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Home and Garden Niche Monetization Mentoring Part 4

Hi everyone! This is the 4th part in a series of how to monetize the home and garden niche – a courtesy series brought to you by me for my readers and members of Home and Garden PLR.  I wanted to address some questions I got after yesterday’s part 3 in the series. Some people asked about the hassle of updating a static site, because let’s say you wanted to add a category – you’d have to add it to every page, right?

Right. But… two things I want to remind you of.

1. Every platform has its drawbacks. For instance, I had one vulnerability in an old WP blog and it allowed hackers to get in and wreak havoc on all my blogs that Hostgator had to clean up. A static site is less likely to get hacked, but not bulletproof, either. Plus, I don’t like the layout as much as I do a static site, regardless of theme.

2. If you map out the organization of your site ahead of time, rather than just start slapping stuff up on the site, you won’t have to do a lot of revisions.

I personally don’t worry about this in any panicked way. Let’s say worst case scenario happens and I discover I need to add a MAIN category to all of my 50 pages I’ve built so far. I’ll make a little sticky note about it and the next time I open and edit a page, I’ll add that main category. I don’t waste a lot of time going through 50 pages at once (unless I have the time). but still, all it means is cutting and pasting some HTML code, saving and FTPing.

To me, it’s no big deal compared to the payoff of being able to customize everything to my liking. To YOU, it may not be worth the payout, so please consider static versus blog carefully because the last thing you want is to get frustrated and have to switch platforms.

Question to other static site owners: Do you have any advice for those who worry about having to update a bunch of pages? How do you do it? Why do you tolerate having to do this over just using simple WordPress? Please put your $0.02 or more in the comments section below.

Okay, on to today’s lesson!

Today’s lesson isn’t glamorous or fun, but it’s necessary – the boring, behind-the-scenes stuff you have to do to make sure your site is findable and presented the right was in the search engines and to your visitors.

You are going to have your domain(s), have decided your slant, and mapped out the organization of your site. One of the things I want you to make sure you do is create a sitemap for your visitors AND the search engines. Watch this video later for more info on why this is important.

In blogs, you can search for a WP plugin to do this for you. On this blog, for instance, I use Google XML Sitemaps. If you’re using a static site, you can create a manual page that you add to whenever you add a new page to your site.

So how do you do this for a static site? First, sign up for Google Webmasters tools here. It will walk you through setting up a new site there. You have to download their file and upload it to your server and have them verify that it’s there. Then you’ll be able to get all kinds of information back! For the sitemap, I used this free tool for XML sitemaps. It has you download the sitemap and upload it to your server, then submit the URL to Google Webmaster tools.

All very simple – just follow their directions step by step.  It instantly grabbed all 10 pages of my newest home and garden site. One I’ve only been building a couple of weeks? I forget my times.  On that site, I have my disclaimer (the one Amazon requires), privacy policy, no spam text, and terms of service pages (all standard stuff) and I also have started my kitchen category. I’ve built the main kitchen page, small appliances, large appliances, bakeware and cookware pages (and the home page, where I have an opt in form). I’m also adding a sitemap.html file for visitors.

I have not started any promotional efforts yet, but Google comes back frequently. I’m using a pen name and persona for the site. I don’t want to dilute the Tiffany Dow name for multiple niches and this is what I do for all the niches I’m in :)

Steps for Today:

1. Create your Home page. People need to know your slant. Are you budget conscious? Are you the gnome spy? Are you a busy family sharing convenience reviews? Make it short and sweet.  I try to make people not scroll for this page. Everything should be “above the fold.”

2. Load your home page or, if using a blog, set your home page to be a static page – do this under settings/reading. Regardless of which platform you’re using – on your home page, offer your slant, include your opt in form if you have one, and set up the arrangement for the categories you’ll be using. I have interior so far, and then I’ll be adding exterior.

3. Set up Google Webmaster Tools and Add a Sitemap.

This is all of your framework for the site. Now I want to tell you about a couple of important things for search engine purposes. If you’re blogging, go into Settings –>General and set up the title and tagline. Then go under permalinks and set it to this: /%postname%/ so that your blog URLs will be maximized for keywords. So for instance, instead of yourdomain.com/page238, the search engines and visitors will see yourdomain.com/kitchenappliances – much better for everyone involved ;)

Static sites should have pages named according to the category or product like I gave in the last lesson.

Tip: If you’re borrowing an old index.html file from another site for your new one, make sure you go into the code and check the meta tags. I launched my new home and garden site with an old template (until I have Oki design this new one) and didn’t realize I had left my meta tags in for the old site. I discovered it when I did a Google search for site:mydomainname.com and it showed me the titles of the site were all marketing related instead of home and garden! LOL!

I’ve updated them and some have fixed in Google, but not all. Might be a bit confusing for the visitors :) Eventually Google will update them. Maybe faster now with the sitemap in place.

By the way, some people have emailed me confused about FTP. FTP is soooo convenient because you open it up and you just drag a ton of files over into your server file and it takes much less time than if you add each file one by one in your cpanel. A long long time ago, Craig had me get CuteFTP and its an easy little sweet FTP program that is wonderful for tech idiots like me.

Okay next time, we’ll be uploading our actual home and garden stuff! We’ll be creating pages with links to Amazon, or info products – however you prefer to do it. And I’ll be giving lessons later on rewriting the PLR content, or tweaking it for maximum usage.

Ready for your free PLR? we’ve done a broad home and garden one, one for garden ideas, and another for kitchen appliances. Today we’re moving back outside with a free Lawn PLR article. Download it, use it free, compliments of our Home and Garden PLR membership site. It’s an article called The Best Tools for Lawn Maintenance. It’s 561 words.

Enjoy!

Tiff ;)

 

46 Responses to “Home and Garden Niche Monetization Mentoring Part 4”

  • Joe Mudd says:

    Hi Tiffany
    You’re right about plain html sites being safer. And the constant updates to WordPress and the plugins can be a hassle, even though it usually only takes a couple of mouse clicks to get it done.

    If you have a text editor program with a good find and replace function, making changes to a large site is much easier.

    If you want to seek out your inner geek, you can use server-side includes to code all the “template” part of your static site. Then if you need to add something like a new category, you only have to change one file, and it will show up on every page.

    I’ve done lots of WP sites, so I’m sticking to that. Just have to stay on top of updates. It looks like an old site that I had forgotten about, with an old version of Thesis was where my hacker got his foot in the door.

  • Therese says:

    Hi Tiff,

    I have several static websites and I get round the problem of updating by using “php includes”.

    In order to use them you MUST make every page end in .php not .htm or .html

    For instance I will usually want to update the right menu with new page links and the footer with whatever.

    Where I would normally type the footer text on a page I put this instead:

    or for the right menu

    The footer.htm and the rightmenu.htm (shown above) are very simple files i.e. no metatags or stuff like that. Just start right bang at the top of the page with the info you want to include (but do use html tags in the text). Then save the file as a .htm file.

    When you need to update your links or footer or whatever include you’ve used, you only need to change one file and upload to your server.

    .php includes can also be used to embed ads across several pages and you only have to update one file if you want to swap to something else.

    I hope I’ve managed to explain this OK. :-)

    • Tiffany says:

      For a normal person I’m sure you did! LOL! Like with math, my mind has this steel curtain that comes down whenever anyone tries teaching me something technical. Sad isn’t it? LOL

  • Therese says:

    Ok – code didn’t show up. I’ll try something else.

  • Isobel says:

    For static sites I prefer to either use a template (Dreamweaver makes this very easy) or php includes, which are even easier. The disadvantages of Dreamweaver are that it’s expensive and takes a while to learn, whereas php code can be written in notepad and you only need to copy and paste a couple of lines.

    With php includes your pages have a .php extension which is pretty common. You simply add the include code where, for example, you want your categories to be listed – and then all you have to change is the small php file which holds the category listing, and all your pages are updated automatically.

    I also use it for things like Adsense code (so I can try out different sizes and colour schemes).

    • Tiffany says:

      Oh must learn this php stuff since everyone’s talking about it. For now, I’ll keep doing html manually but I will learn this!

  • Bob says:

    What Joe is doing is very simple. In order for it to work your pages have to be saved as .php rather than.html
    Then you create a page called navigationhomeandgarden.php for example. Now every time you create a new page you put a text link in your includes file. Now every time you create a new product page you use the code below to include the file where ever you want it to be.

    What you do with the includes file is upload it to a directory called “includes” in the root directory of your web page. Your pages will now call that file and it will have the links where you put it.

    Now, to make things even simpler, what I do is use the same template for every category I want to create. For instance, if you are going to create 10 product pages, use the same template and simply change the content. Leave the php include link intact. The beauty of the php includes is that all you need to do now is open your include.php and add a new link. Upload it and the new changes will automatically show up on every new page where you have put the original php include. Doesn’t matter how many pages you create as long as you leave the original include intact.
    Once you do it a few times you will see how simple it is. It must be simple, I can do it :)

    • Tiffany says:

      That makes a bit more sense to me. Is PHP something I can do in FrontPage too? FrontPage is all I know when it comes to building web pages.

      • cg says:

        Tiff,

        In FrontPage – go to Insert drop down menu, web component, Included Content, select page (there are 3 other choices as well)

        The content can be any content (htm, html, asp, php) that is located anywhere in the same website. Easiest way is to use the same (html in html pages, asp in asp pages, etc.)

        Keeps it simple – no nesd to start learning php etc – we need to keep you writing :-)

      • Bob says:

        Hi Tiff

        It has nothing to do with your editor. When you save a file it automatically wants to save it as html. Just remove the .html and save it with the .php instead.
        Something else to remember. When you go to open a file in a folder, what it automatically shows is html files. In order to see your php files use “all files” in the drop down. Then your php will show up.

  • Bob says:

    Shoot, the code doesn’t show up in my post. email me and I will send you the code if you need it.

  • Bob says:

    There is good information here on using the icludes in WordPress which I wasn’t aware could be done. <a href="http://www.45royale.com/blog/xhtml/using-php-includes-with-wordpress/&quot;

  • cg says:

    To Update all, or a series of pages in a static web with the same information (example: Navigation, contact info etc.) use one of several different include scripts.

    An include script is some HTML that is not a HTML document by itself, but rather causes a portion of another page to embed in complete web pages using programming. One simple change to the include page changes all the pages that reference that specific “include” page. You can set up different include pages (include1, include2, or any other names)

    You can use this same method for quick changing part of a page – example: a weekly newsletter that is a part of a much larger page. simply upload the new info, and then change the include reference.

    Just my $0.02 (waiting for change)

  • Diane Nassy says:

    The scenario you mentioned above re: adding a category to a static site is really simple using the software I use which is Xsitepro. Using that software you wouldn’t have to make the change to every page.

  • Brian E-P says:

    Mmm – all sounds gibberish to me !
    Don’t think I was ever destined for geekdom.

    I’m off to find a nice WordPress theme.
    Heaven knows – it’s taken me long enough to understand what’s going on in the backend of that! Doesn’t seem very logical or intuitive.

    So, as I say, I’ll find a suitable theme and make up a nice header graphic and I’ll pass on the ‘includes’. LOL
    Brian

    • Katie says:

      Brian E-P, I have a WordPress site that is only for testing themes and other things. It is not set for Google to find it. You can see some examples of lots of themes types. The link is katieleckey.com/1a and if you look under Categories you will see the themes. You might want to set up a test place like this to try things out. There is a place in WordPress to say that you don’t want it indexed in search engines. I have found that it is really important to have a “sandbox” domain to test ideas before going live. Saved me from some really embarrasing moments when making a site for a local small business! If you want me to add something there to see how it works, just let me know.

  • Chuck says:

    Good information from everyone.

    I have several sites in WordPress, XSitePro as well as a couple of sites that were purchased pre-made.

    XSitePro is a little bit expensive but can do just about anything your little heart desires and then some.
    If you decide to build (several) static sites then please do look into the software. You won’t be sorry.

    Also with respect to WordPress, plugins are available to do just about anything – quite a few of them, free.

    For those folks wanting to make more then one or two WordPress sites, there is cloning software available where once you have your first site up with all of the themes, plugins etc. loaded just make a copy and install the copy on each new domain with everything set up except for the site name which can be changed during the install.

    Chuck

  • Shan says:

    Hi Tiff
    All this talk of codes and .php etc confuses the heck out of me. I use http://www.2-minute-website.com – it’s simple to use which keeps me happy ;)
    Shan

  • Edie Dykeman says:

    As many sites as I have built over the past couple of years, I still get at least one OMG-I-didn’t-know-that moment with these lessons.

    I only use WP as I’m about as non-tech as can be, but I do enjoy building my own sites. The information you are providing here is fantastic and I’m enjoying putting it into practice – and looking forward to seeing the results!

    Thank you so much for this whole membership concept and all you are doing for us – you have definitely gone above and beyond!

  • Yoan says:

    Hhhhhhhhhhhhhahahaha! Getting stressed, haven’t had time to catch up, ended up with lots of ghostwriting proposals (thanks to Ghostwriting Cash by Tiffany, I hasten to say), which I accepted! Hope to be catching up soon, bought the domain though and signed up and was accepted at Amazon affiliates! 24 hours in a day aren’t enough, but hey! Thanks Tiffany for these cool tutorials! Yoan!xxx

  • Marg says:

    I have to agree with the other XSitePro users. If the budget can stand it, it’s well worth investing in this program. Everything is so simple, yet there is so much functionality when you dig deep. Adding new pages and sections is a breeze. It was also designed with Internet marketers in mind, so there’s easy integration with Adsense, PayPal, Aweber, GetResponse and more. You upload to the web from right inside the program.

    Cheers… Marg

  • Andy says:

    I have used xsite pro before as its a very quick way to change your entire layout and it will update your site instantly. Its very easy to use and worth getting.

  • Stephen says:

    I also agree with others with what they say about XSitePro, and I came to that from using FrontPage without any difficulty at all.

    XSitePro uses ‘panels’ to make up a page, ie header panels, footer panels, left and right side panels, and a main content panel (there are a few others but they are the basic ones).

    Whatever you put in the header, footer, and side panels appears on every page. You just need to change the content in the main panel.

    So if you have you contents in the left hand column it will appear on every page.

    You also have the option to turn any panel on or off on any page. For instance you may not want the panel containing the contents to appear on your ‘Privacy’ page.

    You can change the width and depth of any panel, and if you enter a zero width for the left and right panel in the settings, then that panel will not show at all.

    You can also copy a complete or a partial site and use it as a template for future sites.

    In addition a complete copy of the site remains on your computer (and you can also copy it to a back-up disk if you want), so it’s easy to upload again to your hosting provider should the need ever arise.

    As someone else said there are loads of widgets you can add using one-click buttons, such as Aweber and PayPal integration, Adsense and Amazon code, eBay code, and things like breadcrumbs.

    For me it was easier to learn than WordPress, and I can customise the page exactly how I want it. There are themes built into it which you can use, or use and adapt, and there are also third party themes you can get.

    Steve.

  • Barney says:

    Tiff

    I’ve been designing websites for years and use a variety of tools. Xsitepro is one of them. I find it is a great. But if you want more custom sites, you need to learn some html, css and either make your own or have someone do graphics.

    I also use Dreamweaver does everything though the learning curve is very steep.

    A couple of other choices are wysiwyg webbuilder
    and Serifs webplus. Both are drag and drop type builders, but to really shine you should still know some code. Both doing have learning curves but are fun to use.

    With all the programs above adding pages and making changes to the navigation is easy.

    If anyone has any questions Tiff it is OK if you want to give them my email address. No sales pitch here as I am retired and only design for myself now.

    Barney

    • Tiffany says:

      Thanks Barney! His email is Barney @ offyourduff.com if anyone wants to ask questions. I think the reason I’m comfy w/FrontPage is because back when I had a j-o-b I was sent to a specialty school for certification in it. Of course I forgot half the shit I learned. LOL! But I retained enough to get by. I’m dangerous working with stuff like that.

  • kattley says:

    I have many static websites from the old days. And even today, some sites, I prefer to build in html instead of WP just because WP is resource intensive, and it is a hog sometimes on the server.

    But one trick that makes a static site easy to use is processing through PHP. YOU DO NOT Have to understand PHP or even know how to code it to do this, but it makes changing a menu or navbar a breeze, especially if you have a site with hundreds of pages.

    So here is what you do:

    Instead of saving your pages as html or htm, just save them as php.

    When you have sections of your site that might need changing later on, you use “php includes”. Examples of sections that should be done with an include is the header, the footer, the menu, the categories, and the navigational bar. You will need to change something on these during the course of your website’s lifetime.

    Now the next step is in the place where you would have put the html code and the content (your text), you would put one line with the include.

    Your include line is this

    The name of the file will be header, footer, navbar, etc.

    In the new file, you will place your html code and your content. Now when you have to change something, you just change that one file and upload it to the server.

    The process literally takes two seconds to set up and the changes are done in one second.

    I’ll get up a tutorial this week if anyone needs screen shots and so forth. I’ll come back later in the week with a link to the tutorial if anyone needs help.

  • Mary says:

    Tiff,

    I have a question that doesn’t have to do with static or WP sites. My question is regarding your comment in the tutorial where you say you’re use a pen name. I’ve thought about that for quite a while, but how to you do that?

    Are there any legalities involved, especially when you are getting paid by Google, Amazon, or Clickbank? And, how do you keep people from finding out it’s really you?

    • Tiffany says:

      Well publicly on the site I say my name is “XYZ” (not giving it out lol). But in my TOS and privacy policies, etc., I discuss my corporate name. I have everything legally spelled out – because who really reads that stuff anyway? :)~

    • Tiffany says:

      And by the way, I know I can be found – a few of you already have found it (I know because I know how you searched to find it). But it might keep some of the copycats away. That’s the only reason I did a pen name on this one – whenever I do tutorials on a strategy, some people just rip off my content and then I get angry :)

  • kattley says:

    oh it looks like my line of code for the include was parsed out – I wonder how I can show that to the readers, let me try this – I might have to email it to you

  • Tiff, the link for the Webmaster Tools isn’t working. There is a lot to digest here. I hope I figure it out. LOL

    Kattley, I would love a tutorial explaining this.

  • Stephen says:

    All this talk of php includes makes me wonder if I’m missing a trick here, although it does sound a little complicated.

    Kattley – I would appreciate it if you were to give us a link to a tutorial, it may help me make more sense out of it all.

    By the way, for all of you more experienced XSite Pro users out there, if you were to sell one of your sites, does the buyer need to also own a copy of XSite Pro in order for them to make changes to it?

    Steve.

  • Marg says:

    XSitePro offers the option to export to FrontPage/Dreamweaver so you can import the files in to one of those programs – but I don’t know what happens to the graphics etc because I’ve never tried it!

    Marg

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