It’s Friday night here in Los Angeles and I just finished contacting a few seo workers. I’m a few days away from making my final decision. I’ve learned to take as much time as I need when it comes to hiring additional personnel for my business. The more time I take, the better chance I have of picking a solid candidate.
After that I proceeded to log into WordPress to type a blog entry. I noticed something interesting towards the bottom of my dashboard page. There is a section called Top Referrers. This section contains the top five sites which refer me the most visitors. I was a little surprised by what was displayed.
Here are the top five sites that refer the most traffic to this blog:
I figured Domainsville.com would be #1 on the list. At the moment this is the only aggregation site this blog is currently on. It’s great to see that Domainsville is effective in connecting me with my target audience.
I use StumbleUpon as a URL shortening service. Since that is the case, I would have to factor in all of the sites that I post the su.pr links to. I tend to post stumble upon links to facebook and twitter, so I am not surprised that this site is second on the list.
NameTalent.com is run by a fellow blogger and domaining buddy. I am glad to see Mike Law’s site on this list! This shows the importance of exchanging links. Mike must get a pretty good amount of traffic to be number three on my list.
I figured good ole Google would be on this list. I didn’t realize that they would be towards the bottom. I’m glad that my blog isn’t solely dependent on Google for traffic. Now if I could only implement the same tactic with all of my affiliate sites.
MorganLinton.com is run by a fellow blogger and friend of mine. Morgan Linton’s site is number five on my traffic referral list. Again, this shows the importance of exchanging links. This also proves that when a fellow blogger’s site takes off, you will also reap the benefits.
That rounds up the top 5 sites that refer me the most traffic. As of right now my link building efforts are currently focused on my network of affiliate sites. I’ll probably get around to link building again for JasonThompson.co, but I’d rather focus on providing this blog with active content.
Happy Friday Everyone!
Over the last ten years I’ve outsourced a lot of work. Lately my outsourcing strategy has changed and along with that, the site I use to find candidates has changed as well. Here are four sites I’ve used for outsourcing:
I vaguely remember using Elance. I do recall having great expectations for the site but I never really moved forward with any candidates from it. Elance is not my first choice when it comes to outsourcing sites, but since it starts with an E I figured I would let it be number one in this list.
Guru.com is a site I started to use about a year ago. I haven’t used the site often, but I can say I do like it, when the project listings get approved that is. So far I’ve had two projects listed on the site that are in limbo. They haven’t been verified nor rejected and I haven’t received a response from the Guru team as to why. I did have a couple of great logos made utilizing talent on this site, one of which was for the Southern California Domainers group that Morgan and I started. I guess you can say that I have had a mixed experience dealing with Guru.com, but I am definitely willing to give it another chance.
Odesk is by far my favorite site to outsource to. I hired a talented fashion writer on this site who is now the main blogger for TrendyMafia.com. The talent on this site is immense and I would recommend anyone looking to outsource work to try the site out. At this moment I am in the middle of interviewing candidates for both a web designer and an seo position for my business. This year my goal is to start to inch myself away from the computer more with the expectation of freeing up time.
I want to put my business on autopilot, so I can reduce the late nights and focus on key projects.
There’s no telling how much money I spent using this site! Although it has rebranded itself as vworker.com I used it most when it was called good ole rent-a-coder. I’ve had some interesting experiences on this site. I remember when I was in college I wanted to clone the design and code of another site. It was silly of me to think that a website which probably took several thousand dollars to make could be cloned for a few hundred.
The team of programmers I found had no idea what they were doing and I had no idea how to manage them. This was one of my first attempts at being an Internet Entrepreneur and boy was it a learning experience. I don’t use Rentacoder.com (vworker.com) much these days, but they definitely have some great talent there. I’ll probably revisit the site in the near future to see what type of talent I can recruit.
The GoDaddy private registration feature is a great up-sell. It can be useful in some cases, but after a year sometimes you realize that you just don’t need it. That’s what happened in my case. Upon scrambling around the Internet for a Godaddy .com renewal code it dawned upon me that I didn’t need to renew my private registration on this particular domain name.
I proceeded to renew my expired .com domain and at the final checkout screen the magic Private Services Renewal was automatically added onto my domain purchase.
There is no way to remove this option in the check out process.
So how does one remove this option?
1. Locate your DomainsByProxy.com email that should of been sent to you when first purchasing this service. My private services email was titled Important! Private Registration Account Information.
2. Go to DomainsByProxy.com and enter the account information listed in the email. For me this was the same account information I use to log into my GoDaddy account.
3. Once logged in you should see a list of your domains which are currently subscribed to private registration. From there, click on the check box next to the domain name you would like to deactivate the private feature on.
4. To finalize the process you must click on the last icon within that domain’s row. The icon looks like a warning symbol that you tend to see on no smoking signs.
5. After you click the last icon there will be a message stating that it will take a few minutes to completely deactivate this feature on this domain. Wait around five minutes and refresh your page. Once the page has been refreshed you should notice that the dark gray Active box has changed to a light red cancelled box.
6. From there you can renew your domain name as you normally would on GoDaddy.com.
I enjoy developing affiliate sites, but I don’t necessarily enjoy link building. It is something that has to be done, so it was important for me to find a tool which could help simplify this process. I don’t believe in using link building software and these days I try to stay clear of anything which advertises that it will automate the link building process. For me, the most effective way to build backlinks is the good old manual way.
Today I discovered a tool which provides a blue print of where your competitors have links. Yes you can easily find a few sites using the (linkto:) syntax in Google, but I wanted something which was going to provide me with a clear list without any additional hassle. Thanks to OpenSiteExplorer.org I can do just that. I’m able to input a competitor’s url and OSE presents me with a list of inbound links.
Open Site Explorer was created by the guys at SEOmoz. The tool itself is free, but certain features require you to be a pro SEOmoz user to access. Right now I am a trial member at SEOmoz and I am really seeing the benefits of a pro account. I’m pretty sure I will convert over to a pro account at the end of my trial period, but if I don’t I will simply add OpenSiteExplorer.org to the free SEO tool arsenal I’ve started to compile.
After being presented with my competitor’s inbound links list I took the extra step to start utilizing those resources. I quickly contacted a few blog owners about exchanging links. We’ll see what happens, but I am confident that I’ll get a few backlinks out of doing this. I have several more people to contact and look forward to being everywhere my competitor’s site is listed and everywhere they are not listed as well!
OpenSiteExplorer.org is a great tool, even if the free account has limitations.
As many of us edge closer to developing our domain portfolios it is extremely important to look at the infrastructure that some of our sites reside on. A popular option for many domainers is a shared hosting account. This type of account normally sits on a dedicated server, where you are sharing server resources with several other hosting customers.
Here are four things you need to know about shared hosting:
1. The actions of another shared hosting customer can directly impact your hosting experience.
With shared hosting, there will be problems that arise that aren’t necessarily caused by your sites. Since resources are being shared, one problematic customer could cause problems for your own websites. The problem is these issues happen when we are not necessarily paying attention to them. If you are like me, you want to know when your sites are being effected adversely. One of the best ways to do this is to utilize an up-time management tool that tells you when your sites are down.
There are many out there but the one I tend to prefer is pingdom. Knowing when your sites are down will give you the leverage you need to complain to your shared hosting company. In some cases if this tends to be a frequent occurrence they will refund you for the downtime or suspend the account of the trouble maker.
2. Just because you purchased a shared hosting account, doesn’t mean the hosting company will actively backup your data.
Backups are extremely important and depending on your hosting company to backup your shared hosting account is extremely risky. Hosting companies are not responsible for backing up shared hosting accounts unless you have moved forward with an agreement for that service. Then again there are several loop holes in the above statement. If your websites are important to you then create your own backup policy. This backup policy that you create for yourself should be redundant in nature and include backing up important websites both locally and remotely.
3. The location of your shared hosting account can play a major role in why some visitors have a better experience with your site than others.
If you were to build a house, you wouldn’t choose to blindly build it on a plot of land you know nothing about would you? In the shared hosting world land would be the server your sites sit on and the datacenter that the server resides in. If visitors in a specific region are experiencing slow load times it probably has to do with the location of your shared hosting account. There are several other factors like bandwidth and network routes that can also play a role, but for the sake of this blog entry we will only discuss location.
This is one of the reasons why many of the major US hosting companies utilize datacenters which are centrally located. Several top hosting companies tend to lease datacenter space within states like Illinois and Texas. Having a centrally connected facility provides for better connectivity to the entire United States of America.
But what if all of your clients are in California and Japan? Then you might want to consider a shared hosting account from a hosting company which leases space in a California based datacenter. You can view a few of the datacenters located in California on DataCenterDirectory.com.
4. Shared hosting is used by some companies as a way of getting a customer in the door, to potentially up-sell them to bigger and better hosting accounts.
The hosting industry is one of the most well run industries I have ever had the pleasure of working in. As with any industry, the competition is fierce and can be considered cut throat at times. I won’t mention any company names, but you’d be amazed how many times I heard industry insiders discussing why shared hosting accounts are a great way to up-sell customers to other solutions.
As with anything customers want to stretch their dollars. Sometimes this causes us to overlook exactly what we are getting when we pay for something like a shared hosting account. Here’s the scenario:
You pay for your shared hosting account and then find yourself fighting for resources. Your sites are slow and you aren’t a happy camper. The only options left are either to complain to your hosting provider, upgrade to another hosting account, purchase an additional shared hosting account or completely move your operation all together potentially recreating the problem you were trying to get away from.
If you decide to complain to your shared hosting provider, there is a chance that they will use this complaint to pitch you on why shared hosting is not necessarily the best option to use. During this pitch process other services that the hosting provider offers will be mentioned. You might hear a pitch that includes purchasing an additional shared hosting account, upgrading to a reseller account or even upgrading to a virtual private server. The representative might go onto describe the benefits of cloud hosting or why your sites would run better on a dedicated server.
Whatever happens, just weigh your options and realize that another company might have a policy to place less shared hosting account customers on a single dedicated server. These policies are normally not mentioned to the public, but I am sure there are some companies out there who are willing to disclose this information to you. Most important of all do not purchase a hosting solution that you do not need. There is nothing worst then purchasing a dedicated server for $100 to $150 a month, when your sites would of operated just fine on a solution costing half that.
I have about an hour and eight minutes to create an April Fool’s joke. Instead of creating a corny one myself, i’ll let Conan O’Brien do it.
I like Conan and have come to expect that he has his days where he simply isn’t funny. Now that that’s over, lets move onto a few thoughts for this past week or in my case for this past couple of weeks.
1. I signed up for an account at seomoz.org and boy do I have a lot of work to do. I had seomoz’s spiders crawl through TrendyMafia.com and a number of flags came up explaining the seo issues with the site. After seeing how intense this tool is I will most likely transition over to a full membership account after the 30 day trial period expires.
2. My Lenovo S10 netbook crashed hard. The hard drive itself was fine, but a number of files were beyond repair. I ended up having to locate an old Windows XP OEM CD I purchased long ago. That was just the beginning of the problems! I couldn’t read the license key on the bottom of my netbook so I ended up having to call Microsoft.
If you haven’t called Microsoft, you should try it one day. The representative who answered tried to sell me a new license key for ten dollars. Let’s just say he wasn’t trying too hard. I pretty much asked why I should pay for a license twice. He quickly fast forwarded through the options on his screen and a new license was granted.
Mission accomplished? Not so fast! I attached an external cdrom to my netbook to boot up windows xp and the oem cd simply wouldn’t run. After further investigation I found out that there might be some issues with the boot up cd not working properly with my external cdrom. Instead of messing around with drivers, I found an amazing program which simplifies the process of installing windows from a thumb drive.
The program is called WinToFlash. It literally extracted the files I needed to install Windows from a 4gb thumb drive. After that my setup was a breeze and I magically got past the initial boot up problem. From there I completed the windows installation and proceeded to secure my netbook. Several windows updates later, I decided to install both Windows Defender and Microsoft Security Essentials.
Windows Defender helps with spyware and Microsoft Security Essentials helps with viruses. Both programs are free and run without utilizing much processing power. To add icing on the cake I decided to get serious about backups, even if it was on my little old netbook. You can never be too safe these days! I went ahead and purchased Acronis True Image Home to manage all of my backup needs.
Acronis is a great program for making full, incremental and differential backups. Are we done yet? Nope! I wanted to add an additional layer of security onto my computer so I decided to completely encrypt my netbook’s hard drive using TrueCrypt. No it’s not some gang from Los Angeles (Corny Joke Accomplished)! It is an opensource program that allows you to encrypt files, partitions or in my case my entire netbook hd.
Here is a warning for those of you who want to do this. If you encrypt your entire drive using TrueCrypt and want to completely back it up using Acronis True Image, you can’t! Instead of backing up the entire drive, you have to select an option to only perform a file backup. This is a small inconvenience for the added security, but hey it works for me.
Now we can consider this portion of the musing done!
3. I emailed a few end-users this week. I haven’t received any responses on the domain name that I am trying to sell, so that tells me that I need to switch up my strategy. If emailing doesn’t seem to be working out well, the next best thing to do is pick up the phone. I plan on calling a few of those companies I emailed. This will help me receive instant feedback and will allow me to determine whether this domain name is as valuable as I think it is.
4. Motivated by my buddy Morgan Linton, I decided to purchase Eric Ries’ Lean Startup. I’ve always wanted to build a startup. I’ve started a few businesses in the past, but none of them could be considered a “true startup”. Once I get the book from Amazon, I plan on reading it religiously. I have a few ideas in the works that could definitely benefit from the Lean Startup methodology.
5. As some of you know, I am somewhat of a hosting nerd. I opened up a small web hosting company right when I graduated from college and built it up to the point where I had a couple of cabinets full of dedicated servers. Fast forward a few years, I have decided to enter the hosting industry waters once again. This time around I plan on opening a Q&A service to answer questions people have pertaining to website hosting. I enjoy helping people and my expertise in hosting can definitely go a long way.
This won’t be my first time building up a community of this nature. I built a forum called TalkWebHosts.com a while back and sold it to the makers of ClientExec. I’m not sure what happened to the forum, but it looks like it points to another web hosting forum now. Building communities can be tough, but if you enjoy the niche you are targeting then it doesn’t feel like work. I have a few crowd sourcing ideas that will definitely jump-start this project. More will be revealed soon!
6. Last but not least I hurt my knee about two weeks ago! I had a sleepless night and decided to try and run it off at about 5am in the morning. I didn’t warm up properly like I normally do and I am suffering the consequences. When my girlfriend asks me to do something for her she says, “Hunny hobble over here and help me with this.” LOL! My days as of late have been full of ice, heat and worst of all staying in the house.
I’ve been couped up in the house for the last week and can’t wait for my knee brace to arrive to completely change that. What have I learned in all of this? To stop running on asphalt, wear ensoles in my shoes and most of all to always warm up before doing any type of strenuous activity.
As always I am sure I missed a bunch of things, but hey it’s time to create a few new experiences this coming week! Until next time!
Excuse my excitement, but I am happy to announce that I was finally able to register my full name in the .me extension. I am now the proud owner of JasonThompson.me! I didn’t even realize that the previous owner had let it drop, until I decided to search for my name at 2AM on a Saturday morning here in Los Angeles.
So what’s next? JasonThompson.co has been good to me and it wouldn’t make sense to switch this blog over to another extension, especially since I am now ranked for my name on the second page of Google. Since that is the case, I plan on using JasonThompson.me to tie everything that I do together. At the end of the day I’m not just a domain investor. I am an entrepreneur, graphic designer, web developer, business owner, business investor, consultant (I’ll describe more about that later!), systems administrator, aspiring dj & inventor and soon to be startup founder.
I look forward to sharing all of this with the world and what better extension to do it on than a .me! It is 2:51AM now, I think it’s time to get a little sleep now.
The last two weeks have been one roller coaster ride after the other! As with any roller coaster ride there are days where you are on the up, days where everything flies by and then those dreaded days where everything comes crashing down.
Business wise I hired my first fashion writer, who seemed extremely good on paper, but that was about it. Her blog entries went from average to rushed literally over night. I’m fortunate that I only had to pay her for less than $20 worth of work. If I hadn’t been watching closely, there is a chance that she would of made out like a bandit.
That brings me to my first point. When you hire anyone over the Internet to help you with building or maintaining your empire make sure that you interview them thoroughly. Although I planned to interview her over Skype, that never formally happened. I rushed into hiring her and in return I received a worker that submitted subpar work. It really does help to take your time when shopping around for a particular candidate.
After letting this person go, I spent a few hours looking for someone else who would be a better fit as a fashion writer. My goal was to help the person understand that this wasn’t just a position where you write about new trends. This position was simply to write about a shoe product featured on one of my affiliate sites daily. Within a day or two I found the exact person that I was looking for. She is well versed in women’s shoes and best of all she understands the fashion world. It has been a win, win situation for the both of us and I am glad to be able to welcome her to the team.
These days, I wake up and log into WordPress. From there I look at the entry which has been written and schedule the item to be published. Only a couple of times have I had to remind the new writer to add links to the blog entry or to replace a shoe picture. I’ve removed myself from being part of the content creation process. This has saved me time and it has also allowed me to focus my attention on jump starting a few other projects. Now that I am confident in my new writer’s abilities, I will slowly start to phase myself out completely.
Although it took a little longer than expected, I learned from my initial mistake and can now say that I am one step closer to running a real business.
I was reflecting the other day, as I do from time to time and I came up with this list. I’ve been a domainer on and off for the last several years. My early days in the domaining industry consisted of flipping domain names to random investors over forums. These days I do a little of everything. Where do I have the most fun? Sales! Yes, I enjoy flipping names! I am in the middle of brokering a domain for a friend of mine. One thing I can say is it takes time, no one is going to simply dip into their pockets and buy a domain name for $xx,xxx without having a reason to do so. Since flipping names does take time I am in the process of building a team to help me churn out development projects so I can focus on what I enjoy most. I will cover more on this later, for now lets get onto the list:
A Few Things I’ve Learned As A Domainer!
1. Set realistic goals.
Goals are the key to just about everything. If you don’t set goals your mind will wander and you will not progress forward.
2. Fund your development efforts with profit generated from domain sales.
This is easy to say, but not necessarily easy to do. My buddy Ron reminded me of this the other day when we discussed a few things on the phone. It’s always been an important side of my business, but I can honestly say that you have to dip into personal funds from time to time. Sometimes the personal funds are what help you jump start your overall domain development efforts.
3. Always keep a notebook around to write ideas in.
I love notebooks! For me, writing on paper is important. I have several composition books positioned around the house to write on just in case I think of that next great domain to register or idea to put into play.
4. Stay away from trend domaining.
Trend domaining has never really turned a profit for me. I’d rather invest my money into domain names which lock up a specific market. Trends tend to come and go, that in itself is a risky investment.
5. Organize a list of leads before sending emails or making phone calls.
I know this seems a bit random, but organization plays an important roll in prospecting end-users. Domain names no longer just sell themselves anymore, you have to put a little energy into making them sell!
6. Don’t sit on your domains too long!
Renewal fees only add to the cost of what started out as a reasonable investment. The more time you sit on your domain names the more money you are losing, unless you have taken the steps to develop the name to instill value in it for the time being.
7. Monetize your domains the best way possible.
Some people feel that parking is no longer an option and others are doing quite well with it. Whatever your strategy, make sure that you are monetizing your portfolio the best way possible.
8. Register domains within your means.
I am not one that believes a domain name should be financed. If you can’t pur chase the domain outright, in my book you have no business buying it. Financing a domain name is risky and should only be considered if you’ve spent the time to write a business plan for it. Why finance, when you can purchase names at reg fee and build a brand on it? All it takes is hard work and determination. Nothing comes easy in this business.
9. Drop the names that are just taking up space in your portfolio.
Not all domains need to be renewed. Only renew domain names that are worthy of renewal.
10. Don’t spend too much time trying to sell domain names to other domainers.
We’ve all done it and guess what, it is indeed a waste of time. Prospecting other domainers will cut into your margins. Why not spend that time selling to end-users instead? Invest time in the area that will net you the most profit.
Today marks the first day of my cold calling experiment. I call it an experiment, because I’ve never really reached out to end-users over the phone before. In the past I approached end-users via email and snail mail.
As with any approach, cold calling requires a bit of planning. In preparation for my cold calling experiment I utilized a list of contacts generated from the estibot end user lead generation tool. The tool did a great job generating a list of potential end-users to connect with.
Please note, that you can not solely depend on the tool itself. There is a bit of filtering that is required to get down to the candidates who will most likely receive your cold call well. Since the list was downloaded in csv format I used calc which is bundled in the OpenOffice suite to arrange the columns. This was easily done by using comma as a delimiter.
Once all of the pertinent information was separated in columns I proceeded to hide the information that I did not need. After I hid a few of the columns that weren’t important to my cold calling needs, I then identified the best candidates to contact from the list. I simply highlighted the contact information of these candidates to make sure that they were contacted first. I then identified the secondary candidates which fall into the category of domain investors and domain investment companies.
Once that was done I logged into highrise and inputted the company’s contact information that I was about to call. The first company that I called forwarded me directly to the CFO’s voicemail. The operator that I spoke to was kind enough to listen to me and understood the importance of the domain name that I was calling in regards to. This is the only way I was able to get through to the CFO’s voicemail. I had to explain exactly what I was calling about within a 10 – 15 second period of time.
I now consider this lead a hot one. Although I didn’t get a chance to speak to the decision maker, I have set a reminder to call them in a week. Hopefully I will hear from the person within the next few days. To keep the momentum I decided to call one other end-user. This time around I was treading on thin ice, since the contact that I called was obviously a personal phone number. You’ve got to be careful when you call personal numbers because there can be legal implications. I quickly left a voicemail in regards to what I was calling about, but I will not be following up with the person unless they grant me permission to do so.
I am happy to say that I really got the ball rolling today. Cold calling is not easy, but it is something that I enjoy. I like the fact that I can connect with people over the phone and have a more personalized experience when it comes do the domain selling process. I can’t wait to continue with this experiment tomorrow!
- Alvin on The Art Of Forgetting About Your Domain Portfolio
- Jason Thompson on The Art Of Forgetting About Your Domain Portfolio
- Matt on One Of My Favorite Domaining Blogs Returns: DotWeekly.com
- viqi on The Art Of Forgetting About Your Domain Portfolio
- Adi Weitzman on Poll Results: Are You Buying Or Selling?
- Affiliate Marketing
- Domain Development
- Domain News
- Press Release
- Southern California Domainers