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  1. #1
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    A beginner with 3 beginner's questions...
    Hello, all...

    Beginner here, with a few questions....

    1. Do you include your real name on your affiliate sites / blogs, or do you use psuedonyms?

    2. How hard should I be trying to find the right domain/hosting provider? Should I simply find the cheapest and try to rely on funneling/trafficking skills to attract attention to my material?

    3. Would you recommend starting as simple as possible at first with quality blogs? If not, what strategy would you recommend to today's beginner?
    (BTW... I DID search the forums and find some pretty motivational ideas, I am just trying to see if I can add more current knowledge to the ideas pot).


    Thank you very much for your responses and your time in advance.

  2. #2
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    1. No. AMs and OPMs should and merchants but not affiliate they need to protect their identity.

    2. Spend some time but don't obsess. You will change later when you are successful. Separate registrar and hosting company though.

    3. Start simple, wriet a blog, make mistakes and learn from it.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the prompt reply.

    What do you mean by separate registrar and hosting companies?

    Are the free web hosting sites worthwhile, or is it worth it to pay a little bit more per month? Do you have any off the top recommendations for where to host my first site?

    Would it be a good idea to start an LLC and have a bank account set up for auto deposit of the income? How exactly would I get paid?

    Sorry about the interrogation.... I am new here, but in my short tenure thus far I have already singled out a few members whose thread contributions snap me right to attention... Yours is in the top three, if not the very top... no B.S.

    I hope I am not too much of a bother.

  4. #4
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    Are the free web hosting sites worthwhile, or is it worth it to pay a little bit more per month?
    Pay a little for a shared hosting account. I use a friends service, perhaps affiliates can make a recommendation.

    Wouldn't worry about an LLC until you have something to worry about losing.

  5. #5
    ABW Ambassador 2busy's Avatar
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    What do you mean by separate registrar and hosting companies?
    It is common to see a "Free Domain" included in new hosting accounts. IF it turns out that you are not happy with the hosting services (happens all the time) you may find out that there are strings attached to the "Free domain" and you can't move it to a better host until you meet some unrelated terms that were shown in the 'fine print' when you signed up. On occasion, the Free domain was registered in the host's account and does not belong to you until you complete a multi-year hosting contract or forfeit the equivalent cost as a penalty.. There have been enough bad experiences shared in here that as a rule we don't host at the same place we buy domains. There are many reputable places where you could buy a domain and host it too, but it can have consequences when you need them least. Sometimes, even hosts get sold and turn out not to be what you had last year at all.. It happens.

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  7. #6
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    Look at the links at the bottom of the page for hosting review sites as the owner of ABW is heavy in that space.

  8. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Hamrick View Post
    1. No. AMs and OPMs should and merchants but not affiliate they need to protect their identity.

    2. Spend some time but don't obsess. You will change later when you are successful. Separate registrar and hosting company though.

    3. Start simple, wriet a blog, make mistakes and learn from it.
    Am I not an AM (affiliate Manager), or am I just the affiliate marketer?

  9. #8
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    Then hide your identity

  10. #9
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    The domains bought with hosting which in the long term means that you can't change to another host comes up quite a lot.

    I thought I'd mention that I started off with a cheap hosting account which included a domain name (didn't know any btter) on 1&1 and further on down the line had no problems changing my host while maintaining th domain via 1&1.

    Either way I wouldn't use a free host for a website that I plan to spend some time on.

    If you're just starting out though you could try starting a blog on wordpress.com / blogger and register a domain. Use the free hosting for the first few months to see If you can write or not then once you've got a dozen posts under your belt and sre sure you want to cary on import the posts into a wordpress blog on a paid host (using your domain and paying attention to the urls).

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  12. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ritchie View Post
    If you're just starting out though you could try starting a blog on wordpress.com / blogger and register a domain. Use the free hosting for the first few months to see If you can write or not then once you've got a dozen posts under your belt and sre sure you want to cary on import the posts into a wordpress blog on a paid host (using your domain and paying attention to the urls).
    This brings up another question:

    How much emphasis should be put on the URL matching as close as possible to the vertical of the blog/affiliate? Can I not score just as highly in SEO with the blog title or content? I am concerned about having to buy many different domain names versus marketing a variety of super-niches on specifically targeted blog pages under a generalized domain name.

  13. #11
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    The domain name / URL used to make a big difference, but Google has devalued that considerably in recent updates. I think it still makes sense (for consumer recognition) to have a relevant domain name.
    Michael Coley
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  14. #12
    Newbie SKR312's Avatar
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    If you're looking for shared web hosting providers, I've experience using HostGator and iPage. I began with HostGator but switched to iPage because I wanted to save money. iPage was have a sale (one time $36 for 3 years plus $15 / domain). At the time I was using HostGator, I was paying $14 - $17 / month.

    I completely regret switching to iPage because HostGator has a much better controlpanel (user dashboard) and up-time %.

    Hosting providers like iPage, GoDaddy, etc., are good for saving money. But, sometimes saving money isn't worth the quality you'll receive.

    Many sites are advertising easy website hosting / set up, like Wix.com, but one thing to consider is the control you'll have over managing your site, adding plugins, and having community support of other users.

    This is why Wordpress.org is very popular, because you can use their blogging software on almost any web hosting site. Plus, their templates and pluggins are amazing (both paid and free). Also, you can reach out to their community for software support, helpful ideas, etc.

    I have personal experience using Blogger.com, Wordpress.com, and Wordpress.org. Wordpress doesn't require HTML knowledge in order to get a blog up and running, and looking professional.

    When I had a personal blog (non-commercial), I had over 30K page hits within 1.5 years. I posted at least 2-3 times a week, if not more. I didn't rely on social media to promote my blog (search engines took care of leads for me). I made sure to respond to comments, and I followed up with people who linked my posts on their site by commenting on their posts. Also, I submitted my blog to a few relevant blogging groups / circles that offered reciprocal linking. Although I haven't maintained my personal blog in over several years, the Facebook and Twitter accounts associated with it have 3,495 followers (as of date) and the number keeps on rising.

    My point... if you're going to be a blogger, it requires time, thought, effort, reciprocal communication and linking, relevance, passion, creativity, and being unique (what makes your blog different from the 152,000,000 other blogs on the Internet).

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  16. #13
    The "other" left wing davidh's Avatar
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    1. If there is a reason to use your real name on your site, for instance, if you are a blogger, by all means go ahead and do so. If there is no reason to use your name on your site, for instance, if it is a storefront/shopping-type site, then by all means do not. In any case, there is no reason to "hide your identity"; the very notion of doing that is absurd and would be considered shady by most.

    2. Just go with a hosting provider who has a good reputation. By all means avoid "the cheapest"; the good ones don't cost much anyway... most charge around $6 to $9 per month for a hosting account. I'll reiterate was was said earlier about keeping hosting and domain registration separate: do not take advantage of webhost's "free domain with hosting account" offers under any circumstances; this is a scam and even some of the most reputable hosts do this in order to hold their clients hostage.

    3: All types of sites succeed, and all types of sites fail; do whatever best suits you and your own personal style or abilities.
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  17. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidh View Post
    1. If there is a reason to use your real name on your site, for instance, if you are a blogger, by all means go ahead and do so. If there is no reason to use your name on your site, for instance, if it is a storefront/shopping-type site, then by all means do not. In any case, there is no reason to "hide your identity"; the very notion of doing that is absurd and would be considered shady by most.

    2. Just go with a hosting provider who has a good reputation. By all means avoid "the cheapest"; the good ones don't cost much anyway... most charge around $6 to $9 per month for a hosting account. I'll reiterate was was said earlier about keeping hosting and domain registration separate: do not take advantage of webhost's "free domain with hosting account" offers under any circumstances; this is a scam and even some of the most reputable hosts do this in order to hold their clients hostage.

    3: All types of sites succeed, and all types of sites fail; do whatever best suits you and your own personal style or abilities.
    So, as a beginning AM with several/few dozen blogs about general travel/escape topics (and the attached affiliate ads), I should not need to use a pseudonym as the blog's author?

    Aside from identity theft in general, I am not sure how risky it would be to use my nickname growing up (for my first name) and real last name. As of right now I am doing the opposite...real nickname and pseudo-last name.

  18. #15
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    What does common sense tell you?

  19. #16
    Affiliate Manager AffiliateWarrior's Avatar
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    Love this thread - new person comes in with some well defined questions and gets some nice feedback. Much better that the standard " I'm new to this, tell me everything I need to now right now"

    Nicely done Boobooch5

    I'm with DavidH on the name thing ... there's no real reason to necessarily put your name all over a site unless you're name is well known and you're using that to add credibility. At the same time, because of the nature of our program, I tend to prefer affiliates who are a little more transparent and aren't cloaking their name in networks and on domain registrations. Just my 2 cents.
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  21. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Hamrick View Post
    What does common sense tell you?
    My common sense tells me 2 contradictory things:

    1. Using your real name online is risky due to the prevalence of identity theft.

    2. NOT using your real name is risky in the online business world for the reasons mentioned just above - lack of transparency and accountability for the business you represent. Pseudonyms are outdated and may perhaps seem a bit shady to an OPM - rather like wearing a bowtie or a sweaty handshake.

    Common sense is based on experience, and I have none. The gut feelings I do act upon are very general, and may not apply at all to the world of affiliate marketing...that's why I'm here.

    BTW, Chuck Hamrick, you're my favorite guru thus far...you respond frequently and abundantly to newbie's post such as my own. I appreciate very much the time out of building your empire to help those of us out who are scratching our heads, even when your patience is tested.

  22. #18
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    For the record, my friends and acquaintances have always known me by my nickname (Beau) and my last name (Boivin). I only use my REAL first name when writing checks and signing documents.

    I am following Chuck's advice on an older post, and building a stand alone blog-based site first, before attaching the affiliate/business tags and widgets, just to get started. I am currently using my nickname and pseudo last name, but I am feeling like I want to go back to my familiar nick/real last name....I may be able to get more exposure that way. I am currently not wanting to use my real first name at this time.

    Thoughts? and thanks.

  23. #19
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    I made the change to my real name and picture at the advice of the founder of this forum in 2006. For me it was important to gain a reputation and for people to be able to reach me. I treat ABW as my blog of sorts and have gained a wide spread reputation due to it. I advise affiliate managers and OPMs to do the same.

    For affiliates its a different animal. History here has shown affiliates that are open about their business model get their sites ripped off or their business model copied. I spoke with an affiliate this week who is being targeted with garbage links in an attempt to get her site delisted. So you have to evaluate what your objective is with your identity on your blog and choose a real name or a pen name.

    Thank you for the compliments!

  24. #20
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    Unhappy
    QUOTE=Chuck Hamrick;1189732] I spoke with an affiliate this week who is being targeted with garbage links in an attempt to get her site delisted. So you have to evaluate what your objective is with your identity on your blog and choose a real name or a pen name.

    Thank you for the compliments![/QUOTE]

    Do you know why someone was trying to delist her? Did she allow such targeting by providing her real name?

    I could see some spiteful ex doing such a thing.

    I'd better clean out my closet.

  25. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by SKR312 View Post
    When I had a personal blog (non-commercial), I had over 30K page hits within 1.5 years. I posted at least 2-3 times a week, if not more. I didn't rely on social media to promote my blog (search engines took care of leads for me). I made sure to respond to comments, and I followed up with people who linked my posts on their site by commenting on their posts. Also, I submitted my blog to a few relevant blogging groups / circles that offered reciprocal linking. Although I haven't maintained my personal blog in over several years, the Facebook and Twitter accounts associated with it have 3,495 followers (as of date) and the number keeps on rising.

    My point... if you're going to be a blogger, it requires time, thought, effort, reciprocal communication and linking, relevance, passion, creativity, and being unique (what makes your blog different from the 152,000,000 other blogs on the Internet).
    This is definitely a valuable knowledge nugget.

    Perhaps you will be able to answer a long awaited-to-ask question...

    When you write blogs, do you post random thoughts/passions of the moment in whatever order on your site, or did you have a strict structure to your blog site, separating everything in categories and create a complex map of thoughts and/or vertical directions to funnel traffic/subscribers/sales to?

    Did it start out random and morph over time, or did you have a specific game plan to stick to in the very beginning?

    Am I overthinking?

    Brutal honesty, please.

  26. #22
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    She has top ranking for her category so its a competitive thing. She used to talk about her specialty but found too many new competitors show up so talks now about SEO and building traffic, keeping her sites private.

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