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The Best Free Traffic Building Strategy for a New Web Directory or Authority Site (and an Audio Interview Example)

Q: What is the absolute easiest way to get free traffic to a new online directory or authority site with NO (or very small) budget?

I really believe that the easiest way to get free traffic to a new directory style site is to offer to INTERVIEW people who are in your ideal audience (professionals in the niche you are focusing on) and doing this, at least for starters, by inviting them by email to participate.

You can hire someone very inexpensively to send out email invites, and by offering an interview, it adds a whole new dimension of appeal that will, no doubt, dramatically improve the response rate you’ll get from the folks you invite.

Here is a very simple CASE STUDY on how I generated about 20 thousand FREE visitors to a new site, a few years ago, using a very rudimentary invite strategy that worked wonderfully well….that I have since improved, optimized, tweaked and critiqued with lots of follow up – and in multiple niches, markets, industries and verticals as well. (this email invite did NOT include the “interview” angle or twist – which has dramatically increased it’s effectiveness)

Here is an example of an interview I did last week (Jan 12th of 2017) for one of the web directories/authority sites that was built using the email example above. You can hear that there “inteviews” are not formal or forced – the members really enjoy doing them – the public (the folks who are browsing the site to find people on the directory to hire) really find them quite informative and helpful, and overall, it’s just a win/win experience for all.

NOTE: DO read the case study above to get some of the psychological “triggers” for why this approach works so well for TRAFFIC generation – as you’ll be leveraging the actual audience of the person you are inviting, to grow/build + develop your directory. (if that doesn’t make sense – just ask below)

Content Curation Tools: How to Start a Curated Email Newsletter

I know my voice sounds like I’m dying. (After hours and hours and days and days of recording videos/tutorials and screenflows, I very well may be). But, curated newsletters (and curation in general) is something I’m really excited about these days, which just goes to prove I really ought to get out more.

I’ve mentioned or written about 3 different curation tools over the last few months. All of which I’ve used, 2 of which I’ve paid for, and 1 of which I feel super comfortable recommending to new users, who are just launching something new.

I’m listing my recommendations in reverse order. (they are all really good)

Curated.Co (great landing pages – great name recognition in the curated newsletter space with high profile users – nice looking archive pages that do well for SEO – and good overall value for high profile, professional level curators/communities) – $25 a month to start. – Beautiful landing pages, nice looking forms, finer grain control over RSS feeds, segmentation, and automation. Slightly different process flow and functionality from the other tools I’ve used/discussed – and these guys have zero name recognition in the space – yet, the tool is temptingly awesome to used as #1. (and for some of you – may deserve to be) $1 per 100 subscribers (at last check) Revue is fricking awesome and beautiful and a joy to use, which is Yiddish for this should be your top choice. Check out the video I made on the back end of one of our newsletters a few minutes ago, after a recent send. Adding content is super sexy and smooth on mobile and desktop – and all of the pixels are arranged in a perfectly pretty way when you publish. (the newsletters themselves, LOOK awesome, as the folks behind Revue are designers, and UI/UX pros through and through.)

Here is the best part. They are super affordable – and have free plans – and even if they didn’t, I’m going to do something totally weird and give you a coupon that’s not even mine. (I used it from some other random site I found it on last week – so rather than asking the guys at Revue to give ME a coupon code to share, because life is short, and i’m getting older and uglier everyday – I’m just going to share this one instead)


(one word)

how to use infographics,

What Are Your 6 Things? The Art and Science of Going Small

One of the exercises in the Flow process outlined in the talk here, (or in Steven Kottler’s book on Flow states) is the science of going small. I’ve written about that a fair amount in years past (my own thoughts on doing that) and you can read some of that here or for me, more importantly, the “empowering questions” exercise I find really helpful, right here. (Especially the “what could go right”, practice)

One of the “flow triggers” that many world class athletes, artists and creatives use is the intentional act of staying small. Making a short list (6 things or less) that IS your life. This is what you do. This is who you are. This is what you care about. This is how you live. This is the structure of your day, your priorities, your passion and how you appear in the world.

Going deep into what it is that you do really, really well….rather than going wide, like life, and business often asks of us.

This isn’t new of course. There are lots of trite truisms about going small and specific and mastering a few select things in a world class way (e.g. – the “fear the warrior who has practiced one kick, a thousand times…rather than he or she who knows a thousand kicks, practiced once)

I remember an interview with Bill Parcels, the storied NFL coach and executive, who once said – (and I paraphrase) “All I know is football. If I had to start making a living in any other field, I’d be woefully unqualified to do much else.”

So I was playing around a bit with some of this over the last few weeks, insofar as how i want my work life to look in 2017. Things I know I can’t fuck up, because i’m good at them, and they don’t really require much other than a comittment to show up. This isn’t my final list – but just some thoughts on my own “6 things” as I was jotting them down listening to others describe theirs.

What are YOUR 6 things? Write them down. Think about what life would look like (either overall – or professionally) if this was ALL you focused on for a fixed period of time.

My 6 things (go small) #LAUNCH2017

  • i write books
  • i teach courses
  • i create community
  • i inspire entrepreneurs
  • i make people laugh
  • i challenge myself professionally, in one new way, everyday.  
vantage directory review

Vantage Directory Theme (Update) A sneak peak at the new Vantage 4.0

I promised myself I wouldn’t write about directories, or authority sites today. Really. I did. Not because there isn’t a ton more to say about the authority site business model, it’s just that I’d prefer it wasn’t me who said it.

I’m finding it’s much more interesting to actually BUILD a new community, than it is to continuously write about how to do it, which grows a bit stale after 10 or 12 or 15 posts in a series. (plus I feel like I’m losing the real audience I’m much more interested in talking to through this blog – which are folks much more interested in learning how to write more inspiring, and entertaining content of their own)

That aside, lots of people have been asking me about my thoughts on the right directory theme to pick. Should I go with Listify or Listable? Templatic, or Vantage? Considering I’ve bought and used them all, I’ve generally been recommending folks stick with Listify for a whole hodge podge of reasons I’ve outlined in the directory marketing series.

The caveat to my most recent advice, has been this:

Wait until Vantage 4.0 comes out in January, before you invest in a new directory framework. Why? Because Vantage, by appthemes, has historically been the absolute easiest and uniform wordpress directory framework – no need to juggle many disparate parts, from many disparate plugin makers, to make sure all plays well together.

The problem with Vantage by appthemes? (note – there is ANOTHER “Vantage” theme that is not a directory, that many folks have confused with this one) The appearance of the theme has been very dated, for a very long time, and as the Kardashians have taught us over the last decade, looks DO matter online.

For pure aesthetics, there is no comparison (before) between Listify, and a theme like Vantage. Simply stated, Listify, Listable, the Templatic suite of themes, etc – have all been much, much more attractive than Vantage, even when you buy a child theme. (which I have, and can upgrade the looks considerably)

So….after all of that ramble, Vantage 4.0 is finally showing off what it’s going to look like, a week or two prior to it’s release.

Check out the Vantage demo here.

What do YOU think? I’m probably a bit in the minority here, by dint of the comments on the Vantage theme release comment section, but I’m not really all that impressed with the new look.

It’s looks Listify with a really mediocre hair day. Not it’s best. Not terrible either. But just…….meh?

In fairness, I don’t think this is the final version, as David from appthemes says they are iterating and improving the theme everyday.

(I’ve always wanted to use iterating in a blog post – it’s been on my bucketlist since 2012, i’m not sure i used it right, but boy does it feel good)

I’ll definitely buy the theme, just because I so desperately want to upgrade a few older versions of Vantage I have running now, but I’m a tad less enthused then I was a few weeks ago, when I expected it would be slicker, more modern and just “pop” a bit more on mobile, especially.

If we’re going to be totally honest, I think the blind date I had on last night probably felt the same way about me.

The good news is, I’m iterating a bit everyday too. So don’t give up on me, Mary. And I won’t give up on Vantage.

I think that’s fair.

How to Get into Flow And the Art of Asking Empowering Questions

My recent obsession is Flow. And by Flow, I don’t mean the shitty book I wrote a few years ago with that Title. I mean, that powerful sense of aligning my life around what makes me feel most awake, aware and appreciative of the experience of being alive. (I’ve also been devouring a lot of the books, talks and research done on Flow states, and high performance athletes, by Steven Kottler, featured above – which I highly recommend)

One of the best ways to get into Flow….especially for those of us who tend to get stuck in our heads a lot, is by asking questions.

Years ago, when I first started meditating more seriously, I read a short book on the late Indian sadhu, Ramana Maharshi on the power of asking one simple question, as the basis of self enquiry.

“Who Am I?”

In Maharshi’s tradition, this single, solitary question was not only the only one worth asking, it is the 1 true path to awakening, and understanding our fundamental transcendent nature.

Try it.

Sit for 10 minutes and just keep repeating that question in your head and see what happens. It sounds really silly simple, but the fact is, some pretty profound insights arise when you recognize how fundamentally confused we all are, about what we all are.

(and I don’t mean that in some super cosmic sense, just the ease in which the obvious intuitions we tend to attach to own identities are easily broken by asking this question with genuine curiosity – you aren’t the identity you create based on language or cultural condidtioning or habit or ritual – these are all merely images that have nothing to do with who, or what you are)

Strangely, this sort of nihlistic process can reveal powerful and profound and ultimately exhilirating experiences of freedom, as many who do this practice every day will no doubt agree.

But because I look really bad in a Saffron robe, I decided I would stop asking that question, and return to the world of internet marketing with some better ones.

I decided 2017 would be the year I questioned everything. And because Flow is my focus, and that my ability to serve, inspire, educate and entertain folks would be best served by more flow, rather than less, here is a short list of the questions I’m asking myself. (i’m trying to use one of these everyday, as a mantra of sorts…..first, in the form of a meditative practice in the morning, and then as an anchor of attention throughout the day. I started doing this in December, and really have found it incredibly helpful for staying true to what it is that I’m trying to be/do/appear in the world, for myself and others)

Some of these are for a business project, where I’m trying to establish a way of thinking as a collective ethos – so they may feel a bit out of place on this list.

What am i risking?
What scares me the most? (Use that as a compass to grow and flow to discover what sits on the other side)
Who can I serve?
What is our common language?What do I do best?
What are my core things? (i write – i inspire – i make people better in the few things I do well)
How did I get better today?
What did I improve?
Where are my edges?
Where is my comfort zone?
What will i regret?
How do i show up in the world at my best
How about the worst?
How can i do good?

What big ideas do we care about?
How committed are we to putting that out into the world?
What would make this easy?
What would make this fun?
What would make this SIMPLE?
Who am i
What do i do?
Who do i serve?
What do they need?
How do they change?

I really think that coming BACK to these sorts of questions, one at a time, is a great meditative practice that can lead you to discover amazing and inspiring insights into what makes YOU uniquely come alive, and who you want to be in the world. (which for me, if I don’t have an anchor, be it a word, phrase, practice or process….I’m very vulnerable to being the exact person I DON’T want to be in the world.

And if you are really interested in Flow, and how to optimize the experience of being your best self in the world – feeling your best, doing your best and immersing yourself in the magical and mysterious adventure of aliveness itself, I highly recommend Steven Kottler’s books and talks on this and other related subjects.

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