(Transcript continued from the Episode 097 show notes and audio podcast)

Mark’s Goals and Plans for 2016

Today I want to talk about a couple of things that are going on. You guys know I went through Michael Hyatt’s Best Year Ever course, it’s closed now. The result of that for me was eight goals for the year 2016. I’m very serious about these goals. Some of the goals are deeply personal, however some of them are related to Late Night Internet Marketing. Particularly, two of them that I want to tell you about are super cool for you.

One of them is very simply more content. In fact, I’ve targeted 250 pieces of content as one of the major goals for the year 2016. That’s 50 of these podcasts, 100 of the Internet Marketing Minute podcasts, 50 super solid pieces of content that are written in nature, which are also super cool for search engines, and then 50 videos.

For those of you who have had a chance to see those videos, I usually shoot those in my car, it’s kind of like what’s going on with me in my day and how it relates to internet marketing. I get a lot of nice positive feedback on those and I do them because they’re fun and it’s a way to reach a different audience. If you have chance, check those out on the blog.

That’s the goal, 250 pieces of content. That basically breaks down to five pieces a week, so I’m ramping up to that. I’m not quite there yet on my publication schedule, but I’m committed to it this year. That’s the goal and I’m putting it out there. Feel free to hold me accountable to those 250 pieces and feel free to tweet me @Masonworld whenever you don’t see the content that you were expecting. I’ll appreciate that very much.

The other goal has to do with my autoresponder. A lot of times in internet marketing you’ll hear “the money is in the list,” and so on and so forth. You’ll also hear me say that in order to have a viable business you have to deliver value.

It turns out that one of the reasons that the money is in the list is because that’s an incredibly effective way to deliver value. How great is that? It’s true that most of us that are doing something that we call business are doing it and one of the necessities of that is making money, making a profit. We don’t just do this out of the goodness of our hearts, although that would be nice. A lot of us are doing whatever business that we’re doing because we need to make a buck, we need to provide for our families.

The truth of the matter is the more money you make the more people you can help. A Rabbi wrote a book, I’m not going to be able to remember his name but the name of the book is Thou Shall Prosper. It’s a book all about how it’s okay to make money. It’s interesting because a lot of people have this limiting belief that people who make money are fundamentally bad, they’re evil because money is the root of all evil. That’s not actually what the Bible says, it doesn’t say money is the root of all evil. I’m not going to get into a sermon on this podcast, but I will say that the more money you have the more people you can choose to help, so making money is not all bad.

In any case, the list is held high by marketers because it’s very valuable. One of the reasons that it’s very valuable is because it’s so effective at delivering value. When I looked at my email list it was obvious to me that I’m not doing an effective job of delivering value. So that’s my second goal for 2016 is to create 12 e-courses that people can opt into and get awesome information that will end up putting them in my list and that the list will deliver them awesome content every Tuesday for forever. So that’s coming, too.

And as a part of that journey, I’ve been working trying to decide which email autoresponder is really the best for this. I have thousands of subscribers in AWeber. I love AWeber, they’re awesome. They invented the autoresponder, at least from my perspective. They were the only game in town when I got started, along with GetResponse back in 2007. But they’ve been asleep at the wheel. I don’t know what’s been going on at AWeber. I guess they worked real hard until 2009 and then went on vacation until 2013 or whenever they started working on their user interface. Their stuff was completely stagnant, at least from perspective, for years, almost to the point where I was starting to stop recommending them even though I use them every day. I love AWeber, I love the people over there, their customer support is great, but they just weren’t innovating.

And there are some new kids on the block. Nathan Barry has Convert Kit. My buddy Pat Flynn is an advisor for Convert Kit. I went over there and checked that out and I was completely blown away by the capabilities that Convert Kit offered. So I had been working on a plan to move over to Convert Kit, and it looks like I’m actually going to end up staying with AWeber because AWeber is finally starting to wake up and add some of the features that look a hell of a lot like what’s going on at Convert Kit now.

I’ll tell you, one of the main reasons that I’m staying with AWeber is I have grandfathered pricing on their platform. If I was starting out today, I think it would be tough. I really like Convert Kit, I like the people over there, Nathan is awesome and of course they have Pat behind them, and I think it’s a really good product.

The one thing that Convert Kit is missing that AWeber has is integration with all platforms. Almost anything you buy in the marketplace that needs to be integrated with an autoresponder can be integrated with AWeber, because they’re the granddaddy of autoresponders. So there’s a nice automation and ease of use going on with AWeber that you’re not going to get with Convert Kit. That eventually will change – eventually all of these tools like Amember, WishList Member, and other tools will integrate with Convert Kit, then the playing field will be level and it will strictly be a competition on price. For now, I think Convert Kit is really cool.

In any case, if you are a subscriber to my email list you’ll be seeing some changes and you will be seeing sometime in the very near future weekly emails coming out on Tuesday that offer you just valuable content. Not sales pitches. I mean, there will be some sales pitches from time to time on my list, after all this is an affiliate marketing podcast. It will offer you valuable content, stuff you need to think about, hopefully stuff that will get you motivated.

One of the things that I’ve integrated into this new strategy is a new website design, which will be coming sometime in the first quarter to LateNightIM.com. As part of that website design we’ll be integrating in new lead capture tools. Primary among those lead capture tools will be LeadPages. I love the guys over at LeadPages. Tim Paige the conversion specialist over there that does all the webinars is a friend of mine, and he’s an old friend of the show. In fact, we’re going to have him on in a few weeks to talk about lead capture and conversions.

I’ll be integrating LeadPages and one of the things they have is this cool  gadget, and you guys can test this out. If you are not on my email list right now, you can text the word LATENIGHT to phone number 44222 and it will talk to you and ask you for your email address, and you can jump in my email autoresponder and be part of this kind of exciting thing. That’s kind of step one of 10,000 of the things that I’m doing around the autoresponder. If you want to be part of this and join the list, text LATENIGHT to 44222 and you can be part of the excitement as we get all of this stuff changed.

A lot of stuff happening and very exciting for 2016, I’m really looking forward to going through that. Since all of it is marketing related, I’ll be sharing all of it with you. We’ll go through it together and I’ll tell you what’s going on, tell you about how I’m able to hit or not hit this publication schedule, tell you what’s going on with the autoresponder, how I’m doing that and what the strategy is there. I’ll be sharing all of that with you and I think you’ll enjoy it.

Additionally, in part because of something that I’m going to tell you about in a minute with regard to Google, I’ve also made the decision that as part of this content strategy if you’re going to write and talk and have all of this great content it’s good to have something to talk about that is sort of a thread that pulls you through the entire year for content. What I’ve decided to is create what I’m calling The Late Night Niche Site. In fact, I’ve already got a little stinger audio for it

.

I’m actually very excited about this. I’m going to take some time, figure out exactly what it is I want to do, and I’m going to talk about it every week with what my progress is. By the end of the year, hopefully what we’ll have is this long string of discussions about how I went in and actually built one of these niche sites that we’re always talking about. I’m going to take something that’s meaty, I’m going to build a really helpful website, we’re going to try to monetize it and get traffic to that website, and we’re going to report the profits. Just like we did years ago with the Corn Sheller site. And we’ll continue to talk about Corn Sheller site.

So be looking for that stinger and information about The Late Night Niche Site and if you want to you can follow along with me. I’ll give you a little hint, don’t tell anybody, this is really going to be a precursor for my niche site course that’s going to be coming out in late 2016, early 2017.

Google Manual Site Action

Here’s the craziness. In the middle of December I didn’t really talk about this with you guys because of Christmas and all, I was busy, we took a couple of weeks off for the holidays and I didn’t put out a show. Now is the time to reveal this. The much loved Corn Sheller site has come under attack by our friends at Google.

I got up in the middle of December and checked my email and it said, “You have a notification in Google Webmaster Tools.” I’ve been saying for a long time, and I think these SEO gurus that I hang out with, including Andrew Hansen, agree that you should be in Google Webmaster Tools. One of the advantages of being in Google Webmaster Tools is that Google will notify you about what it is specifically they see that’s wrong with your site.

I had the much dreaded Manual Site Notification on the Corn Sheller site. This is the first time that I’ve had this particular one, this was the thin content notification. So Google basically says we’ve done a manual review of your site and we noticed that the content is thin. Really what they’re saying is your content that you have on this site is not worthy of the rankings that we’ve been giving you, so even though you’re being selected by our algorithm to be on page one of the search engine results we’re going to derate your site so that you appear further down the page.

This makes me think of in the summertime in Texas when I’m fishing and I have some bait that would normally float but I tie a weight to it. This is just sinking to the bottom of a muck filled lake. If you look at the rankings for the site, I’ve been pushed off of page one and down to page six. If you look at the clicks for the site, they’ve gone down by a factor of five or ten, and the revenue for the site has fallen accordingly.

This is a site that for almost three years now has been cranking out ten dollar bills at the rate of two, three, four, or five ten dollar bills a month with no effort required, just a little money machine ATM, with gusts of wind up to $200 occasionally.

The thing that I really loved about the site was since it was out in the open it was something we could talk about. Well, we’re going to continue to do that because getting hit with a manual site action is something that can happen to any of us, particularly we affiliate marketers who are building relatively small sites, sites that actually do have relatively thin content compared to other sites on the internet. For my part, what I plan to do is try to invest the resources in this site to see if I can correct the problem.

Not so much because of the revenue. If you had a site that was generating $500 a month, $1,000 a month, or $2,000 a month and you were hit with a manual site action, that could be devastating. It could be the difference between you paying or not paying your mortgage payment. When it’s $10, $20, or $40 a month it’s not that big of a deal. In fact, we could just choose to ignore it and I could say I’ve gotten all I need to get out of the Corn Sheller site, it’s still a good example of what a site can look like, let’s just let it go. Since we’re in teaching mode here on the Late Night Internet Marketing Podcast, I think it’s a great opportunity to see if we can actually correct it.

What is the Corn Sheller site? You can go over to CornSheller.net and check it out. Basically it is a relatively thin site in terms of content that consists mostly of pages that simply read eBay auctions, they search eBay for corn shellers for sale, antique ones particularly, and repackage that content on the website. From Google’s point of view, basically what they’re saying is there’s no reason for us to rank your version of somebody else’s content, you’re just showing eBay’s content so we’re going to penalize you. That’s a pretty reasonable point of view for Google to take, to be honest with you.

If you’re the guy who is making money from doing that, it makes you kind of sad. I will tell you that this is another cautionary tale, if you’re running a website and most of your revenue is coming from a place (Google or Facebook or Twitter) you need to figure out how to diversify your income. You need to be careful about building your empire on rented land. If Google is the source of your traffic, Google can decide they don’t like you anymore. That’s exactly what happened with the Corn Sheller site. Even if their reason is good, or maybe not so good, the simple fact is that if all your traffic is coming out of the Google faucet that’s exposure that you need to manage from a business risk standpoint.

Here’s what I plan to do. I’m going to do some research. I know something about this manual site action stuff and I have friends that do SEO for a living and I’m going to consult them. One of the things that I know I’m going to do for sure is that I’m going to do a full on-site search engine optimization for the site.

This means doing a lot of the things that we’ve talked about over the years. Making sure that garbage pages that should not be indexed are not in Google’s index, making sure that pages that we don’t really want in the index like the disclaimer and the privacy policy have a no index tag on them because those aren’t really relevant, Google searchers don’t really want to find those. We want to make sure that the pages that have repurposed eBay content on them additionally have their own content on the page, unique copy that is unique to the site. We want to make sure that we have very good page titles, descriptions, and SEO optimization on a page by page basis.

We want to basically go through and do a full audit of the site. We want to remove all the duplicate content that we have on the site. When I was looking in Google Webmaster Tools, the number of pages that are indexed is way more than the number of pages of unique content actually on the site. That’s usually an indication that WordPress has gone crazy with tag clouds or category pages or some other junk that frustrates search engines. We’re going to clean up all of that and make sure we don’t have any 404s on the site, the whole thing, all of the on-site stuff.

Then I’m going to add as much unique content as I can figure out how to add. It turns out it’s a little bit difficult to write interesting corn sheller content. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to write an article about antique corn shellers. If you think you’re good at that, let me know and I might have a job for you. Basically what I’m going to do is hire someone to add some content. Maybe as much as 20 pages of content to that site, which would almost double or maybe triple the actual non-eBay-listing content that’s already on the site.

Maybe I’ll expand the site in other ways as well. Maybe there’s a related topic that I can add to the site that will make it broader still. We’ll see about that. I haven’t quite decided what that strategy is. I’m going to come up with a strategy, talk to my SEO buddies, do that work, and then I’m going to let you know what happens. I will submit a site reconsideration request to Google, I’ll share that request with you and we’ll talk about it as we go forward.

That’s what has been going on with the Corn Sheller site. If you have further questions about manual action or you’ve had this happen to you and you have some advice for me, or if you just want to talk about what’s going on with Google these days (I know Google is unleashing another algorithm update, so there’s lots of exciting stuff coming down the pike) just drop me a line over at LateNightIM.com or reach out to me on Twitter @Masonworld and we can talk SEO and Google manual site actions and whatever else you want to talk about to see if we can get this thing figured out. Otherwise, I’m going to go forward and take some action and tell you about in the hopes that will help you in the case that this ever happens to you.

Wrapping Things Up….

That wraps it up for this edition of the Late Night Internet Marketing Podcast, Episode 97. For Episode 100 I have something special planned, so you’re going to want to stay tuned for that. Let’s just say that my mastermind group is heavily involved in the episode. I’m excited about that and I think you will be too. We have a couple of episodes to go before that happens, but in a couple of weeks look forward to Episode 100. It’s hard to believe 100 episodes of the Late Night Internet Marketing Podcast, coming soon.

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