Example

Online shopping is the fastest growing segment in retail shopping. More buyers are looking to the internet on a daily basis to pick up items they need by using the convenience of click and ship. However, there is one major problem most online buyers face when looking to capitalize on this convenience…the in store help and hands on experience. In previous shopping experiences, the consumer would see and use the product in the store while asking questions to an associate to aid in the purchasing decision. When you shop online…you get rid of that interaction…or do you?

Online shoppers are turning to blogs and websites for honest, online product reviews to help them make purchasing decisions. This is where you step in as the blogger and provide that personal experience they are missing through forgoing the in-store experience! Better yet…you let them know where they can purchase these items for the best price and receive a commission off of that sale. This is the new way of buying online and it equals massive blogging profits for your business.

There is a bonus at the end of this article…so keep on reading…

Where I Got My Reputation In Blogging

Most of you already know this…but I got my blogging rep by getting in free product to review for Bike198.com. In the first 9 months, I had already surpassed over $100k in product and that was just the beginning. Not only was I helping out riders in the industry by providing honest opinions on products they were looking to purchase, but I was also providing exposure for companies looking to get their product in front of potential customers. Through this…I was able to grow my blogging income to include a lot of affiliate revenue and bonus revenue through the facilitation of product in my industry for review purposes.

Talk about a cool way to live. The same products I used to pay thousands for a year…I was now getting for free and profiting from it! All I had to do was be honest!

BlogWorld Expo: Time To Share The Story

Next month (May 24-26), BlogWorld Expo comes to NYC. On May 26th at 11:15am, I will be delivering my presentation on The Role Bloggers Play In Retail Purchasing Decisions and How That Equals Blogging Profits. I am completely stoked about the opportunity and look forward to seeing you there if you are going to be at BlogWorld.

I will be sharing how I have generated over 6 figures of online income by positioning my blogs as that source for online buying research and how you can do it just like I did. I will also be presenting recent trends in online purchasing and showing you were I think things are headed for the future. We always have to be planning ahead right?!

Bonus: 50% Off!

To celebrate and get pumped up for next month, I want to offer you guys a 50% off coupon code that you can use on Ramped Blogging and Ramped Reviews. All you have to do is enter “BlogWorld” as the coupon code at checkout and you can watch the price cut in half! I truly believe that we learn from those that have been there before us to drastically decrease learning curve time periods. I want to help you get on the right foot to see success earlier and that is the main driving force behind delivering the presentation and why I have no secrets in how I run my business.

Click here and use coupon code “BlogWorld”: Ramped Blogging | Ramped Reviews

Example

I have this theory…if you are not moving forward…you are moving backwards. There is no standing still and just going through the motions with business building and blogging. You are either looking forward to the future and planning for those changes or you are letting others pass you by that are making the conscious decision to get that done.

On Bike198.com, I have been looking for a way to get even more reader interaction and do so by drastically increasing my site size with product heavy, SEO gold that contains affiliate links. I want to be able to provide the same quality I have with reviews into a user experience that allows riders to review their products as well. With that idea in mind, the database of products labeled “Rider Reviews” was born. Now…I just had to build it…

Building Out A Reader Review Section

Ironically enough, I tested about every single WordPress option I could find. Every single plugin seemed to be ok…but they lack a polished look or were too hard to get everything looking correctly. I started searching around for a stand alone php script to accomplish the same goal and just happened to fall upon Reviews For Joomla (not an affiliate). The layout, ease of use and basic design was exactly what I was looking for. Better yet…it installed over Joomla so I would have a very strong back-end content management system to aid with setup.

Rider Reviews at Bike198 Home

With this system, I can have the products loaded in and then my readers have an incredibly clean, easy to use layout to give ratings and reviews for products in the industry. There are even features to allow them to compare ratings and features which adds a ton of function into that portion of the site.

I installed Joomla 1.6 into a subfolder of Mountain.Bike198.com (this one will only have mountain bike products) and got to work…

Handling Of Affiliate Links

Now…a section of your blog like this is only really good if it is generating income. One of my biggest nightmares with this entire project was trying to figure out how I would actually handle the affiliate linking. The idea of searching for my specific affiliate link, getting it on the right product and then making sure it wasn’t broken 24/7 seemed like an incredibly daunting task just in itself.

Ironically, a friend of mine that owns MyGolfSpy.com recently came across VigLink and started testing on his forum. What VigLink basically does is takes your links to popular stores online (ex: Amazon) and automatically handles all affiliate revenue for you. Of course, they take their cut but it takes all of the management process out for you with a simple line of code. Now I was able to get the products loaded with a link to a store and not have to worry about whether or not I am getting credit for the sale. VigLink claims to get a higher percentage commissions on sales due to their larger audience, so the cut they take should drastically reduce the difference between using them and doing it on your own. The time management side was the real payoff for me though.

If you are only building out a section of your site like this that has 12 or so products (maybe even up to 50), managing it yourself might make sense. As of right now, I have 696 total mountain bike products and bikes listed, so you can see how that can get out of control quickly.

Getting The Products Loaded Into The System

A review system like this is worthless if you do not have an accurate representation of your industries products listed on the site. Let’s be honest, I do not have the time to load over 1,000 products into a website. That is a lot of busy work that I can’t even fathom doing and it is also the main reason this idea I have had for over a year is just now coming to fruition. To get some help, I enlisted the help of Chris Ducker over at Virtual Staff Finder to help me out in finding a virtual assistant. After interviewing 3 candidates, I found the perfect one for me.

Rider Reviews Product List

After sending over one training video, I started sending Lauren (my new VA) the list of products each day and the site started expanding rapidly. My industry is a little unique as we have a ton of parts and related gear.

Now…I don’t want you to look at my site and think this isn’t possible on your site just because of the magnitude of products. In other industries…you might not have this much of an extreme workload where you need to hire someone on to help. In my case, I did and it is working out perfectly.

How do you get people to actually use it?!

As you can see by visiting Rider Reviews, there are a couple of reviews already started on the site by my readers. However, like with any social interaction environment, there is going to have to be some incentive to get the ball rolling. I already have several contests lined up for my readers that are based around getting the review section populated and useful for new visitors. Once those go live, it should be great to see the new reviews come in on a platform that allows my readers to have a voice in the industry and basically runs on its own while also generating income.

Rider Reviews

As you can imagine, the SEO benefit of this section has already returned great results and it is just getting started. I am going to check back in on this project here to let you guys know how is it progressing. There are still more products to load and some design work to get completed before I start running the contests, but…from what I am already seeing, it is going to be my my largest asset on Bike198.

Check out: Rider Reviews at Bike198 | VigLink | Reviews For Joomla

Example

Throughout the beginning pregnancy, it feels like you are constantly looking to that next hurdle to cross. One of the big ones is the fetal nuchal translucency test which is the prime reason for the 12 week ultrasound. The basic premise of the test is to measure the fluid at the back of the babies neck to screen for Downs syndrome. Last Friday, we went in to get that and some preliminary blood work done to test for a host of genetically transmitted things as well.

For some reason, I thought we were actually getting one of those 3D ultrasounds done, but…as it turns out…it was just your regular, run of the mill ultrasound. At first, I was a little bit disappointed, but then I remembered a conversation my wife and I had about the 3D ultrasounds. From the pictures we have seen, they look kind of weird! It is almost like we really are not supposed to see our babies that clear at this point in life. Once it is born…we will get to see it for the rest of it’s life in 3D anyway…so I focused on what we were there for and we got things rolling.

Seeing Your Baby As A Moving Human

When they first put your baby on the screen at 12 weeks (we were around 13 at the time), there was an incredible shock affect. This entire time, I knew there is a baby growing inside my wife, but it really doesn’t hit home until you see arms, legs, head, fingers and other real body parts for the first time. It really looks like a small human now! Our little one sat all nice and still while the tech took all of the measurements and everything looked great. After she was done, it was almost as if our baby knew “Hey! My job is done!” and it started twisting and moving all over the place! It really was crazy to watch and we found ourselves in a very quiet and peaceful ultrasound room as we got to watch our baby interact with its environment for the first time.

12 Week Ultrasound Picture

The tech then went on to take pictures of the legs, arms and brain. I made the typical new dad comment…”Look! A big brain just like dad’s!”. I am pretty sure I am not the first one to throw that comment out there and it completely backfired at checkout when I said something stupid and the nurse said…”Big brain like dad’s right?!” My wife loved it. It’s all good though…it’s my job to embarrass her anyway. The truth is…as a husband of a very intelligent, beautiful and driven wife, I hope our baby gets a lot of the characteristics that make her the incredible person she is.

After the ultrasound, we talked to the doctor and he confirmed that everything is perfectly on track. We discussed some more tests that are available and we decided to go ahead and get them done. Anything that is just a blood test and is non-invasive to the baby…we are going to complete even though it won’t change anything on our end unless it is completely life threatening.

In 6 weeks, we go back for more testing and the pinnacle moment in every pregnancy…finding out the sex.

Example

The weeks leading up to the end of the first trimester are pretty much a roller coaster emotionally for you and your other half. It means a lot for the safety of the baby and your percentage chance of going the distance to get past that pivotal date. All focus is on getting past that point…and getting to tell everyone about it.

So what happens to the brain of a guy once that is complete?

For me…without even really realizing it…my brain went into major “I want” mode. I’m not kidding either. It is as our subconscious suddenly realizes that several months from now is the end of our gadget/fun car/get anything we want stage.

It’s not that it completely goes away…as I know plenty of dads that get to fill their hobbies and gear needs still, but you get hit with a brick wall that it is no longer a priority. The baby and the mom now take center stage and you have a few short months to get in anything you can while still be able to provide for the new member about to join your family.

Ironically, it wasn’t until I sat back and really thought about why I was having these feelings that I realized what was really going on. I can’t speak for all of the other expectant fathers of their first kid out there…but it was and still is really weird for me.

So what do I want to try to get in before the baby is born?!

Wicked White Mitsubishi Evolution X

A wicked white Mitsubishi Evolution X…and why do I want it?

  • I want to be the fastest dad in the carpool line.
  • I am on my second truck in a row so I really want something fun that is easier to park.
  • It has four doors and a nice backseat (along with about a million airbags)…so it is baby approved.
  • And most importantly…my subconscious is telling me I will never be able to have anything like this ever again!

Now I just have to convince the wife that a lower car payment and more power is a good thing. How do you think I will do? “Hey babe look! I can even get a Recaro car seat to match the seats in the car!”

The Reality…

What I am going through is probably pretty normal. I am pretty sure that when it comes to this kind of stuff I am not the first nor will I be the last. Do I have to have a fast car right now? No…but I want one.

The reality is that everything will be fine and priorities are going to shift away from stuff to family. These are all good things but the testosterone in me does not want to let go of all things fast, technical and mine.