04 Jul 2019

21 Best Domain Name Generators

Choosing a domain name can sometimes be the most difficult part of building a website. A domain name should be memorable but should also reflect what your brand or business represents. Unfortunately, a lot of the time you’ll spend hours figuring out your domain name only to find the name isn’t available. Sometimes it will be available for .co.uk but not for .com. You then have to go back to square one.

But, the good news is choosing a domain name doesn’t have to take forever. I’ve searched high and low for the best domain name generators to save you time!

Domain Name Generator #1: Shopify Business Name Generator

Shopify’s business name generator isn’t just for businesses. They suggest domain names that suit your needs. When you start off using Shopify business name generator you’ll be asked to enter a keyword. This keyword should have something to do with your website or business. For example if you run a bakery, your keyword might be cupcakes.

The generator will produce hundreds of results for you to choose from. The suggestions presented will be .com domains, but of course you can search on other domain registration sites for alternatives. The idea behind the generator is that it gives you suggestions of domain names that might work for you. Alternatively if you don’t like any of them, you should have been given enough inspiration to come up with your ultimate domain name.

Shopify will encourage you to sign up to their Shopify Shop with the domain names that have been suggested. You don’t have to sign up to Shopify; you can register your domain elsewhere and do as you please!

Domain Name Generator #2: Lean Domain Search

Similar to Shopify, Lean Domain Search asks for a keyword to get started. Their generator will produce hundreds (and even thousands) of domain name options for you. All of the domain names that are suggested are available as .com domains, so you won’t have to worry about whether they’ve been registered or not.

Shopify Lean Search includes some cool features too, making the process even more simple. You can filter using the following options:

  • Alphabetically
  • By name length
  • By popularity of domain name

If you like a few domain names you can save them as a list to revisit later on. If you’ve forgotten to save them but can’t remember what you searched for, you can go back through your search history!

Lean Domain Search will allow you to search for your own domain name ideas too, to see if they’re available. This saves time using multiple websites, making it an all in one tool.

Domain Name Generator #3: Nameboy

A little throw back to the 90s in the name! Nameboy encourages users to enter two keywords into their generator. This opens the door to a few more possibilities and combinations. Similar to the other generators, Nameboy will produce a wide selection of domain name ideas based on your keywords.

Their list is extensive and easy to navigate. You can easily see if a domain name that you like is available or not. Sometimes a .com name might not be available but .co.uk or .net is. They’ll also display a list of domain names that are up for resale, so you may still be able to nab your perfect domain name.

Nameboy’s tool can cleverly produce hyphenated or rhyming words based on your keyword input. Sometimes you may have an idea in mind but it doesn’t quite work. This tool can give you the ideas and inspiration you need to make a firm decision.

Domain Name Generator #4: Name Mesh

If you have a few keywords in mind but can’t make a decision, Name Mesh is your friend. You can enter 2-3 keywords for the generator to work its magic.

The tool can generate domain names based on a selection of variables. These include common domain names, different categories, short or similar names, domain names that are good for SEO, etc. If that wasn’t enough and you want to start a new search, Name Mesh will even provide you with some keywords to use. Search using the new keywords and see how it goes!

When you’ve concluded your search, you can filter the results by different types, including:

  • Domain name extension (.com, .co.uk, etc.)
  • Domain names that are unregistered
  • Domain name length

Domain Name Generator #5: Bust A Name

Bust A Name has a wide range of tools to help you find your perfect domain name. You can enter in keywords to start with in order to produce a list of results. You can then choose whether you want your domain name to start or end with your keyword (or neither).

Bust A Name allows you to choose how natural you want your domain name to be. You can also define a character limit (long domains can affect SEO). You can select whether or not you want to see taken domain names (perhaps for inspiration) and filter by extension like .com or .org.

If you have no clue where to start and don’t have any keywords, you can make a random domain name search. This will show available domain names and may give you the push you need to get creative.

Domain Name Generator #6: NameStall

You can start searching for a domain name with NameStall’s domain name generator. Simply enter a keyword and add your own filters to help you find the right domain. You can filter by popular keywords, categories, or types of words.

Similar to Bust A Name, you can choose whether the keyword should go at the start or end of the domain name. You may opt to have a hyphen in your domain name if it makes it easier to read or remember.

Once you’ve entered the relevant details, the list will show both taken and available domain names. If you want to register a new domain name you can do so through NameStall. Again, you don’t have to go through them if you don’t want to.

Domain Name Generator #7: Panabee

It’s cute interface will surely get a look in. Panabee provides a wealth of features including a domain search tool, domain name generator and a business name generator. You can enter in two keywords to start the domain name search.

The generator will present a wealth of suggestions for you to start deliberating over. If your chosen extension or domain name isn’t available, you can use a domain name registrar to search for more.

If you’re not interested in the search results from Panabee, you can search for similar or related names. This may spark some inspiration to hammer the nail in the coffin. Uniquely, Panabee will tell you if your domain name is being used across any social media accounts as a user or profile name (snazzy)!

Domain Name Generator #8: Name Station

Name Station has been mentioned on various popular platforms like SEOMoz, Mashable and TechCrunch to name a few. For this reason, I wanted to check it out (can you blame me)!

When you land at Name Station you’ll need to create a free account to get started. A bit annoying but it’s free so I can’t really complain too much. You can sign up using your email address or via social media on Facebook.

Once you’re signed up you’ll be able to use their domain name generator, check the availability of domains, and get keyword suggestions. Like most other generators, you can filter by extension, name length, and even search by categories.

Domain Name Generator #9: Domains Bot

At Domains Bot you can search for domain names as well as getting suggestions for domain names. Using their domain name generator is easy; enter a keyword and let the tool do the rest! You’ll get a list of domains related to your keyword, similar to your keyword, and even combining your keyword.

You may even find that you want to use new search terms after being inspired by some of Domains Bot’s suggestions. If you already have a domain name in mind, you can search to see if it’s available.

If your chosen domain name is available you can register it through the many registrar links, like GoDaddy. You’ll get suggestions on similar domain names before you commit to buying one (or it may confuse you even more)!

Domain Name Generator #10: Dot-o-mator

Dot-o-mator is a solid choice if you have no clue as to what your domain name should be. Trust me, we’ve all been there when you’ve got a business idea but don’t know how to brand it!

Start by choosing two categories – these will form the start and end of your domain name. Click search and you’ll be presented with a whole bunch of random domain names to choose from.

If you’re lucky enough to have some ideas in mind, you can search using your own search terms too. If you have a few domain names you like the sound of you can save them for later. This is always a good option if you’re not sure whether the domain is available or not.

Domain Name Generator #11: Domain Puzzler

Domain Puzzler offers a simple and easy to use interface. There’s plenty of options to choose from, but they do present an ‘easy’ option to get started with. All you need to do is enter your keywords and desired domain extensions (.co.uk, .com, etc.).

Once you hit search you’ll be presented with your list of domain name ideas and suggestions. What’s nice about Domain Puzzler is that they allow you to enter multiple keywords as opposed to one or two like other domain name generators.

Your keywords will be used to combine into multiple variations. You can save the domain names you like to your list so you can come back later if you want. There’s even a tool so you can compare the page rank of different domain names which is very useful!

Domain Name Generator #12: Impossibility

Impossibility is unique in the fact you can do a lot more within your domain name search. Once you’ve entered your keyword you can then add verbs, nouns and adjectives to your search. There’s a range of 4 letter, 5 letter and 6 letter options.

If you don’t want to be constrained you can choose to combine anything with your specified keyword. This makes for a lot more variety and hopefully will make finding your perfect domain name much easier.

If you like one of the domain names suggested it’s easy to click on the link to purchase. You don’t need to purchase through Impossibility, as always you can use a domain name registrar like GoDaddy or 1&1 (IONOS).

Domain Name Generator #13: Cool Name Ideas

A cool name and a cool tool. Cool Name Ideas is a business name generator with a built in domain name search. You can generate business names and it will tell you if the domain name is available or not.

One of the fun things about this generator is that you can enter in filters like:

  • Business size
  • Customer base

These will then be put into the generator to make even more relevant name ideas in your results. You can play with the advanced features too in order to limit character length and other customisation options.

Similar to some other domain name generators, you can see if social media names like Twitter handles are taken before purchasing your domain name.

Domain Name Generator #14: DomainWheel

DomainWheel has an attractive user interface, entering into the modern world of domain name generators. Start by entering your keyword (there’s already some suggestions) and search your domain.

You don’t just have to pick one keyword, you can enter several to get a good mix of domain names. I personally find more keywords generate more creative ideas. Once you’ve chosen a domain name, other options will appear. For example words that rhyme with your keywords or domain, different combinations, or even just randomly generated domain names.

When you’ve chosen your domain name you can register it to ensure no one else takes it. There are plenty of places to register a domain name, and even some sites that allow you to register a domain for free!

Domain Name Generator #15: Instant Domain Search

Do you already have a domain name in mind? If so, Instant Domain Search is a great place for you. If you know your domain already, simply enter it into the search bar to see if it’s available. The generator won’t give you new domain names based on a keyword search.

It will however provide alternatives if your chosen domain name has already been taken. But, if you desperately want the domain name you had in mind, the site will locate who owns the domain name that’s currently not available.

This might seem a bit strange but often people will buy domain names to sell them on for more. A catchy domain name is gold dust and people will pay a lot to nab a good one on the market.

Domain Name Generator #16: iwantmyname

Very similar to Instant Domain Search, iwantmyname is a place to search to see if your domain name is available. It’s got a simple user interface so you can easily see which domains are available and which ones aren’t. The green smiley face indicates if your domain name is available to purchase.

If your domain name is already taken (which is admittedly a right bummer), it will suggest alternatives through its generator. You can’t enter in keywords to generate new ideas but it will present similar domains.

Unfortunately you can’t track down who owns the domain name if it’s already taken like Instant Domain Search. You’ll just have to find a suitable alternative for now.

Domain Name Generator #17: DomainTyper

DomainTyper is a unique domain name generator and social network checker. I’ve mentioned that a few domain name generators can search to see if your domain name is available as well as checking if the username is available on Twitter or Facebook.

DomainTyper does it all! Type your chosen domain name into the search bar and it will see if it’s available. It will check a wide range of extensions where you can favourite the ones you like. If your name isn’t available you can make an offer to the person who currently owns it.

It also has its own generator to help you come up with some fun ideas. If you’re lacking inspiration this is a good place to start. Once you’ve found the perfect domain name you can check it against social media channels. It will see whether the username is already in use on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram and more.

Domain Name Generator #18: WORDOID

If you’re struggling with a business name in the first place, WORDOID is a great starting point. It will generate a huge list of words to get your creative juices flowing. Although this might sound pretty random, sometimes the best names can come from a randomised tool.

Alongside the list of names, WORDOID will search to see if your domain name is available. It will check GoDaddy to see if they are taken or not and then how to buy them. If you want to enter in your own keyword to start the ball rolling, this tool won’t allow you to do so.

You can filter through the domain names to make the search a little less random. Filters include word length, resemblance match to real words, patterns and more. Uniquely, this domain name generator actually works in multiple languages. These include English, Spanish, French, German and Italian.

Domain Name Generator #19: Domainr

Domainr is a tool that is partnered with ICANN. When you search for a domain the list will show you whether a domain is taken or not. It will also display what alternatives there are if it is taken. For example helloworld.com might not be available but helloworld.uk is available.

If you don’t have a domain name in mind already, this won’t be right for you. This isn’t a generator that will make up names for you. It will simply display if your domain names are available or not and allow you to buy them.

Domain Name Generator #20: Domain Hole

Domain Hole is a tool I’d recommend if you don’t have a domain name in mind. Also if you have no keywords this will help you to find the perfect domain name. There’s plenty of features that other generators don’t feature so let’s take a look.

One thing I find is that people will have a domain name they want but it’s not available. Domain Hole can tell you if a domain name is due to expire shortly. You may see this and decide to hold on rather than instantly buy an alternative.

You can search for domains with domain and page ranking authorities. Other feature include backlinks and page flow. Domain Hole does require you to register a free account which is a minor annoyance.

Domain Name Generator #21: NameSmith

NameSmith is advertised as a business name generator. However it works great as a domain name generator which produces fantastic ideas from keywords. With nose domain name generators you can filter names by different types and categories.

With NameSmith they offer quite a bit more! Some of the filters include:

  • Prefixes
  • Suffixes
  • Fantasy names
  • Misspelled names
  • Rhymes
  • Portmanteaus

This makes things a little more interesting. I found that my creative brain started ticking a lot more from what they offered. Although you may not have considered this, NameSmith vow never to use your ideas or keywords by selling them on.

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26 Jun 2019

How Much Does it Cost to Build a Website?

People often ask me how much it costs to build a website. The honest answer is that it varies. The real cost depends on your own wants/needs and your budget. Building a website can be done in a number of ways, not all of which are expensive.

What do you need to build a website?

First it’s important to establish what you actually need to build a website. In most cases you won’t even need to hire a web designer or web developer to do the work for you. You can save a lot of money by doing the work yourself (yes I know that sounds daunting).

Even if you don’t have a tech bone in your body, you can still build a website. That being said, if you don’t have a clue to begin with, you may take the wrong direction. That’s why I’m writing this guide so you don’t overspend and you don’t head the wrong way.

The main elements to start any website are:

  • Domain name (the name of your website, e.g. ukwebhostreview.com)
  • Web hosting (the people who host your website on the internet)
  • Website builder (if you want to create a website yourself)

Domain name

Choosing your website’s domain name should be the first step. You’ll need to know what your website is about and what it’s trying to achieve. Ideally your domain name should give potential visitors an idea of what your site is about before they’ve even landed.

There are plenty of sites that offer domain names for cheap. There’s also somewhere you can get a domain name for free! Most sites will give you the licence to your domain name for 1 year. Some may offer a longer period so take note. Once you purchase a domain name you have the right to use it and host your own website.

Web Hosting

Web hosting provides a secure place for all your website’s content and files to be stored. Choosing the best web hosting shouldn’t be difficult with our help!

When your site visitors type in your domain name, they’ll be taken to your website. Your website is hosted by your web host, therefore should be the best it can be for your needs.

There’s a whole bunch of different web hosting options available. Dependent on what your needs are, you may consider shared hosting, WordPress hosting, cheap hosting, VPS hosting, cloud hosting, or even dedicated hosting.

When deciding on a web host, you may want to consider the following:

 

  • Uptime guarantee (this ensures your website is live and visible to the world. A guarantee of at least 99.9% is recommended)
  • Cost (web hosting doesn’t have to be costly, but the cheapest option isn’t always the best. Weigh up the cost with other factors)
  • Features (find a web host that offers the right features for you)
  • Performance (if your site doesn’t have a good performing web host, you may lose visitors)

Website Builders

If you want to create your own website, I recommend using a website builder like WordPress or Wix. It doesn’t matter what your skill set is, website builders, make it easy to create your own website.

Whether you’re a seasoned developer or a newbie, making a website the way you want it has never been easier. What’s more, when you sign up to a website builder, you’ll likely have access to handy SEO tools. Although website builders won’t be able to do it all for you, they’re a great way to pick up some hints and tips. Basic SEO features can be learned quickly and expanded on.

I recommend using the self-hosted version of WordPress. With over 30% of the web now powered by WordPress, there’s a reason it’s so popular. You’ll have complete control of your website and can choose one of their many free or premium paid themes. Whether you’re starting a blog or small business, or a large corporation, WordPress is a suitable option.

Signing up to WordPress.org is FREE. All you’ll need is your own domain name and web hosting. Most web hosts will actually install WordPress on your server for you, saving time and effort. You can browse thousands of themes and plugins via WordPress itself. Alternatively, there’s a whole bunch of resources available on the internet for you to peruse.

How much does building a website cost?

As I mentioned earlier, it depends on your needs. Using the methods mentioned above, it can cost anywhere from £50 up to a couple of hundred £. The bulk of the cost will come from your theme/template or the website builder you choose. That being said, compared to hiring a web developer that could cost you £5000+, it’s pretty affordable!

If you’re planning on building a small website, you’ll need to budget for the following:

  • Domain name (.com domain usually around £9.99 per year)
  • Web hosting (from as little as 80p per month with Hostinger)
  • SSL certificate (around £120 per year)

I’d personally recommend signing up to a web host who offers all the above for a fraction of the cost. Signing up to SiteGround will cost you £2.95 per month. You’ll get a free domain name and SSL certificate for the year! If you’ve already got hosting elsewhere, they’ll migrate your websites for free with an average uptime of 100% (in my own tests).

Once you’re signed up, you can install WordPress for free. Some web hosts will pre-install plugins for you, but I’d highly recommend the following to get you started:

  • Yoast SEO: Improve SEO on WordPress for free
  • W3 Total Cache: Improve speed and performance on your WordPress site
  • Akismet: Prevent unwanted spam comments on your WordPress site and blog
  • MonsterInsights: Connect your WordPress site to Google Analytics

How much does building an online store cost?

Creating a small basic website and an online store are very different things. What works for one likely won’t work for the other. That’s why I’m here to explain the difference for you!

Building an online store is a venture that’s going to be worthwhile. eCommerce is growing rapidly and is accounting for a large proportion of retail sales. If you’re looking to create an online store, now is definitely a good time to do so.

Similar to creating a standard website, your eCommerce site will need a domain name and web hosting. If you choose to use an eCommerce platform, they’ll cover the web hosting side so you don’t have to worry about that.

I would personally recommend signing up to Wix. They are the best eCommerce platform in my experience. I’d never created an online store before but found it super easy to do so using Wix. They’ve got over 100 million users so they must be doing something right!

Wiz’s eCommerce prices start from just £14 per month. You’ll get unlimited bandwidth, 20GB storage, a FREE domain, an online store, and 2 premium business apps for FREE. This plan is insanely affordable when you consider what you’re getting for your money. It doesn’t get much better than this!

Managing your products is really easy to do. Like I said before, I hadn’t build an online store until I came across Wix. You can change the images on your products, categorise them, create discount codes and offers, etc. It felt almost too easy when I was doing it, it was hard to believe I was building my own online store myself!

How can you avoid paying over the odds?

It’s quite common for people with any size budget to overspend. I myself am a sucker for getting carried away with website themes and plugins. A few £ here and a few £ there can quickly add up to hundreds or even thousands.

The best thing to do is to start small. I know that might sound obvious but let me explain. Let’s take web hosting as an example to start with. When you sign up to a web host like SiteGround, you’re presented with multiple pricing plans. The difference between their StartUp plan and GrowBig plans is £2 per month. That might not seem a lot but that’s a difference of £24 per year, excluding VAT.

You’ll need to consider what your website needs immediately. Do you need 20GB storage right now or will 10GB be sufficient? Remember, most web hosts will let you upgrade your plan at any point. You don’t need to dive in with the biggest and best straight away when you won’t be using it to its full potential.

Making use of people like me can be one of your greatest resources! Let someone else do the hard work of researching and testing out the best web hosts, domain names, website builders and eCommerce platforms. Once you’ve read through my comparisons you should be equipped with the best knowledge to budget effectively.

What’s the best option?

After exploring some of the possibilities surrounding the cost of building a website, let me help you decide the best route to take. I’ve experimented with a wide range of options from drag and drop builders, templates, CMS platforms and even custom built sites.

The best way to simplify this whole process is to break it down into a few simple questions. Hopefully by the time you’ve finished reading this, you’ll have it all figured out!

Question #1: What’s your actual budget?

As well as the initial setup, websites need maintenance. Fees renew monthly or yearly, and technologies change (we spoke about this before). Really it comes down to two things:

  • Initial setup and design
  • On-going costs (monthly/annually)

If you have over £100 to spend and your budget allows for this, something like WordPress would be a good option. You can afford a decent premium theme, some plugins, and WordPress web hosting. If your budget can stretch a little, you may even consider manages WordPress hosting.

If you have £100 or less to spend, a website builder would be my recommendation. Your monthly or annual costs will include a theme, web hosting, and often a domain name. You’ll have to manage the site yourself, but you’ll have an all-in-one solution to hand.

Question #2: Do you want to manage your site yourself?

I touched on this briefly in question one. There’s various ways your site can be managed. You can hire a web developer or designer to do the work for you. If you choose this option you will have to consider how much work for other people they also have. Do your timeframes allow for delays and potential setbacks? This also links into budget as hiring a web developer is very expensive.

Many web hosts offer a managed solution. This means they manage the installation, backups and updates to yourself. You still have to create the site and apply content to it, but the fiddly back end stuff gets done for you. Managed hosting can be slightly more expensive than shares hosting, but its worth it if you don’t have time or don’t want to manage certain aspects of your site.

Question #3: What features do you want on your site TODAY?

There are plenty of features, plugins and apps you can download and install to your website. Whether you’re using WordPress, another site builder, or having your site built for you, there’s lots of add-ons around.

What you need to consider is whether these tempting features are necessary NOW or whether you can do without them until later down the line.

Although features are nice to have, it’s easy to get carried away. If you’re using WordPress and install too many plugins, it may slow your site down. If you install plugins that conflict with each other, they won’t work. You also need to remember to keep them updated or you’ll face security risks or they’ll stop working.

If you want to get your website off the ground TODAY, go for it. You probably don’t need all the bells and whistles right now and may even learn over time what you do and don’t need.

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29 May 2019

Best Affiliate Marketing Platforms of 2019

Affiliate marketing is hugely popular, especially for those looking to kickstart their online business revenue. The world of affiliate marketing has grown massively within the blogging industry, making it a key source of income for many.

Bloggers often struggle to make money during the first few months and sometimes years of their ventures. Passive income streams are available in many shapes and sizes which is why I wanted to investigate.

Whilst some people do make big money through their online business and blogging, I don’t suggest quitting your job until you become more established. Learning how to monetise your blog is essential in taking your first steps towards working for yourself.

What is affiliate marketing?

Affiliate marketing doesn’t have to be too complicated. You essentially partner your website with an affiliate marketing program or platform. They then connect you to someone that can sell your product or service. For example, you write an article or review about a new mobile app. The affiliate marketer would connect you to someone that owns or sells said app, and if purchased, a small cut off the profits comes to you. Other examples include clicking on marketing links or signing up to useful services like BlueHost’s web hosting.

Where to get started

Depending on your blog or market, certain affiliate marketing programs or platforms may be more suited to you. I’m going to cover a wide variety of the best affiliate marketing platforms of 2019 to make your life easier! Regardless of what type of blogger you are, there should be something for you in this list.

1. Amazon Associates

Amazon is one of the most well known brands in the world. For this reason, people place a lot of trust in them and will happily purchase from their online store again and again. From sweet hampers to drones, homeware to digital goods, Amazon has it all. Regardless of your niche, you’re likely to find it on Amazon which is what makes it the perfect affiliate marketing platform.

Sign up to Amazon Associates here.

Pros:

  • Up to 10% commission on a qualifying product purchase
  • All purchases will count towards your commission (even if it wasn’t the product that was clicked on from)
  • Huge selection of products likely to appeal to most people and niches

Cons:

  • Affiliate cookie expires after 24 hours
  • Payout options are limited to cheque, bank transfer or Amazon gift cards

2. eBay Partners

You may be wondering why such a large marketplace like eBay wants you to help them sell products. Well, companies like this are big and well known for a reason. They make money; a lot of it, and will continue to do so with your help. Using eBay’s Partner Network tools, you can help promote listings and get paid for doing so.

Sign up to eBay Partners here.

Pros:

  • eBay sells an insanely large range of products. Because products are listed by everyone and anyone, there’s not many products that aren’t for sale (legally)
  • There aren’t any complex rules around their affiliate platform. Simply share your listing link and if someone purchases from it, you’ve made some money
  • You’ll earn double commission for the first 3 months of signing up

Cons:

  • Sales get split 3 ways between you, the seller and eBay
  • You don’t get any commission if the auction takes longer than 10 days to end

3. Shopify Affiliate Program

Shopify is amongst the leading eCommerce platforms worldwide. The hugely popular software is used by bloggers and online retailers to sell products through an online store. Plenty of companies use Shopify so finding one that sells products or services related to your niche shouldn’t be too difficult.

Sign up to Shopify Affiliate Program here.

Pros:

  • There’s lots of money to be made. You’ll get the first two months of your referrals subscription fee
  • Shopify presents lots of opportunity and is the best eCommerce platform, making it trusted and worth referring to

Cons:

  • Your audience is limited to people who want to use Shopify to sell things online

4. Rakuten Marketing Affiliates

You may well of heard of Rakuten before. They are a leading online store who sell a wide range of goods including electronics, pet supplies, clothes and Lego. If you can think of something to buy, Rakuten probably stocks and sells it. Rakuten will happily pay you for referring people to purchase anything from them.

Sign up to Rakuten Marketing Affiliates here.

Pros:

  • Rakuten is very well known, therefore promotes trust in its consumers. Getting people to purchase from them shouldn’t be difficult at all
  • They offer a wide range of products from pet food to drones

Cons:

  • If you want to promote a variety of brands on Rakuten, you’ll have to sign up to them all individually

5. Leadpages Partner Program

Leadpages is a marketing tool that offers unique and powerful features. The tool allows pretty much anyone to create professional landing pages for any website. Regardless of expertise, skill or knowledge, it’s really easy to use Leadpages to your full advantage. If you have a digital audience that could do with creating or enhancing their landing pages, this is a great opportunity.

Sign up to Leadpages Partner Program here.

Pros:

  • Because of its popularity and unique tool it offers, Leadpages kind of sells itself so you don’t have to. Anyone with a website can make use of their tool
  • Their tool is genuinely really powerful so it makes promoting it really easy
  • 30% commission on each sale regardless of referral spend

Cons:

  • Because it’s only useful for those with websites, it means it’s only available to a niche market

6. StudioPress Affiliate Website

If your audience base has a large digital prescence, you may want to consider StudioPress’s Affiliate Website. Like Leadpages, it is a niche, but one that’s worth pursuing if you can. StudioPress creates professional, responsive, and darn right beautiful and customisable WordPress themes. Anyone looking for a WordPress theme or template will be astounded at what StudioPress can offer.

Sign up to StudioPress Affiliate Website here.

Pros:

  • StudioPress sells itself, making the task a lot easier for you. Encouraging WordPress users to look at StudioPress won’t be difficult as most fall in love with it instantly
  • The payouts on StudioPress’s affiliate program are quite nice. You’ll get a tasty 35% from each theme sale plus $75 on any site sale which can amount to quite a lot

Cons:

  • StudioPress is a niche product, so unless your audience are WordPress users, you may not be able to take advantage of the rewards

7. BlueHost Affiliate Program

BlueHost’s reputation is unrivaled; it’s number 2 in my best web hosting reviews. BlueHost’s web hosting (especially for WordPress) is incredibly affordable and flexible. They offer stable web hosting with unlimited bandwidth and storage for the price of a sandwich. Their WordPress installation is quick and easy, but if you do run into any trouble, their support is second to none.

Sign up to BlueHost Affiliate Program here.

Pros:

  • BlueHost’s affiliate program has a really simple process. All you need to do is sign up and share your referral link. There’s no complications to it and you can create your own campaigns with different banners should you wish
  • BlueHost is actually recommended by WordPress, so you can’t compete on quality and trust

Cons:

  • Again, another niche product. Unless your website visitors want web hosting, it’s not going to be much use
  • You’ll need to make a minimum of $100 in the first 12 months for a payout. However, they’re offering $65 for each referral so this shouldn’t be too difficult to achieve

8. ConvertKit Affiliate Program

If you’re looking for one of the market leaders in the email marketing industry, ConvertKit is definitely one of them. I guess you could say it’s a niche in some ways, but if your audience has a website or blog of their own, they’re sure to make use of ConverKit’s tools. They focus on being entirely customisable, offering a unique product to every user.

Sign up to ConvertKit Affiliate Program here.

Pros:

  • If your visitors require email marketing, ConverKit is an amazing tool that they can use. It won’t be hard selling ConvertKit to anyone that needs it because they do rock the socks off their competition
  • ConvertKit’s affiliate program doesn’t have a cut off point, so you can earn revenue from them forever

Cons:

  • It’s a niche product, but maybe not as niche as some of the other ones I’ve mentioned
  • They offer customers a 30-day money-back refund policy so all referrals need to pass the 30-day period before being validated

9. HubSpot

HubSpot helps companies grow on a daily basis. Their award winning platform provides a wealth of tools to businesses looking to kick start or enhance their sales and marketing techniques and lots more. They are an extremely well known platform and offer a generous affiliate marketing program. You can earn up to $1000 for each product that is purchased ($250 starter, $500 professional/CMS, and $1000 enterprise)

Sign up to HubSpot Affiliate Marketing here.

Pros:

  • Affiliate payout is very generous and can earn you up to $1000 per product purchased
  • Attracts a wide range of customers who are looking to start up a business or who already have a business. Not as niche as some other affiliate marketing programs

Cons:

  • There is a cookie life on all referral links of 90 days (though in all honesty, 3 months is a long time)
  • Pricing is expensive for those wanting to purchase, so although the payout is generous, you have to find people willing to spend a fair amount each month on their products

10. Google AdSense

Although not strictly an affiliate marketing program or platform, Google AdSense does provide the means to earn money. You can monetise your blog quite easily and quickly with Google AdSense. This tool allows you to insert adverts into your blog and earn money for every click your users make on each ad. This isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme but it does provide the means for you to advertise on your blog.

Sign up to Google AdSense here.

Pros:

  • You won’t need a specific market or niche to make money with Google AdSense. They do the hard work for you and find the ads to display on your blog
  • Google is known by almost everyone worldwide (and anyone using the internet) so they’re a safe bet
  • You have the ability to disable adverts on your blog that aren’t suitable or appropriate for your audience

Cons:

  • Unless you have a lot of users visiting your blog, you won’t make that much money to start with

11. MaxBounty Affiliate Network

You may not have heard of MaxBounty, but their affiliate network is certainly up and coming. They work with some pretty well known brands including Norton, T-Mobile and McAfee (which is always reassuring). Their aim is to connect affiliate marketers with advertisers who pay well. So far they seem to know what they’re doing and people are flocking to their site to see what the fuss is about.

Sign up to MaxBounty Affiliate Network here.

Pros:

  • If you can earn a minimum of $1000 per month through MaxBounty for the first 3 months, they’ll give you a bonus of $1000
  • MaxBounty pay their affiliates weekly so there’s no waiting around like some other affiliate programs
  • You can choose multiple payout options with MaxBounty including digital payment methods

Cons:

  • They aren’t as well established as other affiliate marketing programs which may put some people off

12. ShareASale Affiliates

ShareASale is a well established company with over 17 years in the business. They offer a marketplace which has a ton of merchants selling pretty much anything and everything. You won’t have trouble trying to promote any of their products or finding relevance to your audience as there’s something for everyone.

Sign up to ShareASale Affiliates here.

Pros:

  • ShareASale has both digital and traditional payout options. It’s quite rare to find affiliate marketing platforms that offer digital payouts so when you find one, it’s worth holding onto
  • There’s plenty of choice in terms of merchants and products so you’ll be able to find something to fit your niche

Cons:

  • It can be quite complicated to set up the referral process with ShareASale. A small amount of technical know-how would be useful
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23 May 2019

16 Examples of Successful Blogs in 2019

Starting a blog sounds like a great idea (and it is)! But knowing where to start is often the difficulty according to what people tell me. I often find inspiration from other great and already successful blogs can spur on some creativity!

There are absolutely millions of blogs that exist on the internet. Many have been created and have dwindled off the radar due to bloggers becoming disinterested. However, there are plenty of very successful blogs that are still growing and making money for their owners.

Blogging is about creating content that makes people want to keep coming back. If you can create a blog that offers relevant content, shareable content, and provides useful resources for others, you’re going to be successful. Bloggers that make the effort to keep their blog updated whilst providing a good user experience (like keeping your WordPress up to speed) are the ones that are still alive.

I’m going to show you 21 examples of successful blogs that all provide something different to their users. Some blogs can make literally thousands of pounds/dollars a month and provide their owners with a steady income. I hope this list can provide you with some inspiration to start your own blog, or continuing to work hard on your existing blog.

1 | Tuts+

Tuts+ was founded in 2006 and provides useful tutorials and content for web designers. If you’re looking into how to learn coding, this is a very valuable resource and helps designers worldwide. Their marketplace currently servers over 2,000,000 customers buying web templates and tutorials.

This blog is successful because they provide relevant content to their target market. Their income mainly comes through their memberships and the commission the receive from sales. Of course, when they first started, Tuts+ wouldn’t have just had cash handed to them on a plate. They’ve continued to work hard and provide insanely digital goods across their platforms.

2 | Smashing Magazine

Smashing Magazine was also founded in 2006 (like Tuts+). Founders Sven Lennartz and Vitaly Friedman created the blog to help those interested in web design and web development. They provide content that’s relevant and useful to those looking to learn more in these fields with articles, books, events, and even jobs.

In 2012 Smashing Magazine started hosting web development conferences. These take place worldwide and offer material from big sponsors in the tech industry. Smashing Magazine’s primary income comes from their memberships. Users can sign up to their subscription and have access to a wealth of tutorials from just $3 per month.

3 | Gizmodo

Gizmodo launched in 2002, mainly focusing on design and technology. Gizmodo became popular very quickly, and it’s for this reason that they decided to make their blog multi-lingual. It offers translated versions of its content in a variety of languages including French, Spanish and Portuguese.

Gizmodo’s fortune mainly comes from advertising. Their homepage isn’t packed full of adverts but you will find they tend to repeat themselves in smaller formats. Advertising is often based on your search or purchase history, aiming adverts at customers that are relevant and don’t appear ‘spammy’.

4 | Perez Hilton

Perez Hilton is well known for his controversial gossip, and the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree on this blog. The blog is run by Mario Armando Lavanderia Jr who had dreams of becoming an actor. Unfortunately that didn’t work out for him, but blogging definitely did!

Lavanderia earns most of his income through advertising on his blog. Popularity continues to grow as he makes regular appearances on TV as a celebrity gossip commentator. It’s estimated that he earns over half a million dollars per month through his blog alone!

5 | Mashable

Mashable was started in 2005 by Pete Cashmore. Cashmore was dedicated to producing consistently great content on a regular basis. The blog offers entertainment, technology, science and cultural news. There’s also sections on lifestyle, parenting, science, deals, and a shop page.

Mashable continues to grow by reaching out to its readers. They have a large presence not only on the Internet but also through social media. Mashable’s fortune comes from its advertisements on its blog, making over $2,000,000 per month.

6 | Moz

For those of you that have never heard of Moz, it’s probably the most popular and valuable blog about SEO. Rand Fishkin started his venture out as a family-run business focusing on design. It soon turned into an SEO shop, but the blog was what gained it’s massive audience that still stands strong today.

Moz’s income comes primarily from website memberships. As a member of Moz, you’ll have access to professional tools to help you with your own website’s SEO journey. There’s a wealth of material and resources accessible to ensure that you know everything there is to know about search engine optimisation, how to increase your reach, and much more.

7 | Huffington Post

Launched back in 2005, Huffington Post (known as HuffPost or HuffPo) provides a unique view on news and politics. Arriana Huffington sold the blog in 2011 for a whopping $315 million to AOL. HuffPost is an American news blog, edited from a Liberal perspective and covers topics including politics, entertainment, technology, lifestyle, comedy, and local news.

HuffPost makes it’s millions from sponsored advertising; you’ll notice on their website they have banners and digital ads. Huffington Post is probably the most successful blog of it’s kind and time. It’s value to date is over $1 billion which is incredibly impressive compared to other news blogs that exist.

8 | Engadget

Started by the same guy that setup Gizmodo, Engadget has proven to be wildly successful. Engadget provides it’s users with technology advice and reviews on tech and electronics. The blog was sold to AOL in 2005 and has been run by them ever since. Engadget covers the likes of technology gear, games, entertainment, videos and reviews.

As do many other blogs of it’s kind, Engadget makes a large profit from it’s advertising. Because of this, it can employ content writers and editors that are able to write about about everything technology related. They can research the latest gadgets and provide daily news and reviews to keep their users interested.

9 | CSS Tricks

Chris Coyier created his design blog called CSS Tricks. He’s one of the most well-known designers on the internet to date. CSS Tricks was started in 2007; at the time it was solely focused on CSS (hence it’s name). Today, CSS Tricks is a library of resources for web design and web development. It’s really easy to visit the blog and copy lines of code to use in your own website.

There’s plenty of resources to make use of, including CSS, Sass, HTML, JavaScript, JQuery, and PHP. CSS Tricks uses it’s existing user base and audience to launch new products, blogs, and companies. One of their websites, CodePen, has over 1 million users. In fact, CodePen has double the amount of traffic compared to CSS Tricks.

10 | CoinDesk

CoinDesk is one of the leading Cryptocurrency blogs around, in fact it’s probably the most successful one. CoinDesk receives a whopping 10 million visitors per month which is what makes them a leader in the industry. The blog was started by Shakil Kha in 2003; it was bought by Digital Currency Group in 2016 for around half a million dollars.

CoinDesk makes it’s millions by being the main source of Cryptocurrency news and updates. Their income mainly comes from advertising on their website and paid reports. They also sell tickets to the conferences that they hold, which of course makes quite a nice sum.

11 | Smart Passive Income

Pat Flynn, owner of Smart Passive Income, has been blogging for almost 10 years. The aim of the blog is to provide people with easy techniques to running a business online in order to earn passive income. If you’re looking to run a blog as passive income, this is the place to learn and make use of proven techniques.

Most of Pat’s earnings come from being a BlueHost affiliate, as well as using other email marketing tools. His advertising income comes from his Podcast, as well as Google ads on the website and blog.

12 | Making Sense of Cents

The blog Making Sense of Cents is aimed at teaching you how to save money effectively. Michelle Gardner focuses on how to be frugal in order to lead a better life, showing people that managing your finances can actually change your life. Initially, the blog was set up because Michelle herself wanted to improve her own financial situation.

It’s reported that she paid off her student loan of almost $40k by less than a year of online business. Her articles cover how to earn extra income and how to be in control of money, including emotional spending (which I’m sure we all do). The blog earns it’s income from advertising and affiliate accounts.

13 | Pinch of Yum

Pinch of Yum is primarily a food blog, showing images of delicious food alongside recipes. Food blogs tend to be fairly popular as they have a large reach and most people can relate to them. Lindsay Ostrom (owner of Pinch of Yum) has already made six figures from her blog through her love of food photography.

Lots of Lindsay’s traffic comes from social media sources like Pinterest and Instagram, both of which are image heavy. She has over half a million Instagram followers which is incredibly impressive. Pinch of Yum uses both advertising on it’s blog as well as affiliate marketing with the likes of BlueHost and Amazon.

14 | Just A Girl And Her Blog

Abby, who owns Just A Girl And Her Blog, writes about all things DIY, home decor, and home organisation. In recent years, this topic has become quite popular, as I’m sure you’re aware if you caught Netflix’s Tidying Up With Marie Kondo. Abby pushes a focus on the things that we easily miss in our everyday lives at home, showing visitors how they can improve their homes whilst enjoying making it so.

Abby posts regularly on her blog, keeping her readers entertained. She makes an enormous $35k per month, just a few years after the blog started. What makes her blog so popular is that she puts things in simple terms, allowing the likes of anyone to be able to understand her point of view.

15 | Single Mom’s Income

Back in 2012, Alexa started a blog called Single Mom’s Income. The purpose of the blog was to give others a view into the life of a single mother living from paycheck-to-paycheck, and how to break the cycle. After Alexa got divorced, it spurred her on to get out of her daily rut and inspire others. She now receives over 150k monthly visitors.

Alexa talks about her life experiences and how people like her can make money without the usual 9 to 5 full-time job. There’s plenty of opportunity out there, including part-time jobs, side jobs, and freelancing. The blog’s main income comes from advertising and freelancing products/services.

16 | True Valhalla

True Valhalla creates and sells HTML5 video games. Matthew designs all of his games from scratch; in order to make money, he sells the right to the games to other gaming portals. True Valhalla truly shows you that anyone can make money online if you set your mind to it. Finding your own niche is a good starting point!

The income from the blog can be quite up and down; some months Matthew can earn up to $30k per month. Matthew earns a small amount of income from advertising on his website, but the majority of his revenue comes from selling his products and services.

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19 May 2019

21 Ways to Advertise Your Business Online in 2019

We are very lucky to be living in a world where online advertising is so vast. Even if we look back just a few years ago, online advertising offered quite slim pickings, relying on pay-per-click advertising and not much more! However, there are now loads of ways to reach out to existing and potential customers online.

Technology is constantly evolving, and so are ways to advertise your business online. Adverts are becoming more easily tracked, able to be customised, and provide a lot more value to customers and business owners. Now that a large proportion of the world has gone mobile, it’s opened up a whole new way to reach out to people.

Let’s take a look at 21 Ways to Advertise Your Business Online!

1. Google Search Network

When you perform a Google search you may have noticed the green writing display the word ‘Ad’. These adverts show at the top of a Google search result and will be the first thing most people see or take notice of.

Google themselves decide which adverts to place here based on a real time auction process. This is processed from the keywords used in performing a Google search. The results can change minute by minute as the value of each term and keyword changes.

Regardless of your budget, you can take part in the auction process. However, for certain keywords, those who are willing to put in the most money will likely win the bid.

In order to maximise ad spend via GoogleAds, determine which keywords are most relevant to your product or service. Which words are searched for more than others, and which are less likely to have too much competition.

2. Bing

Bing is Microsoft’s competition to Google. It uses a very similar model in terms of bidding, keywords, and a search/display network. Adverts are displayed on Bing, Yahoo!, and AOL. Although Bing may not have as far reach as Google, it’s still worth investing in.

AdEspresso states that Bing users can reach over 60 million users who aren’t accessible through Google. When someone buys a PC, the operating system is likely to be Microsoft Windows. Windows uses Internet Explorer or Edge as their default browser of which Bing is the default search engine. For those who can’t be bothered to change it, this works in your favour.

3. Facebook

Facebook is a brilliant choice for targeted advertising. Facebook allows you to select demographics by age, location, and interests. You can narrow your interest search down to the finest details; cats, gardening, parenting etc. You can even target people who might display certain behaviours like whether they’re interested in buying a new house or thinking about going abroad.

Your Facebook adverts can appear in a variety of locations as shown in the image above. Ad success on Facebook is more about the relevance of your ad to the user viewing it. Facebook have a relevance score which is quantified by how much you want to spend.

4. Instagram

Facebook now owns Instagram and has done since 2012. Instagram ads can be seen in news feeds or in stories. The most favourable ads on Instagram seem to revolve around branded or sponsored content. Sponsored content happens when a company pays ‘influencers’ to advertise their brand. They do this by speaking about the brand, showing images of the brand, and generally having a large following.

Costs are roughly the same as those of Facebook as they use the same Ad Manager. Although having a popular celebrity would be great to advertise your brand, that’s likely not to happen. Instead you can find smaller influencers on Instagram amongst its 1 billion users.

5. SMS advertising

Reputable brands often turn to SMS or MMS messages to advertise. I’m sure if you think about it you can recall a time you’ve received a text message from a company advertising special offers on their website or in store. Clicking on a link from a text messages takes little effort from the end user and can encourage them to browse items they may not have considered beforehand.

It’s estimated that 4.68 billion people will be using mobile phones in 2019. That’s an insane amount of potential reach or at least a great statistic to encourage you to use SMS advertising.

6. Geo-targeted advertising

This type of advertising focuses on a very specific area. We’re not talking users based in the same country, or even county/state, we’re talking a few miles away at most. Geo-targeted advertising is ideal for local businesses who aren’t necessarily interested in reaching worldwide status.

You can target people nearby to your location easily with geo-targeted advertising. Maybe your business has an offer on, a discount, or even an event. You can let potential nearby customers know and they may just decide to make a visit.

7. Retargeted Ads

Have you ever noticed that you’ve viewed an item on a website and it seems to appear in targeted adverts when you’re browsing the Internet? This is known as retargeted advertising.

The idea behind retargeted ads is that you have shown an interest in a product by viewing it. But for some reason you didn’t make a purchase. Maybe you were pushed for time, couldn’t decide, or were saving it for a later date. Retargeted ads remind customers of a product they showed interest in, in the hope they’ll revisit the website again and make a purchase.

8. Chatbot advertising

Companies are using chatbots to answer FAQs, provide simple information, and even advertise. When you view products online, you’re not just viewing them for yourself. You’re letting the company know what you’re interested in and therefore opening yourself up to marketing.

If you have customers browsing a particular product online, for example a necklace, you can use your chatbot to your advantage. The chatbot can pop up at any time whilst browsing and suggest something to keep your customers engaged. It could provide a link to a bracelet to match the necklace as well as offering discount for purchasing both.

9. Branded Apps

Although it may seem like a tall task, creating your own branded app is great for business as well as marketing. Companies often use branded apps as a place to advertise information, latest news, and even a wallet to store reward cards.

Mobile apps aren’t that hard to create, especially with today’s technology. If a customer enables push notifications and has your app installed, you can send them reminders to keep engaging with your brand.

10. QR Codes

QR codes are a great link between online and offline behaviour. A QR code can be scanned anywhere that a person has their mobile device.

QR codes are easy to generate and there’s plenty of apps available that can be downloaded to read them. If you put a QR code in your store or on a leaflet, a customer could scan the code for upcoming offers or to be added to a mailing list.

11. Email Data

Email is used everyday all around the word. Having a method available that can capture email data is really important. You can integrate something like this very easily to your website.

Having an email signup option means you can collect your customer’s email data and therefore build up a mailing list. Mailing lists are great to inform customers about upcoming news, events, and offers.

12. Email Marketing

Building on from point 11, now that you have your email data, you need to create emails to send to your customers. You’ll need an email marketing service like Mailchimp to get started. Mailchimp often comes as part of your web hosting package so check this out beforehand!

It’s important your email marketing isn’t considered spam to your customers. Make your emails worthwhile and offer your customers something they want. It’s easy for them to subscribe as well as unsubscribe!

13. Video Marketing

Videos account for a large portion of how online time is spent. Video marketing can come in several forms; via your own YouTube channel, on your website, or through social media.

Remember you don’t need to create stunning videos with tonnes of effects. A simple video blog or small advertisement showing exciting news and products will be plenty to keep customers engaged.

14. Twitter

I’ve mentioned other social media channels on this list, and Twitter doesn’t get the chance to escape I’m afraid! Twitter may not have as large a reach as Facebook or even Instagram but it shouldn’t be dismissed.

Twitter is a great way to retweet interesting content, create hashtags for your products, and encourage reviews from customers. The important thing to remember about Twitter is to continually engage with your customers and followers.

15. UGC

User-generated content (UGC) is when users write about or share information about your business. This act often happens organically (on its own without intervention or payment) but can be encouraged.

You could offer something in return for users posting content about your brand. Perhaps create a featured section on your blog or website and offer a reward to the winner each month.

16. Social Media Giveaways

As advertising usually does, this comes at a cost, but a small one. Giving away merchandise from your business to existing or potential customers is a great way for them to advertise your brand for you, as well as promoting it on social media.

All you have to do is create a competition or such on social media and let your customers battle it out! The winner will receive something free from you; an item, discount, etc. and will hopefully continue to engage on social media whilst advertising your brand.

17. Customer Testimonials

Although this isn’t direct advertising, if customers or potential customers read other peoples (hopefully positive) experience of your business, they’ll likely make a visit or return.

Testimonials aren’t often on the forefront of your customer’s minds but a gentle prompt or reminder could be enough. If you’re not getting enough testimonials, you could offer a discount in return for your customers writing one for you.

18. Contribution

People like it when they feel like a brand is representing a good cause and is engaging with people on a regular basis. It’s important that you contribute to meaningful discussions, forums and blogs as well as advertising your brand at the same time.

It’s not too difficult to set a small amount of time aside each week to find relevant information that you can contribute to. A few words can actually go a long way and will also provide back links to your website if done online.

19. Write a Blog

Creating content is a great way to engage with customers, let them know about upcoming news and events, as well as advertising your business. Creating a blog is really easy to do, there’s absolutely no excuse not to create a blog in 2019.

One of the key things about blogging is making your content relevant and useful. Don’t write just for the sake of it, write about content people want to know about and want to engage with. They’ll in turn share your content, creating back links to your website as well as advertising your business online.

20. Guest Posts

Having guest posts on your blog is another sure fire way to gaining authoritative back links and high quality content. You should only really aim for high quality sites when using guest blogging as a marketing tool. You’ll need a site with high domain authority and a zero spam score.

Guest posts can give your business exposure it might not have otherwise received as well as back links which will increase your SEO. And with a higher SEO score comes more visitors to your online business.

21. List your Business

It might seem a bit old fashioned now, but including your business in directories is actually more important than you might think. If your business isn’t listed in an online directory, people may struggle to find you.

Online directories like Google My Business, Yelp, and Thomson Local are great starting points. Make sure you only list your business where it’s relevant though. You wouldn’t want to advertise your clothing business in a tradesman directory!

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10 May 2019

9 Proven Online Businesses For 2019 (that you can start today)

Building an online business is not much different to building a bricks and mortar style business. One thing holds true in both cases, you must pick a niche that you are passionate about. The main reason is that, when things get tough you’ll hang in there if you are dedicated to the business.  Online business is rewarding, fast paced, scalable and the best bit:

Work from anywhere that has a Wi-Fi connection

With so many different opportunities to choose from it is easy to suffer from “shiny object syndrome” and fleet from one idea to the next. I’m sure you have a tonne of amazing business ideas. However, it is important to stick to one area and be consistent before expanding into other areas.

Choosing the best online business idea that suits you is easier than you might have previously thought. It’s all about spreading a message, service or range of products that you feel will enhance lives.

The more lives you can enhance – the better your online business will do #online #business Click To Tweet

A few things I’d like to mention before we get started. Creating a website is great, but the main thing is getting people over to it. To even things out a little, it is important to balance your online business activity out. By that I mean – you should share your business with people who can benefit. Find out where they are (online and off) and let them know about your online business. Also you’ll need to split your activities up and wear three hats, namely:

1. Money making/ working

2. Administration

3. Marketing

Without further ado, here are:

7 Ways To Start Your Online Empire In 2019 Click To Tweet

1. Start a Blog

BEST FOR; People who are looking for a long term sustainable business, love writing and have a passion or idea to share with the world

It’s not too late to start a blog and share your message with the world in 2019. In fact there are many ways you can get up and running – TODAY & FOR FREE. So there are no excuses.

The main thing about your blog is being consistent in creating content. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to get organised (wink-wink) you can easily schedule both your blog posts and social media posts to advertise your articles. So if you’re like me and like to get everything done in one go – you can.

There are free tools that can help you stay organised with scheduling such as Sendible and Hootsuite, where you can schedule all or some of your social media activities. Hootsuite offers a nice 30-day free trial. However if you are super organized then your calendar will look more organised.

How long should your blogs be?

This is a great question, as Google’s algorithms change continually. In 2019, the perfect length of blog is 1705 (believe it or not). The minimum blog post length should be 300 words; however Google prefers blog posts over 1000 words. The SEO keywords in your blog are equally as important as the length.

What Will You Write About?

You have two choices here, create unique content OR go ahead and copy people that inspire you. Both approaches will take dedication – but the main thing you should do in either case, is write about subjects that are of interest to you.

Monetizing your blog 

OK, great, you’re thinking about starting a blog, or already have one and want to make the most of it. But how do you make money from your blog? Here are a few ideas to get you started:

·         Advertising

·         Digital Products

·         Donations

·         List / Community Building

·         eCommerce – Sell Physical Products

·         Membership

·         Sell Your Website

Pros 

✔ Get started for free

✔ Learn more about subjects that interest you

✔ Share your expertise and help others

✔ Work from anywhere in the world – live the “laptop lifestyle”

✔ Fans and traffic compounds over time (if done correctly)

✔ A great foundation to branch out into other areas in the future

✔ You don’t need to speak to customers

✔ Set your own schedule

Cons 

✘ You need to be interested in writing or hire someone that is

In most cases you’ll need to drive traffic to your blog

✘ It is a long term project, so it might time to build a following and make money

2. Start An Online Store

BEST FOR; Hardworking people who are comfortable dealing with physical products and customers

Again, the main thing (with any online business) is choosing products/ services that interest you and benefit others. Logistically an online store or “ecommerce” as it is known, is a lot more difficult than starting a blog.

You need to think about products, shipping costs, packaging, inventory, storage and so much more. If you want to go into ecommerce, then you need to be happy with that.

An eCommerce business is basically the same as starting any shop/ store, the only key difference is that people don’t normally visit your warehouse in person. When you ship the products you’ll need to ensure that this is handled professionally and the chosen company are competent and cost effective. Additionally, the postage and packaging, tax and other costs must be considered when deciding on a price for your products.

PRO TIP: 

Check out what others are doing on Amazon and on their personal sites to decide on pricing.

If you’d rather not set up your own ecommerce website to start with, then you can create a store on Amazon or Ebay. The benefit of starting this way is that you will have access to the site’s audience. In the case of Amazon, they have done so much advertising, it’d be silly to miss out on that opportunity. Even if you are thinking of starting your own ecommerce website, then it is a good idea to also sell on Amazon.

How Will I Get Customers Over To My Ecommerce Website? 

This is a great question, because often people start up an ecommerce store and then wonder why there is no traffic. Realistically, nobody is going to find your online store unless you advertise it. The best ways to advertise your online store are SEO, Social Media/ Google Ads, Inbound Content Marketing and taking advantage of massive sites like Amazon and Ebay.

How Much Does it Cost To Start An Ecommerce Store?

You will need hosting, an ecommerce solution and also a domain name. The domain name will be your brand identity – so that part is important. On the other hand, you can set up an online store easily with a solution like Shopify. Shopify now has 800,000 store fronts and does all of the hosting and tech stuff for you. They have a free trial, which means you can get started for FREE today (Which is amazing).

Pros 

✔ Building your online store is rewarding, both financially and as a business owner (there is something about tangible products)

✔ You can get started for free or minimal cost, as many hosts scale as you grow your business

✔ Delivery day is exciting if you are selling products that you are passionate about

✔ The opportunity to grow a massive business is very realistic

✔ Can be coupled with other online opportunities to drive traffic, like adding a blog

Cons 

✘ Products can get lost in the post

✘ Good customer service is required

✘ Suppliers can take time to deliver or run out of stock

✘ You’ll need a good secure, dry space to keep your products in

Alternatively if you don’t want to hold products you can dropship….

Dropshipping is where you advertise product and you don’t personally have it. When the product sells, you simply ask your supplier to send the product to your customer. For many this is a very lucrative way to do ecommerce, as they don’t have the financial outlay of buying and storing products. On the other hand – if you choose to dropship, the process is out with your control and you can find yourself stuck in the middle of the dropshipping company and your customer.

3. Affiliate Marketing

BEST FOR; Someone who has experience with sales funnels, SEO and online marketing principles

There are many avenues to venture down when it comes to affiliate marketing. Basically as an affiliate marketer you are getting in-between the supplier and buyer and taking your cut. A bit like drop shipping. Sorry to harp on again here, but it is preferable to select a market that you are really passionate about.

It is easy to get started with Affiliate Marketing and it can be incorporated in a blog. For instance, if you are in the health niche, then you can promote people’s detox or weight loss products and take your cut. The customer gets the product at the same (or lower costs) and you get to take some money home. Often Affiliate marketers can take home 50% or more of a digital product and quite a bit less if you are promoting a physical product.

How Do I Advertise An Affiliate Product? 

There are many ways to advertise affiliate products, such as sending a mail out to your email list, promoting on your Facebook business page (not your personal page), creating sales funnels and through your blog. Google Ads, Youtube and Facebook ads will be your best friend if you are an affiliate marketer.

PRO TIP: You’ll need to understand basic SEO, Sales Funnels and Copywriting to be able to succeed in this niche.

Pros 

✔ You can get started for free

✔ Places like Clickbank are a powerhouse of affiliate activity – you can find products in every niche

✔ Get started straight away

✔ Can be incorporated into other online business activities

Cons 

 ✘ Physical products normally offer a low commission

✘ There are some big dogs out there spending a fortune on advertising with tried and tested strategies

✘ Advertising can be expensive

4. Publish A Book

BEST FOR; People who love writing and have a story to share or something to teach the world

Always wanted to write a book? Today it is easier than ever to self-publish. Sure you’ll want your book to be amazing, but you can do this easily by setting aside time every day to focus on writing your book. When compounded, 20-30mins of writing per day amounts to over 150 hours (even with some time off).

The publishing part is now super easy thanks to platforms like Amazon. You can publish your book inside a day, easily. However, before you write your book it is a good idea to validate your idea. Also, and most importantly you’ll want to make sure that there is a sizeable audience.

In some cases it is good to niche down, however when it comes to books, you can niche down too much and create a book for a tiny audience. This guide is extremely valuable if you are looking to self-publish a book.

[81% of Americans Want To Publish A Book #selfpublish #author #book #publish]

PRO TIP: If you want to sell physical copies of your book, then bear in mind Amazon take quite a while to create a proof and send it out to you. There is an added fee for their expedited service, however – you’ll want to set at least a month aside to get the proofs looking perfect.

Pros 

✔ With just a few books you can create a great recurring income

✔ Very low start-up costs

✔ Your book is an asset or IP that you can build on

✔ Tell your story and inspire others

✔ Be able to say you are an author

Cons 

✘ Very time consuming

✘ Mental blocks can seriously get in the way of writing and promoting your book/s

5. Create a Course

BEST FOR; teachers, coaches, consultants or people who already have a book

If you’ve written a book, then you can use this as the foundation of your online course (especially if there is a lot of interest in your book). Online courses are becoming increasingly popular as more and more people come online. Your online course can also be turned into a live workshop, or vice-versa.

There are three parts to creating an online course:-

1. Advertising

2. Website

3. Course Materials

An online course can be a fantastic tool to share your knowledge (and turn a profit at the same time).  You can use a free or basic website and teach over Zoom or Skype and then create course materials on your laptop. To encourage collaboration and interaction,  you can also create a Facebook group for classmates to meet up and support each other.

Teachable is a great resource for people who are looking to start an online course. Alternatively you could share your course on somewhere like Udemy.

Pros 

✔ You can turn your book into a course

✔ Share your knowledge with an unlimited number of people

✔ No product outlay

✔ A course is IP that can build a nice portfolio of recurring income

Cons 

 ✘ Time consuming

✘ Can be overwhelming with all of the moving parts

6. Start a Podcast

BEST FOR; people who don’t like to be on camera but want to take advantage of a growing online platform

Podcasts are becoming popular as people are increasingly busy. Podcasts are great for people on the go. Simply listening to a podcast on your smartphone is so much easier than watching a video if you are short on time.

In short, podcasts are great for people who like to multi task. Consistency is key with a Podcast, when you get fans – they’ll want to listen at a specific time every single week. The good news is that you can record your podcast with your phone or if you want to edit it then you can use free software like Audacity.

6 Million UK Adults Listen To Podcasts (according to Ofcom) Click To Tweet

A podcast can be added to your blog – and so your online empire begins!

Once you know your niche and name, you’ll need to decide on your podcast show format. This is a good example of a podcast show format. A simple podcast can be done in an interview format. With a guest or interview based podcast you’ll never be short of people to reach out to so that you can share their expertise with your audience. You’ll also need a podcasting website, if you don’t already have one – you can set up a free website to get started promoting your podcast and show schedule.

Pros 

✔ Start for free

✔ No video required, so you don’t need to get dressed up every time you go live

✔ Free software to record and edit

✔ Use your phone as a microphone

✔ A booming industry

✔ Meet lots of new people with similar interests

Cons 

✘ You’ll need a high-quality microphone (unless you have a great phone)

✘ Building an audience takes time, consistency and patience

7. Start a Youtube Channel

BEST FOR; people who like to be on camera and have a message to spread

First off, I’d like to state, that becoming a Youtuber isn’t for everyone. It can take years to get your channel off the ground, so there is a lot of commitment required. However, for some people they are passionate about making videos, maybe that’s you, if so – I’m jealous.

Youtubing is a fantastic skill to have. Over time you can build your Youtube channel up and then branch out into some other avenues like we have discussed such as a blog, ecommerce store, digital products or merchandise.

Now is a great time to become a Youtuber. Many marketers are stating that they want to take advantage of Youtube and influencers. Youtube is extremely popular and can lead to a wealth of opportunities, such as speaking gigs and expansion into other online businesses. The best way to start a Youtube channel in 2019 is by using an iPhone. When speaking to the BBC I found out that they often cut videos from iPhone – so you’ll be creating professional content with very little kit.

Pros 

✔ Get better at storytelling

✔ Build your brand

✔ The best way to reach a large audience

Free and easy to start (so long as you have a good quality smartphone)

✔ Have to think about your character and presentation

✔ Very little outlay

Cons 

✘ Can be embarrassing if you are not used to being in front of a camera

✘ You’ll need to be consistent

✘ Video editing can be time consuming

8. Become a Freelancer

BEST FOR; people who want money upfront and already have a developed skill

In 2019 there is no longer a need to meet your clients in person. So there is now a lot of opportunity for people to share their skills to benefit others. Any area of a business can now be outsourced, from HR to graphic design – so no matter what you are good at, or what you want to try, there is a lot of scope for earning a decent income online. Here are just a few jobs that you can do online as a freelancer:

App Developer/ Programmer

·         Copywriter

·         Marketer

·         Graphic Design

·         Social Media Manager

·         Accountant

·         SEO Expert

etc…

Sites like Peopleperhour and Upwork make it really easy to connect with people who want to hire freelancers. You can make a profile for free and get started within a day. Payment is normally taken via Paypal and a cut will be given to the platform after you have successfully completed the job.

On the other hand, you can also create a Freelancer website to help you get higher paying clients. If you decide to go this route you can still use the freelancer sites and direct people to your online portfolio based website.

Pros 

✔ You can get started straight away (for free)

✔ There are many freelance platforms that you can find jobs on

✔ Get paid for the work you do quickly

✔ Work from anywhere

✔ No boss

✔ Choose your own clients

Cons 

✘ No job security (if that is even a thing anymore?)

✘ Days off and holidays are not paid

✘ No company pension

✘ Money can fluctuate

✘ You have to run the whole business and wear many hats.

9. Coaching or Consulting

BEST FOR; people who want to help others and make money at the same time

Starting a coaching or consulting business can be very rewarding. Consultants and coaches can make a lot of money (if they are good). What’s more there is a lot of scope for expanding into other areas. For example you could write a book on your expertise and use it to generate traffic to your consultancy website.

You can help people in just about every area of life, however you’ll need to choose your own coaching niche. Did you know that Opera Winfrey has a coach for every area of her life? When you need a little extra accountability or guidance, your coach is your guide on the side. You can lean on your coach. A coach can offer group or 1 to 1 coaching in all areas of life. There are even Fortnite coaches out there (believe it or not).

How do I get traffic to my consultancy website?

The best way is for you to set time aside to help others for free. So for instance you could provide assistance to people on forums or in Facebook groups. Make sure that you choose groups and forums that have a lot of traffic, so that you can reach more people.

Pros 

✔ Very low start-up costs

✔ High income potential

✔ Lots of scope to expand your business

✔ Help people from all around the world via Skype or Zoom

✔ Work from the comfort of your own home

Cons 

✘ You’ll need to be very confident in your sector

✘ Building rapport and positioning yourself as an expert can be time consuming

In Conclusion

There is now so much opportunity to make a great living online. However, it can be daunting to know what is best for you. Make sure you take time to figure out what you want to focus on. Pick a niche and the type of platform that resonates with you and your audience. If you love writing, then you could start a freelance copywriting business and a blog. On the other hand if you’d love to help others, becoming an coach or an online consultant could be the best route.

So What Are You Waiting For?

Start your online empire today with one of the above ideas, you can always add to it when you have the foundations laid.

Best Online Business Ideas of 2019 – Start Your Digital Empire Click To Tweet

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08 May 2019

10 Best Free Blogging Sites – Which Platform is the Best?

Looking for a blogging platform that is perfect for your niche? Blogging is BIG BUSINESS and the best thing about it? You can get started for free – within minutes.

Whether you are looking to blog professionally, or simply share your thoughts with the world, blogging is still a great option IN 2019. Longer blog posts are more successful, not just for the end user, but they get more traffic over to your space on the web. Successful blogs are measured in: Views, shares/likes, and time spent (and also claps, but more on that later)

… you’ll want to choose a platform that easily allows your users to do the above.

Make Money Blogging

If you’re looking to make money from blogging in the long run then you’ll want to invest in a professional domain name down the line. However, that’s not necessary right now. We just want to get on to a great blogging platform and become a blogger.

B2B marketers outsource 64% of their blog copywriting Click To Tweet

There are great NEW and innovative ways to make money blogging which we’ll touch on briefly – so that you can get excited about your new blogging platform. Your blog can grow as big as you want to make it, both in readers and also monetary value.

Why would you want a blog?

There are several reason’s someone would want a blog. If you have a business, then you’ll want a blog to attract more customers to your website. Companies with blogs get 67% more leads than those without a blog.

You might want to create a blog to share your life journey (or an aspect of it), to gain experience as a blogger, because you love writing or share your hobby. The reasons to start a blog are endless, and I applaud you for taking the first step on your blogging journey. If you want to be like the pro bloggers out there then the professional approach is to create an editorial calendar.

A massive 69% of companies use an editorial calendar to keep track of their blogs Click To Tweet

Choosing the best online platform is critical for your online success. Now that you’re all hyped up about your new blogging journey, let’s dive in to our pick of the:

Top 10 Best FREE Blogging Platforms of 2019

#1 | Medium

BEST FOR; reaching an established audience, making money

Medium is a fairly young blogging platform with some exciting benefits for bloggers. Launched back in 2012, Medium is changing the blogging landscape. If you’re looking for a FREE quick-and-easy way to jump online and start blogging, Medium.com could be for you. The best bit about it is that you can get paid for blogging on Medium, through their partnership program.

There are many reasons that Medium has taken our number one spot. Since its launch Mediums founders have been on a wild journey, which is starting to pay off in 2019. With 60 million monthly users, you’ll have an instant audience on Medium.com. Obviously, your content will have to be good to get the readers, however it’s exciting to know that 4.5 million reading hours are spent on Medium every single month.

 

The interface at Medium: 

Click Here To Visit Medium

Pros 

Login & create an account in seconds with any of your social profiles

Share your story with a massive community of readers

No design experience required

Publish your articles in minutes

Get paid for your writing, add your bank account via Stripe and accept payments

Get traffic to your website from Medium.com by sharing your website URL

Medium articles are well received and picked up regularly on Google.

Cons

You can’t use your own domain name, instead you get https://medium.com/yourprofilename

You can’t earn via affiliate money on Medium (eg. You can’t place ads in your content)

By hijacking the Medium.com audience, you have great instant reach, the only thing is you can’t access this audience out with Medium.

You don’t own your follower database

Medium.com is geared towards US/ English speaking audience.

#2 | WordPress

BEST FOR; creating your own branded blog

WordPress is the leading blogging platform with a wide variety of themes to choose from. I put them second on the list just because you need to build your own audience and setting up a blog with WordPress is basically like setting up an actual website. Great, sure, but a bit more daunting than publishing your blogs on Medium.com, that being said – I’d advice going for both a WordPress website and publishing on Medium.com for exposure.

26% of all websites are WordPress sites, however originally they were designed to be blogs. IMO blogging is still WordPress’ greatest strength. You can install wordpress on your own host within minutes and use your own domain name.

PRO TIP:

WordPress.com and WordPress.org are different sites. Furthermore, you can install WordPress on your own server – there are actually three different approaches to using WordPress.

WordPress.com is the 100% free option for you to build your website. WordPress.org is where you can download the latest version of WordPress to upload onto your own webserver/ host. Therefore if you are looking for a quick and easy way to get started blogging, WordPress.com is a good place to start. You can always download the files later and upload to your own name server when you get there.

The interface at WordPress:

Click Here To Visit WordPress

Pros 

You can choose a theme/ branding for your WordPress blog

Available in 62 Languages

Built-in plugin features to choose from

Built in statistics to monitor how well your site is doing

Easy for beginners to set up

Flexible, you can start of FREE and move on to a custom domain or hosting in the future by downloading your files and porting them to your new server.

.

Cons

Prone to spam messages

Your site will be branded with the WordPress logo

You cannot sell ads on sites with less than 25,000 monthly views.

Space is limited to 3GB

#3 | Wix

BEST FOR; beginners looking to create a branded blog or website

Another great platform to start blogging on is Wix. Again it is more like setting up your own website, rather than a simple 3rd party blogging platform. So you’ll need to work on getting readers over to your new website.

Wix is very popular for people starting out their online journey, because the offer an easy way to set up a website, even if you have limited technical ability. Founded back in 2006, Wix is a reputable and well established web-builder platform, trusted by over 100 million users. A great option if you want to go down the traditional website pathway.

The interface at Wix:

Click Here To Visit Wix

Pros 

Perfect for beginners set up your website intuitively with drag and drop

Quick to set up

Branding and customization options are endless.

Cons

Free plan has Wix branding (you can pay to remove it)

Limited ecommerce functionality

After you have selected your theme you cannot change it, so make sure you are 100% before you decide on the look and feel for your new Wix blog.

#4 | Blogger

BEST FOR; easily creating a 3rd party blog

Got a Google account or gmail? Great, that’s all you need to get started with Blogger. One of the first blogging platforms to be created back in 1999, Blogger was acquired by Google in 2003. Blogger is secure and reliable platform to publish blogs. However, you can’t use your own domain name and unlike Medium you don’t get access to their traffic. If you want to use your own domain name then adding a Wix blog to your existing site is a good option, or Gator.

The interface at Blogger:

Click Here To Visit Blogger

Pros 

100% FREE

Allows multi publishing, so you can have others publish on your blog

Easy to get started, no tech skills required

Cons

Limited features and templates

Not updated regularly

Doesn’t have its own traffic

Isn’t updated frequently

#5 | Ghost

BEST FOR; people looking for a lightweight alternative to WordPress

Another Opensource CMS site, similar in type to WordPress is Ghost. Ghost is specifically geared towards written publications like magazines and journalists. Ghost offers an easy blog solution that is clean and intuitive.

Ghost is not 100% free, but they do havea free trial of their fully managed Ghost Pro service. The free trial is 14 days long and you’ll need to enter your credit card to take advantage of this service.

The interface at Ghost:

Click Here To Visit Ghost

Pros 

14 day free trial

Created specifically for bloggers

Clean, intuitive design

Cons

No 100% free option

#6 | Tumblr

BEST FOR; microblogging, personal content and reaching other members to share your content

Tumbr is a microblogging platform and the 7th leading social media platform. Tumblr hit the news recently as they have issued a porn ban, leading to a third of their users leaving. The best thing about Tumblr is that there are people over there to share your content with as they have 437 million monthly active users, down from 521 million before they announced the new rules.

Not a professional platform – more something you might use to share your musings. If you’re looking for somewhere to write and share your content then Tumblr is a blogging community well worth a look.

The interface at Tumblr:

Click Here To Visit Tumblr

Pros 

100% FREE to use

You can make money with adverts

You get your own sub-domain for your blog

Super easy to get started with, like any of the major social media platforms you’ll be up and running almost instantly

The social media aspect means you can share your work with more people.

You can upgrade and use a professional domain name with your Tumblr blog

A wide variety of themes available

Cons

Limited features

Pages are not easily customized / branded – eg. No professional themes/ templates

Backups and downloading your Tumblr blog to port it onto another platform is tricky

#7 | Squarespace

BEST FOR; beginners who want a beautiful website

Squarespace is an American owned website builder designed for small to medium business’ to get online easily. Squarespace has been around for 16 years and offers some great features for bloggers. For example you can choose from a wide range of templates that suit your brand’s look and feel.

The interface at Squarespace:

Click Here To Visit Squarespace

Pros 

Great for beginners

Great choice of templates

You can use your own domain name

Cons

Limited features

# 8 | Jimdo

BEST FOR; people looking for a front end CMS

Jimdo is really easy to use, even for the complete beginner. If you like to edit the website from the front end (eg. how the user sees the website) much like Clickfunnels or Visual Composer then Jimdo could be a great option.

Probably a good option for a new blogger that likes the front end approach, rather than someone who has been blogging for years and is accustomed to back-end content management.

The interface at Jimdo:

Click Here To Visit Jimdo

Pros 

Great for those who like front end web management

Easy to use for the complete beginner

Cons

No back-end content management

There are ads on the free version

No custom domain option

#9 | Joomla

BEST FOR; people who want to scale their additional features

Joomla is similar to WordPress, and at some point in the past it was a serious contender. Powering a decent 3.1% of the web, Joomla is still a good option for a lot of people looking for a blog. The only thing is, you’ll need to upload it or install it via your website host, so a bit more technical ability is required. You can get great hosting from Siteground or Hostinger and select Softaculous, which will allow you to quickly deploy Joomla.

The interface at Joomla:

Click Here To Visit Joomla

Pros 

Feature rich

You can use your own domain name

Cons

You need to find another host

Complicated framework to use

10 | Fuel CMS

BEST FOR; those looking for a premium grade website

If you are feeling technical, then Code Igniter is one of the more advanced PHP frameworks that also offers a FREE CMS. You’ll probably need a developer to download and install Fuel CMS, however, if you are great with technology they do have some great documentation to help you. A great solution if you want a thoroughly professional website.

The interface at  Fuel CMS:

Click Here To Visit Fuel CMS

Pros 

Easy to use for content editors, when installed

A great forum and documents to help you

Flexible and suitable for those looking for a premium CMS experience

Cons

Created for the more tech-savvy blogger

You’ll need a host and domain name

So Which Blogging Platform Suits You Best?

Blogging platforms come in many different shapes and sizes, as you can see. Choose the best platform provider that suits, that will depend what you want to do with your blog going forward.

Fancy starting a #blog ? Check out the 10 Best FREE #Blogging Platforms Click To Tweet

 

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