entrepreneur understands the needs of their customer and provides answers to that need. If the need is hunger, a good chef can show you how to cook. If the need is more time back in your day, a great landscaper can offer helpful advice.

Think in terms of talking less about yourself and more about what your customer cares about.

The entrepreneur always searches for change, responds to it, and exploits it as an opportunity.”

Peter Drucker

A business blog needs to generate organic traffic

If you are going to spend the time blogging, you might as well do a little bit of keyword research and find out what types of information people are searching for.

And yes, PEOPLE ARE SEARCHING! Every second, 63,000 searches are typed into Google. That’s a lot of searching people!

You see, people are constantly searching for answers to questions. Don’t believe me? Look at your search history and observe how many times you’ve asked Google to help you solve a problem.

We do it all the time, sometimes unaware of how often we do it.

And this search doesn’t always include Google, Yahoo, or Safari. Many times that search is taken to YouTube or other social media platforms. The point is, people are constantly searching for help and search engines are getting better and better at presenting reasonable solutions to questions in the form of website suggestions.

This is the reason why starting a blog for your business is a terrific idea. It gives you an opportunity to generate traffic based on the questions of your customers.

So how does this work?

It’s not complicated. Head over to Google and start typing in questions that you think your customers are looking for. Google will then give you a bunch of suggestions.

Google Suggest for Landscaping Questions
Google Suggest for Landscaping Questions

From those suggestions, you can pull a ton of low competition searches. I wrote all about my step by step process to using Google search suggestions to do SEO for free.

You’ll get better and better at asking the same questions your customers will ask. In fact, I’m sure you have 10-15 questions in mind already.

What are the questions you hear over and over again from your existing customers? Image there are hundreds more just like them waiting to be helped everyday.

A business blog should educate customers across multiple platforms

The best part about blogging is when you answer questions on your blog today, they will be relevant today AND in the future. We call this “evergreen content”.

Evergreen content is when you create content that people can continue to search for over the course of years. For example, when you search for something on YouTube, you’ll notice that many of the video suggestions are years old.

Youtube Evergreen Search Content
Youtube Evergreen Search Content

In the example above, this video was created 3 years old, and yet today, I found it. That’s the beauty of creating content–it continues to reward you over time.

And when you write timeless content, you can share it across multiple platforms. The minute you publish a blog, you can share it on your business Facebook, Medium, business Instagram, business LinkedIn, and more.

Blogging gives you a reason to share your content across multiple platforms. In fact, every time you write a blog, you have a rough draft for a great YouTube video. And then you can put the link to your blog in your YouTube description.

Expert tip 1: Take the date published off your blog. That way, when people are visiting your blog and land on a page that was written two years ago, they don’t leave because they think it’s outdated.

Expert tip 2: You most likely to have 4-8 headings/questions answered in your single blog post. You can use those headings as ideas to promote your blog across social media platforms multiple times per week. Each question or heading could be one social post. Even though you’ll be promoting the same blog, certain questions and topics will impact people differently and encourage them to click.

Expert tip 3: If you own a local business, you can research customer questions by including the location as well. For example, if you are a realtor in Boise, you might want to include great local content.


Blog topic: Is renting or buying better? – Too competitive, too broad, you’ll never rank.

Blog topic: Is renting or buying better in Meridian, Idaho? Very focused, demographic specific, relevant, and you have a chance rank over time for quality evergreen content.

How do I make my business blog successful?

There are three things that matter more than anything else:

  1. Great blogs create the most useful content on the search page
  2. Great blogs are updated weekly with fresh content
  3. Great blogs write on topics that they can rank for

Yep, that’s it. Just three steps. Those three steps are what separates cruddy business blogs from booming, successful business blogs.

Why you should always strive to write the most useful content

Writing helpful content is probably the most important thing you can do for your business blog. There are millions of blogs on the internet, and most of them are unhelpful. To find out if you are on the right track, ask yourself these four questions after every blog:

  • Is this the best resource that you can find on the subject?
  • Is this resource genuinely helpful or filled with fluff?
  • Is the information in this blog detailed enough to provide maximum impact?
  • Are there things my competitors are putting on their blog that might make it difficult to rank above them (e.g., videos, pictures, guides, lists, etc)?

If you can answer “yes” to questions 1,2,3 and no to 4, then you should get writing.

Why you should update your blog weekly

Updating your blog weekly is great habit to get into. The more content you write, the more opportunities you give yourself to market your expertise.

Think of your business blog like a billboard. If you put up one billboard, some cars will see it, and most won’t. If you put up 5 billboards, a good many cars will so it, some won’t. If you put a billboard up every mile on route 66, every driver would see it at some point.

It’s all about exposure.

It’s great to get into a habit of blogging weekly because you can get into a rhythm. It’s easy to write two or three great posts and then wait six months for another one. Blogging success must meet blogging posture.

By blogging about 1 specific topic week in and week out, your readers will return every week because they know what to expect, and see you as a specialist, not a generalist.

Ryan Biddulph
Blogging From Paradise

In my experience, writing 30 blogs put you in a position to start to get traffic. At 34 blogs, this traffic was receiving over 1000 visitors per day (within the first year).

In general, the average quality blog post will have +-1500 words. A blog with 66 posts will have around 100,000 words. In comparison, a 400 page book is about 100,000 words. That’s right, you will have written the equivalent of Bram Stoker’s Dracula in 66 high-quality blog posts.

Your goal should be to get to 30 high-quality blogs as quickly as you can. And from there—with consistency—your success will escalate quickly.

Writing 1 Blog Per WeekWriting 2 Blogs Per WeekWriting 3 Blogs Per Week
Words Per Year78,000156,000234,000

Why you should write content that you can rank for

Okay, here’s the hard truth: writing impulsively on topics without direction will lead your business blog to no-man’s land.

Sure, writing 100+ blog posts will get nearly all business websites some traffic—even if it’s riddled with errors. On the other hand, writing 100 low-competition blog posts will get nearly all business websites MASSIVE traffic.

So how do you know what is low competition? This is a skill you can pick up pretty quickly. I wrote an in-depth article about this recently. In general, the longer and more specific the question, the lower competition you will see.

The example above shows us two different stories. The first search was “how to write a book.” This search had Domain Authority (DA) rankings of 59 and 48 for the first two websites. This is a 0-100 ranking on how authoritative a site is. A DA of 50 is really strong. Chances are, you’re not outranking these sites.

The second site search was “how to write a book with two authors.” Two of the first three search results were DA under 26 and the first result was a DA 4. Because this search term was ultra-specific, your chance of writing a first page ranking blog post is much better.

Expert tip: The DA plug-in is called MOZ search bar. It’s helpful when getting a birds-eye-view of what the page ranking looks like. Stay away from really competitive search terms if possible.

Just get started already

Which brings me to my GOLDEN POINT: If you start blogging today, and you don’t stop, you’ll be WAY AHEAD. Search engines reward the diligent. They love consistency. And the amount of content you create is often correlated with the amount of traffic you receive.

Blog five times, and you’ll receive no traffic. Blog 150 times, and you will see SERIOUS traffic. The key is setting a schedule and honoring your commitment. I’d recommend blogging 2x per week. If you do this, you’ll have roughly 100 posts within the year.

That’s A LOT of content and very impactful work.

If you are going to write 100 posts over the next year, write good content. Don’t waste your time. You’d never start cooking a meal if you thought it would taste like crap. The same goes for blogging. Write with the intention of creating sensational content. My guide on post length and research will help you a lot.

What should I blog about for my business?

You should always talk about what’s most relevant to your customer. Your accolades, accomplishments, and all-around awesome business acumen means ZERO to your customer until they TRUST YOU.

How do you build trust? You answer their questions with detailed, relevant content.

So what is relevant content? I’ll use an example to illustrate my point.

Let’s say you’re a landscaping company and you want to start a blog. Think about what your potential customer might be ask Google:

  • Why won’t my grass seed grow in the summer?
  • How can I remove a maple tree from my backyard?
  • Is hiring a lawn mowing company worth it?
  • Will baking soda kill weeds?

These are all examples of content ideas that a landscaper could consider writing about. And if you think answering questions specifically will encourage customers to DIY their own yard, you are absolutely right. Many of them will.

But you need to focus on what matters. Getting people to your website. As any good business owner knows, sales are all about opportunities. If you get 100 opportunities, you’ll close more sales than if you only get 10 opportunities.

So while answering the pressing questions to your clients concerns may lead them to do things themselves, this fantastic content will also encourage search engines to send you piles of traffic. Piles of traffic = new customers.

Related Questions:

How long should my blog post be? Your blog post should be at least 1200 words. After you write 1200 words, the goal is to eliminate the fluff while optimizing the information. My average blog length is around 1750 words and I’ve gone over 5000 words before. If you want a breakdown of how I determine blog length, this post will help you out.

Where should I create a business blog? For long-term success, I would start a self-hosted WordPress site. It’s a scalable platform that makes blogging very easy. I’ve outlined every plugin and theme I use for WordPress in this post.

How do I create a business blog for free? You can start a business blog for free at WordPress.com or Medium.com. Both of these platforms are great. Medium can give you greater short term exposure because it’s also a search engine while WordPress can offer the greatest business flexibility long-term (you own your site).

A third option for people with big LinkedIn networks is to start a blog there and post it to your audience. This can work well in business to business industries.

Counting Words on webpage easily

How To Count The Number Of Words On A Web Page

Have you ever been in the middle or writing an amazing blog and wanted to know how many words you’ve typed? Or maybe you’ve been on a competing website and wanted to know how many words they’ve typed? We’ve all been there. The good news is there are tons of technologies to help you count words on a website effortlessly.

How to easily count the number of words on a blog

What’s the best tool to count the number of words on a web page? The easiest tool to count words on a website is with a simple a Google Chrome plugin called Word Counter Plus. You highlight the text, right click, and it shows you how many words you’ve highlighted. It’s simple and effective. And the best part is that you can do this on any page as long as you’re in Chrome.

Most people are blogging in one of four places: WordPress, Medium, LinkedIn, or SquareSpace. There are others, but these are the biggest names right now. And of these platforms, only a few have built in word counters. What a shame!

There are a few great tools that you can use to count words as you are typing depending on which platform you are blogging in. Personally, I like using plugins either in a blogging platform or from the chrome store. I want to be sure that my words aren’t being tracked or copied—but that’s just me (i.e., I don’t want to copy and paste my words in a random website to count).

At this point in the world of website builders, word counters should be mandatory, but they aren’t. Either way, we’ve got you covered. Let’s dive into the most popular website builders and see how to keep track of your word count.

How to count the number of words on a page in WordPress

If you are blogging in WordPress, you can use the built in word counter at the top. You can easily press the “i” at the top of the page in the post editor to reveal total words count, paragraph count, and a nifty page outline.

I like this feature in WordPress because it tells me how many headings I have as well. This gives me a quick status update on my progress.

The page outline is very cool too. It quickly shows me how my documents are formatted with headers. I often use this feature when I brain-dump onto a document and I need to look at the entire picture of article formatting without scrolling up and down on the page a million times. I know you know what I’m talking about.

How to count the number of words in Medium

In Medium, counting the words on your page is SUPER easy. In order to find your word count, simply copy any amount of text and then the word count will appear at the top of the page.

Highlight text in Medium to show word count

How easy is that?

I like Medium’s decision to make this really easy. No buttons, menus, or weird right-clicking needed. I found this by accident the first time I selected all of the text.

Be aware that it will only start counting after you have written a few sentences.

Improvements: I think Medium would do well to show the outline of your blog like WordPress does when highlighting text. It’s a small nitpick, but I believe this is a really helpful feature.

Overall, good job Medium 🙂

How to count the number of words in LinkedIn

LinkedIn isn’t as easy as WordPress or Medium because it doesn’t have a built in word counter. I think this is a huge over-sight, but I’m also not the CEO of a billion dollar company, so there’s that.

My advice is to use the handy chrome plugin I mentioned earlier (Word Counter Plus). Highlight your text, right click Word Counter Plus, and bingo–counted words.

Word Counter Plus to the Rescue

How to count the number of words on a page Square Space

Sorry to break it to you, but Square Space doesn’t have a word counter. Just like LinkedI, you will have to find an offline tool to do this job for you.

When you are updating your Square Space site with a new blog, do so in Google Chrome and use the Word Counter Plus plugin. It’s simple and effective.

How to count the number words on the page in Google Docs

Many people like to first write in Google Docs and then copy and paste their work over to their preferred blogging platform. Google Docs makes it incredibly easy to count the words on your page.

Three steps to counting words in Google Docs:

  • Highlight the text you want to count
  • Click “Tools” in the top toolbar
  • Click “Word Count”
  • Google Docs will display your selected word count and total word count
Screen Recording 2020-08-09 at 03.16.00 PM.gif

That’s all there is to it. Thank you for listening to us Google and adding that in.

Side note: There are other word count tools that you can download as extensions for Google docs, but I do not use them because they often are removed from the Extension store after some time. I”ve seen a few really good ones already removed.

How To count words anywhere on the internet

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been on the internet and I needed to count words quickly on a web page and I didn’t have a great tool to do it.

In the old days, you’d highlight all of the words and then paste them into a website and it would return a word count. These websites always felt sketchy with their weird ads and dated formatted. Those days are over.

With Google Chrome, you can simplify the process really easily. One of the beauties of using Google Chrome is that you can take advantage of nifty plugins. One such plugin is the Word Count Plus plugin in the chrome store.

The anytime word count plugin for Chrome is AMAZING! You’ll need Google Chrome, but it’s well worth the switch if you aren’t a current user.

It’s an awesome plugin. You can highlight any amount of text, right-click, and select Word Count Plus. All of the words on the page will be counted immediately.

how to word count any webpage

The best part is that you can do this inside of your WordPress, SquareSpace, Medium, or any blog platform operating inside of Google chrome.

I use this plugin all the time. In fact, I most often use this plugin during keyword research. I can look at a competitors page and quickly see how much content they wrote a quick select-all/word count plus. Now, I have a much better idea of the amount of content I may need to compete.

If you aren’t sure how much content your site needs or even how to begin to do keyword research, read all about content length in our beginners SEO guide. This guide is focused towards “free” keyword research. And yes, you can do excellent keyword research for free.

How to count words without software or a plugin

As I mentioned above, I always like to count words with a plugin or built-in blogging word counter (WordPress, Medium, etc). However, if you aren’t looking to use a software, don’t have Google Chrome, and aren’t counting inside of a blog, you can use a few websites.

With that being said, you can easily go to any search engine and type in “Word Counter”. Any of the first five results will probably work just fine. I’d be careful to not paste any text in that is meaningful or important to your business/life.

The reason I am not suggesting a specific word counting website is because most haven’t been through any third party validations to ensure that the site is safe. I always feel better when I download a plugin from the Chrome store or when it’s built into the application I am using.

A longer, safer option to counting words:

A word processing tool like Microsoft Word or Google Docs is always a good alternative. Highlight all the text on the page and paste this into your word processor.

Microsoft Word will show the number of words at the bottom of the page and Google Docs has a built in word counter (we covered this above).

Counting Words in Microsoft Word

Why counting words on a website is important

For some time now there has been a well established correlation between a webpage’s word count and its ability to rank for keywords.

Originally, the thinking was that search engines liked longer form content better than shorter content. Black and white, cut and dry. And in the early days, this may have been true.

However, search engines have become smarter and they are better at determining which page(s) best answers a specific inquiry.

And that is the key: the page that best answers the question has a better chance of ranking. The more content you write about a specific topic, the more likely you’ve provided the most robust resource.

And sure, anyone can write a bunch of filler content, but search engines are keeping track of all the data. Filler content is easily dropped in rankings as users click away from non-helpful content.

What’s more is that search engines also posses incredibly complex word-analysis algorithms that not only link words together, but also expect you to cover certain ideas and concepts when writing about a topic.

Search engines are looking for DEPTH, not just length.

For example, if you are going to blog about “The Best Method to Improve Photography,” search engines will naturally expect to see you talk about aperture, lenses, shutter-speed, ISO, f-stop, lighting, and more.

Millions of data points are being collected about the habits of searchers. Data such as which pages they click on, which headlines were clicked, relevant words and phrases in the most popular articles, how long each reader stayed on the webpage, which pages they clicked after, and the list goes on.

All of this points to one universal truth…

Writing the most helpful blog page will increase your chances to rank better AND the most helpful blog pages are often the most detailed, and at times, longer than average.

While there isn’t a universal length that you need, we are happy to give you some guidance on how many words you may consider writing.

Helpful tip: Including your own images, graphics, tables, and more can help set send important content signals to search engines that your content is not only unique, but robust as well.

Do titles and headers count when counting website words?

Yes, titles and headers are included when counting all of the words on your webpage. There is a very simple way to think about what words are counted on your page for SEO: everything you type on your blog page is counted.

Is there anything that isn’t counted?

Yes, static text such as menus, sidebar information, footer information, and page graphics (e.g., popups, doormats, etc) will not be included in the count.

Related Questions:

How long should my blog be? For a personal/non-monetized blog, any word length is fine. If your blog is used to power a business, longer blog lengths typically perform better in search engines. 1200+ words per blog is typically a great place to begin. My shortest blogs tend to average 1500 words and my longest blogs can eclipse more than 5000 words.

If writing that many words feels daunting, consider hiring a writer. You can use our guide to understand pricing and general writing-service knowledge. The industry quality is all over the place.

How do I count all the words on a website? This isn’t quite as easy as counting the words on a webpage. The following technique works best for a smaller blog because the blog lengths are more predictable than websites that have large teams and diverse pages (ecommerce, directories, news sites, etc).

If you are looking for a rough estimate of the total number of words on a website:

  • Visit https://sitechecker.pro/page-counter/
  • Type in the homepage of the website you want to count
  • Find the total number of pages (image below)
  • Count the total number of words on 3 blog entires from the website and average them
  • Multiply average by total number of pages

This will be an over estimate, but it can be helpful. Keep in mind most blogs have an about me, contact page, home page, and maybe even product pages that may not be relevant to your needs.

Should employees be allowed to use social media at work?

Most employees use social media at work—it’s a fact. A huge percentage of employees have checked their social media in the last few hours. It’s not a fad. Employee social media use is rampant and it’s here to stay.

But should employees be allowed to use social media while they’re at work? And does it prevent them from doing their job well?

Should employees be allowed to use social media at work? Employees should be ethically allowed to use social media at work, but company policy should discourage its use. Social media use adds very few positives to a work environment. However, policing social media use is next to impossible—rendering it senseless to disallow its use.

Social media isn’t evil or iniquitous, but it is distracting and it contributes to decreased work production. Allowing social media use as cultural policy probably isn’t the right move. Employees will take advantage and continue to minimize work-related focus.

Should social media be allowed or banned in the workplace?

I’m sure many employers would love to ban it. I’m sure many employers also struggle with social media themselves. The cynicism would be REAL!

Not to mention the majority of the world engages in social media and it’s next to impossible to police it during work hours.

I don’t think social media should be banned in the work place because it will require considerable resources to enforce it. Employers will be required to hire someone full-time to monitor the posting times and frequencies of employees.

And once a few employees are fired over social media usage, the eery feeling of big-brother watching will contaminate the culture. People will leave because the water-cooler was poisoned by management. We all accept some level of micromanagement, but that might be taking things too far.

On the other hand, companies should create social media policies. This will gently nudge employees to make better time management decisions. Most of the time, the fear of being fired over something as petty as social media usage is enough to steer the ship in the right direction.

If you are debating on a hard-line policy, I’d suggest against it. The truth is all or most of your employees are on social media. There are big issues with trying to police it while maintaining a positive culture.

The biggest issue: Most people are consumers of social media content during work, but they aren’t contributors. They know better. So how does one monitor consumption? Are you going to look over people’s shoulder? Popup in their cubicle unannounced? Track their computer browsers? I don’t think so.

Just let it go. But encourage less usage with a quality policy.

What does a simple social media policy look like?

  1. Permissible accounts: Determine which social media platforms are work acceptable. Facebook is often a platform with fewer visits per day but longer visit durations whereas snapchat is often more frequent visits per day with much shorter duration. Consider each platform and their impact on focus and performance.
  2. Conduct: Employees are an extensions of your brand. You may want to construct language around acceptable social media behavior.
  3. Confidentiality: Inside information, trade secrets, and internal social information is imperative to business operations. Including language around informational protection is good practice.
  4. Brand Association: If your business is highly dependent on public relations, you may want to ensure employees aren’t speaking on behalf of your company without permission.
  5. Consumption: You may want to include information regarding the restriction of posting and content creation on non-work related social media posts. Employees shouldn’t be audience building for the “Gram” while they’re at work.

Downsides of using social media at work

There are loads of reasons why employees shouldn’t use social media at work. However, we feel the following three reasons truly highlight the detrimental impacts that social media can have on an office.

3 reasons employees shouldn’t use social media at work

  1. Productivity. If it isn’t already obvious, social media is a tool of boredom and distraction. Pictures, memes, videos, and banter create the massive abyss of procrastination we call social media. How many times have you found yourself scrolling through a social media page and realized an entire hour passed by? Two hours? Three hours? Yep, happens all the time. If you are on social media at work and not getting paid for it, you’re costing your company money.
  2. Culture disruption. When you create a culture where it’s acceptable to be on social media, the cumulative effect is massive. 69% of U.S. adults use at least one social media account. On top of that, 1 in 5 employees will use social media for 1 hour per day. Now imagine if 69% of your employees collectively use social media for an hour… Yah, your “cool” culture has now become an environment of zero-impact hedonism.
  3. Mood reduction. Researchers in 2018 found a significant correlation with lower moods and social media use. In other words, social media can alter our emotions negatively after use. Positive work requires positive focus which could be sabotaged with constant social media engagement. Not to mention, who wants a grumpy office mate?

As you can see, social media isn’t always a driving force for good. There are many instances where employee social media use is instead a driving force for procrastination, culture aggravation, and mood disturbances.

But the reality is employees are going to use social media anyway. Let’s talk about some of the positives.

Advantages of allowing social media use at work

Yes, there are actual advantages to allowing your employees to use social media. While they aren’t primary drivers of performance, there are subtle positives that can come from it.

Positive reasons to allow employees to use social media

  1. Connection. Companies are using social media as means to stay connected with people more than ever before. This includes the schools of your children, community organizations, and even family members. Being connected in times of emergency is a positive thing.
  2. Refocus. People who said, “We never needed social media in my day…,” never mention how much time they spent at the water-cooler yapping about Becky in HR. Social media can be a short reprieve from work-related stress and monotony. It can help to reset engagement. You can look at social media breaks like a healthier smoke break.
  3. Community. Employees who connect with each other will hold their current employment experience in higher value—and that includes connecting on social media. People often pursue new jobs when their workplace community erodes. Social media can help expand and deepen workplace community.

In fact, a recent poll by Gallup revealed a positive association between positive work-place friendships and performance.

Our research has repeatedly shown a concrete link between having a best friend at work and the amount of effort employees expend in their job. For example, women who strongly agree they have a best friend at work are more than twice as likely to be engaged (63%) compared with the women who say otherwise (29%).

Gallup 2018

While workplace social media use has gotten a bad rap, it’s not all bad. And it doses, social media can be really positive.

Can my employer use social media against me?

Yes. But there are some caveats.

First, most people who fired from their jobs because of social media posts will be fired using an “at-will” clause. Meaning, your employer can fire you anytime they want. It’s the rule—I didn’t make them.

However, at-will is double sided. You see, you can leave your employer anytime you want as well. See a better job? You can jump without so-much as a goodbye.

Now, if you are notified that you are being fired due to social media use, it’s most likely because you messed up. Personally, I keep my personal social media use to a minimum because things don’t disappear. I can’t call the internet and request my post to be deleted from cyberspace just because I had a few too many cocktails last June.

It just doesn’t work that way.

drunk on one GIF
Think before you post…

Top 3 reasons you’ll lose your job over social media

  • Threatening or harassing another employee.
  • Using social media during company hours when the company policy forbids it.
  • Conduct that is detrimental to the employee, company, or association between the employee and company.
  • Divulging important company information.
  • Dishonest and guilty admission which violates a work agreement (playing hooky, disability claim falsities, etc).

What is considered appropriate social media usage at work?

First and foremost, read the company policy on social media use. If they don’t have one, ask if there is a policy on personal communication. Many companies have not yet adopted a social media policy, but have an existing personal communication policy which will require some careful navigation.

I believe that you should refrain from using social media at work. The truth is…it’s hard to do a good job while be hijacked by social infinity scrolls. I’m just being honest here. And if you were honest, you’d feel the same way.

Now there will be people who gripe and say they are entitled and owed “me time”. Others will complain that smokers get smoke breaks and silicon valley companies get free granola snack bars. And that’s all true.

But so what. Do your job, be great at it, and if you hate it and feel the need to mindlessly bury your precious attention in the minefield of Facebook, get a new job. One that excites you and motivates you. One that encourages you and builds you up. Boredom is but a symptom of wasting your life.

Related Questions:

Can employers fire you for social media? Technically, yes. Employers can fire you anytime they want in just about every state in the United States. This “at-will” employee contract gives employers the power to terminate you, but it also gives you the power to quit.

However, most employers know better than terminate you over political ideas, opinions, or non-work related posts. In general, you won’t see people fired for reasons like whistleblowing or discrimination. This type of termination can land employers in hot water.

Can employers force you to use social media? Yes. If your job skillset requires the use of social media to effectively do your job (PR, social media management, company promotion, etc), then you may be required to have a social media account.

On the other hand, if a company is looking to terminate you because you won’t promote them through your own social media channel, you may have a case. This could violate FTC guidelines which require products testimonials to be factual opinions, honest beliefs, and real experiences.

build website side hustle

The Website Building Side Hustle: Earn $1000+ on the Side.

Website building is an incredible side hustle when you have the necessary skills. When I built my first WordPress website, I was scared out of my mind. I was working as a newbie marketer and I was given a project to build a WordPress website. I knew it was coming down the pipeline and I needed to prepare for it.

I built a personal blog for myself with WordPress and spent dozens of hours attempting to master WordPress design and research finicky plugins. My website failed multiple times. I researched, I learned, I refined, and I grew.

The project came and I was ready to dive in. I was terrified.

im not ready rob riggle GIF by Holiday Inn Express

The project was completed in two weeks and it was fraught with errors and performance issues, but I did it. It wasn’t perfect or aesthetically beautiful, but it worked. And my confidence soared.

That day I realized something—I could actually do this.

Since that day, I’ve turned this skill into a serious side hustle. I’ve built websites for many companies with great success.

If you know how to build websites or are a quick learner, you can make thousands of dollars with this side hustle. Small businesses, family members, friends, and acquaintances would be happy to pay you for this skillset.

Let’s dig a little bit deeper to see what it takes to turn your website building idea into a full blow side hustle.

How to start a website building side hustle

So you want to build websites for a side hustle? You can do it! There are plenty of people who need your service.

How do I know this? Well, according Agency Spotter, there are well over 500,000 agencies around the world doing something similar. Crazy right? Everything from full blown web design firms to PR firms, businesses require your help.

And while that might sound like a lot of competition, it validates just how much need is out there.

“But I’m not a professional?” I get it. You’re not a major marketing agency and your worried about your skills being compared to bigger agencies doing the same thing.

My advice? STOP WORRYING! There is a need for you.

The truth is most small businesses that need your services can’t afford a marketing agency. Agencies often require retainers, upfront contracts, and a certain spending level to even get started. You can cut the red-tape right from the start.

On the other hand, smaller local agencies that are cheaper than big agencies still lack the flexibility and speed that you can offer. Not to mention, many local agencies are as expensive as larger agencies because their bottom-line revenue is generated through fewer clients—they need to make more money per client.

A side hustler has major advantages in the website building game.

Advantages of being a website building side hustler

  • Speed. If you only have one project to work on, you can work really quickly. You can work in the morning, on your lunch break, at night, and on the weekends. Speed is suddenly your friend.
  • Exclusivity. Your first client will probably be your only client. That works to their advantage. You won’t be juggling multiple projects or client requests; suddenly your service is viewed as PRIMO!
  • Price. Your services will be cheaper—at least in the beginning. And that’s a selling point. You don’t have large employee overheads, building expenses, server expenses, and other costs associated with owning an agency. Agency owners have to factor in the hourly rate of their employees, health insurance, business insurance, taxes, PTO, and 10% margin for slacker employees. Go ahead, steal some business baby.
  • Time. The agency life is usually 9 to 5 and then work stops. But you… you can burn the midnight oil and make great side income. Work anytime you want, anywhere you want. Make money at Starbucks or your comfy home office.
  • Skills. Every time you build a new website, you’re building an employable skill. Sometimes you’ll get out over your skis, but you’ll figure it out. And you’ll come out a smarter, faster, and better website builder.

How much money can I make by building website?

Disclaimer: Prices vary. If you live in a big affluent city like New York, you can charge a ton. If you live in a no-where farm town in Idaho, you may not be able to charge as much.

When I first started side hustling, I couldn’t have dreamed it would be in web design. My first side hustle was mowing lawns around town. I charged $25 per lawn and it took me about an hour. I paid for gas, travel, food, and sunburns. I probably averaged around $20 per hour. Not too shabby. But I wasn’t buying a yacht anytime soon.

I then graduated to flipping exercise equipment on Craigslist. I made some decent cash. A few hundred bucks here and a few hundred bucks there. I probably made $50 per hour, but it was sporadic. And if I guessed wrong, I broke even or kept the equipment (much to the chagrin of my wife).

Again, a good side hustle, but not great.

And then it all changed…

I began teaching myself WordPress design. My skills developed really quickly—not because I was especially gifted—but because I realized I this was the major leagues of side hustling.

I could make really good money with this skill; see ya later lawn mowing.

How much money can you make building websites?

That totally depends on a few factors. I put together a table to help you price yourself. The higher ranges are based on your experience, speed, and the quality of your portfolio. Don’t be scared to start on the cheaper end or even work free for a while to build up that portfolio.

SkillsProject PricingHourly Pricing
Building WordPress sites from a theme$500-$3000 $35-$100
Custom WordPress site/theme$3500-$10000+$100+
Per page pricing$300-$500

Opportunities to increase revenue

There are always opportunities to increase revenue when building sites. Here a few tips to get you going:

  • Hosting affiliate. Become an affiliate for a hosting company like SiteGround and earn money every time you setup hosting for a client there.
  • Monthly maintenance. Websites need to be updated. Themes, plugins, and servers become outdated which poses a security risk. You can easily charge $25-$50 month for website maintenance.
  • New features. There are tons of premium plugins and softwares that can do amazing things. I know when I first bought Paperform, I emailed my existing clients with suggestions for additions. You can do this if you learn Google Analytics, digital marketing, or purchase premium softwares with agency pricing.
  • Content. What good is a website that sits idle? If you have a little Hemingway in you, offer blog writing services. Along with monthly maintenance, this is the best route to create long-term clients. Check out my article on pricing your blog posts.

These are but a few ways to make more money when building websites and increasing the lifetime value of your clients. Once you get going, you’ll find dozens of ways to generate more revenue from simple technologies and a little hustle.

Building websites lighting fast

The lowest hanging fruit in website building is learning to build them quickly. The reason is because when people need a website and have no idea how to build themselves, they assume one of two things: A) they are impossibly hard to build or B) they are simple to build and should take no time at all.

The “impossibly hard” website buyer

Most of the clients that assume websites are impossibly hard to build have a general respect for the skills it takes to build great looking sites. They have no idea where to start—and because of this—they are more than happy to pay you to do it for them.

For this type of buyer, learning to build a website quickly will put them at ease. They generally have low-medium expectations and are fun to work with. They’ll marvel at every update you make and will shower you with praise. And because you are building quickly, you can update them more frequently.

The faster you build websites for this type of buyer, the more respect and money you’ll earn. It might be enticing to cut corners, but I urge you to keep your quality high.

It’s these clients that are often your biggest referrers.

They’ll talk up your work to other business owners like them. Go above and beyond and knock it out the park…but quickly.

The “simple to build” website buyer

This is the type of website client that assumes anyone can you do what you do. They’ll tell you how they’ve built a site a WIX, SquareSpace, or GoDaddy and that they could “figure it out” if they had the time. They’ll haggle your price and bully you.

Don’t take their jabs. They can’t do what you do and you have value. Keep your Superhero Cape on and confidently stand by your proposal.

Roll your eyes (on the inside), smile, collect your money, and begin work. It’ll feel painful, but the pot of gold at the end of journey will be worth it…usually.

This type of website client will make up a small percentage of your portfolio, but will make up a larger percentage of your problems. They’ll be demanding, suggest additions that are outdated or flat out wrong, and push you to the edge of your sanity.

But there is hope; your lighting fast website skills will enable you to devote more time to massaging their shoulders and less time building their website. I know, it’s not an ideal situation, but it’s the trade-off for difficult clients.

I hope your getting excited. You can do this!

What are the best tools to build websites fast?

I am going to focus on WordPress here because it’s what I know—and in my opinion— the most flexible platform. The following are some great tools that you can use to build WordPress websites extremely quickly.

  • SiteGround (hosting): The is for web hosting. I like SiteGround because you can have a website up and running really quickly. They are reliable, pretty fast, and their customer service is amazing. You can also buy the domain name directly from them which can save 24-48 hours.
  • WordPress (content system): WordPress is great because you can build content really quickly with drag-n-drop editors, pre-made themes, saved template pages, saved components and rows, and more. It’s super easy to update and pages can be built in minutes, not days. It’s also a great system for admin access control—both you and your client can have access as the project moves forward.
  • BeaverBuilder (page builder): BeaverBuilder is where the true speed happens. You can drag and drop entire content blocks on the page. Need an image? Drag it in and line it up. Need text? No problem, click-click-drag. You can build pages in minutes.
  • Elementor (BeaverBuilder alternative): Elementor is a Beaver Builder alternative and darn good one. They do essentially the same thing and they both have a demo to play with.
  • Builder add-ons (fast building tools): There are two great Beaver Builder/Elementor add-ons that I love: Ultimate Beaver Beaver and WP Beaver Builder Add-ons. Both of these are INSANE. I love using these add-ons because they make the design process lighting fast and you’ll look like a million dollars. Think of BeaverBuilder and Elementor like the cake and frosting and think of these add-ons like the fondant, decorative icing, and candles—it’s the wow factor.
  • Astra Theme Pro (WordPress Theme): I love Astra Pro because it’s really fast for loading, easy to customize, and works seamlessly with BeaverBuilder and Elementor. They are constantly updating the theme with clean code and new features. You won’t be disappointed. I discussed more about Astra Theme here.
  • WPForms (FREE forms): You’ll need forms to collect website visitor information (emails, names, numbers, etc). Your clients will expect it. WPForms is the easiest “freemium” plugin. The basic features are usually enough to get you by, and the add-ons aren’t terribly expensive. Some people like Contact7 and others like Ninja Forms, but for an easy to use free form–I prefer WPForms.
  • Paperform (Best forms for $): I love PaperForm. It’s the best form builder on the market. The reasons are too numerous to list out here. But in short, you can build any form, quiz, shopping cart, product page, mini-landing pages, branches logic forms, and more. It blows everything else away. It also loads through an HTML code which means one less plugin to slow or break your website. What’s not to like? I wrote about the many benefits of PaperForm here.
  • GetStencil: GetStencil is a premium design software that enables you to design images, modify photos, and make cool graphics directly inside of WordPress. It also has a great image repository. I talked about my love for GetStencil here.

There are more plugins that can help speed up your website building side-hustle, but these are a great start. I’ve tested hundreds of plugins and WordPress softwares and I swear by these. I’ve build dozens of website with this stack alone.

Side note: If you are wondering what my lighting fast WordPress stack is, check it out here.

Should I build rebuild websites for clients with existing sites?

If you are new to website building, NO!

Look, some people will disagree with me because a large number of small businesses will want this service. And yes, you’d be passing on perfectly good business. But trust me dudes, I’m saving you misery.

Here is the thing, if you haven’t built many websites, and you’re most likely a novice with SEO as well. If you aren’t sure what SEO is, check out my SEO article on what SEO is and how to do it yourself. But that’s just it, SEO can make or break a business.

The idea behind is SEO is that your clients websites will rank for search terms. Some clients will have minimal presence and rank for less than a dozen search terms while others may rank for tens of thousands of keywords.

So what’s the big deal? Well, if you don’t have an incredible SEO transition plan, you can royally screw up website traffic. Sure, the website might look better, but Google isn’t handing out rankings based on beauty. They are handing out rankings based on thousands of data points within your website code.

You better know exactly what an SEO transition plan is before ever going down the road of a website rebuild. If you don’t know how to handle redirects, meta, tags, HTML heading matches, and more… don’t even think about it Jack!

Caveats to website rebuilding:

  • No traffic: If the business has confirmed to you that they aren’t getting any traffic from their website or you’ve confirmed it yourself through their Google Analytics account, then a rebuild is probably fine. The client doesn’t have anything to lose.
  • Wrong traffic: If a business is getting some traffic, but no conversions, it’s probably okay to rebuild. The reason is because their content isn’t driving the right traffic anyway, so a new content strategy is in order (up-sell anyone?).
  • Abandoned site: If a business has an old site that hasn’t been managed for years, a rebuild is fine. Even if they are getting traffic, it hasn’t been capitalized or monetized. I’d first do a traffic audit to understand what’s at stake by rebuilding.

For a more in-depth guide on SEO transition, take a look a Vertical Measures video.

How do I find clients to build websites for?

Ah yes, finding clients. The hard part. The necessary part.

Remember, this is a side-hustle and so finding clients doesn’t have to consume all your time. There are a few steps that I would complete to start to market side clients:

Step one to finding website clients

  1. Incorporate a legal business entity: It doesn’t matter how you incorporate, just do it. Choose an LLC, S-Corp, Sole-Proprietorship, or whatever entity you decide, but at the very least protect yourself.
  2. Business insurance: Yes, you will want business insurance. You will be helping people scale their business and if you accidentally mess up their site or brand image, they may come for you. This isn’t likely and this isn’t meant to scare you, but it’s something to think about.
  3. Portfolio: If you don’t have five or six great websites in your portfolio, build them. It’s not only great practice, but it’s necessary during the proposal process. People aren’t going to trust because you look cool, they’ll trust you because your work speaks volumes. Build five or six completely different and unique sites.
  4. Website: Build a company website. You’ll look established. And if you’ve followed the portfolio step, you’ll be able to link to your work. Even better, if you build sites with AstraPro, you can download their portfolio plugin to really show your talent. 🧁
  5. Contracts: You may need a few contracts on hand if you land the job. Here a few ideas to get you started.

Step two to finding website clients (autopilot)

  1. Upwork: Create an Upwork account and upload your portfolio. You may not find work here, but it’s worth the trouble.
  2. Fiverr. If you don’t have a portfolio or clients yet, you can work for free or at least very low cost on Fiverr. If you aren’t willing to work for free to build your portfolio, don’t start an agency…just being honest. Fortune favors the bold.
  3. Toptal. Toptal is a freelancer marketplace that lists the top 3% talent. If you can get on here, that would also be a great start. There are multiple rounds of vetting to be considered, so prepare yourself. Newbie website designers should probably get their skills up first.

Step three to finding website clients (the grind)

Google Maps. Yes, that’s right, you can use Google maps to find website clients. Think of a service based industry in your local area and see who comes up in the Google map. For example, I can type “Barber” in Google maps and see a list of every barber in my area without a website.

Keep in mind that they might actually have a website and never updated it with Google Business. But, that’s also a sign that they could use marketing help because who doesn’t want free website traffic from Google maps?

Cold email. Yes, cold emailing works really well. You can find local business owner email addresses and write personal emails describing your services and how you can help them. Remember, they don’t know you. Keep it short, sweet, and ALL ABOUT THEM. There is a right way and a wrong way to do this (Legal vs Illegal). My cold email article goes over all the details.

My favorite cold email tools are VoilaNorbert, Hunter.io, Lemlist, and MailShake.

This video demonstration from Alex Berman is pure gold

Door Knocking. Hit the pavement and find businesses in need of your service by visiting them. In the beginning, I’d go to low-volume service-based businesses first. For example, if you are trying to convince a local family physician (high volume) they need your service, good luck ever talking to them with a waiting room full of patients and pharmaceutical reps booked months in advance for their time.

On the other hand, a service like heating and air conditioning may be a good door to knock on during the spring and fall when their customer volume is lower or a landscaping service in the winter months.

And, before you cross door knocking off your list, consider this: All your competitors are digitizing their marketing through paid ads and social media (impersonal), so you stand alone by offering something they aren’t—a smile, handshake, and in-person contact.

Social media. If you have a decent network established on a social media channel like Facebook, blast a message out to your network that you are now taking on new website clients. Make an irresistible offer to your family and friends and ask for referrals. And when someone says, “I think I know someone who needs your help,” follow up like your life depends on it.

Youtube. This is like a 401k strategy—it’ll pay off in the future. Start today. Like right now. Create a channel and start uploading helpful videos. Give information away. Teach people why they need a local website.

You won’t get any clients anytime soon from Youtube, but overtime, it’s a snowball. There is no better organic traffic reward than a well-fed Youtube channel.

Paid ads. Nah bro, don’t do it. Not yet. Unless you have deep pockets or a ton of PPC knowledge, you’ll lose your buns in a hurry.

Wrapping Up

Building websites for small businesses is an amazing side hustle. This is truly a skill that people need. The trick is leveling up your skills and hitting the pavement to find clients.

You can easily make $1000+ on the side. You can pay off debt, save up for that boat you’ve always wanted, or pay-down your mortgage with a vengeance. I even know of people who use this skill to fully fund their retirement investments.

Lastly, one of the biggest reasons to begin the website building side hustle is because it makes you a more resilient human. You’ll have one more arrow in your quiver to put on your resume, one more artistic ability to teach others, and one more way to drive money into your bank account for rainy days.

Now go and BUILD!

The Low Down on Brand Extension Marketing (Famous Examples)

When I first entered the marketing world, I had no idea what brand extension was or why it was important. It was just fancy marketing jargon to me. Yet, a trend began to emerge which helped me to understand extension marketing. I noticed that some new products seemingly flew off the shelves while others sat idle collecting dust. Extending your brand is a science and it requires thoughtful implementation. It doesn’t always work, but when it does, it’s like rocket fuel for you business.

What is brand extension in marketing? Brand extension in marketing is when a company uses their brand awareness to launch new products in either new or similar industries. Whether companies use their existing customer base, intellectual property, expertise, or existing product knowledge, brand extension marketing provides new opportunities to drive customer value.

If you have a great business with a loyal customer base, you might be a prime candidate for brand extension. Let’s dive into the when, why, and how a company might look to extend their brand. We’ll even discuss some famous examples along the way. Everyone loves a good Steve Jobs story.

What is brand extension in marketing?

Brand extension marketing is when a brand leverages their well-established image or brand to offer new products or services under the same brand. This is one the best marketing strategies available for companies with a great reputation. The name of the game is trust.

You’ve seen brand extension all around you. Every-time you walk into well-known stores like Walmart or eat at famous establishments like McDonalds, you’ve seen brand extension in action.

Companies are constantly looking for ways to expand their presence into the homes and businesses of their loyal customers. If you’ve ever eaten a cheeseburger at McDonalds and then eaten a salad the next time, that’s brand extension. Have you ever bought both the shampoo and conditioner from the same company? Brand extension. How about when you bought a power drill and then went back for the companion bits? That’s right, brand extension.

Companies are constantly looking for ways to increase your brand loyalty so that you buy more products from them. We love brand loyalty so much, we even wear brands on our clothes. We are a culture of inclusivity and companies are always looking for ways to take advantage of our need to belong.

Related image
Free Marketing

What is an example of brand extension marketing?

Brand extension marketing is all around you. The next time you are in a store, take a look around the aisles and try to find different products by the same company. They are by “extension” using their brand to market new products.

Let’s look at a few popular examples of brand extension marketing.

Apple Inc. Brand Extension

From 1976 to 1985 Apple produced three basic products: computers, drives, monitors, and printers. All of these make sense. They are in the same family of products—personal computing.

Year after year, Apple would produce new computers, laptops, printers, drives, and mouses—and this was expected. And then Steve Jobs embarked on a journey and took a massive risk. He decided to extend the brand into new horizontals.

The truest form of brand extension occurred when Apple released the 1st generation iPod. A company known for personal computers and printers was now launching itself into the world of digital music by using its brand name. They didn’t start a new company or build a different corporation, it was an Apple Inc. product through and through.

Image result for apple ipod 1st generation
She was beautiful!

Fast forward to today and over 400 million iPods have been sold. It was a pretty successful brand extension idea I’d say. From that point, Apple Inc. was able to launch other horizontal products like iPads, Apple watches, and the world famous iPhone.

Mitsubishi Brand Extension

Mitsubishi can trace its origins all the way back to 1917 to its shipbuilding days. In 1917, Mitsubishi released the first Japanese production automobile—the Model A. And for nearly 100 years, Mitsubishi has been one of the largest automobile manufacturers in the world.

Image result for mitsubishi model a
Mitsubishi Model A

Fast forward to today, you can find Mitsubishi products in many industries using their powerful brand name: electrical, materials, chemicals, banking, defense contracting, printing, and more. Time and time again, Mitsubishi has used its powerful name to launch new products.

Consumers believe in the quality of the product because of the good-will Mitsubishi has built over 100 years.

Forklift, Mitsubishi Forklift, Fork, Vehicle
From cars to forklifts—Mitsubishi is quality

Sports Stadiums Brand Extensions

Growing up, I fondly remember going to Comiskey Park and Wrigley Field to watch baseball games. I’d watched the now defunct Seattle Sonics in Key Arena and the Seattle Mariners play in their old baseball field called the Kingdome.

All of these examples are brand extension marketing. All of these stadiums have allowed large companies or county’s to buy the rights to their naming and marketing of the venue.

When I was young, I didn’t connect Wrigley Field to be associated with Wrigley Gum or the Kingdome to be named after King County, Wa. As I grew older, the dots connected and I realized this was brand awareness at its finest.

Many Chicagoans still call Guaranteed Rate Field–Comiskey. Probably because Guaranteed Rate Field is the worst named sports venue on the planet. Really? Guaranteed Rate Field? Come on guys.

Image result for guaranteed rate field

Celebrity Brand Extensions

People with expansive social status often find it easy to brand their likeness/image into new fields, products, or services. This happens all the time in the world of entrepreneurship. Prestigious business owners can successfully leverage their own celebrity to launch a new product.

Take for example Steve Jobs. As we talked about earlier, his company Apple Inc. was already a titan in the computing and digital electronics world. And yet, Steve Jobs had a very ambitious plan to infiltrate the big screen. Using his status, Steve Jobs paid $5 million to George Lucas for the technology rights to Pixar and invested $5 million cash as capital into the company to become the chairman of the company.

This was huge news. By this time, Steve Jobs was world famous and every investor in Silicon Valley took notice of the transaction. Steve Jobs—as a brand—fueled the interest and belief of the company. Pixar went on to create Toy Story, A Bug’s Life, Finding Nemo, The incredibles, Cars, and hit after hit after hit.

Brand extension mission accomplished.

How can brand extension work for your small business?

Brand extension is an amazing way to launch new products and build confidence behind an existing product rebranding. Whether you’re a self-made restauranteur, blogger, or real estate agent, you can use your established brand to offer to new services. And, you don’t need a marketing degree to make it happen.

People know who you are and trust your business. Once you’ve created that initial relationship, it might be the perfect time to leverage customer confidence and launch another extension to your brand.

My friend, Mike the landscaper

A great friend of mine has a seven-figure landscaping company. I’m so proud of him. When he started, he only had a few guys with a truck, trailer, and determination. He was known for mowing lawns and laying down mulch in flower beds. Sweat equity was his middle name.

As his local notoriety grew, so did his ability to expand his brand. He went on to build a snow plowing business from the same brand name. Different niche, same brand.

Image result for mike ware landscaping

The snow plowing grew his business even more and it was time to expand the brand again. He started a Christmas lighting service from the same brand. People knew the lights would look great because their yards always looked amazing. His brand helped him establish new and exciting offerings.

And the best part? His original mowing business built a great email list and Facebook community which helped him extend his brand with ease. He already had satisfied customers to pitch new services and products. He could also take a poll and ask questions of his happy customers to gauge interest before expanding.

My friend, Josh the real-estate marketer

A good friend of mine Josh is a great real estate marketer. He’s built a massive seven figure business helping real estate agents in the U.S. and Canada market themselves on Facebook. With thousands of satisfied clients, he’s been able to expand his brand.

Last year he began offering admission to an entrepreneur training group to help growing businessmen and businesswomen expand their brands and/or start their first business.

Image result for josh groovy marketing

He’s done an amazing job leveraging his previous brand to expand his new brand. He’s on pace to achieve eight figures soon. Check out his site to learn great tips and tricks.

If you have a great business, you can easily try and launch a new product with very little risk. In fact, Josh showed me how simple his landing pages are and how much revenue they create for him—it’s pretty unbelievable. When you are ready to launch that new idea, try our awesome landing page recipe for your new idea. You’ll have customers ready and waiting.

How many types of brand extensions are there?

There are many types of brand extensions methods which give you great opportunity to expand your business. Expanding your brand into new territories and products is an exciting adventure. Let’s talk about some of the most popular types of brand extensions.

Types of brand extensions

  • Companion extension: A companion brand extension is when you have a product already established and you launch another product that is connected to the original product. For example, you might have a well established hand soap and you decide to launch a face soap under the same brand. They make sense together because they have similar niche anatomy. A companion extension is often sold with the same customer type in mind.
  • Product extension: A product extension is when a completely new product is launched under the same brand. This product is often quite different from the brand’s popular product(s). For example, Amazon was known as a digital marketplace for consumer goods and then decided to extend their products into computer programming. They began offering server technologies and web technologies through a new product called Amazon Web Services (AWS). What does AWS web servers have to do with buying the latest New York Times best seller and two-day shipping? Nothing at all, but you trust Amazon and so you trust AWS.
  • Expertise extension: Expertise extension happens when a company has expertise in a niche or industry and expand their expertise into other categories or products. We see this expertise extension in the automotive industry often as car manufacturers like Honda, Mercedes, Tesla, and Mitsubishi take their mechanical expertise and apply it to other products beyond cars (bulldozers, cranes, wagons, lawn mowers, recreational equipment, and spaceships).
  • Vertical extension: Often times a company with proprietary technology or ingredients can launch their products into new verticals. For example, if you are a popcorn company and you are selling delicious popcorn to movie cinemas around the country, it would make sense that you could offer caramelized popcorn to local fairs and trade shows by using the same popcorn ingredients. You’re entering a new industry vertical by leveraging existing products or technologies.
  • Horizontal extension: Horizontal extension is when you find a new industry to use the same branded product. This is really common in pharmaceutical industries. The drug Prazosin (minipress) was first approved for hypertension, but it’s now approved for the use nightmares. The markets and use cases are totally different, but the product is the same. You also see horizontal extension in the pickup truck industry. Not only can you market it is as a family car to tow boats and explore mountains but you can also market it to the service based businesses like carpenters, plumbers, and landscapers.
  • Brand distinction extension: Brand distinction is when a company is “known” for something—typically an emotional response to the brand (loyal, prestige, luxury, safety, regal, novel, etc). Porsche is known for luxury and speed whereas NASA is known for innovation and exploration. Companies can leverage those persona distinctions to launch new products. Tesla launched SpaceX and consumer confidence in their product was high. They leveraged their innovation and engineering quality distinctions to raise money and launch us into outer-space.
  • Component extension: A component extension is when a brand is able to offer a variation of the same product to customers. If you are selling mens winter trench coats with wooden buttons, it’s reasonable to assume you could also offer mens winter trench coats with a zipper as well. The component of the product is slightly different, but the product is much the same.
  • Customer extension: One way a business can improve their revenue is by leveraging their existing customer base. We call this “low hanging fruit”. If you are selling ladders to your engineering customers, it would make sense to offer non-slip ladder tape to the same customer base. Car dealerships are infamous for this. You’ve already purchased a car, why not add tinted windows, remote starter, upgraded Sirius radio, and extend the warranty. Or how about those Amazon recommended products on every product page? Yep, customer extension in action.

There are so many ways a company can extend its brand to new vertical and horizontal industries while leveraging existing customers and finding creative ways to attract new customers. If you have a great brand already, it’s time to think of new ways to provide value.

What is the advantage of brand extension marketing?

Brand extension marketing provides a plethora of advantages and very few disadvantages. Let’s explore the many advantages that brand extending can bring to your business:

Brand extension advantages

  • Awareness: Because your brand is already well-known and established, you can skip the rapport building process of your product marketing and sell to existing customers. Skipping this step makes product releases much more predictable. If your current clients aren’t buying, you may need to go back to the drawing board.
  • Speed: You already have a great brand and a team of dedicated employees which can accelerate your brand extension. Starting with a customer extension or component extension is a great way to use your same team to expedite speed-to-market time.
  • Testing: A brand that has existing customers can test the idea of their product inexpensively. Once you have a clear idea of how you plan to expand your brand, use your existing email marketing list, social media group, or in-store customer conversations to pitch your idea. If you current customers love the idea, you’ll have warm buyers ready to go. If they don’t like your idea, you’ll know exactly why and what to change. Raving fans are much more valuable than cold traffic opinions.
  • Customer LTV: Expanding your brand with new offerings will significantly improve the lifetime value (LTV) of the customer. The more products you can offer, the more likely you’ll be able to capitalize on their loyalty to satisfy their needs. While you might not become a one-stop-shop, you can certainly become a second and third-time shop.

Brand extension isn’t a perfect science. There are some scenarios where expanding the brand could be a bad idea. Think about the following points before you extend your brand.

Disadvantages of brand extension

  • Brand dilution: If you’ve built your brand on novelty or an amazing singular experience, some customers might see your new product extension as “selling out”. For example, if you have a barber shop known for great haircuts and conversations and you suddenly offer male skin care products at the checkout desk, your clientele might feel you’re diluting the experiencing with silly products. Brand dilution often happens in service based business.
  • Overextension: If you are running a tight budget, new products rarely save businesses from the graveyard or accelerate them past the death-rattle stage. In fact, many businesses that are running thin margins should double down on what’s working to create capital for brand extension to reduce exposure and risk. Brand extension isn’t a recipe for saving a business, it’s a recipe for expanding an already successful brand. And yes, there are unicorn stories where one, big, bright idea saved the company, but this is the exception.
  • Expertise failure: Sometimes we confuse success with expertise. Just because we are successful with one business model or product doesn’t mean our expertise will carry over to new product industries. Before you extend your brand into new territories, ensure you have adequate expertise and team competency to follow through successfully.
  • Awareness: There will be times when there are great ideas at the wrong time. Awareness is a huge component of business success and if your idea is too unique, creating awareness around your product or service could be an uphill battle. In 1990 General Motors created the first electric car called the EV1. Do you remember it? Ya, me neither. It was too early and product awareness became a huge challenge. America just wasn’t ready for this electric beauty.

Related Questions

Is brand extension marketing different than line extension marketing? Brand extension and line extension are completely different marketing strategies. A brand extension is when a company moves into new product territories and line extension is when a company takes an existing product and slightly expands the line. For example, a wedding cake shop might begin to offer bridesmaid cakes as well (line extension) or they might add wedding invitations to their brand offering (brand extension).

What are some luxury brand extension examples

Mercedes is a luxury car manufacturer and has been known for their quality engineering since introducing the 1901 Mercedes to the world. Using their luxury brand, Mercedes has expanded into creating motorcycles, buses, semi-trucks, vans, and stage buses. Mercedes started as a luxury car company and has sense expanded their brand into nearly every 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 and 18 wheeled machine on the road.

Hermès is a luxury fashion brand known for high-end runway fashion. Originally, Hermès was started as a harness and bridle workshop serving French noblemen in the early 1800’s. It wasn’t until 100 years later that their first couture apparel collection was offered to the public Currently some of their biggest products are purses, but their original bags where made for horse saddles stagecoaches. They’ve expanded their brand over 200 years to offer new and exciting fashion lines.

Do I need a sitemap for SEO?

Is a Sitemap Necessary for SEO or is it a Huge Waste Of Time?

When you’re first starting your SEO journey, you’ll learn about adding a page called a sitemap. You’ll scratch your head, have no idea what a sitemap is, and you’ll wonder if it’s really necessary for good SEO. Half of the SEO guru’s will tell you it’s critical for your website performance while the other half will tell you it’s a complete waste a time. As with all things, the answer probably sits somewhere in the middle.

Is a sitemap necessary for SEO? A sitemap isn’t necessary for SEO if your site is well established and easy to navigate. If you have a brand new site with little authority, a really big site with a lot of pages, planning on moving your site to a new domain, or your site has poor internal linking—a sitemap might be necessary for improved SEO.

Whether or not you need a sitemap is something to consider. However, we believe understanding why you need a sitemap and learning how to add a sitemap to your website are the first steps. We hope to answer your questions here on both of those fronts.

Is a sitemap necessary for SEO?

Probably not.

But you said sitemaps were good? Yes, I did say sitemaps are good and they are. But here’s the deal: search engines are smart and getting smarter everyday. Big data advancements coupled with improved website crawling has given search engines the ability to understand your site without your sitemap.

With or without your sitemap, search engines like Google and Bing will eventually visit your site, visit each page, crawl the words, and index your site. Once indexed, you may receive visitors to your site if search engines perceive your content as relevant.

Google has even gone out and stated on their website:

If your site’s pages are properly linked, our web crawlers can usually discover most of your site.

Search Console (Google)

So there you go, words from the titan of search. Search engines like Google, Bing, Safari, Explorer, or Firefox will eventually find your site and index the pages—even if you never create a sitemap.

With that being said, there are some instances where a sitemap is beneficial.

4 reasons you might want a sitemap

  1. New site: If your site is new (less than 6 months), a sitemap is beneficial. Search engines might not have gotten around to crawling your site and submitting a sitemap is great way to “ping” search engines and let them know you’re the new kid on the block. Sites with few external links (other websites linking to your website) can really benefit from this.
  2. Big site: If your site is really large and has tons of content, a sitemap can make indexing your site easier. Search engines crawl data to the best of their ability, but they can skip over data inadvertently. You can help minimize this content neglect by submitting a great sitemap.
  3. Poor linking: If your site is older, larger, and pages aren’t internally linked properly—a sitemap is useful. Search engines like to see pages on your site linked to other pages on your site because it helps to establish content awareness and relevance. If you’ve not done much internal linking, a sitemap can help makeup for this missing SEO opportunity. And, if you haven’t done much internal linking, you need to start.
  4. Site change: If you’ve made big changes to your website like deleting a lot of pages, eliminating content, changing URL’s, or reorganizing menus, it’s a great idea to submit a new sitemap.

As you can see, a sitemap can help your site in quite a few ways. Having a sitemap is never a bad idea and search engines will never penalize you for having one.

Think of a sitemap as a good thing to do with very little downside other than time spent.

Benefits of a sitemap

Sitemaps aren’t required, but they can be really helpful to search engines. Think of it like this, search engines have to crawl your websites and understand what messages you are trying to convey.

They are scanning your words and pages and trying to put a puzzle together. If you have hundreds of thousands of words, that puzzle can be really complex. And, the more substantial your niche, the more topics you’ll cover.

A sitemap helps them to scan pages and show them how pages relate to each other. It’s not essential, but it’s helpful. And if a search engine is responsible for your income, it’s always good to be helpful.

helpful bill murray GIF by Space Jam

Sitemaps also give you a content overview of your site. They can show you how all of your posts look from a macro perspective.

Every so often I’ll look over my sitemap and see if there are any glaring gaps. Did I create too much content over here and not enough over there?

Lastly, sitemaps helps to shine a little spotlight on your site to search engines. No one is saying that a sitemap will be the specific reason search engines start rewarding with you traffic, but it’s good to be the kid in class who raises their hand every now and then to absorb some spotlight—especially when it’s final exam time.

What is a sitemap?

A sitemap is a website map that tells a search engine all about the pages on your site. Each page has a different URL, content, videos, and information specific to that page. And chances are, your site has a topical theme.

A sitemap isn’t complex, it’s really just a listing of pages by category and content. It looks rather boring to be honest.

Image result for sitemap
Courtesy of wcifly

By providing a sitemap, you are telling the search engine what your site content theme is, how the pages fit together, and giving them a FastPass (Disney reference 😏) into your website structure.

A sitemap is a bit like a building blueprint. If you are sitting outside of a building, you’d have no idea how many rooms, offices, bathrooms, or closets it has. You’d have no idea what the layout is or whether or not they even do what the sign says.

The same goes for your website. Search engines don’t take your web address and automatically assume what you do. If they did, they’d think WPBakery.com was an actual bakery instead of WordPress software company. Likewise, they’d think Amazon.com was more like National Geographic than a marketplace.

Search engines crawl your site, analyze each word, bunch them into keywords, crunch the numbers, and then send the right traffic to your site. This is why a sitemap is helpful.

It helps search engines to crawl your site a little bit better.

From a more technical perspective, a sitemap is usually a plain HTML file with a listing of all the major pages and content from a website. Sitemaps can help separate specific elements as well such as Adobe Flash and Javascript elements.

Technical details of a Sitemap

Even more technical, Sitemaps can tell search engines which pages aren’t meant to be crawled (duplicate content/non-functional pages). As your site grows, there will be “back-of-the-house” pages that you don’t want search engines to recommend when people are searching. You can label these pages NOINDEX and search engines will ignore them.

More than NOINDEX, you can also state NOFOLLOW links as well in your sitemap. NOFOLLOW links are when you don’t want search engines to follow the link and award it points, value, or authority.

For example, you might put a link on your website that is important to the page, but you don’t want a search engine to see that page as a relationship to yours. It’s sort of like someone giving you a vote but telling you it doesn’t really count (electoral college anyone?).

How do I create a sitemap on my website?

Creating a sitemap isn’t hard at all. Some website platforms do this for you and others you will need a few things to get going.

Before you start creating a sitemap, your content management system (CMS) may have already created one for you.

How to know if I already have a sitemap?

  1. Type in your domain name in the web browser (ex: surfingwithbananas.com)
  2. Add the following extension /sitemap.xml (ex: surfingwithbananas/sitemap.xml)
  3. Press return/enter/search
  4. If webpage pops up and looks like a directory, you have a sitemap my friend.

If the site returns an error, you do not have a sitemap. Fear not, we’ve got you covered. Continue reading below to setup your sitemap.

How to create a sitemap on WordPress (All in One SEO)

  1. Go to plugins and download All in One SEO
  2. Once activated, click on All in One SEO from the left navigation menu
  3. Click on Feature Manager
  4. Activate Sitemap (It’s free)
  5. Click on All in One SEO from the left navigation menu again
  6. Click on Sitemap from the menu
  7. Configure and press save
  8. Your sitemap will now be YourWebsiteAddress/sitemap.xml

I know the configuration can be a little bit daunting, so I’ve included a video here to guide you through it 😁.

How to create a sitemap on WordPress (Yoast)

  1. Go to plugins and download Yoast
  2. Once activated, click on SEO from the left hand menu
  3. Click on General
  4. Click on Features in the tabs menu
  5. Turn the XML Sitemaps feature ON. It will be a toggle switch.
  6. Click save changes
  7. Your sitemap will now be YourWebsiteAddress/sitemap.xml

To help make this easier, check this video out on Yoast sitemaps. Ashley Faulkes of Mad Lemmings does a great job going through the nuances.

If you don’t have WordPress site, chances are you have one of the following content management systems. Each of these CMS’s create their own sitemap for you which is a great benefit.

Let’s dig into each one and help you create your first sitemap.

How to find your sitemap on Weebly

  1. Type in your domain name in the web browser (ex: beawesomeinmontana.com)
  2. Add the following extension /sitemap.xml (ex: beawesomeinmontana.com/sitemap.xml)
  3. Press return/enter/search
  4. This should take you to your sitemap and it will also be your sitemap URL for submission

How to find your sitemap on WIX

  1. Type in your domain name in the web browser (ex: dothethingtwice.com)
  2. Add the following extension /sitemap.xml (ex: dothethingtwice.com/sitemap.xml)
  3. Press return/enter/search
  4. This should take you to your sitemap and it will also be your sitemap URL for submission

How to find your sitemap on SquareSpace

  1. Type in your domain name in the web browser (ex: itraindogsATL.com)
  2. Add the following extension /sitemap.xml (ex: itraindogsATL.com/sitemap.xml)
  3. Press return/enter/search
  4. This should take you to your sitemap and it will also be your sitemap URL for submission

*Be aware that some SquareSpace accounts have Squarespace in the site name (ex: http//sitename.squarespace.com/sitemap.xml)

How to find your sitemap on Shopify

  1. Type in your domain name in the web browser (ex: begreatatcricket.com)
  2. Add the following extension /sitemap.xml (ex: begreatatcricket.com/sitemap.xml)
  3. Press return/enter/search
  4. This should take you to your sitemap and it will also be your sitemap URL for submission

Do I have to upload my sitemap to search engines?

Once you have a sitemap, the big search engines will eventually find it, crawl it, and index your site. When they find it, it will help them better understand how your pages fit together.

However, if you’ve gone through the trouble of creating a sitemap, you might as well submit one to Google or Bing. This could lead to faster site crawling and earlier search engine rankings.

How to submit a sitemap to Google Search Console

  1. If you don’t have Google Search Console, you’ll need to sign up and link your

Related Questions

What are the best WordPress extensions for sitemaps? We really like AllinOneSEO and Yoast to create sitemaps. Not only do they do a great job creating sitemaps, they’re also great tools to help you structure each post for maximum SEO performance.

Do I need to keep resubmitting sitemaps with new posts? You don’t need to keep resubmitting sitemaps with each new post or small website change.

However, if you are adding posts in bulk for a NEW website (more than 15 posts in a day), changed the navigation of your website (new menus, tags, categories, etc), or you have substantially altered your website (new core pages, deleted tons of pages, or added a ton of product pages) then you may want to submit a new sitemap.

is cold email illegal?

Is Cold Emailing Illegal? Current Rules, Guidelines, And Tips To Keep You Compliant.

Cold emailing is an awesome technique to drive new leads and customers, but is it illegal? Many people have suggested that cold emailing could be illegal in certain situations. But how do you know if your cold emailing is compliant?

Is cold emailing illegal? Cold emailing is legal in the United States as long as you clearly identify yourself, give accurate sender details with a business address, refrain from list harvesting tactics, and provide a clear process to unsubscribe. Rules will vary in other English speaking countries such as Canada, Australia, or Europeans nations.

Whenever you are marketing, you always want to stay on the right side of the law and cold-emailing is no different. You can successfully cold email without fear of legal recourse if you follow a common sense approach to email marketing.

Is cold emailing illegal in the United States?

Cold emailing is legal in the United States. Let’s get that first point straight. You are legally allowed to send emails to business prospects you’ve never met when your recipient/target lives in the United States.

Cold-emailing also applies to mass emails as well or bulk sending. While we aren’t huge fans of bulk emailing, it’s perfectly legal to do so. However, legal cold-emailing doesn’t mean it’s a free-for-all.

You can’t send emails any old way. You have to be smart and follow some rules.

Also, there is something you should be aware of: each country has different legislation on cold emailing. Let’s talk about some of these in more detail.

United States

The United States has a fairly liberal cold emailing policy. You can send cold emails to just about anyone as long as you provide them with the ability to unsubscribe, your sender details are accurate, your honest about ads, and you aren’t using a sketchy harvesting list.

Four steps to send legal cold-emails in the United States

  1. Unsubscribe: You need to give people the ability to unsubscribe to your email inside of your email. You can either use a built in button from a mail platform or you can give clear unsubscribing instructions in the email itself. There are plenty of mail services that are great for this, but you generally won’t be using a personal email system like Gmail nor will you use a marketing platform like MailChimp—these are reserved for emailing people who have previously opted in.
  2. Accurate sender details: You are required to send accurate sender details. If the sender field is inaccurate and the subject line is deceptive, you are sending illegal emails. You will also want to provide a legal address of your company in the email to stay compliant (physical address or P.O. Box). In other words, don’t falsify any information and you are good to go.
  3. Advertising honesty: This one is simple, if you are using an ad in your email, you need to come clean about it or clearly identify the ad in the email. Too often people click on what they believe is a legitimate email element only to be taken somewhere completely different. Don’t do this…ever.
  4. Refrain from using harvested lists: A harvested list is a list that was obtained from a second party illegally such as using a bot to crawl websites or trading lists with other persons or companies. Don’t do this. While there are tons of companies on the internet who will do this for you, we recommend you build your own lists organically through social sites (e.g. LInkedIn). You’ll have better results anyway.

If you’d like more information on the specific laws pertaining to U.S. cold emailing, check out the Federal Trade Commission’s stance of cold-email. We encourage you to read carefully.

Failure to comply with these rules can results in up to $42,530 in fines. The rules are cut and dry and we encourage you to stay on the right side of the law.

Let’s look at a few more English speaking countries and their policies on sending cold-emails.

Is cold emailing illegal in Canada?

Canada is not quite as loose on the cold-emailing laws as the United States. The land of great hockey and beautiful mountains draw a hard line in the sand when it comes to cold-emails.

If you are sending cold emails to Canadian businesses or citizens, you need EXPRESS consent first. Express consent means that you can prove that someone requested or approved of your email in the first place.

You only have two options here:

  1. A prospect gives you direct permission: This means that you were told over the phone or in an email, letter, or text that an email is a perfectly acceptable way to conduct business. Is it even a cold email at this point? We’ll let you decide, but Canada has made clear their position.
  2. A mutual client relationship exists resulting in a referral: Don’t get too loose here. Just because you have a friend who works at bank with thousands of clients, doesn’t mean you can now email thousands of clients. If you have a mutual client and they give you a referral at the request of said company, you can email them.

Also, Canada has the same rules as the United States when it comes to email subject, sender, and address accuracy. You need to put the correct information in, remain truthful with all email data, provide a reasonable means to unsubscribe, come clean about in-email advertising, and honor all requests to unsubscribe emails promptly.

Canada means business and you need to be careful in the way you cold-email prospects in this country. We encourage you to find out more here to make sure your Canadian cold-emails are legally compliant.

If you live in Canada, you should be honored your country is respecting your inbox 😁.

Is cold emailing illegal in the United Kingdom?

United Kingdom is on the other side of the fence when it comes to cold emailing—they don’t like it! And by their recent GDPR legislation, we recommend you really do your homework. I’m not a lawyer, don’t play one on TV, and try not to be seen with them in public 😏.

Before marching any further, you should read the United Kingdom policy on cold emailing here.

Five steps to send legal cold-emails in the United Kingdom:

  1. Customers give permission first: Customers must make the first move. Whether they give you permission to cold email via fax, phone, post, or email, the ball is in their court first. Not only do they need to give you permission, you need to be able to prove they’ve done this (keep your records people).
  2. Robust opt-out strategy: Don’t be sly, don’t be slick. You need to give a clear option for cold email prospects to opt out. Don’t use funny language or tiny text. Always make your email-opt-out CLEAR AS DAY.
  3. Provide Accurate Address: If you are going to cold-email, you need to provide correct contact information. Use a real address.
  4. GDPR: GDPR doesn’t specifically apply to cold-emailing, but it does apply to how you store information about people (cookies). Cold emailing requires data and if you are collecting user data through email, you need to let people know about it. Make sure you are getting consent to store information.
  5. Accurate sender details: Resist sending emails with deceptive subject lines or incorrect sender details. Make sure the email is coming from a real person with accurate information.

The laws in the UK are slightly different and more aggressive than here. And the penalties are extremely high. GDPR penalties can be as high as €10 million/2% annual global turnover.

We always suggest cold-emailing the legal way. Be authentic, acquire email addresses legally, and opt for 1 to 1 emailing whenever possible.

Is cold emailing illegal in Australia?

Cold-emailing is legal Australia, but you need to follow the rules closely. Australia is much like Canada and the UK in their electronic message policies.

Four steps to send cold-emails legally in Australia:

  1. Customers give permission first (expressed consent): You need to receive permission before you cold email an Australian. Whether you need to pick up the phone or write a letter—the choice is yours.
  2. An existing relationship exists: If you already have a relationship with the prospect, you can cold-email them for business purposes. It’s considered “inferred” consent. Inferred consent could also be sending a cold-email to someone who is displaying their contact information in a way which encourages contact. Whether this is on LinkedIn or their corporate website, you can email them with a reasonable introduction or request.
  3. Accurate sender details: You need to provide an accurate subject line, sender details, and email content. No deception allowed.
  4. Unsubscribe: You need to give people the ability to unsubscribe to your email inside of your email. You can accept a reply or use a custom button, but either way, you need to take them off your list immediately.

If you want to know more about Australian cold-email rules, check here. The rules are cut and dry. You should know who you are sending to and they in return should receive accurate information about you. Give them them the ability to opt out and make sure you have the appropriate consent.

Is cold email even effective?

Understanding all cold-email laws is necessary and time consuming. We are hoping this article helps. But, once you have the green light, cold email can be really effective.

In fact, many people have built substantial businesses from cold-emailing alone.

Take Alex Berman for example. Alex has been been able to build up a substantial seven figure business using high quality cold-email techniques. In fact, I think he is one of the brightest minds on the subject.

There are loads of cold-emailing companies out there who will be glad to take your money, but Alex is a great person to reach out to if you are serious about learning the “skill” of cold-email. He has millions of data points to show his methods work amazingly.

He also has a great YouTube channel and shares tons of free advice. Check out the video above I embedded—these tips are gold.

Cold-emailing isn’t spammy or icky AS LONG AS you have a real solution for your prospect. There is nothing wrong with letting someone know you exist and their problem might be alleviated through your services.

Six rules to writing amazing cold-emails:

  1. Be a legitimate person. Don’t go by a false identity or pseudo-name. Be a real person with a real website and a legitimate LinkedIn profile. Most of your business will result from people reading your email, then researching you, and then reaching out to you. Would you spend money with someone if you didn’t know anything about them? Do them a favor and give them your profile links so they can know more about you.
  2. It’s not about you. Stop talking about yourself and start talking to your prospect. They have needs, wants, fears, problems and it’s your job to find those out. If you don’t know what problem you are trying to solve through your cold-email, you aren’t ready to send cold-emails.
  3. Talk about them first. Sure, you have accolades and your business is amazing and blah, blah, blah, and NO ONE CARES. Your prospect is just like you, they only care about themselves. Do yourself a favor, and write the email TO THEM. This isn’t a biography of your life or a demo of your product. Relate everything you say to your prospect.
  4. Research first. Do some research about your prospect. Do they have a LinkedIn profile? Where are they from? How long have they been at the company? What’s their alma mater? You can use a lot of information to build rapport and build a world-class email.
  5. One at a time. I know there are softwares that will send hundreds of emails for you and customize things like a first-name or a company-name. But guess what? The secret’s out and everyone is bulk emailing. I know the difference between a custom email and a bulk email in seconds. If you think mentioning their name and then giving them a long-list of why you are awesome is “custom,” stop immediately. Look at point three and four again and write each prospect a legitimately custom email.
  6. Short enough. Don’t write a long email. You are asking for a blind-date, not a marriage proposal. Three or four sentences are usually sufficient. Depending on your service and how much research you’ve done, you might require a few more sentences. But, think sentences not paragraphs.

Related Questions

Is it illegal to collect email addresses? The act of collecting email addresses isn’t illegal if the email addresses are public knowledge. For example, it’s fair game if you collect email addresses from company websites, company profiles, LinkedIn, or search engine directories.

On the other hand, if you have purchased a harvested list and then you email the list, that would be illegal. The definition of a harvested list varies, but one example would be using a bot to scan websites and collect email addresses.

It goes without saying that you should always obtain email addresses legally and without the use spam bots.

What is the best software to send cold-emails? We like two different mail systems for two different reasons. First, we like MailShake for sending cold-email campaigns that are primarily text. MailShake isn’t cheap, but it’s really effective at tracking open rates and mail statistics. It’s also great for uploading lists and managing contacts.

Second, we like Lemlist for sending single emails and adding a bit of spice to the email. Lemlist allows you to embed custom pictures or custom GIF’s into the email which adds novelty and increases open-rates. It’s probably our favorite tool right now. You can see below how Guillaume Moubeche of Lemist automatically put the recipient’s name (Robert/Diane) in the picture. It’s really cool technology.

can i monetize my wordpress site

Can I Monetize My Free WordPress Blog? 100% yes…

WordPress is an amazing free blogging platform that rewards you with readers as you write great content. And if you write REALLY well, you can experience a tremendous amount of traffic. But can you monetize that traffic and earn a side or full-time income?

Can I Monetize My Free WordPress Blog? You can monetize your free WordPress site through affiliate linking, sponsored posts, and newsletter/email offers. If you’ve paid for your own hosting and custom domain name, you can also monetize through display ad networks, website products, optimized affiliate offerings, offered services, memberships, and site flipping.

Owning a free WordPress blog is a fantastic way to make a healthy side income. Many bloggers start with a hobby blog, eventually make a side-income, and then scale up to a full-time income. Before you assume you can do this with a free WordPress site, let’s walk through the proper way successful bloggers are making great money with WordPress.

Can I Monetize My Free WordPress Blog?

Absolutely. WordPress is a great platform to build money making websites. There are a number of ways to monetize a free WordPress site.

But first, let’s get technical on the definition of “free”:

Is WordPress really free?

Yes and no.

Let’s start with the YES portion. There is a 100% free version of WordPress, but there is more to know. The reason WordPress is so popular is because they’ve provided a completely free blogging platform like Blogger.com or Medium.com. You can upload your content (words and images) and build a readership base with great content.

And again, it’s completely free!

WordPress.com provides the following perks on their completely free account:

  • 3GB of Storage
  • Statistics
  • Page Builder
  • Unlimited blog space
  • Free hosting
  • Own your content
  • Built in social sharing
  • SEO optimized
  • Embed maps and YouTube videos
Courtesy: WordPress.com

The downside of the totally free WordPress.com blogging platform is that you don’t have much control over your site design. Nor will you have a custom domain name for free (.wordpress.com will always be at the end of your URL).

Also, your completely free WordPress site will contain ads, you’ll have limited space for images, videos, and graphics, and limited plugin/upload abilities.

It’s the price to pay for 100% free content management. We think it’s totally fair. And, we think it’s probably a better option than both Blogger.com and Medium.com. It’s far easier to scale up a free WordPress site later on than it is with Blogger or Medium.

WordPress Scaling-Up: This means that you’ll be able to keep all your content and move to your own hosting, custom domain, and a better theme or web builder without disrupting your website.

The free WordPress.com account is great for people who want to get a site up quickly and make sure that blogging is right for them. You don’t want to spend three months building a site only to find out you hate blogging. WordPress is a wonderful testing ground.

You can always transfer out of the site later on if you find the blogging life fits you well.

seems legit martin freeman GIF

Okay, let’s talk about the NO portion and why it’s not always technically free.

The beauty of WordPress is in its flexibility. WordPress can be used as a standalone content management system for websites that want to host their own domain and content.

WordPress itself will be completely free, but you’ll have to pay for everything else—which is a good thing.

Take this website for example. Buildstrongmarketing.com is hosted with GreenGeeks (storage), using an AstraPro theme (design), on a NameCheap domain (domain name), and multiple 3rd party plugins.

In this example, WordPress is the platform that allows all of these things to come together. I use WordPress to build my webpages, type these blogs, access stored images on my server, deliver web pages to Google, and operate the entire website front to back.

All of these things cost money, but WordPress doesn’t cost me a dime. I’m happy to pay for these other website components because I want to scale my site for future flexibility.

So is WordPress free? Nearly always Yes. Can you add on things? Yes. Do those things often cost money? Yes.

As you can see, there is a completely free version and a free + add-ons version. The completely free version is great for beginners or casual bloggers. You don’t have to worry about hosting or messing with site plugins and management.

On the other hand, you can still use free WordPress and add-on what your willing to pay for. By using WordPress as a content management system only, I decide to buy what’s essential.

Ok, with that out of the way, let’s talk about monetization…

Monetizing a WordPress.com website (completely free)

A WordPress.com is great when you first start out with zero budget. However, monetizing your site isn’t as easy. There are only a few ways you can monetize your site.

  1. Affiliate linking: You can earn revenue by writing website content and including outbound product links. The most popular way to do this is by signing up for Amazon Affiliates. When you become an Amazon Affiliate, you earn a commission (1%-10%) depending on the category (see below-Amazon Commission Chart). You will be given your own link for products you want to recommend. Each product will have its own link and when someone clicks on that link in your website, they’ll be taken to Amazon. This would be an example.
  2. Sponsored posts: If your blog generates good traffic for a targeted niche, companies will pay you write about their product or they will provide the content for you to post. This is a sponsored post. WordPress does not allow sites to have predominately sponsored content. Most of the content on your site should be your own non-sponsored content. You are permitted to have some sponsored content sprinkled in.
  3. Newsletter to product: You can collect emails through the WordPress.com block feature. Once you collect emails, you can monetize outside of WordPress anyway you’d like. For example, if you are selling digital products, you could have a Shopify store that you funnel your newsletter audience too. Or, you can sell digital products through ClickBank or Sharesale.
Amazon Commission Chart

Monetizing a WordPress site (mostly free)

For sites where you purchase your own hosting and domain and only use WordPress as a CMS, the sky is the limit. You can do everything we talked about above and some.

Let’s talk about all the additional ways you can monetize a WordPress site when you control the hosting and domain.

  • Display Ads: With a lot of traffic, you can earn a lot of money. Display Ad companies like Google Adsense, Mediavine, AdThrive, and Ezoic will pay you to place company ads on your website. You’ll see anywhere from .50 cents per 1000 page views to $50 per 1000 page views. Your revenue will depend on how many visitors you get, what type of visitors you get, and how well your site keeps them interested (page views and duration). We have an in depth guide detailing how much you can expect to make with ads. Let’s just say with enough traffic, you can make serious revenue from your site.
  • Products: The benefit of hosting your own WordPress site is you can control the flow of products. You can sell Ebooks, courses, and products. The sky is the limit. While ads can make you a lot of money, having your won product(s) can predictably scale your business. To make good money with ads, you need A LOT of traffic. Products however only require a small base of dedicated audience traffic. It’s amazing what you can do with 1000 raving fans.
  • Services: If you have a serviceable skill, you can offer this on your site. WordPress supports tons of plugins to help you book clients and accept payment. Writers, attorneys, digital marketers, graphic designers, and high-end coaches are just a few groups of people making a great living from offering digital services to their clients.
  • Membership: Starting a membership site through WordPress is incredibly easy and lucrative. With helpful management plugins like MemberPress, LearnDash, and Teachable, anyone can start a membership site. Most membership sites on WordPress provide a value to their members and in return are are compensated on a subscription basis. Whether you are offering a 12-week class or an exclusive VIP archive of content, membership sites are a great way to monetize WordPress.
  • Website Flipping: WordPress sites that have good, consistent traffic are worth a lot of money. Whether or not you are monetizing that traffic, someone else will be willing to pay you for your site. Websites like Flippa.com or EmpireFlippers.com will help to broker your site and find a buyer. Websites can sell anywhere form a few hundred dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars depending on the niche, content, and traffic.

Can I put Adsense on free my WordPress blog?

Unfortunately you cannot put Google Adsense on your free WordPress.com blog. To become eligible for ad networks such as Google, Facebook, or AOL, you will need to upgrade to a paid account for access to WordAds.

WordAds is WordPress’s ad management software which enables you to place ads on your blog.

To become eligible for WordAds, you’ll be required to upgrade your account to Premium, Business, or eCommerce. You will also be required to have a custom mapped domain for eligibility.

Once you’re accepted to WordAds, your application will be sent to advertisers for review. Each month, you’ll be paid via PayPal.

Who is eligible for WordAds?

  • Premium, Business, or eCommerce WordPress.com account holders
  • Monthly pageviews traffic in the thousands
  • Website must pass WordAds review
  • Website must be family-safe

How much can I expect to make with WordAds?

WordAds doesn’t pay very well. And that is being really kind. They don’t publish their adveritising rates because it “fluctuates”. That’s fine, all display ad networks do. But, search around on Google and you’ll find that people are getting industry low return.

If you have significant traffic to your website and self-dignity, you’ll immediately stop using WordAds. There are reports of people using WordAds with thens of thousands of pageviews making pennies. Contrast this with high end display ad networks that will pay $10-$25 per 1000 pageviews.

You’d be far better off going with a high quality display ad network (more on that later).

Do I have control where WordAds are placed?

You will have minimum control over where ads are placed on your free WordPress.com site. Under My sites, you can navigate to Earn and then Settings. From here, you can control how many ads are running on one page and where the ads appear.

You will not have control over which advertisers are running on your page, however the advertisers will most likely be relevant to your niche audience. You generally won’t see ads for mens basketball shoes being shown to gardening-blogger audiences.

That’s about the extent of your control. To gain control back, you’ll need to stop WordAds, move to a custom domain and custom hosting, and then sign up to a larger display ad network with more flexibility.

Let’s talk about those networks…

Do WordPress blogs make REAL money?

Absolutely. In fact, there are thousands of people right now who are making 5, 6, and 7 figures from their WordPress websites. There are many ways to monetize your blog as we discussed above.

Passive monetization strategies on WordPress blogs:

Display ads: Display ads from partners like Google Adsense, Mediavine, AdThrive, and Ezoic are completely passive way to earn money from your WordPress site. As your site grows, you’ll be eligible for better and better ad networks. The following networks will continually pay better as you increase your eligibility with great pageviews.

Ad NetworkRequirement
Google Adsense-Any website with traffic
-Completely original and unique content
-Terms and Conditions compliant
-Non-offensive content
-Simple site navigation
Ezoic-10,000 pageviews per month
-High quality website
-Partner good standing (ex:Google Adsense)
-Completely original and unique content
-Terms and Conditions compliant
-Non-offensive content
Mediavine-25,000 pageviews per month
-High quality website
-Partner good standing (ex:Google Adsense)
-Completely original and unique content
-Terms and Conditions compliant
-Non-offensive content
AdThrive-100,000 monthly pageviews
-Majority of traffic is US based
-Partner good standing (ex:Google Adsense)
-Completely original and unique content
-Terms and Conditions compliant
-Non-offensive content

The benefit of using display ads on your website is that you can make money without a ton of daily management. You aren’t fulfilling any product deliveries or dealing with customers. In fact, the more traffic you have, the better display ads network you’ll have access to, and the more money you will make per 1000 pageviews.

How much can I make with display ads?

On the low end, people make as little as .01 cents per 1000 pageviews when their audience is in tier 3 countries. These countries are often located in impoverished regions with little access to purchasing power.

On the high end, you can make more than $25 per 1000 pageviews if your audience is in a Tier 1 country (U.S., Australia, Canada, England, etc). Higher-end revenues are generally reserved for higher-end buyers. For example, a website about buying cheap yarn would make less per 1000 pageviews than a website targeted to high-end fitness treadmill buyers.

As you can see, the revenue opportunity is completely dependent on niche and traffic. If you are able to build your website high-end niche website to 100,000 pageviews and are approved for an upper echelon ad network like AdThrive, you can expect to make +$2500/month.

Related Questions

How can I make money with WordPress without display advertising? We get it, display adverting can make a site clunky and slow. Product affiliation is a great opportunity for WordPress bloggers to eliminate the downsides of display ads. The most popular route is through Amazon Affiliates as we discussed above. For example, an upper-echelon beauty website would be able to achieve up to 10% affiliate fee when someone clicks on their link, goes to Amazon, and buys a product.

This route is completely possible and achievable. And the best part is your site can maintain its integrity. A simple link is an elegant way to maintain a great reader experience while increase site revenue. You also have the opportunity to combine both affiliate networks

Is WordPress still free? WordPress has been free for a long time and continues to offer a completely free platform. The WordPress content management system (CMS) is always free, even when you choose your own domain and hosting. WordPress makes it’s money from WordAds (ads on free WordPress.com blogs), premium plugin revenue, and marketing place revenue (themes/services).

is www still necessary?

WWW vs HTTP in the URL: What Matters and What Doesn’t.

What is the difference between having WWW or HTTP in the URL? And what is the big deal with HTTPS? Do I even need a WWW in the URL at all? All of these questions are confusing and we are here to set the record straight.

Do we need WWW in the URL at all? No. WWW is not required for your website or to travel through the web. Whether or not you type in WWW into the search bar, you will still be taken to your desired web location. On the other hand, HTTP/HTTPS is required unless you are using QUIC or IPFS which are newer and much less common. Of the billion websites on the internet, most of are utilizing HTTP and HTTPS protocols.

The internet expands everyday with more files, more data, and more websites being created. In order to get to your destination, you need a sophisticated address (URL) system. Let’s explore which parts of the URL are essential and what their function is.

WWW vs HTTP in the URL

Do we need to type WWW and HTTP in the URL? Is one more important than the other. These are all great questions and ones that aren’t always clear. Let’s clear it up.

Both of these neighbors (WWW and HTTP) are part of the URL anatomy. They are components of a web address.

Web addresses have an “anatomy”. Each part serves a slightly different purpose.

URL anatomy build strong marketing

Anatomy of a URL

  • URL: Uniform Resource Locator or “web address” is an address that navigates to a specific resource (web pages, images, videos, sound files, directories, files etc). The URL is an address and Google (search engine) is like a GPS.
  • Protocol: The protocol (also known as scheme) is an identifier that tells the internet how to fetch the resource. A HTTPS would fetch a hypertext page (web page) whereas mail.buildstrong.com would fetch mail form a server (more on this below).
  • Subdomain: Subdomains aren’t necessary in the URL, they are optional. They are used to to indicate different content on a site. Subdomains may be useful for search engines to help organize your website into purposes or categories. www.buildstrongmarketing.com indicates a webpage whereas maps.buildstrongmarketing.com would indicate map.
  • Domain: This is the part of the URL that indicates an IP location. Webpages and files have locations and the domain tells the browser where to go.
  • Top Level Domain: TLD’s help to clarify the expected content on a site. A .COM would indicate a standard website whereas a .GOV would indicate a government website. TLD’s like .COM or .NET are accessible to everyone, whereas TLD’s like .EDU or .GOV require authentication. It’s like visiting a friend at their home and seeing APT 105 at the end of their address. You’d expect to arrive at an apartment and not a University. For more information on choosing the best TLD’s, check out our domain extension article.
  • Path: A path or “subdirectory” help to organize different areas of the site. While subdomains at one point were used for this purpose, creating paths are cleaner and easier for search engines to crawl your website and understand what your content is about. If you have a cooking website and you create paths such as /recipes, /cookbooks, /utensils, or /ingredient-lists, search engines will have a very good idea how your site is organized and what your site is about: cooking!

Now that you know what the different elements in a URL are for, let’s dig a little deeper into the HTTP(S)/WWW discussion.

What is HTTP?

HTTP or HyperText Transfer Protocol is a core standard for how the internet is controlled and commanded. There are really two main standards: HTTP and HTML. Because these terms look alike, it’s easy to get confused on which is doing what. To understand HTTP, we must first understand HTML. They are brothers from another mother.

I know I was super confused at one point what any of these web acronyms were. And then a friend much smarter than me explained the details. Here is what you need to know:

The story behind HTML

The internet requires specific languages because all the data is transmitted by computers (machines) and not humans. When you are typing words into your blog or website, your website needs to structure those words in a format that can be transmitted. This structuring of your webpage is called HTML.

HTML takes your normal text and converts into hypertext for other computers to read it correctly. HTML is great because it allows you to create great looking webpages that you know will display correctly on a computer half way around the world.

If we didn’t have a standard protocol for displaying webpages like HTML, everyone’s computer would be left to their own devices—not good. Everyone’s websites would look completely different based on the computer they were viewing it on. We’d have zero confidence in our websites performing well.

computer rage GIF

With HTML standardizing the way websites look, we need a way to transmit that website properly. Consider it like the a successful hand-off in Football or Rugby.

Your website data (images, text, style, videos, etc) are stored on a server. Think “Go Daddy”. And all that data makes up your website. Some of that data is structured to make pages or posts (HTML) and it all of it needs to be transferred the right way.

Imagine if you wrote a book and told your best friend Becky to return to your other friend Dave; only to find out Becky returned it with all the pages ripped out. The pages all still look fine, but the transfer was a MESS. Well my friends, that’s why we need HTTP.

The story behind HTTP

HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP) is the protocol for transferring your webpages from your server to another person/client/computer. Think of HTML like a letter and HTTP like UPS. HTTP delivers your letter to old aunt Edna properly and securely. Without HTML, your letter might look totally wonky and without HTTP your letter might never arrive or it might be missing fonts and images.

HTML and HTTP are like peanut butter and jelly—they need each other. We won’t get overly technical on HTTP in this article, but you should know that typing HTTP is like calling up a delivery service to carry your website content across the world.

Because HTTP is the delivery protocol for all resources like HTML, images, query results, files, it requires a road to travel on. Typically, these roads are called TCP/IP sockets.

We can get into the weeds really quickly at this point, so we’ll stop and say that HTTP is necessary for information to travel between two destinations on the web.

What about HTTPS? Is that different HTTP?

Yes. It’s the same concept of travel, but it’s a secure form of travel. Think of HTTP like a taxicab in New York and think of HTTPS like an armored presidential tank. Both will get you from point A to B, but will do so with maximum security.

Fore more information on the HTTP/HTTPS, check our in-depth guide.

Why do we need WWW before the domain name?

In most cases, you will no longer be required to type WWW in the search address bar. WWW is a subdomain that is no longer needed. There might be some really old websites who haven’t updated their website since 1988 that could require www, but you are unlikely to encounter these websites.

In the internet beginnings, we weren’t as sophisticated. Every website on the internet had very specific intentions. In the old days, you knew exactly where you were being taken by the web address. If you saw a WWW, you’d be taken to website with information. If you saw an FTP, you’d be taken a file transfer hub. And if you saw MAIL, you’d know it was a mail server.

We didn’t have awesome GIF’s or hilarious MEME’s yet. It was painfully boring; web pages were mostly text and small images.

Things were pretty cut and dry in the early days and at that time, it was helpful. If you saw WWW, then you knew you were going to a website. But that’s all changed now. The internet has grown smarter and faster. There are millions of websites created every year.

Nowadays, you longer need WWW before the domain name. HTTP/HTTP(S) is necessary for server transportation, HTML is necessary for website formatting, domain extensions are necessary for website context (.GOV, .COM, .EDU), and domain names are essential for website destination. But WWW, it’s just not necessary. Sorry WWW, your time has set.

We can thank Sir Tim Berners-Lee for creating the World Wide Web program in 1989. It became synonymous with the internet. But, it’s no longer needed. Thanks to smarter web browsers, we can type in the name of the website and the domain extension (.COM) and the internet will guide us where we need to go.

Should I drop the WWW when typing in the address bar?

Yes. It’s unnecessary and you are doing too much work. Every popular browser in the world (Google, Bing, Safari, Explorer, etc) all will take you to your destination with or without typing WWW. It’s not needed.

I see typing WWW in the address bar like I see using the full Zip Code in the United States. You know what I’m talking about, those 4 digits that follow a zip code 60504-7050. You can use it, but 99% of the time it’s not necessary. There are some cases where this might be necessary, but in most instances, it’s not required.

Related Questions

Why does WWW disappear from the URL when I type it? Modern browsers are smart enough to take you to the desired web address based on the domain (Food52) and the top level domain (.COM).

If you type www.food52.com into the browser, you’ll be taken to https://food52.com. This particular website doesn’t have a subdomain like WWW. The browser is smart enough to strip the WWW from the URL and take you where you want to go. Next time you search for something on the web, look at the search results and you’ll see a mix of sites that use WWW and others that don’t.

Whether or not you type WWW in the search browser won’t matter.

Should I add a WWW to my domain name? If you don’t have a WWW in your name already, don’t worry about adding it now. It doesn’t add any value to the URL that search engines require for search engine optimization.

If you really want to add WWW to your domain name, you can log into your host panel and create a subdomain. If you aren’t sure how navigate your host panel, contact your hosting tech support and then can guide you through the process.

Should I take WWW out of my domain if it’s no longer needed? No. As we stated above, modern browsers will take care of website navigation as long as it has a domain name, protocol, top-level-domain, and sub-directories (if applicable).

If you decide to take WWW out of your domain name, you’ll need to redirect all the pages through a 301 redirect. Website users won’t notice this subtle change, but search engines will understand what you’re trying to accomplish. You’ll technically have two different domains with the same content, so a redirect ensures that you don’t get hit with duplicate content penalties.

Is HTTPS better than HTTP? Yes. The “S” in HTTPS signifies SECURE. Browsers have started to signal sites with an HTTPS as unsafe. We’ve written all about HTTPS in this beginners guide and how to add the S to your HTTP.

how much to charge for 500 words

How Much Should You Charge For A 500 Word Article? Pricing, Experience, and Skills.

Writing 500 impactful words isn’t easy. It requires intelligence, skill, and research. But how much should you charge for a 500 word article? As scores of writers join the ranks of popular sites like Fiverr and Upworks, the going-rate for writers is all over the board. From .01 per word international writers to $1 per word New York City authors—the rate varies tremendously.

How much should you charge for a 500 word article? Inexperienced or new writers looking to expand their portfolio can expect to charge between .01 and .09 per word. Expert writers with research skills or niche experience can charge between .10 and .50 per word. Specialized niches can pay even more (+.50 per word) for uniquely equipped writing contractors.

Whether you are an up-and-coming writer or a brilliant copywriter with decades of experience, earning an appropriate writing fee is essential to longevity. While the industry fee-standard fluctuates constantly, we are hoping to share some insight on ensuring your worth. Let’s look at how much you can expect to earn and how to increase your earnings with additional skills.

How much should you charge for a 500 word article?

The industry standard for a 500 word article is around $50. You may find rates that are more or less, but for a native speaking writer in the desired language, expect to earn at least .10 per word. This rate is middle of the pack.

With the recent growth of Fiverr and UpWorks, it’s easy to find work as a writer in the .01 to .05 range per word. But in my experience, these writers rarely work out and consumers are beginning to figure that out.

Do you really want to spend your time hacking at the keyboard for pennies? You’re talented and you deserve more.

humphrey bogart dough GIF by Warner Archive

Anytime we’ve helped businesses procure writers under .10 per word, the amount of editing work is doubled, minimally. They were initially excited to get a “great deal”. And then the work was delivered, all 500 words of trash.

But this isn’t you. If you are a great writer, you shouldn’t write for under .10 per word. You can easily find gigs for under that rate, but isn’t that true for any job? I understand that there are times in life where something is better than anything, but you have value and people are willing to pay for that value.

What if I am a really experienced writer in my niche?

Niche writers on the open market can charge between .10 and .40 per word. The higher rates generally go to research based niches which require industry insight. If you have niche experience and write with fair speed, do not accept rates lower than .10—you will be doing yourself a disservice.

Your talent is valuable, don’t let cheap businesses devalue it—remember that. 🔥🔥🔥

If you are someone with a lot of experience or niche knowledge, you can easily scale your business to niche your services. Smart businesses realize the cheapest articles usually have the cheapest content. The cost of editing, re-wording, proofing, and reestablishing context can take a lot longer with cheap contractors. I’ve seen my fair share.

These additional steps cost the website owner a lot of time and money. And when you are building digital content, time IS money.

What if I am a writing major or a great writer?

Well, that doesn’t make two of us 😜. If you have university training or consider yourself a professional writer, you should be able to demand between .10 and .50 per word. If you are earning less than this, you better be building up a portfolio in hopes to charge more really, really soon or you need to rethink your career of self-worth.

There is a caveat you should be aware of as well: Selling yourself as a great writer is a harder sell on the open market than selling yourself as a competent NICHE writer.

Most businesses looking to outsource per word are doing so for increasing their website content. More content means more eyes on their business. While this content is important, they don’t require Shakespeare to write it. They need someone fast and capable.

Selling yourself as a good writer is fine. Selling yourself as a good writer with excellent speed and superior niche knowledge will land you FAR better gigs. Here is an example of a great writer, certified by Fiverr as a Pro, and demanding .50 per word.

In rare circumstance, we’ve been able to secure a writing team under .10 who delivers great content. But, they typically don’t deliver the same quality as a native speaker with niche knowledge. And in almost every case, we have to edit strange grammar issues.

Depending on how fast your write, starting at .10 per word is a great place to be. Once your writing skills improve or you find a niche you excel in, scale up to .20-.50 per word.

What is the average freelancer writing rates per word?

The average freelancer writer rate varies by experience and niche. The guide below will help you determine where you might price yourself for writing projects:

ExperienceRate Per WordNiche KnowledgeNative Speaker

While this pricing guide isn’t perfect, it’s a rough estimate of what is being charged on the open market for writers. Let’s talk about each pricing category to give you better insight.

Writing Experience

Writing experience is extremely important. Resume features like degrees, writing experience, publications, and writing certifications (language, speed, technical abilities) are important.

In most cases, writing experience in the per word arena implies number of projects completed. If you’ve delivered blocks of content to dozens of clients, you can draw on your experience and use that as a selling point.

Maybe you were the editor for your college newspaper or you have a personal blog that is generating great traffic, all of these experiences matter when selling your writing services. In fact, a solid portfolio of client work will go much farther than an English degree.

If you don’t have a writing portfolio, get busy creating one immediately.

Niche Experience

Having a solid grasp on the material you are writing matters A LOT. Whoever is hiring you will find comfort in your ability to write relevant content for their site.

I would never hire a health writer without health experience or a solid health background. It’s not an indictment on their ability to write well, it’s a cautionary action on my part to hire for competency. I wouldn’t expect Steven King to author a medical dictionary any more than I’d expect Malcolm Gladwell to pen a thrilling horror book. It’s just not their thing.

There are industry terms and nuances that may not seem obvious to everyone, but to an industry reader, it’s everything. They know a fake when they read one.

If there is an industry you have formidable knowledge in—maybe a hobby or academic background—you should market yourself in those niches. You are now extremely valuable to a specific subset of businesses.

Believe it or not, most companies with a corporate website do not regularly update their blog content. They may update their landing pages or optimize the contact pages, but they aren’t putting the time and effort into continually creating content. It’s not on their must-do list.

And chances are the marketing people they have hired aren’t blog writers either. It’s not their “thing”. They were hired because of their digital marketing know-how, ad buying experience, website building prowess, and/or maybe their marketing degree got them in the door.

You showing up at their door might be the perfect opportunity for both of you!

Language Experience

I will do my best to avoid offending people here. I am American and I’ve spend more than 30 years in American humor, wit, debate, and cultural references (good and bad). We have sensitivities and subjectivities in our country that are essential for writers to understand.

With that said, I wouldn’t market myself for writing jobs in the UK, Australia, or South Africa. Sure, English is their primary language, and I speak English, but I don’t understand the subtle nuances of the culture like a native citizen would. And they shouldn’t expect me to either.

The ideal clients to target are clients in your native language and native culture. While people might get upset with me for saying this, I am specifically suggesting this for the following reasons:

  • Highest monetary return – native speakers will receive higher compensation. You can earn good money writing for non-native countries, but top-dollar is usually achieved via locational considerations.
  • Project speed – Simply put, you’ll work fastest in your native language. This means you can take on more projects. More projects means more money.
  • Creativity – Spending a considerable amount of time in a country improves creativity because you’ll have greater command of available vocabulary, a wider repository of cultural material, and your daily life will prompt cultural creative cues. Writing + creativity = good things.
  • Local sustainability – Finding local clients who need great writers can yield terrific results. Sometimes your clients want to speak with you in person about larger projects or they may want you to spend time in their environment to understand their company culture.

Caveat considerations

I am in no way saying you can’t write great content for other countries. Not at all! You can be very successful writing internationally–and you should! People all over the world are doing it successfully.

There are certainly instances where non-native writers can do extremely well for clients in other countries. I have access to UK writers, Indian writers, Chilean writers, and African writers who are BRILLIANT. They write magnificent copy for American companies.

However, they also have local clients that continually hire them and don’t low-ball them. They are running a business based on relationships while eliminating international penny pinchers. Often times when companies hire across the pond, they are doing so to cost-cut—especially overseas writers.

Always remember: you are valuable and what you write has value.

How do I charge for images and graphics?

If you are skilled enough to create graphics and images for a client blog, you are a unicorn and you should be paid handsomely for this skillset.

If the going rate for talented writers is between .10 and .50 per word, you should charge ±2x for image selection and light graphics work. Understanding a niche is critical to receiving more compensation for photos, GIF’s, and graphics.

If you can provide a portfolio of other work that you’ve selected the digital media for, include that in your pitch. It’s really valuable. In my experience, most business owners don’t want to do these things and/or don’t know how.

Save them the headache and offer this as a service. You can encourage the sale by showing them ways to leverage the images on social media to point back to their site.

Charging for free images as a writer

If you are charging to FIND and PLACE free images in a clients blog, you should be able to charge 10-20% more. While the images might be free, you are selling a valuable service. You save your client money by leveraging free imagery, time by doing it for them, and you’ve provided them security in knowing the images are copyright free.

If you normally charge .10 per word, consider charging .11 or .12 per word with free images. Each additional cent you charge will result in $5 more per 500 words.

You could start by charging an additional .01 per word for the total number of images you plan on placing. In a 500 word blog, three images is fairly standard.

Charging for paid images as a writer

Many times your client doesn’t want oversaturated (popular) images on their site. They will require something with more artistic flair or novelty. You can include the cost of finding these images for them and placing them into their site.

Again, your portfolio work is key for this service. Clients want to make sure you have experience with branding and staying consistent with their source material. Anyone can pick images. But not everyone has an eye for appropriate imagery.

Charging 20-35% (+ cost of images) above your per-word rate is appropriate for this service.

Charging for light graphic design work

Increasing your article revenue via light graphics work is a great up-sell. Light graphics work is anything that takes you less than 10 minutes. Examples would include making a cool graph or adding a funny meme to an article.

I always look at the definition of “light” and consider my prices. Your skillset will determine what you are able to provide. If you are an Adobe master, then you can create graphics quickly and charge for it. But us graphic people are always at risk of overdelivering and undercharging.

Always use the time rule–under 10 minutes is light work.

However, if you aren’t a designer, you may need to rely on other tools to get the job done. And, these tools can make you more money by providing new graphic services to potential clients.

For light graphic work, you should charge per graphic content piece. $5-$20 per piece should be the range you are looking for (<10 minutes). If you create 2 graphs, that’s 2x$5-$20. I typically price memes, icons, and super fast graphics at $5-$10. Complex graphics that take 10-15 minutes should be in the $20 range.

Charging for serious graphic design work

We won’t go too far here, or even talk about pricing, but ALWAYS finalize pricing with your client before hand.

As I mentioned above, we graphic designers tend to over design. We do this for our own type-A perfectionism and NOT for the over-delivery of the client—that’s just a perk for them. Don’t let your perfectionism get in the way of your compensation. You are worth your time in minutes and hours. Keep track and charge accordingly.

Charging per word vs charging per project

I would recommend charging per word whenever possible. Per word pricing (PWP) will keep your quotes scalable and accurate. PWP will also ensure you are charging for the volume of work.

If you want to charge per project instead of per word, please do so with caution. Per project pricing can get out of hand quickly if you have a picky client. We most often see client abuse with project pricing.

Things to consider with per project pricing

  • Time: Writing projects can take on a mind of their own when you begin researching and writing. Make sure to keep a tight project timeline and budget. Always charge per hour on the project. If the project requires more hours than previously quoted, speak with the client and adjust accordingly.
  • Revisions: Make sure to include the number of revisions in your proposal. Most contract writers will do at least one revision based on client feedback.
  • Punctuality: Be on time, every time. Being punctual with your project due dates will land you more gigs than anything else. Many writing projects are really writing trials; the client is assessing your deliverables with a small project first.
  • Scope creep: Itemize each component of the project and deliver exactly what you’ve outlined. Clients can take advantage of project pricing by asking for more and more as the project is underway. Don’t let more work creep into your project scope. You aren’t a salaried employee and you shouldn’t be treated as one.
  • Quote Hours: Project pricing doesn’t mean a single number you’ve pulled out of the sky. It’s an estimate of hours it will take multiplied by your hourly rate. If your client is nit-picky, they will have to pay for more hours.

Related Questions

Does location impact what writers can charge? Yes. Where you live can determine what you can charge. As we’ve discussed above with locational rates, native speakers can often charge more for native content. Cultural nuances and sensitivities can impact writing speed and relevancy. This isn’t a universal rule of thumb as many bilingual writers excel at international writing, but we’ve seen that domestic fluency can impact client rates.

How long should a 500 word blog take to write? A 500 word blog is equivalent to two double spaced Word pages. A few hours should be more than enough time to write 500 applicable words. Fast bloggers can write 500 words in under 30 minutes. We’ve talked a bit more about blog length and increasing writing speed here.

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