Category Archives: How to Build a Website

Finally Tried XSitePro


Everyone who has read my book on writing e-books, or the book for copywriters building their site, knows I’m not a big fan of doing it yourself.

Well, I confess to rethinking my opinion.

You see, I’ve been trying XSitePro2. This is software ETR promotes – it’s part of the package for everyone who joins their Internet Money Club, too.

In the last 30 minutes, I’ve loaded the text for 17 Continue reading

The Obama Protocols are coming

Start by knowing that Barack Obama doesn’t really know any more about the internet than you or I. What he does know is how to take advice and guidance from the professionals.

And eleven of us – experts in marketing, copywriting and the technical arts – have gathered to show you The Obama Protocols.

Every Wednesday – live at noon eastern – we’ll be covering everything you need to know to

Engage your audience…

Inform your prospects…

Empower your customers.

The site goes live one week from today, so I’ll fill you in when we’re ready for you to register.


A Break from Serialisation


As you’ve no doubt noticed, I’ve been serialising Writing E-Books for Fun and Profit.

I’m taking a break for two reasons. The first is to ask if you are finding the serialised posts helpful. Are you?

And, of course, I have to give you the URL for the e-book.

The other reason to take a break is because Pam Foster just released a new course for anyone who wants to write for the web. That’s anyone – copywriters, business owners, anyone who is putting content together for a web site.

The best things about the course – in my admittedly biased opinion – is that it’s in e-books format. Isn’t that cool?

And Pam has put together a whole basket of worksheets to go with it.

When Pam told me about it, I asked her to send me a paragraph to describe it. She did, and she described it better than I can.

“It walks you through very clear steps and tools you can use to work with clients in a methodical manner so nothing gets confused or lost in the process of building a web site.”

The first thing that popped into my head is that you can use the whole package as a checklist for your own site – to build it, or do a review on it. Then you can take that information and put it to work with clients.

“Some of the steps and tools are from my original Internet Jungle Guide book, but this is expanded for web copywriters and their specific needs. So there’s much more for the web copywriter including sample proposals, fee ranges, screen shots, best practices, etc.”

I have Pam’s Internet Jungle Guide and I found it hugely helpful when I was putting my own site together. I’ve also loaned it out to friends, and used the information with clients. So when Pam says she has expanded on the IJG and made it better, I’m thinking it’s worth having a look.

Pam sent me the URL, so if you want to have a look just go to

And, hey, let me know what you think.


Web Sites – A New Book


Today is a very nice day – even though it -23 Celcius and the forecast is for colder weather.

It’s a nice day because I just submitted the final draft of my new book The Instant Amazon Best-Seller Formula. Yippee.

Which brings me to the title of this post. My next project is to work on the second draft of Marketing Web Sites for Freelance Copywriters. I’m looking forward to going back to this book.

Anyone who has visited my site knows that it still needs work. After all, the whole point of developing it has been to test things I’m writing about. (By the way, if you ever want to drive your web master cuckoo, just drop a hint that you’re going to be doing lots of changes and tests with your site.)

I’ve also changed my mind about how to set up a site when you’re using a web master.

Weebly still gets my vote when you’re in DIY mode. It still has a frustrating ability to “lose” your formatting commands, but Weebly is still a great tool.

When it comes to working with a web master, I began with the idea of starting a site from scratch then adding a blog to it. After doing that, and working with this blog, I think you are just as well off starting with a blog and building it into a web site.

By the way, this is a WordPress blog hosted through my hosting service.

I can add as many pages as I want, and they will have all the functionality of any other web page.

When you want to add e-commerce to your site, you can set up a “regular” site to do that so you don’t get tangled up with WordPress. You don’t really have to, but that’s what I plan on doing.

That puts the blog, and all my writing-type content, in one spot and puts the information marketing and e-commerce in another spot – the “regular” web site. Then you just put links between the two. I like that idea.

That’s it for today. I apologise for being a little self-centred in my content today. I’m just really looking forward to digging back into my web site and making changes.

On the bright side, you just know it’s going to mean lots of posts sharing all the cool things I discover along the way.


p.s. Thanks for the comments and e-mails. Keep sending them – they’re great.

Book Publishing – Lulu is a High Value Service


That’s a lulu, isn’t it?

And I’m not talking about a fish tale. is just about the largest online self-publishing tool today. It’s a free service – until you reach the point of being ready to actually publish your book.

They offer a huge array of free tools and services to get you started. Everything from advice on setting up a Google Book Preview, to cover design and paper choice. There are also five FAQ forums and a Help page with tutorials, caculators and tempaltes.

I suggest you use Lulu for both e-books and hardcopy books.

It gives you a place to work on the layout of your book, and the marketing tools Lulu makes available will help you with both book types. Here’s one example:

Have you ever thought of publishing an e-book in a 6X9 format? Do you realise that is very close to a regular sheet of paper in landscape format?

It’s time for all of us to start thinking about readers who are picking up our e-books and using an electronic device while their reading. You know, something like’s Kindle reader. They’re ideal for a paperback format (6X9).

When you have one, two or several books, you should also think about taking hardcopies of all of them to conferences. Storing your projects with Lulu will allow you to print a few or a hundred copies of each book.

It will be a boost for your reputation, and a stroke for your ego, when people ask about one of your books and you are able to produce a hardcopy for them. It’s amazing how one person buying a copy of a book can stimulate everyone around you to start buying.

It’s a free service so nobody gets any affiliate commissions for recommending And it isn’t going to do the work for you, or magically make your manuscript into a bestseller.

This is a site for everyone who knows success comes from daily, consistent effort. (Have you read that phrase here before?)


Blogging – How To Find Topics

Good Morning,

One question that comes up repeatedly when people ask me about this blog is: Where do you get the ideas for topics?

The question always surprises me because the hard part is narrowing it down to just one. Sometimes I get a list of things to write about and end up throwing it away because I realise there will never be enough to time to write about everything.

Everything you do that’s related to your business gives you a topic to write about on your blog, in an article, and even use for a report. I find it’s really more about how much time you have than it is about the topic itself. Just look at this post as an example.

Enough people have asked about this that it became something I wanted to write about. It would take about an hour to write an outline, fill in some information and have the foundation for writing about 5,000 words on this subject alone. That’s enough for – roughly – a 20 page report.

To write a blog post on this topic is as simple as reading through two or three e-mails people have sent and typing an answer.

The most important part of blogging is sitting down each day and doing it. Just Do It.

It’s like any writing or any other skill. The more often you do it – the more you practice – the better you get at it.

Just look back through some of the posts on this blog and you will find at least a few that are good examples of poor writing. Now ask yourself – why would I let those posts stay where people can see them?

Believe me, it isn’t because I could see the future and decided it would be useful to keep them as examples for anything. What DID occur to me is that if I”m ever stuck for something to write about, I can always look at my own content to find a topic. Heck, I could even reference my own blog post and just write more detail.

You can see there really are lots of sources for topics to write about. Read the newspapers, other blogs, subscribe to newsletters and speak with colleagues. Then just pick a topic that tickles your fancy.

There’s no requirement for  pulitzer prize winning prose, and your post can be any length you end up with. Write 150 words and your finished? Fine. Just write whatever it is you have to say.

It doesn’t even have to be a fact-based presentation of information. You could write lots of posts for the sole purpose of expressing your opinion on a subject.

And that’s my two cents worth. What do you think?


Site Design – Do I Really Need One?

Good Morning,

Everyone is building, or changing, their site these days. Tim, Jeff, Akin, Nicole – everyone is doing something with a web site. But do you really need one?

The answer is yes – with a caveat. In today’s marketplace, whether you have a web site makes as much of an impression as whether you have a business card. Some people will be put off if you don’t have a site.

But what if you can demonstrate an effective internet presence without having your own site?

Karen Loch and I had lunch earlier this week, and this was part of the conversation. Karen is also a copywriter, lives here in Toronto and just had her second baby. A healthy boy named Patrick. Congratulations, Karen and Nick.

Karen is getting back into the swing of writing and we were talking about whether she should get her site up and running. She already has a network and contacts, and she can generate leads without having a site. So, I asked her which is more important RIGHT NOW: getting her site up, creating her own info products (needing micro-sites), or generating some cash flow?

Karen’s answer is: generate cash flow first, then her site, then write some info products.

How do you generate cash flow without a site? The same way Wal-Mart sells all kinds of things without making any of them. You sell things made by someone else – affiliate marketing.

Let’s say you want to sell the e-book Writing E-Books for Fun and Profit. There is already a micro-site in place for this e-book at . Yep, that’s my affiliate link.

I can write a blog post, send an e-mail to everyone I know, and run a Pay-Per-Click (PPC) campaign to send traffic to that link and generate sales. The sales get added up every month and then I get paid my affiliate commissions. Simple – I’m generating cash flow.

Now Karen also wants to build her e-mail list while generating the cash flow. That’s a good idea, and everyone should be thinking the same way. But how do you do it?

Again simple. Write a little bit of content for a squeeze page – a page that gets squeezed between your PPC ad, blog post, or e-mail, and the sales page for the product you are promoting. The content should give people a peek at what they’ll find on the sales page, and ask them for their name and e-mail address to continue.

Now you are building your e-mail list and generating cashflow through affiliate marketing.

I’ve skimmed over a bit of tech stuff when it comes to setting up the squeeze page, connecting it to your e-mail manager, and making sure everything works the way you want it to. Let’s be clear – I am NOT a tech dude. Johnny Meehan is the man who answers all those questions for me. If you want help, post a comment here and I’ll help by introducing you to Johnny.

Yes, you do need a web site. It will enable you to provide online inquiry fulfillment, it allows you to put up all of your micro-sites (landing pages for products), and it adds to your credibility.

But it does NOT have to be the first thing you do – or even the second.