My Essential WordPress Plugins

Every time I set up a new WordPress website, the first thing I do after I find a suitable theme is to install plugins.  There are  plugins that I use on every site.  This post is to inform you all and myself.

  • WordPress SEO – There’s debate about which is the better SEO plugin between this one and  All-In-One SEO but I’ve switched.  It integrates your social media, sitemaps, and post meta data. AIOS is probably more user-friendly for beginners though.
  • Disqus – This comment system integrates with WP very easily.  It lets your readers comment using their other accounts such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+.
  • Jetpack – It should come installed with WordPress by default but you need to set it up.  You can use it to push posts to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Google+.  It also enables share buttons for users share to those sites as well.  There are a lot more features that I haven’t used yet.
  • Google Analytics For WordPress – Integrates GA and gives you control on what to track and what not to track.
  • Amazon Affiliate Link Localizer – If you’re an Amazon Affiliate, you won’t have to sign in your account and grab the your affiliate link.  Any outgoing Amazon link will automatically include your ID.

If you have any suggestions for plugins that every site would benefit from, feel free to let me know.

My Own Product

I browsed Alibaba day after day and finally came up with a niche that I was interested in. I contacted about 30 different suppliers and got about 15 responses. I think a lot of them were just middle men. The others either had high Minimum Order Quantities (MOQs), high price per product, or couldn’t speak English very well. After a while, I finally found a supplier that was one of the cheaper suppliers AND spoke English well. I think the latter was a big part of me going with my rep.  You also have to see if they’re a verified seller, if they have any feedback, and how long they’ve been in business.  Alibaba shows all that information and more on the seller’s profile.

I placed an order for a sample and a few days later a FedEx package came to my door. It seems pretty standard to get free samples but you have to pay for the shipping.  He sent me three samples and they looked alright to me. I ended up placing an order for 1,200 pieces and wired him a deposit. When it was ready to go, I had to settle up the other half. After about a week or two, my package came and I was really excited.

I was a nervous wreck while waiting to see if my order would actually come.  It’d be easy to send samples to appear legit, then have someone make a big order and disappear.  If you get a gut feeling that something feels sketchy, don’t move forward until they make you feel comfortable again.

I  was developing my website while I waited for the products to come.  I built it off Magento after a lot of research on e-commerce platforms.  There are a lot of simpler solutions but they have monthly fees.  I like Magento CE because it’s a self-hosted option so I don’t have to pay anyone anything.  I don’t really have the time to build anything from scratch so I found a nice theme on themeforest.  I set it up, took product photos, and two weeks later I had my site ready to go.

I started marketing organically through social media and some forums and traffic trickled in.  My biggest source of traffic was probably reddit.  I found a subreddit and offered a special discount after getting moderator approval.  Unfortunately, you can’t make an offer more than once in that sub.  I got a bunch of orders that way.  Since that promotion I’ve had sales trickle in slowly.  eBay was another channel of sales but I had some complications with apparent trademark issues.  That’s for another post.

This brings me back to my biggest issue that I mentioned in a previous post, traffic.  I know how to setup a decent niche site, but without traffic there’s no point.  Offering a promotion through your site, Facebook, Twitter, etc is worthless if it isn’t presented to enough people.  This has become my #1 goal for learning.

My Internet Marketing Endeavor: What I’ve Done

When I was about 18, I discovered that there were opportunities to make money online.  The internet was still in it’s infancy and AOL was really popular.  These are the ways that I’ve tried to earn extra cash.

eBay + Amazon

It all started when my friend showed me Techdeals.  I could find a product at a discount then sell it at a higher price on eBay, price arbitrage.  SlickDeals and FatWallet weren’t around yet and people weren’t as web-savvy.  Nowadays, if you see a deal online you have to jump on it.  If it has been over 30 minutes since the deal was posted, there’s a good chance it’s sold out.  I never had the balls or the funds to buy a lot of inventory to resell.

I recently found a product, that normally sells for around $40, on sale for $9.  I researched on Amazon and saw that they were selling for $32.  I thought I found a goldmine so I placed an order for 50 of them.  As soon as they came in, I sent them right off to Amazon to sell through Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA).  Amazon takes a cut but I don’t have to buy packaging, pack them, and ship them off individually.  It appears that 30 other people had the same idea.  As soon as my products went live, I had about 30 other competitors that weren’t there when I did my initial research.  Now instead of making $15-20, if I match the low prices I’ll barely make anything after the FBA fees.  It’s not the late 90’s anymore.  I can afford to buy more than one or two, but my margins are much lower.

My Own Product

Other guys were saying you have to sell your own product.  This is something I’ve always wanted to do.  Last year I made it my mission to go through with it.  I found a product with a really low cost and a very high margin.  I built the site, set up my social media accounts, made some posts, and waited for the orders to come in.  I posted on reddit and got a bunch of orders the first weekend.  I haven’t been able to repost an offer so I can’t rely on that again.  I haven’t been able to get much traffic but I haven’t run any ads either.

Then something shitty happened.  First I got my eBay listings taken down with a message about trademark infringement.  WTF?!?  Then a few weeks later, I got a certified letter stating I was being sued.  I was not alone either.  This guy is going after about a dozen of us.  This has killed my motivation to try and grow the brand right now.  I’m hoping that it ends soon and I can get back to pumping up the site.

Even after I had this site up, I was and am still thinking about another product to sell.  My mind is always thinking about ways to make money.

Internet Marketing

I was first introduced to internet marketing through a forum I regularly post on.  The most popular topic in the thread was affiliate marketing.  I was definitely intrigued but I never put forth enough effort.  I would find an offer to market and get excited.  Then I’d set up one campaign with one ad and sit back and watch.  Nothing happened so I would eventually lose interest.  Since I was lazy, I always tried direct linking.  That has not worked out too well for me.

I’ve tried setting up niche websites.  I’m not selling anything on these but I was hoping I could earn some money through ads and some affiliates.   As with any website, you need traffic.  The problem is that I never got enough traffic.  Then after about a month, that project fell to the wayside.

I need to get over that hump and keep at it.  We as a society have evolved to need instant gratification.  If that site doesn’t make me $10,000 in the first month, it’s time to move on to the next idea.  I’ve come to realize that I’m even lazier than I thought I was.

WordPress Migration Issues

When I was migrating my WordPress sites, I ran in to a few issues and couldn’t figure out why.  I’m making this guide to help out those that are going through the same issues.  First I’ll map out how to do the migration efficiently.  You could always see if your new host can do it, basically copying all your databases and your whole root folder.  Then I’m not sure what else they do but I wanted to figure it out on my own.  I didn’t make any nameserver changes initially.  I wanted to make sure it was easy to access the working live site before I made the changes.

WP Migrate DBExport the Database

  1. Install WP Migrate DB on the existing live site.  This is the easiest method I have found so do this first.  Activate it and go to Tools > Migrate DB.
  2. You’ll need to fill out the new URL and new file path.  Most likely the URL will be the same but the file path will be different.  Mine went from “/home1/username/public_html/domain.com” to “/home/newusername/public_html/domain.com.”
  3. The other options are up to you.  I left spam comments out and used the gzip.
  4. Click Export Database.

 

File ManagerDownload the WP files

  1. Login to the live site’s CPanel.  Open File Manager and navigate to the domain you want to move.
  2. Compress the directory and all the enclosed files.
  3. Locate the zip file and download it.

 

phpMyAdminCreate a New Database

  1. Login to your new server’s CPanel.
    Open the MySQL Database Wizard and create a database using the same name as your old one. Import SQL DB Create a user with the same credentials too.
  2. Open phpMyAdmin and you’ll see the empty database you just created.  Click on the Import tab and upload the SQL file you got in Export the Database above.

 

 

 

Upload the WP Files

  1. In the new server’s CPanel, open up the File Manager.  If this is not the domain you used to set up the hosting account, you’ll need to open Addon Domain.  That’ll create the domain folder for you.
  2. This is where you want to upload the zip file you downloaded in the Download the WP files step above.
  3. Extract the files.
  4. If you didn’t use the same database name or credentials when setting up the new one, edit this in the wp-config file.  That should be in the root of the domain folder.

Miscellaneous Issues

  • On one site, clicking on any posts or pages after the migration resulted in a 404 error.  All I had to do is go to Settings > Permalinks and save the default option, then re-save the Post name option.
  • I had a bunch of plugins that needed to be updated but when I tried to do this on the new server, WordPress would ask for my FTP credentials.  For me, it turned out to be a PHP issue.  I contacted KnownHost and they changed something with PHP.  One solution that I’ve seen work is to add the following code to your wp-config file.
    define( 'FTP_USER', 'username' );
    define( 'FTP_PASS', 'password' );
    define( 'FTP_HOST', 'ftp.example.org:21' );

I’ll update this file if I can think of any other errors that I encountered.  Moving your WordPress site is not as daunting as you might think.  If you need any help, feel free to email me.

Changing Hosts

I was in the midst of changing web hosts over the weekend. HostGator has let me down recently and I’ve been meaning to upgrade to a VPS anyway. I want to start using Prosper202 for conversion tracking. After quite some research, I found KnownHost. They have the most reasonably priced VPS host plans for my budget.

I had about a dozen websites to migrate so I definitely learned a lot in the process.  I ran in to a few errors as I was migrating the WordPress sites so I’m going to write up something to help explain the process.  Hopefully that’ll help some of you out there.  I also ran in to a few problems as I was migrating a few Magento sites.  I’ll be documenting that as well.  I could’ve had KnownHost do it but I wanted to know how to do it myself. All in all it wasn’t that bad, just very time consuming do it one by one. If anyone needs any help with migration, let me know.

Spigen Neo Hybrid iPhone 5S Case

The Linear Metal case is a pretty sweet case but it’s not so practical when you have kids.  It’s aesthetically pleasing but I’m not entirely sure it’d survive a drop from a couple feet up.  The phone would be ok, but I think the plastic frame would break.

I did some further research and ended up finding the Neo Hybrid iPhone 5S case.  It’s made up of two parts.  A rubber cover goes around the whole phone and a frame that resembles a bumper snaps in to the rubber part.  When put together it looks like one piece and fits really snug.  The volume and lock buttons are solid and give great feedback.

I think the best feature, like the Linear Metal case, is that it doesn’t cover any of the glass so that a screen protector isn’t affected.  I hate when cases make the protector bubble.

I also got it in Space Grey for my black iPhone 5S.