Not all domain registrars are created equally

choosing a domain registrar namecheap recommended for seo professionals

Over the years it’s absolutely astounding how quickly your domain portfolio grows. There are domains out there I totally forgot I even owned.

One of the worst things we tend to do is buy domains from multiple registrars.

The biggest problem with that is you are making life a lot more difficult for yourself. Streamlining your practices is definitely the best way to go.

In terms of domain registrar I would definitely recommend NameCheap. There are several reasons why I would recommend them to SEO experts.

Firstly, as their name suggests, they are one of the cheapest. The second reason is they offer free whois protection with each domain. The reason I like whois protection is simply because I own so many domains and I don’t necessarily want my personal details showing on them. The final reason why I prefer to use name cheap as my preferred domain registrar is they don’t bump up their prices at renewal time.

What pisses me off entirely about domain registrars like Godaddy and crazy domain is they slap you with a domain price that’s virtually double what you paid at the beginning.

My advice is streamline your service providers and bulk transfer all your domains right at the start. It will help you immensely as your portfolio grows.

Oh and one more thing – ensure you don’t tick the option that allows the registrar to ‘auto renew’. Being in the SEO game you are consistently buying and dropping domains so it’s probably a good idea to evaluate these year on year to see if they are still valuable to you.

Can you really make money online?

making money online

I’m sure this topic has been done to death. But I’m not here to sell you an ebook or indulge you in a get rich quick scheme or for that matter sell you anything at all.

For the last 5 or 6 years I have tried very hard to make a sale online. My success was minimal. My expenses and effort to make money were very quickly starting to deflate my confidence and I eventually gave up for a while.

There are marketers online that will try and sell you blueprints promising a step by step guide on how to make money. I’m sure you have already been sucked into one of them if you are reading this page. Some of them even have the audacity to play with your emotions ever further by showing photos of their so multi million dollar homes and try brainwashing you even further with more pics of what your life could be like if you became like them.

My advice here is simple.

STAY AWAY.

They are all trying to sell you something and they are all leading you down a path of disappointment.

These types of marketers should be ashamed of themselves. They are as evil as it gets prying on poor innocent people. Their pathetic squeeze pages, call to action content, poorly written ebooks were never designed to make you money. The next time you come across a squeeze page like this and feel tempted to buy something I want you to remember this scene from The wolf of Wall Street where he sells penny stocks:

Point of the video kids: Don’t get sucked in.

The reality is that you CAN make money online. Granted, it’s not as easy as it once was. The ability to rank and to maintain a healthy position in the search engine rankings is getting more difficult.

But your ability to make money online truly has to do with you and ONLY YOU. You need to think outside the box and work on those unsaturated niches.

You can go ahead and look for some inspiration for niche ideas through Commission junction (recently renamed to CJ affiliate by Conversant. But there are soooo many more out there for you to choose outside of those realms.

The difference between how i make money online and the traditional methods taught online is that i see mundane things we do and explore in every day life and adapt them to my keyword research methodology. On occasion i reach a dead end – but most of the time I hit the jackpot because I don’t try and copy what others are doing. Yes I will go and check out my competitors to get some metrics but I will only look at their work as inspiration to make mine even better.

Making money online is difficult but not impossible. Don’t give up. Think outside the box. Trust your inner guide and follow your instinct when you think you have potentially discovered a good niche and the fruits of your labor will eventually come to fruition.

10 Commandments all SEO wizards should follow

10 commands for blackhatters

So you fancy yourself a wizard, an SEO expert, a black hatter, white hatter or grey hatter? Whether you want to admit it or not you are probably dabbling in the dark arts.

All too often you hear about ‘white hat’ or ‘grey hat’. You and I both know its a load of BS. If you are attempting to rank by creating artificial links, unnatural in every way, then you have joined the dark side.

I’m not here to judge or to tell you that you are hanging out with bad company.

What I will say is that much like joining any other club, there should be some basic rules that you should follow. At the end of the day you are all trying to achieve the same goals and that is to rank and bank. So I have come up with what I believe are the 10 commandments that all self confessed affiliate marketers, blackhat experts and dabblers of the dark arts should follow:

 

1. Thou shalt not negative SEO

The term negative SEO is being thrown around a lot. The idea that you would hurt one of your competitors by throwing negative links towards their site is absolutely disgusting. This is not the spirit of the game. We are all in it for the same reasons. By throwing your competitor off their perch you are essentially starting an avalanche of events that will follow and ultimately cannibalise your niche. Karma is a bitch and I assure you that by engaging in negative SEO against your other colleagues you are not going to stay at the top for very long. If blackhat is your poison then use it; but not against your competitors.
 

2. Thou shalt not disavow

So, you have been hit with a manual penalty. You panic. You start to do some research and realise that perhaps you can save your site by disavowing your old links. Now wait a minute….

Do you even realise what you are doing here? By disavowing you are essentially taking down an entire network of sites and links.. all because you want to save one of your sites. Disavow is nothing more than crowd sourcing. You are assisting someone else to discover bad links and you are doing it for free. Just cut your losses and move on. Don’t feed the disavow machine at all possible cost!
 

3. Thou shalt not report

So you are struggling to reach the top. You get a brilliant idea that you could report your competitors and get them deindexed. Bad idea! This is as callous as negative SEO attacks. At the same time you may be well unknowingly destroying a link network… one that you may also belong to.
 

4. Thou shalt not steal…some things

You have just discovered a cool niche and you become excited about it. So rather than creating your own videos or content you decide to steal someone else’s. You terrible human being! lol. Look, I understand that we all ‘borrow’ stuff from the net. But I think that it’s a sin to steal videos and work from your competitors. Create your own or borrow from elsewhere! How would you feel if another marketer stole your stuff?
 

5. Thou shalt not …..huh?

Okay so my 10 commandments are not exactly complete. But that’s all I could think of at the moment. If you believe you have any others that should be added to the list then please comment below.

Social media signals will not help your SEO efforts. Period.

social-media-seo affiliates

2013 was the year when social media signals were all the rage. It was as if the entire SEO world had gone mad ramping up their efforts to increase Facebook likes, twitter shares and gain a larger presence on google plus.

We were led to believe by so called experts that boosting our social signal efforts would somehow correlate to an increase in rankings, trust and overall better position with google.

What absolute BS that was.

Of course much like many of you I gave it a go. Nothing could be further from the truth. For many weeks and even months I tested this theory by increasing social signals to my content to see what effect they would take on.

In the end I just concluded that social signals play no role in ranking content.

That’s not to say that organic social signals don’t hold value. They certainly do in the sense that they can drive traffic to your site. But don’t for one second assume that buying a bunch of social signals from fiverr is going to somehow miraculously boost your results. It never will.

If you are adamant on artificial social signals you need to understand that besides making your website look popular they hold no other value whatsoever. You are much better off focussing on quality content than you are with social media signals.

Tax deductions for affiliate marketers

tax deductions and expenses for affiliate marketing online

Let me start off by saying I absolutely suck at keeping up with paperwork.

You either love it or you don’t. I absolutely hate it.

I have always attempted to seek ways to reduce my workload by automating everything I do as much as i can. Earlier in my career I decided to import a physical niche product that I started to sell online. It started to make me some money but honestly I could not be bothered to process orders, print envelopes, pack the goods, make my way to the post office and to ship the products. It got so bad that I would rather give customers a refund than put the effort in to ship them (yes I know ridiculous LOL). I used to joke around with my sister about this. Her online businesses are all about customer service and shipping products and I could never be as organised the way she is. Quite often I would say to her ‘Yes dear. That’s great for you. But it’s not who I am. I just want to go to sleep, wake up, check my email and see how much money I made’. And that’s exactly what I did.

Anywho I’ve gone off topic a little but I had a point to make. If you are anything like me then you will need all the help you can to keep yourself organised especially when it comes to your tax records and expense management whether you are into affiliate marketing, internet marketing or whatever you want to call it.

Managing your receipts

FACT: Keeping good records of your receipts will allow you to minimise your tax liability to the government.

The moment you start to scale up your operations and outsource everything you are going to find it difficult to manage your expenses if you don’t plan ahead.

I scoured the internet high and low for the simplest solution I could find. If you are as lazy as i am then you should check out Shoeboxed. Shoeboxed allows you to forward receipts via email, take a snapshot of them with your phone or even mail them in via snail mail. The beauty of shoeboxed is that a team of administrative staff will go through your receipts and properly categorise it for you. This means at tax time you have meticulous records of your expenses which will allow you to minimise your tax and maximise the amount of money you can keep in the end.

Shoeboxed is not only a timesaver it is literally a lifesaver. For around $200 a year you will outsource the most time consuming aspect of your business. You will thank me later on this one!

Minimising your tax and Maximising your deductions as an affiliate marketer

Once you start to make serious money online you will need to start thinking about how you can keep as much of that hard earned affiliate money as possible. Again, this is a step you want to think of right at the start. Leaving this at the end can see you hand over a large proportion of your hard earned money to the government all because you did not spend an hour or so coming up with ways to help yourself. This is especially important if you have a full time job as a second income for most will push you into a higher tax bracket.

So, how can you minimise your tax? Spend appropriately throughout the year of course and keep records of it through shoeboxed.

Examples of Tax deductions of Online affiliate marketers

- Cost of internet
- Cost of mobile phone monthly fee with your carrier (even though you may not be using the telephone aspect you are most certainly using data to receive work emails)
- Hardware purchases (computer equipment, new mobile handset, speakers, hard drives, USB devices, NAS storage devices, you name… as long as you use it in your day to day business then you can claim it)
- Advertising (this could be SEO, Adwords costs, etc)
- Online costs (these could be as simple as subscribing to Akismet Spam or web hosting, cost of buying domains, freelancer costs, software purchases, VPS subscriptions, subscriptions to tools that help you in your SEO efforts, etc, etc).
- Travelling costs (Airfares to exhibitions, conventions, training sessions or perhaps you own a travel website and you review destinations… well you might be able to claim the cost of travel too!)
- Home office costs (stationary, a percentage of utility bills, cleaning costs, etc, etc).

The list is virtually endless. If you can substantiate that your expense was a requirement in doing business then you will most certainly be able to claim it. Naturally the rules differ in each country but most Western world countries apply similar principles.

Accountants for affiliate marketers

I am yet to find one that specialises in this area. It’s such a shame though. You would think that SEO savvy accountants would have recognised this as a niche to providing a service for affiliate marketers like us.

I suppose the point I want to make is that you can probably do your own tax returns but keep in mind that you are not likely to get the best possible outcome. Accountants do this for a living and they know all the rules and methods to maximise your return (or lower your tax liability) so it’s in your best interests to find one that can help you meet those goals.

If you are starting to make serious coin from your online affiliate marketing then you also need to be prepared to pay tax. As much as none of us like it, unfortunately it’s a reality for most. Don’t do anything silly in your tax return that could potentially have your entire financial history under a microscope. Be honest with Mr tax man because it will come back to bite you later on.

Apologies for the draft post. It’s not picture perfect but I hope that it answers some of your questions. Ask away if you are unsure. Even if you take away nothing from this post just remember that a receipt management tool will be your saviour at tax time!