Still Corporate

I haven’t left the 9-5 corporate grind.  I haven’t made thousands through affiliate marketing.  The truth is I’ve joined bigger and bigger consulting firms as my career has progressed.  That is something I never thought would happen.  If marketing was easy, everyone would be doing it.  As I’ve read and know first hand, you really have to focus and I just haven’t been able to devote time to doing it.

I did go on vacation to Hawaii recently.  Traveling is the easiest way for me to partake in one of my favorite hobbies, photography.  I think I’ve gotten better but I don’t really take enough pictures.  Of course I’m my toughest critic though.

I basically took all my gear with me on the trip.  Here’s what I currently have:

Body: Canon 60D w/ BG-E9 battery grip

Lenses:  Canon 24-70mm f2.8L USM | 100mm f2.8L IS USM | 10-22mm f3.5-4.5 USM

Flash: Canon 580EX II

It all fits in my Lowepro camera bag and boy is it heavy.  After lugging it around the airport along with my backpack which has my 13″ Macbook Pro, I decided I need a new bag to carry everything.  I haven’t pulled the trigger yet but I’m leaning towards the Case Logic backpack.  It looks like it was well thought out.  I like how the camera is suspended/held inside the bag.  However, I did buy this other Lowepro bag because it was on sale for $13.  I think it’ll be a good around town bag.  What I do now is just leave it on the passenger or backseat of my car.  Sometimes in the family car, I put it on the floor.

After I got back and edited my pictures, I was a bit disappointed in the sharpness of my pictures.  Most of them were taken with the ultra-wide 10-22mm.  I think my biggest problems are lighting and holding steady.  When I take a picture of the kids and they’re moving, I tend to react and move with them.  When I get my shot, I’m pretty sure I’m not absolutely still half the time.  Thank goodness for digital.  One thing I did learn was to shoot using AI Servo in situations like this.  I have yet to try it but I will soon.

I have a good reason to try soon because I just picked up the Canon 10-18mm f4.5-5.6 IS STM ultra-wide lens.  I also signed up for a Flickr account.  Hopefully I can use that to get feedback and learn from other photographers.  Don’t worry, I’m not going to throw up a Facebook fauxtography page and pretend I’m a pro.  Those people irk me.  I know I’m critical but most of those people shouldn’t be charging anyone for their services.  Anyway, here’s my Flickr Photostream.

Bringing Back Google Discussion Search Filter

One of the most useful options I used when doing online research was the discussions option on Google.  A few months ago, Google decided to remove it.  Install this extension and it’ll add it back to your searches.

Discussion Filter

It’s really useful when you’re trying to do research on products.  Right now I’m trying to find out information on CEL codes for my car.  Without the discussion filter, all I see is links to auto parts stores.  That doesn’t really help me find out what’s wrong with my car.  I need to find out what part I need first.

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.

Spigen Linear Metal Crystal iPhone 5 Case

One of the reasons I switched from Android phones to my iPhone was the abysmal battery life.  I’m sure it’s better now but I don’t really want a phone the size of an TI-82 (or whatever number they’re up to now).

Another reason is that iPhones have pretty good resale value.  I just sold my iPhone 5 for $300 and bought a 5S for $400.  It also helps that I’m anal about keeping things in good condition.  I have kids that like to play with my phone, I need to have a case on it since they occasionally drop it or flat out throw it.  The little boy likes to chuck stuff.

I figured I’d get my wife the new white/champagne 5S because she has a lot of stuff with gold accents.  Most cases just cover up the design of the iPhone so I set out on a search for the best case*.  I think I found it.  The asterix is for best white/champagne iPhone 5S.  I’ll post about my case later.  I bought the Spigen Linear Metal Crystal case off Amazon and it came 2 days later.  I f’n love Prime.  The case is made of three parts, the clear backing plate, top half of the frame, and bottom.  The champagne color matches the phone perfectly.

It’s really easy to install, just slide the clear backing plate in to the top half of the frame, slide that over the top of the phone, and snap the bottom half on.  The fit is very snug so there is no play with it on at all.  The frame covers just enough of the face of the phone so that it leaves the glass completely uncovered.  That means that you can put on any screen protector you want and it won’t make the edges bubble.

I claimed that it’s the best case for the white/champagne iPhone, but it does have one drawback.  Since it’s all plastic, I’m not sure it could withstand a drop from waist high.  I don’t doubt it would keep the phone safe, but I would imagine that the frame would crack.  But if you know me, I’m a form over function guy most of the time and in this case I like it’s form.  If you have a black 5S or just want a different color, there are a few others.  I think the blue would look pretty slick on a black phone.

My Internet Marketing Endeavor: About Me

I know this is not a unique idea, but I wanted to write about my journey trying to finally get somewhere with internet marketing.  I figured if I write it down it will provide me with more accountability and motivation.  Maybe no one else will see this but hopefully it’ll help me.

I’ve dabbled in internet marketing off and on for years but I let my ADD get the best of me.  I consider myself to be a fast learner but if I don’t understand something within 5 minutes, there’s a good chance it’ll lose my attention.  I spend a lot of time on the internet.  So much in fact, that my wife reminds me almost every few weeks.  My mom also does this as well.

When I stumbled upon internet marketing and affiliate marketing, a light bulb went off in my head.  “Why shouldn’t I be making money too?”  You see those ads all over webpages claiming that you can make tons of cash.  I’ve always wanted to try to set up some campaigns to make some passive income.  If I could make a lot of money, that’d be awesome.  Sadly, that is not the case.  Years later, I am still at a 9-5 and not working remotely from a warm tropical island.

I’ve had tons of ideas pop in my head, run to Namecheap to register a domain, login to HostGator to throw up a WordPress site, then I wait.  I was tickled with the thought of all the money that is going to start pouring in.  I sit and wait but nothing happens.  I check my AdSense dashboard to see that I made 15 cents last week.   What the fuck?  What am I doing wrong?