A couple years ago, I wrote a guest post on the popular design blog Smashing Magazine titled, How to Launch Anything. At the time I was just getting into launching products and learning about marketing, so I just wanted to share everything that I’d learned at the point. I wrote this pretty epic 4,000-word blog on the high level view of a product launch. I covered everything you can think of – building an audience, announcing your product, how to not kill your email list, etc.
I’d written guests posts before and I wanted to try a new way to wrap up the ending. Instead of concluding the blog with my little author bio, begging people to come follow me on Twitter, I wanted something more engaging.
I knew those little bio links just weren’t enough. Even when I’d guest posted on really popular sites I wasn’t seeing any real results from those clicks. So instead of pitching a product or linking to my social media I decided to create a free email course called Mastering Product Launches.
It was a fairly simple setup – just link to a streamlined landing page asking people to sign up for the course. The course itself was powered by the very first version of ConvertKit, so after you signed up, you got the first email and a couple days later you got the next one and so on. Each email walked you through the tactics of actually running a product launch.
What happens with guest posts in general is that right from the beginning, your audience is getting all this great free value from your blog, but then your conversation comes to an abrupt stop. Instead of saying, “Ok, BYE!”, I wanted to give them even more. So at the end of the post I actually wrote, “I don’t want your education on product launches to end here. There’s so much more to know and there’s so much we can get into on the tactics. So I’ve created this free email course. It’s eight emails over three weeks. Click here to sign up.”
I ended up getting a thousand email subscribers from the one blog! All it took was a logical call to action. The audience needed to see that logical conclusion of reading that blog was to sign up for my free course.
The two mistakes that people make when writing guest blogs are:
They don’t pitch something strong enough. It’s not good enough to just have a link in the author bio.
Or they do pitch and it’s too strong. Trying to get someone to buy a product can be too pushy. The blog your guesting on most likely doesn’t want their audience being pitched that way and people aren’t going to buy a product from someone they just met.
My free email course was the perfect way to get people to sign up and start building a relationship.
My guinea pig, Wes Wages.
After this post ran, I bumped into my videographer friend, Wes Wages. He’s worked with a lot of top bloggers and Internet markets and had just started creating videos to teach people how to get better at online video.
While his actual videos were great, they were just on his blog without an exciting call to action. All he had was newsletter sign up button.
Newsletter sign ups don’t speak to any value, why you should care, why you should hand over your email address, or any of that. So I told him what I had just done with my email course and asked if we could do something similar with his videos.
So, to test my method, I followed the same recipe I used for Mastering Product Launches. We took the videos he already shot, bundled them together, and created a free email course called Mastering Online Videos. Again, I created a streamlined landing page and let his emails drip out with one video per email. He actually went live with this before all the videos were even finished. That’s one of the sweet things about an email course – you’ve got some extra time to keep creating your content even after you launch.
After firing up the course in ConvertKit and some promoting, Wes went from close to zero subscribers to 950 in seven days! It was amazing.
So here’s a couple things I learned from these two email courses:
Having something of value to giveaway creates a shareable situation. Using the campaign tracking in ConvertKit, we were able to see where his subscribers came from. A few from me on Twitter, 70 from Facebook, 267 from Product Hunt, and couple from friends who shared and so on. The point is, he pieced together this large list from a lot of different places because he finally had something to promote. Before when it was a simple newsletter sign up, there was no real value for his audience and therefore no one was sharing it and the conversion rate was really low. But with the free email course, he finally had something people wanted.
Email courses help train and condition your audience. If you’ve ever done content upgrades, lead magnets, or that kind of thing with a PDF, I’m sure you’ve gotten the question, “Why do I have to give you my email address to download a PDF?”. With an email course, what you’re doing is two things:
It’s obvious that I have to give you my email address in order to receive an email course from you.
It’s training me, as a subscriber, to get used to opening your emails, reading them, and responding. You’re interacting with me. That’s good for later on when you want to launch a product or pretty much anything else.
And here’s a couple extra case studies if you’re interested:
Paula saw the case study I wrote about Wes Wages and wanted to do the same thing. She had this really great book on a bunch of case studies on iPhone app design so she put together a landing page promoting her free 14-day course. The plan was to do what Wes did, promoting in many places, asking everybody to share it, etc. After hustling to get that done, one of the sources that she submitted to – Product Hunt – ended up taking off and she got 3,000 subscribers in three days. It wouldn’t have happened without her email course and it certainly wasn’t happening just promoting the book directly.
My friend Paul teaches people how to build a better freelancing business with something called The Creative Class. He had a good audience and that was getting great sales, but he wanted an easier way for people to access the product, learn how to get used to his content, and get a taste of his training. So he put together a free, seven-day email course on freelancing. It was something free he could promote everywhere (which could get more traction than his paid course), but it was also a logical call to action and a pitch for actually buying his paid course later on.
Yeah, free email courses will definitely help you grow your list.
If you’re looking to grow your email list, I highly suggest taking some time to consider adding a free email course to your repertoire. What can you teach? What can you give away piece-by-piece over a couple days or weeks? What do you know that someone else would find value in?
Now go forth and create! Give your readers a reason to stick around and they’ll be your friends for life.
Optimize your opt-ins.
Collecting emails is easier than ever with this opt-in focused Toolkit. Get the resources you need sent straight to your inbox.
In previous careers Nathan has been a designer, author, and blogger. After learning the power of email marketing he gave up a successful blogging career to build ConvertKit. Outside of work Nathan spends his time playing soccer, woodworking, and chasing after his two little boys.
A page from Tim Ferriss’ playbook
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Do you want to learn How to Make $200 a Day Starting Today? Well, in this post, I will explain just how you can learn How to Make $200 a Day Starting Today.
Before I get to the nuts and bolts, I want to give you some insights as to what you will learn.
Insight # 1 – It is related to passive income. You know, the kind of income you receive even when you are sleeping. The great thing about passive income is that you can create as many passive income streams as you would like and still keep your job. If you really want to keep your job.
Insight # 2 – It is not a MLM. Sorry MLM lovers but this is not one of those programs.
Insight # 3 – It does allow you to work from home either part time or full time.
Insight # 4 – It requires extremely low investment but has extremely high profit potential.
Insight # 5 – It is probably something you have thought about before but really didn’t take the time or effort to dig into it.
Now let me share a few things about the future with you. It’s not what everything thinks it will be. Many industry analysts predict that robots, artificial intelligence, and other technological advancements will eliminate the majority of jobs.
For example, Uber has announced it will purchase 24,000 Volvo autonomous vehicles in the next couple of years. How many drivers will be out of work? If you say 24,000, you would be mistaken. Not all of the cars will be on the road simultaneously. The vehicles will need to be fueled, maintained, and repaired. By the way, who is going to put fuel or charge them, maintain them, and repair them? Robots? Unlikely. Jobs will be created as a result of the move to eliminate drivers. Ever wonder how a self-driving vehicle will change its own flat tire?
Autonomous vehicles will soon eliminate driving jobs including truck driving jobs.
And what about the expectations that these autonomous vehicles will be safer and there will be fewer accidents, fewer insurance claims, and fewer insurance agents and adjusters? It is yet to be seen if these vehicles really are safer. They are software driven and you what happens when hackers are faced with software challenges. Oh the conspiracy theories that will be told.
There will be fewer cashiers at Wal-Mart and at major grocery chains however. The self checkouts are here to stay and will continue to put thousands of cashiers out of a job. Consumers should receive a discount for scanning and bagging their own items, don’t you agree?
But these cashiers will have the opportunity to learn new skills from the comfort of their homes via MOOCs (massive open online courses). These are online courses aimed at unlimited participation and open access via the web. In addition to traditional course materials such as filmed lectures, readings, and problem sets, many MOOCs provide interactive courses with user forums to support community interactions among students, professors, and teaching assistants (TAs) as well as immediate feedback to quick quizzes and assignments. MOOCs are a recent and widely researched development in distance education which were first introduced in 2006 and emerged as a popular mode of learning in 2012.
Udemy, Lynda, and other sites will provide those displaced by technology with the opportunity to learn new skills such as programming, robotics, artificial intelligence. Hey, wait a second, do you see what’s gonna happen? If these displaced workers learn hi-tech skills, they will develop ways to eliminate even more jobs. What??
Many professionals have adapted a form of MOOC. Do a Google search on “life coach membership”, “therapy membership”, and “relationship coach membership” and you will find numerous professionals who have opened up their practice to more people who are opening up their wallets. Membership sites allow the “provider” to increase the number of clients without increasing the amount of time required to service the clients. Sorta like automation.
Memberships have been around for a long, long time and are in every aspect of our lives, You pay for music with memberships, watch movies at home with memberships, shop at Sam’s Club or Costco with memberships, workout with memberships, travel with memberships. See where I’m going with this?
This is a picture of the very first Sam’s Wholesale Club which was located
in Midwest City, OK. I worked there from 1984 until 1989.
You probably have a ton of other things on your plate at the moment so I will give you the opportunity to learn how to make $200 a day starting today with an easy-to-receive method. A video!
A page from Tim Ferriss’ playbook
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As many of you know, I am a BIG fan of Tim Ferriss. His book, The 4-Hour Workweek really resonated with me. He delivered the information in an easy-to-understand format and in a very do-able format.
The post “How to Gather 100,000 Emails in One Week (Includes Successful Templates, Code, Everything You Need)” is incredible and I want to help get the information in to the hands of people who are really interested in growing their email list FAST!
How to Gather 100,000 Emails in One Week (Includes Successful Templates, Code, Everything You Need)
This story is about the launch of Harry’s, a new men’s grooming brand.
Specifically, it will explain how they gathered nearly 100,000 email addresses in one week (!). This post includes all the email templates, open-source code, and insider tricks that you can use to replicate their success. It’s similar in depth to my previous how-to post, Hacking Kickstarter: How to Raise $100,000 in 10 Days.
This post is of great personal interest to me, as I’ll be doing a ton of fun stuff with email soon. For a sneak peek, click here. Now, on to Harry’s…
Harry’s started small and grew quickly. They now have 40 domestic employees, an online store, a barbershop in New York, and a thriving online magazine called Five O’Clock. Harry’s also recently raised 100+ million dollars to buy the 94-year-old German factory that makes it blades. By doing so, they added 427 people to their team. Today, you can find Harry’s products on harrys.com, in select J Crew stores, and at more than 65 men’s boutiques and hotels across the country.
This is piece was written by Jeff Raider, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Harry’s, with input from key members of the Harry’s team.
Prior to Harry’s, Jeff co-founded Warby Parker, a brand offering designer-like eyewear at lower prices, which also helped pioneer the “buy one, give one” model.
We can’t launch to crickets
We opened the digital doors of our shaving brand, Harry’s, in March of 2013. In the weeks leading up to the launch, there was one persistent worry: Were we going to launch to crickets? Would anyone notice?
My co-founder, Andy, and I had spent the better part of two years researching the global men’s shaving market. We’d found the nearly century-old German manufacturer who would make our razor blades, we’d worked with talented industrial designers to create an ergonomic handle inspired by fine pens and knives, and we’d laid the groundwork for the direct-to-consumer online brand that would become Harry’s. We were excited to offer our customers a quality shaving experience at an affordable price.
Fortunately, Andy and I had a team of 10 who believed in our not-yet-existent brand as much as we did. We needed people to find out about us and come to our website to find our products. After all, a direct-to-consumer brand isn’t anything without the consumer. We couldn’t launch to crickets. We had to figure out a way to make sure that didn’t happen.
Thanks to what you’ll learn in this post, our first week at Harry’s was a huge success. We were inundated by tweets, emails, and—our favorite—customer phone calls. It was an incredibly exciting time.
Much of the success of week one was due to what we did beforehand. One week beforeour e-commerce site went live, we had gathered emails from nearly 100,000 people who were eager to learn more about Harry’s.
We had collected those email addresses thanks to a one-week long prelaunch campaign, the focus of this post.
Since launching the campaign, we’ve shared it with friends and other entrepreneurs. Now, together with Tim, we’re excited share the details of the campaign —the thinking, the code, our strategy, and the results—with all of you. One of our company values is transparency. We believe in open source, not only for code but also for ideas. And we hope this might help you or your business reach and engage with more people in a fun and constructive way.
Just one large disclaimer: we can only share what we did. We’re sure we made lots of mistakes (we make them a lot) and have no doubt you’ll be able to improve on our template.
Now, without further ado, here we go…
The Most Credible Source
The idea for our campaign was built around our belief that the most powerful and effective way to be introduced to our new company was through a credible referral. Thus, we focused on building a campaign that helped people to spread the word to their friends.
Ahead of our launch, Andy and I spent a couple of months meeting friends, entrepreneurs and virtually anyone else who would listen to us talk about Harry’s. Whether or not they were interested in razors, we tried to interest them in our story. That list of people was probably a couple hundred long by our launch, and we created the campaign to help that group of people publicly share in the excitement of our launch.
We also took inspiration from other startups that we looked up to. Michael Preysman at Everlane is a friend and has built an amazing company. Early on they’d had success with referral mechanics. We also admired Fab’s launch and the manner in which they had success in promoting sharing.
So, inspired by those closest to us and some other amazing startups, we created a referral campaign.
The General Campaign Design
The user interface of the campaign was relatively simple—a two-page microsite.
First, users entered their email addresses on a splash page. This first step was essential since we wanted to capture emails both for our list and so that we could use it as an identifier for tracking referrals.
The second page was where the referral mechanisms lived. It contained a shareable link to the splash page coded specifically to the user. Below the link were buttons to share the link through email, Facebook and Twitter with the click of a mouse. By sharing the link with friends, users had the opportunity to earn free product. The more friends who signed up using your unique referral link, the bigger the prize you earned.
[Note from Tim: Modifying and deploying this app requires some technical knowledge, BUT if you’re non-technical (like me), you can find people to help you. If you aren’t familiar with editing HTML and CSS code, or have never deployed a Ruby on Rails app, I recommend finding a partner with design and Ruby skills in either the Heroku Partners Directory (if you want a team), or ODesk (if a single freelancer will do). ODesk will have more options.]
The mechanics are simple. It automatically generates a unique code for every unique email address entered, and it appends that code onto the given URL. In our case, the link looked something like this:
When a referral—say, a friend of that first user—comes to the site using a unique link, we save it as a cookie we can use to find the email address responsible for the referral. For the engineers out there, you can see our engineering team’s explanation of the code here. As for the code itself, check it out here.
The code is, of course, important to creating a campaign. In addition to sharing the code, we wanted to provide a few insights into how we thought about using it to drive growth.
Step 1: Make Special People Feel Special.
We saw prelaunch as a way to make people feel special.
And the first people in the world to find out about our brand were really special to us. We wanted our first customers to feel like they were getting insider access.
Splash Page Messaging
The copy on the splash page said, “Respecting the face, and wallet since like right now.” These words were intended to be playful and introduce people to the purpose of our brand but also leave an air mystery as to what we were all about. We paired the line with photo of one of our razors, but we included no more information about our company or product.
For the call to action on the button, we chose the words STEP INSIDE. Above the field was a small drawing of a key. We wanted to reinforce for our early customers that they were getting insider access.
Referral Page Messaging
Our referral page had more enigmatic design and copy. A picture of a wooly mammoth was coupled with the words: “Shaving is evolving. Don’t leave your friends behind.” Again, we wanted people to feel that something big was happening to which they had front row seat and the opportunity to invite friends to join them. Our first customers were insiders and we wanted to make them feel like insiders.
Step 2: Choose Tangible Rewards And Make Them Achievable.
The fundamental mechanic of our campaign was a game: complete the challenge of referring friends and earn prizes. It seems pretty straightforward—and it is—but we think that what those prizes are, and how they are doled out, is critical to getting people excited play. Not all reward structures are created equal. Here are a few things what worked for us.
First, we tried to make our rewards tangible: free Harry’s product. On the page, we very clearly emphasized, “Invite Friends and Earn Product.” It was the one message on the page where we did away with mystery and left nothing up to interpretation. We didn’t want there to be any doubt about what people might receive.
Second, we paced out the rewards so that they were attainable, appropriate for actions taken, and increasingly exciting. The first award was easily attainable and each subsequent tier wasn’t discouragingly difficult to achieve. To earn the first tier prize—a free shave cream—you had to make only five successful referrals. The next tier was only five further referrals. If you signed up ten friends, you earned a free razor. The jump between tier two and tier three was more significant but still not overwhelming: 25 referrals and you’d receive a shave set with our more premium handle, The Winston. Finally, even the grand prize was within reach: a year of free shaving for those who referred 50 friends. Indeed, over 200 people achieved our highest referral tier. At one point we had considered offering a lifetime of free product for 1,000 referrals. We ultimately decided to scrap that tier, worrying that it would discourage people from participating at all, and — though we can’t prove that that decision bolstered the strength of the reward structure — I strongly believe it did.
We wanted the entire experience to feel like a fun game. To amplify the experience, the campaign page included a tracker, pictured above, where users could see how many friends they had referred and what prize they had achieved—or not yet achieved. This dynamic progress tracker served the dual purpose of (1) giving users faith throughout the one-week campaign that we were good for our word and (2) keeping track of their referrals while also incentivizing users who were close to the subsequent tier to keep sharing.
It also amplified the fun people might have with the interface and campaign as they compared their progress to their friends and strived to reach the next tier. We heard from some friends that they took the referral campaign like a personal challenge.
Step 4: Make Sharing As Easy As Humanly Possible.
Through the campaign, we wanted to encourage friends to tell friends, and those friends to tell their friends, and so on and so forth. Any barrier to sharing would hinder the campaign, so we did a few things.
First, we included social sharing buttons. You can’t rely on the user cut and paste the link (though do make it available for the user who prefers that method).
Right below the custom link field on the page, we included icons for Twitter and Facebook. We had learned that using the standard Twitter and Facebook icons for sharing yields higher engagement than if you design your own. People are used to them and recognize them immediately.
Clicking the icons pulled up a dialogue box with a pre-populated message.
This seemingly small measure was really important. It removed a barrier-to-sharing for the user and allowed you to push forward a message.
In fact, by our count, there was one article about the campaign while it was live. We didn’t have anything to do with the piece, and, while it wasn’t fully accurate, we liked it because it added to the fun around our launch and helped to amplify the social sharing that was already underway.
While we love the press (and they have been generous to us at Harry’s), for this campaign we deliberately decided that we would focus on our friends and let the groundswell build organically. We thought that having the referral come from a publication would be counter to the campaign’s ethos.
We started there, with our own friends. We had our team of 12 employees seed the campaign to their friends. Here’s a breakdown of how we suggest approaching those two mediums.
A few days before the campaign, we walked the whole team through the process of creating groups of contacts in Gmail. Everyone on the team added all of their contacts to two groups—a group that was familiar with Harry’s vs. a group that hadn’t heard of Harry’s. We wrote a sample email (see template below), though we really emphasized making the messages personalized. We wanted people on our team to share the news of our company and brand in the most comfortable way possible for them. We did all of this a day or two in advance because we wanted to be able to simply hit send on the day prelaunch went live.
Here are some tips for these emails:
Make it personal. These people are closest to you and, thus, to your product or company. They’re friends—so write to them like they are!
This is for friends, not press. If you send your prelaunch campaign to friends who are part of the press, make sure they know it’s not the time to “break news” about your company. If you can’t trust them not to do so, don’t keep them on the list. You want press when your company is actually live.
Encourage your recipients to spread the word. Make that ask explicitly—don’t be shy!
As a rule of thumb, assume the email will be forwarded, and craft your message accordingly (i.e., don’t disparage the competition etc., etc.,).
Set up email signatures—with links back to the prelaunch site and social channels—before emailing the world.
Consider appending a visual asset. We included a simple product shot of our razor with the phrase “Harry’s is coming,” hoping to pique interest.
Title: “Harry’s is Coming!”
Friends and Family,
After months of closely examining the weight of razor handles, natural ingredient mixtures in shaving cream and angles of razor blades, we are really excited to only be days away from launching Harry’s.
You’re important to me and I wanted you to be the first to know about our plans for launch. We have just put up our pre-launch site, you can check it out at www.harrys.com.
Our full site will be up in about a week and I’ll be sure let you know when it’s live!
In the meantime, I’d love your help in spreading the word! Here’s how:
2) On the first page of the site, enter your email to join our mailing list
3) On the second page, refer friends using your own custom link back to Harry’s – and as a bonus you can earn free Harry’s products!
Thank you so much for all of your help and support. I can’t tell you how much we appreciate it. Look forward to continuing to shareHarry’s with you and appreciate you telling the world!
All the best,
We also reached out to a number of people individually.
We wanted to tell them ourselves in a personal way. For example, some of our friends could reach entire companies. We’d ask people individually share Harry’s with their teams. For an example of what this email could look like, see below for an actual email (in looking back maybe I got a little carried away in the excitement of the moment).
Hope you’re great and everything is going really well at [Company].
I wanted to drop you a quick note and let you know that we just put up prelaunch site for Harry’s – check it out and sign up at www.harrys.com. We plan to launch in about a week. Super excited. Would love for you to pass the prelaunch site on to the [company] team and anyone else who you think might appreciate it.
Thanks for your help. You’re the best. Hope to see you soon.
We launched our Facebook page and Twitter handle the day that prelaunch went live in an effort to capture social followers from the prelaunch buzz. As part of our seeding, our small team made a concerted effort to interact with our new social pages and handles. Our whole team did the following:
Like your company’s page on Facebook
Follow your company’s Twitter handle
Tweet about the campaign with an @mention of your company
Update your Twitter and Facebook profiles to say you work at your company
Track @mentions of your company and respond with a thank you—from your personal handle—if you see anyone you know tweeting about the campaign
Post a personal Facebook post about the campaign. We encouraged people to frame the launch of the campaign as a personal life event, i.e. I just started working at Harry’s and after a lot of hard work our pre-launch site is finally up! Check it out: www.harrys.com”
Step 6: Protecting Yourself Against Fraud
When you’re giving away free stuff, you’re opening yourself up to the risk of being scammed and the liability of people gaming your system. We took a few simple precautions to protect ourselves against fraud.
First and foremost, we set up IP blocking. This means our code looked at the IP address of every sign-up, and if a single IP address had signed up two email addresses to the campaign, we blocked the ability to create any more sign-ups from that IP address.
Second of all, we used SendGrid to send a simple transactional email to every email address entered. If that transactional email bounced back—a data point that SendGrid provides—the email address was interpreted as illegitimate. Unsurprisingly, we saw the most fraudulent activity in the highest tier.
Step 7: Cross Your Fingers. You Never Know What’ll Happen.
Before the prelaunch, our small team set wagers on how many emails we would collect.
We wrote the figures on a whiteboard: Three thousand. Five. Seventy-five hundred. One bold person thought we could get 15k. (I think that might have been me!) We broke that high bar in the first day. When all was said and done, we had collected by our estimation over 85K valid email addresses (and over 100K emails in total) in the span of seven days.
The referral mechanics were amazing. As the first graph above shows, 77% of the emails were collected via referral, meaning about 20K people referred about 65K friends. This means referrers, on average, referred more than 3 friends.
Yet there were a lot of people who referred well above that average: More than 200 participants referred more than 50 of their friends, achieving the highest tier reward. These were largely people who were close to us with large followings or access to companies that sent out blasts on our behalf. Even in the lower tiers it was pretty amazing how many people participated. In total we gave away product to about 3,000 people and believe that those folks are still some of our most ardent supporters.
Two More Things…
The heavy lifting really started after our prelaunch: we had to get product to customers.
We sent out coupon codes to customers for the rewards they won. In this way, we redirected our customers to our full, live site where they could read the backstory of the mystery company whose prelaunch they had just participated in and browse our full suite of products.
We handled reward fulfillment through the distribution partner we continue to work with today. We selected a distribution partner based on these four key principles:
Scalability – Can they grow with us?
Flexibility – Are they willing and able to play around with process to work toward our vision?
Price – Are they in-line with the market across all their services (not just pick/pack but also receiving, inventory, etc.)
Partnership – Do they require minimums and do they mark-up any pass through costs like outbound carrier costs?
In addition to a reliable distribution partner, a second critical element to our prelaunch campaign was customer support. We used—and continue to use—a platform called Zendesk to manage tickets from customers. We had fully a functioning customer support operation where customers could contact us via e-mail, phone, Twitter, Facebook, and even text message. On our first day in business, we had literally everyone on our small team manning Zendesk and replying to inbound tickets.
Thanks Where Thanks Is Due
It was truly amazing to see the impact that our friends and their friends (and their friends) could have on our brand.
We’ve thanked them numerous times, but if you’re reading this, and you participated in our campaign, then thank you again. It was instrumental to us building Harry’s.
While it’s very difficult to attribute its success to one specific variable — the code, the tactics, the idea — we thought we’d share our story in the hopes it might help you with your future endeavors. We have no doubt that you can tweak and improve this early experiment, and we look forward to learning from your future successes.
Original review: June 26, 2018On 6th April 2018 I purchased various downloads via Clickbank – as final products. However, as seems typical with Clickbank, without my knowledge and approval they started taking monthly payments out of my Visa account. I have since cancelled that Visa and opened a new one. My bank is investigating the fraudulent action of Clickbank.
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Original review: April 26, 2018Ordered torch on the 20/10/2017. Never turned up. Rang them up. Asked for a refund. Told couldn’t do that because it’s gone on too long, I was told I should have got in touch sooner. Don’t go near them. They’re just robbers.
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Gene of Indio, CA Verified Reviewer
Original review: March 30, 2018 Terrible!! I tried using multiple credit cards and three different PayPal methods of payment. I have plenty of credit and money in my accounts. They repeatedly denied my order for Rocket Language by telling me it was denied and to use another card. Rocket Language support says that Clickbank sometimes goes offline.So, I can’t buy my product. It is the worst payment service I have ever used.
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Marguerite of Sutton, AK Verified Reviewer
Original review: Jan. 27, 2018I stupidly ordered their book “The Lost Ways”. I wanted it in actual book form and paid extra for that. I ended up with a downloadable version which I didn’t want. I don’t have a good enough ISP to download something like that. I keep losing my connection when I try but I chalked it up to experience and let it go. Then today I noticed a 14.95 charge that I knew I hadn’t made. I got to checking and they have been charging me 14.95 a month for 8 months since I bought their dumb book. I don’t know why because I paid all charges, $49 and change up front. Luckily I used an credit card company that will go to bat for me if they don’t make things right.
13 people found this review helpful
Suzanne of Christchurch, Other Verified Reviewer Verified Buyer
Original review: Jan. 3, 2018Wish you had read all these reviews before buying an Ebook via Clickbank. You buy what you want, give them your details, then they offer you another book at a discounted rate, you can’t proceed without buying the extra book. The link they sent wouldn’t work and my pc virus scanner wouldn’t open up the site saying it was a phishing website, after contacting both the seller and the bank, neither one would respond. Just automated ticket numbers. One after another after another. Live chat wouldn’t work either. Total scammers. Do not use.
22 people found this review helpful
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Orren of Mission Viejo, CA Verified Reviewer Verified Buyer
Original review: Nov. 7, 2017I received an ad for a “free” flashlight, only 11.95 shipping and handling, plus 3.00 for a cover. I signed up, and was charge 14.95 a month (I just didn’t check my credit card statements) for 6 months. Never received a flashlight. When I contacted them, they claimed I had signed up for a subscription! Fully, ’cause the 14.95 was 11.95 plus 3.00 for a cover. They would only refund one month. Do not deal with this place, or use extra caution if you do!
28 people found this review helpful
Caroline of Palm Bay, FL Verified Reviewer
Original review: Oct. 5, 2017I purchased an ebook from PaleoHacks – payment through Clickbank. The link would not work. I made several attempts to follow up with the vendor with no luck. I am a very busy person and came back to this issue when I next had time. This time sending a request to clickbank. They opened up a ticket but other than that there was no response. Returning to the matter today, now that I have some time I called clickbank. It was a terrible experience getting through to an actual person.
Original review: Aug. 3, 2017I purchased an E.book only to find they took x5 payments for 1 sold item! I didn’t even receive the 1 item. Paypal created a fraud case and won all my money back. £170 later. Please be warned. DO NOT TOUCH CLICKBANK.
33 people found this review helpful
Sean of Baltimore, MD Verified Reviewer Verified Buyer
Original review: Feb. 8, 2017I had purchased a card stock house print (PDF) for my HO train layout. Transaction went through PayPal without any issues and was able to download the file. A few days later the purchased was refunded with no explanation. I tried contacting Clickbank’s customer service several times receiving a different answer each time and then finally they told me that I had to email 1 of 2 departments because they couldn’t help me over the phone. All I received was the “canned” response email saying to wait a few days or try a different credit card.
Elsie of Grass Valley, CA Verified Reviewer Verified Buyer
Original review: Nov. 21, 2016On 11/1/16 I ordered the Strikelight Flashlight from Clickbank (order # **). Paid 60.96 through PayPal. I received my Strikelight 11/10/16 without any information or receipt, which was fine with me as I had the receipt on my e-mail and also PayPal. Nov 14, called customer service with a question and was told that they could not answer any questions, but would open up a ticket for Tech Support. I waited for Tech support and called the 800 customer service again. They resubmitted the ticket on 11/16, waited and they resubmitted the ticket again. Nov 18 – my ticket was closed, and I reopened it. I have not heard anything at all from the Tech support.
Original review: Nov. 19, 2016I ordered a book, ebook and dvd. It wasn’t what I expected the product to be. Sent it back exactly as required and then proceeded to get the royal runaround by Clickbank, and their supposed “customer service”. I emailed them 3 separate times asking for a refund. Then on the third email, they gave me another customer service email address to ask for the money from them. This was a bogus email address!!! NEVER BUY ANYTHING IF CLICKBANK IS INVOLVED!!!
35 people found this review helpful
John of Peoria, AZ Verified Reviewer Verified Buyer
Original review: Oct. 29, 2016My purchase arrived in the time stated but was defective. So I sent a email about my problem they told me sorry “We are not the manufacturer. You can contact the manufacturer directly and let them know and they will be more than happy to help you out.” So much for customer service??? Glad all retailers don’t have that attitude because they wouldn’t be in business very long… Customer service is a word they must not know. So if your purchase is not defective you should be happy. If not roll the dice and see what happens. I cannot recommend Clickbank.
33 people found this review helpful
E. of Conway, SC Verified Reviewer Verified Buyer
Resolution response: April 23, 2017I didn’t realize the company never responded on here. I finally did get it resolved myself, got in touch with a few people & did get my money back.
Original review: Oct. 29, 2016Had to contact them because I purchased an e-book & cancelled with that company 12 days later but was never refunded. The company even sent me a confirmation about my refund, yet no $. When calling this bank the rep told me only the bank can refund the money & she didn’t see any request for refund, questioned who I “spoke” with (like she didn’t believe me)-I read her the ENTIRE message. She said she would refund my money & send me my confirmation. What I actually received was a COPY of a ticket request to the original company (who she said she had no information on)!
Ilona of Tumwater, WA Verified Reviewer Verified Buyer
Original review: April 20, 2016Horrible Customer Service. I had issues with products I bought and was told to get in touch for a refund from them. Well I contacted them, asked them a question regarding my purchase. Never heard back. Next thing I know they closed the ticket due to inactivity. I reopened it and ask them to answer my question and not close it out.
29 people found this review helpful
Richard of Brassall, Other Verified Reviewer Verified Buyer
Original review: March 5, 2016Ordered 2 torches and received 1 usb portable battery. Tried contact details and can’t get anything by phone or email.
19 people found this review helpful
Alicia of Rubyvale, Other Verified Reviewer Verified Buyer
Original review: Feb. 10, 2016I have bought 3 products this year from Clickbank and have been spammed with unwanted emails and product offers. Also I have not had what I have ordered as the product eg fat diminisher does not deliver and I already have this and the written content is all about this Wes Virgin. Hello??? Have tried to get Clickbank to refund but no answer as number cannot be connected.
32 people found this review helpful
Darrell of Fortuna, CA Verified Reviewer
Original review: Feb. 3, 2016I’ve had a few experiences with ClickBank, none of them very good. My biggest complaint is their system doesn’t accept regular credit cards. Every time I’ve tried ordering, it always says the credit card has denied the charge. I then go through PayPal and the same credit card is accepted. I finally realized why… credit card companies recognize that ClickBank is disreputable, whereas they’ll accept a charge from PayPal.
Original review: Jan. 27, 2016I was looking for an item and clicked on it and before going any further I got an email from PayPal saying I bought it from Clickbank. I did not authorize the purchase. I believe that Clickbank hacked into my computer and authorized payment. Then a few minutes later PayPal sent an email saying I had purchased another product — not true. A few minutes later I got a Microsoft warning that my computer needed to be checked out so I phoned them and the person checked it out and said I have a level 12 computer guy to fix it. My computer had been hacked. This was a $409.00 touch. I said OK, and he informed me after working on it what they did.
45 people found this review helpful
Rick of Grover Beach , CA Verified Buyer
Original review: Oct. 31, 2015I was in the process of ordering a book from Fat Diminisher. I tried to go to check out but a page came up pushing 2 more of their books. I was not interested and tried to go to the check out page. The page I was on froze. Mind you, they had gotten my card information so they had the money and the only way to get out of the page was to go back to my app page. So they got my money but not my address. I have tried and tried to get a response from Clickbank but every time I go to their refund page it freezes. Every time! Anyway you try to get to them regarding a refund the page will freeze on you!
Original review: Oct. 10, 2015Got my ClickBank account banned. Contacted abuse department that what they said: “This account has been terminated due to a terms of service violation. For security reasons, we are unable to release any further details concerning the termination.” Didn’t do anything, didn’t bought traffic, clicked on my ad only 1 time to check. And they blocked my account with no explanation, didn’t even notified me. Had to contact support to know that I’m banned.
35 people found this review helpful
Nicky of Port Elizabeth, Other Verified Reviewer Verified Buyer
Original review: Sept. 21, 2015I bought/ordered a product which is supposed to restore hair loss, but waited quite a very long time for it to arrive. After emailing ClickBank regarding this delay. I received a lame excuse from Flora saying that some department forgot to dispatch the said product. I was advised /informed to open a link sent in the same email/response from Flora. To my disappointment, I received a documented/printed product which I couldn’t use, coz I expected a concrete usable product, like a shampoo, conditioner, which I’m supposed to use like the normal items mentioned above. I emailed Flora saying the product isn’t for me!!! I requested a refund, gave all the necessary details of the payments made via my visa credit card.
Tracy of Hamilton, Other Verified Reviewer Verified Buyer
Original review: Sept. 6, 2015I was purchasing the Primal Sleep System via the PaleoHacks.com newsletter ($9.99), and I was offered the Primal Sleep System for $29.99, which was “add to cart”, and then the PaleoHacks Ultimate Cookbook Collection, which looked like, along with the Primal Sleep System, to be $39.99. It wasn’t a bad deal, so I clicked to add them to my shopping cart. Now, the deal with a shopping cart online is that you get to verify your purchase and back out if you don’t want to buy it in the end, right? No. I’d purchased the Primal Sleep System first, via PayPal. What I didn’t know is that this had added an exception to Paypal, that allowed PaleoHacks.com to take additional payments WITHOUT MY PERMISSION. And remember when I said that those other two items, the Primal Mind Audio and the Ultimate Cookbooks Bundle, were added to my shopping cart? Nope. They were an automatic checkout.
John of Moreno Valley, CA Verified Reviewer Verified Buyer
Original review: July 17, 2015Four of my clients clicked on the same ClickBank link as given by ClickBank. I was not paid on any of the referrals. ClickBank said that the links that they issued me were no good. Now I am having difficulty canceling my account. Nothing but bogus.
40 people found this review helpful
Therese of Colombo 8, Other Verified Reviewer
Original review: June 13, 2015I got an e-mail regarding the internet jobs in my country from this (**) asking me to pay 50% discount USD 39.00 to get the software. After filling all the forms, listening to videos of their stability, how it started and all asked me to enter some personal details to get the software. After filling that I go the message saying “SORRY, BUT WE CAN’T ACCEPT CLIENTS FROM YOUR COUNTRY AT THIS TIME”. After that I didn’t get any mails regarding any jobs.
27 people found this review helpful
Jurjen of Leeuwarden, Other Verified Reviewer Verified Buyer
Original review: May 18, 2015Clickbank doesn’t do due-diligence on their users. A site was looking for people who read/write Dutch and English. Just a small entrance fee to setup the account. After setting up the account the site is not looking for people at all. It just shows some text and third party links.
24 people found this review helpful
Ian of Winnipeg, MB Verified Reviewer
Original review: March 16, 2015Thought I was purchasing hard cover. Was given full refund and a second paperback (not recipe book) at no charge.
16 people found this review helpful
Raymond of Middleburg Ht, OH Verified Reviewer
Original review: March 7, 2015I have tried to order at least ten orders but the ClickBank keeps asking for me to use another card. I have complied but the bank won’t even accept another card. I contacted them via phone but the bank refused to remedy my problem. I want the vendor to be aware that they are losing customers.
28 people found this review helpful
Terry of Ashland, KY Verified Reviewer Verified Buyer
Original review: March 2, 2015After I complained about the company’s failure to supply me a product key, but instead bombarded me with expensive offers to upgrade, essentially saying the product version they promoted on Google was useless unless and until I purchased their more expensive software products. After a harsh email message (of the type I hate to send unless I’m left with no other option), I demanded my PayPal account be credited the full amount I authorized be sent to Clickbank, and by noon the following day, my PayPal account was appropriately credit. Afterward, I begin getting ambiguous statements from someone purporting to represent Clickbank, yet the messages was sent from a personal Gmail account. Hopefully in the morning, I can speak to someone to have this annoying maverick reigned in.
30 people found this review helpful
Alan of Lilydale, Victoria, Other Verified Reviewer Verified Buyer
Original review: Jan. 28, 2015Credit card debited for e-book but no download occurred. Tried to contact but ‘complaint form’ ‘could not be sent’. Looking for refund.
41 people found this review helpful
Luke of Sydney, Other Verified Buyer
Original review: Jan. 27, 2015I purchased Learn Scrivener Fast for $166 through one of their affiliate sites and never received the download codes. I have contacted Learn Scrivener Fast three times over the last week and they have not bothered to reply to any of my emails. I had previously contact customer support with a question when I was looking to buy the product and they got back to me straight away. Now they have my money they don’t reply, don’t provide the product. They are a bunch of shady thieves.
Nancy of Summerfield, FL
Original review: Jan. 27, 2015Keynetics, Inc. charged my paypal account a total of $494.99 from 4/27/14 to 7/24/14 and I have not received a single thing from them. There is nothing showing what I purchased, no receipt to show what I purchased. (probably because I didn’t purchase anything) The sad part about it, I just noticed it on my paypal account. This is now 1/27/15 and I’m not sure if I can do anything about it since so much time has passed. I will have to contact paypal and ask what I can do about this, if anything.
40 people found this review helpful
Lydia of Evanston, Other
Original review: Jan. 26, 2015My mom fell for this, too. Amazing for her to be billed monthly for digital products when she doesn’t use a computer. There is no way to contact the company, either electronically or otherwise. That is clearly by design. However, the credit card, bank, credit union, Paypal etc., who processed the transaction is more than happy to intervene on behalf of their customers. Mom’s bank refunded the purchase amount, blocked the vendor and even reversed the penalty fees (for the balance of the account dropping below the minimum, as a result)!
53 people found this review helpful
Larry of Reno, NV Verified Reviewer
Original review: Jan. 26, 2015Email from Liberty News (No such company) with fake product add: This company whom I thought was one of the one’s I subscribe to because of the word “Liberty” was not one of them but spam. They have a product. They either are part of the scam with or “The Scammer”. It is for hair loss reversal but the main point for me was it is supposedly linked to a man’s prostate gland. I did my due diligence to find anything relating to this with use of the words scam or fraud by the authors or company and Google just linked it right back to the company’s bogus claims.
matt of Canastota, NY Verified Reviewer Verified Buyer
Original review: Jan. 24, 2015I had a ClickBank account and I sold 500 dollars worth of stuff and wanted to cash out but it said I need 20 thousand dollars to cash out. I told them to suck my fat one so no I wouldn’t buy products from ClickBank.
38 people found this review helpful
leonard of Harrisburg, PA
Original review: Jan. 22, 2015Did not know that Paypal flipped me to Clickbank. Did not wish monies to come out of checking acct. No monies in checking. Wanted money to come off credit card. They immediately took money from checking acct. UNAUTHORIZED!!! They just did it. Did not receive merchandise yet. Want my money.
34 people found this review helpful
How do I know I can trust these reviews about Clickbank?
1,157,127 reviews on ConsumerAffairs are verified.
We require contact information to ensure our reviewers are real.
We use intelligent software that helps us maintain the integrity of reviews.
Our moderators read all reviews to verify quality and helpfulness.
For more information about reviews on ConsumerAffairs.com please visit our FAQ.
Tony of Encinitas, CA
Original review: Dec. 7, 2014In August, I was having problems with my Lexmark printer. I looked Lexmark up on my computer and saw a telephone number for Lexmark services. I called the number and the person that answered informed me that he represented Lexmark and that he was located in India. I told him my problem and he said not to worry; he asked for permission to take control of my computer. I was on the telephone with him the entire time. Later in our conversation, he took a break to look something up. He came back and said my computer had many problems. I asked if he was going to charge and he hemmed and hawed about how serious my problems were and that they needed be fixed and that he would have to charge me. I told him to stop the operation… I did that because I smelled a scam was taking place. I asked him to return control of my computer to me.
37 people found this review helpful
Crystal of Newark, DE Verified Reviewer
Original review: Dec. 4, 2014I had added a $5.95 item for a recipe book to the shopping cart and the system took me though a series of pages asking if I wanted to add to the order, thinking that I’d be able to approve it at the end. Instead, it had ordered all of the items without allowing me to approve the processing. I picked up the phone two seconds later to call them. I got a recording stating the department was closed, but it was at 2:30 PM and 4:30 PM which is within their open hour stated on their website. In addition, I completed their online contact form, and responded to each invoice email asking them to cancel the order with request to not process on my card or reverse the charges. It is now the next day with the charges on my card, and no one from the company has responded in any way.
41 people found this review helpful
Vaughn of Duncansville, PA Verified Reviewer
Original review: Dec. 2, 2014I cancelled (so I thought) a recurring billing account through Clickbank using my Paypal account. Now Clickbank is billing my debit card through my credit union. The credit union told me there is nothing they can do about this. It’s only 8.43 a month but over time it adds up and I am furious. Looks like I will have to cancel my credit union account of which I have been a member for over 10 years. Buyer beware: do not use Clickbank for anything but MAYBE single transactions. There is no way to contact Clickbank and have them stop billing me. I would like to know how Clickbank is able to bill me through my credit union as I NEVER signed up through my credit union. I hate Clickbank with a seething passion.
66 people found this review helpful
Hemanth of Bangalore, Other Verified Reviewer Verified Buyer
Original review: Oct. 25, 2014I have bought a product from Clickbank, called as “bring the fresh” which cost me 47$ and I have requested for a refund on the product. After 2 days the vendor was told to refund. But since so many days there is no money back to my bank as I have paid the money by Mastercard. When I open the ticket, it shows the money as refunded but I wait days and days but there is no refund of money and I contact by email but there is no response from them.
52 people found this review helpful
Chris of Mckinney, Other Verified Reviewer Verified Buyer
Original review: Oct. 17, 2014What ever you do, don’t subscribe to the http://www.drivertuner.com/ trial….you sign up for a 4 day trial license for $4.xx and get billed not only for the $4 but another $29.95 for a year subscription that you did not authorize! Have filled a “fraudulent” transaction with my bank. Clickbank won’t respond to case reopening (10 times as of this note)…2 weeks later still no refund…this is a disgrace and they should be black listed.
49 people found this review helpful
Sherri of Gresham, OR Verified Reviewer Verified Buyer
Original review: Oct. 13, 2014I signed up for a trial period to view public records, background info, legal info… that kind of stuff – I was to get 5 days of full access for $4.95. On the 6th day my Paypal was charged $19.95 and upon review of the paypal transaction, a billing agreement had been submitted to Paypal without my knowledge, which established Click Bank to automatically take $20 a month from me for the use of this website. Now here’s the real scam…. not only can I not find this website again, but it apparently has vanished from existence all together. So I go into my web history and see that I have 6 links to those pages from the one day I was on it… I methodically go and try to revisit each one of the saved links I have and each one of them came back with an internal server warning or some such thing… bottom line is that once they got access to my money account they erased all possible trace back links and that means that I also would be paying for a service that I cannot access or find.
Patricia of Machesney Park, IL Verified Reviewer Verified Buyer
Original review: Oct. 8, 2014I have tried contacting clickbank or smartfixer or keyneticks numerous times to cancel my order and to get a refund of 5.28 which they took out of my paypal account on October 2, 2014. They are going to take out more to order or smartfixer which after I downloaded it on my computer my computer went haywire. I have to recover it because I had page after page come up on my computer. I could not use my computer at all. I want my order canceled and also I want my 5.28 cents back being that I tried to contact them right away the same day as I got it. My order number is ** with clickbank. This is a terrible company and I wish I would have looked at their record before ordering. I believe this is a scam!
35 people found this review helpful
Anneth of Geoje, Other Verified Reviewer Verified Buyer
Original review: Oct. 5, 2014I have purchased a trial product on Clickbank supposedly one time payment. After inputting my bank details on their site, they have been charging me for 4 months now. Each month an email comes to me saying that I have ordered some trial products which I didn’t. I only ordered once which resulted into nothing. They offer software products that don’t work at all. I wanted to cancel but in their website there is no cancellation. I emailed them to cancel my subscription. Still I got 2 more charges on my account. Their latest charge on my account is $41 October 01, 2014. Clickbank is a total scam. I would like to recover what they have taken from my account. Any idea how? Thank you very much.
42 people found this review helpful
Adell of San Bernardino, CA Verified Reviewer Verified Buyer
Original review: Oct. 2, 2014PC suddenly went crazy and suddenly I was made an offer to fix it by someone sounding trustworthy. I clicked in and was offered a plan for $199.98 with recurring support which I was quick to decline. Then, I was told I could do a “one time” repair for $39.90 which I accepted. This got them into my PayPal, credit card, and off they went. Hours went by after they had access to my computer (LockMeIn). I began to check again after 3 hrs to see that they were doing things I had done the day before on my programs (Malwarebytes Anti-Malware scan) for example. Not likely what an “expert” would do. I began to be suspicious. They had also gone through the register and other programs, but that, I thought might be necessary and let it go.
Carl of Birmingham, Other Verified Reviewer Verified Buyer
Original review: Sept. 18, 2014Do not sign up for the “trial” subscription of this product. The product does not work, it merely rolls back your driver. You cannot cancel your account so the trial subscription is just a full subscription + cost of 7 day “trial”. The company claim you have a 60 day money back guarantee but they don’t. I emailed them before being re-billed stating that I did not want to continue any subscription. They emailed me back asking if they could provide technical support for the product that would keep me a customer after the trial. I declined as I didn’t feel the product useful. They changed email address and didn’t contact me again until 7 days later to confirm that I had been charged for a year’s subscription.
anne of Medford, NY Verified Reviewer Verified Buyer
Original review: Sept. 14, 2014I purchased two products on Clickbank, both supposed money making ventures online. A few minutes into checking each one out, I realized both were just like every other supposed online money making scheme. One of them was misleading, I thought I was buying a profile on a site to sell photos. Instead, it’s just a bunch of information on where to sell photos online.. something I could get in any google search, and a bunch of other money making crap, one of which I tried and 5 minutes into reading it, knew it was a wad of BS. It’s called Autopilot.
Original review: April 13, 2014I signed up for Clickbank as an affiliate. When I wanted to list a few of my products (downloadable software) on Clickbank, they required me to offer a full 60 day money back guarantee. Since I am not be able to have my product returned to me, I am not able to give a refund. Now the customer has my software free and I have to pay Clickbank a 7 1/2 percent return fee which would means the customer has free software and I am out $21.00. To make things worse, I have had two sales of other items from other affiliates, and I am unable to get my money out of my account because of another lame duck rule made by CLICKBANK. They are now charging me $5.00 a month for an INACTIVE ACCOUNT! Therefore depleting any and soon to be all the money I have made as an affiliate. They are in essence “PIRATES WITH NO LAWS GOVERNING THEM”.
53 people found this review helpful
Regina of Washington, DC Verified Reviewer
Original review: April 3, 2014I’ve been trying to call. They always have a recording and never answer your calls. I’m trying to get a refund because I don’t want the product. I’ve only had it for 2 days and I want to cancel.
36 people found this review helpful
George of Egg Harbor, WI Verified Reviewer
Original review: Oct. 26, 2013After trying to use it as a marketing tool over the course of a year or so, I have given up. They always have some sort of technicality and make it impossible to make any money. Yet they upsell guides and know-how videos and nothing ever works. Then I called to get my subscription cancelled and the phone line had been disconnected. I tried to cancel online and the page just re-appears. They should pay me back all the money to the tune of about twenty three hundred dollars. For last year and this year.
Original review: July 30, 2013I ordered the mobile money code online. After looking into it a little more, I figured it wasn’t for me, so I cancelled my order through the same Click Bank that took my initial payment. Three months later, I am still waiting for my money to be returned to me, even though they clearly stated, “We had a 30-day 100 % reimbursement guaranty.” After having called them (Click Bank) almost every other day, I was given so many excuses and confirmation that my money was sent back to my account or that they couldn’t do anything, that it was the client’s responsibility to reimburse me and sent to several different sites supposed to be the client help site, that I lost patience and hope to ever see that money again! What can we do in cases like this?
37 people found this review helpful
Mark of Sydney, OTHER
Original review: May 7, 2013I purchased Learning2Draw and paid Clickbank $27-$95 about three weeks ago. I was unable to download the purchase from the vendor. I have been unable to communicate with the vendor and with Clickbank. Clickbank continues to send automated responses, which are an utter waste of time and certainly not helpful. Why offer assistance in the first place if they don’t give a crap about clients? I am very disappointed at the outcome and would advise potential clients not to do business with either company.
34 people found this review helpful
Kevin of Lyndhurst, NJ
Original review: Oct. 6, 2012This company sold and directed me to a fraud home business with Dotcom Internet Marketing. I looked up “best home business” in my internet search. After I paid them $49.95, it says “one spot left” in their ad. I believe that the home business was fake along with the ads I paid Dotcom for which were all fake and went nowhere. Click Bank Inc. along with Dotcom was telling me not to drop out before the 3-month deadline “because I would start making tons of money after 3 months.” This Click Sales should be checked out for fraud and giving people a fake home business – a fraud company called Dotcom Internet Marketing with fake advertising that I paid them $215.00 also for the fake advertising.
Original review: May 2, 20123 weeks ago, I received an email stating that I needed to update my billing info so they could ship “PDF Reader”, which I didn’t order plus a $27.99 subscription to it. I immediately went to Clickbank’s website and filled out a “ticket”, which was supposed to be answered by a tech within 2 days. You people are a bunch of **! I have tried to keep this ticket open, but you are ignoring not only the original complaint, but every comment I have made since! All you do is send this stupid “automated message” saying my ticket is inactive. That is the only response I have gotten from you, so now if I find you took anything out of my bank account or against my credit card, and if you haven’t unsubscribed me, I will see you in court **. As you can see, I have lost all patience with them.
40 people found this review helpful
Donald of Colon, MI
Original review: Feb. 19, 2012I ordered the fat burning furnace ultimate for $39.97 online, which I was to download. It never downloaded, as to where it could be used. I would like to cancel the order entirely, as it has a 100% guarantee. I have contacted Clickbank and my credit card company. The card company needs authorization from Clickbank, to not process the charge, as the purchase was just made at 12.54pm today, 02/19/2012.
20 people found this review helpful
Judy of Charlotte, NC
Original review: Dec. 12, 2010I purchased Photography-jobs.net Premium Membership to be able to sell my photos online and I am being denied access to the site. I have been charged $29.30 and will be charged $27.00 each month if I cannot get this account closed. I have tried on several attempts to email them but it bounces right back or doesn’t go through. Conveniently for them, there is no number I can call and even speak to live human being. This is a scam and it needs to be shut down now. I need your help or assistance on how to handle this situation before I am robbed of everything.
17 people found this review helpful
Mary of Whiteville, nc
Original review: Aug. 10, 2010I saw an advertisement online for work at home thru this website. It was suppose to be free to sign up with just a start-up fee of $2.97. I thought this would be a good business opportunity for my grand daughter. So I tried to sign her up and at each level of the application it solicited a different amount of money from $197 to a last bargain of $47. Even though, I chose the free addition that was offered and just paid $2.97 by credit card. This site at the end of the process ask you to give your personal information to “clickbank”. I was unable to complete the process. Thank God because my computer interrupted and said that this was not a secure site.
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There are many different ways to generate money with your website online. Unfortunately, too many people often give up because at that present time they aren’t making any money at all. My advice is not to give up! It takes time to build a site that will make you money, though with the right direction, planning and hard work this can be achieved quicker. It all depends on how you monetize your blog!
The following list is a collection of many of the different ways of making money with your website. Depending on what your website is about, a large number of these techniques can be implemented to earn you cash. But don’t get disheartened if one method doesn’t work for you just try a different one and build upon that!
I hope this list helps you to see the variety of ways that you can begin to earn money online.
30 Ways To Monetize Your Blog
1. Pay Per Click Advertising
You can probably guess from the name how you monetize your blog from this method. You get paid for every click a visitor makes on these ads. You sign up to a provider and they give you a code for you to place on your site. The provider will then send contextual ads to your site (either image or text based) that are relevant to the content of your website. Google AdSense is the most widely used provider of this service, but there are many others out there.
Pay Per Click (PPC) ads vary in profitability depending on the amount of traffic your website gets. Only a small percentage of people will click on these ads, so to earn a lot of money from them you will need a lot of traffic.
The click-through rate (CTR) of your visitors depends on the design of your website. Certain parts of your website pages are more valuable than others, so to increase your CTR these PPC ads can be placed there. For example, space at the beginning and end of articles/blog posts are highly visible, so by putting a PPC in these positions may increase the chances of someone clicking on one. If on the other hand you place these ads at the bottom of the page where nobody can see them, then nobody will click on them.
The cost per click (CPC) can also determine how much you are likely to earn from this type of ad. Adverts that display financial products or mortgages will generate you more income due to the higher price of the actual product, compared with perhaps children’s toys. The former may pay you as much as $1+ for every click through by one of your visitors, whereas a click on toys may pay you only a few cents.
Which ads shows up on your site is dependant on the content of your website. After all, it would be daft showing financial products on a website that talks about children’s toys and vice versa.
PPC ads are a good way to easily monetize your blog. However, to make serious money from them you will need lots of traffic.
You can find PPC adverts for your website at these popular sites:
Cost per Mile advertising (CPM) is similar to PPC advertising, however instead of getting paid on a per-click basis, you get paid according to the number of impressions (page views) you get. This is worked out for every 1000 impressions that it has. For example, a website that gets 200,000 page views per month that displays a $1 CPM ad will generate you $200 a month!
There are a number of different CPM providers out there that you can get ads from. Each varies on how much they will pay you, generally the better the provider the higher rate you will be paid. This is because the best providers have access to more and better quality advertisers that are willing to pay you more.
Just like PPC, CPM adverts can pay you more depending on where the advert is placed on your website. The higher the ad is placed and the bigger the ad is, will generally make you more money.
CPM adverts are beneficial for websites that have lots of traffic and a high page view per visitor ratio, but it is still a good option to consider when looking to monetize your blog.
3. Text Link Ads
This type of advertising allows you to place text based ads within the text of your articles. For example, if you are writing an article about a certain software, you can place text-link ads within your posts that would refer your viewers to that particular product.
You can’t just link to anything though, you need to sign up to that specific product affiliate advertising scheme (see ‘10. Affiliate Marketing‘ below) or you can sign up to a specialised provider who will automate the service.
Text-Link-Ads are quite good as it offers a non-intrusive way to monetize your blog that won’t put off your readers.
4. In-text Ads
Very similar to the above text link ads, ‘In-text ads’ are adverts that are placed inside your text content such as articles or blog posts. You can sign up to an In-text advertising provider that will place sponsored links within your text. These are double underlined to make them stand out from other links, so that when a user moves the mouse over one of them a small advertising pop-up will appear. The user can then decide if they want to click on it, which will make you a small amount of money.
These types of ads are a bit more obvious than the previous type, which can put some people off. If used properly, they can be a good way to monetize your blog.
5. Advertising Widgets
This method is relatively new on the scene. An increasing amount of people are using widgets on their websites to generate some money. These widgets are designed so that they can be easily placed onto a website without any hassle, which display a mixture of PPC, text link ads and affiliate programs.
6. Advertising Space
You can monetize your blog by selling space on your website for advertisers to display a banner. This can be a very lucrative method as it allows you to cut out the middleman and charge what you want for other people to advertise on your site.
Generally these deals are worked out so that you display an ad for a fixed amount of time for an agreed fee with the advertiser. The downside of this method is that you need to commit time to manage the whole process with the advertiser and that your site needs to have a lot of traffic to be considered by advertisers.
As you can see, I offer advertising space on my website in numerous different forms of banner ads that appear on all of my pages.
7. RSS Adverts
If you have an RSS feed (which you should!) then you can follow in the footsteps of millions of other website owners and start placing ads on it.
Many RSS feed generators now offer this service, so that it is even easier to implement them. Some offer CPM or PPC advertising, however you could opt to do it yourself and offer to sell sponsored messages or banners directly on your feed.
You can find adverts for your RSS feed on BidVertiser that you can implement to monetize your feed, though Google FeedBurner lets you do this as well.
8. Audio Advertising
Something that you may not have even considered, Pay per Play (PPP) are audio adverts that are played every time someone visits your website. The ads usually only last a few seconds, with the viewer unable to stop it. This creates a 100% conversion rate with unique visitors, so you get paid about $5 per visit, however this method is very intrusive and may turn off your visitors, making them less likely to make a return visit.
Another form of audio advertising that you could use is ‘Podcast ads’. If you run a podcast on your website, perhaps a weekly update letting your listeners know everything that is new on your website, then you could choose to include advertising. I believe that this type is less intrusive than the former because your podcast would just seem like a short radio show with commercial breaks. As long as you don’t go overboard with the amount of adverts, then this may be a method that could use to monetize your blog.
No doubt that you have heard of these! Pop-ups are very common online, but they are also very annoying. Many people hate pop-ups and have pop-up blockers installed to stop them. However, if executed in the right way, they can work. Having a single pop-up on your website that only appears to new visitors may work. They grab the attention of the visitor on their first visit and after that they won’t be bothered again by them.
Pop-ups don’t necessarily need to sell products directly. You can use them indirectly to promote aspects of your website, for example PopUp Domination can be used to encourage people to sign up to your email list of tutorial course, or alternatively you can create a lightbox with AWeber.
Pop-ups can work if you make them less annoying to people. The more frequently they appear, the less traffic you will get coming back!
10. Affiliate Marketing
If done right this, method is a great way to monetize your blog. Many of the previous methods can be used as affiliate marketing methods, but often a review of a product can work just as well.
For example, if you have a gardening website you could research affiliate programs that contain products related to gardening. Perhaps someone wants people to advertise their new lawnmower product, you could write a blog entry ‘What’s the best lawnmower for my garden?’ and at the end you could promote the affiliate product.
With this type of advertising, you can get a commission with every sale that resulted from your recommendation. You refer viewers from your site via recommendations, banner ads, text link ads, etc., which takes them to the product page. If they buy, then you get a commission. This is often worked out on a percentage of the sale price, maybe 10-20%, sometimes more (I’ve seen products offer 75% commission) depending on the individual product.
Check out these great websites that have links to loads of affiliates:
Basically the same as Affiliate Marketing, but more obvious. You can write detailed reviews about products and publish them on your site. Obviously it is better to review products that are related to your website, as you are catering to your target audience. There is no point writing a detailed review about a solar panel for your roof, if your website is about scuba diving.
Many people can build a website solely around product reviews, writing about a variety of subjects such as, hotels, holidays, cars, gadgets, films, etc. If that product has an affiliate program, then you can make quite a bit of money from it.
12. Create & Sell Your Own Product
We are a society of consumers! If you have a product that you have made, then why not sell it on your website. Perhaps you are a software programmer and have designed an app to help people track stocks on their mobile phone. You could let people download it from your website for a small fee. Maybe your hobby is pottery and you want to sell off some of your work, then sell it on a website. If they are popular, there might be a full-time business for them!
The good thing about this is that compared with selling a product in a shop that has a small customer basis, online you have the world to sell your product to.
Everybody seems to be writing an eBook these days, so why don’t you give it a try. These have become very popular in the last few years with the introduction of commercial eReaders such as the Apple iPad and Amazon Kindle.
You could write an eBook about almost anything. Maybe you are good at DIY, you could write a book about renovating your house that people might find useful. You can then sell it through the Apple iStore or on Amazon.
You can sell it directly on your website as well! This way you get 100% of the sale price and you get traffic to your website. Selling your own eBook can be an excellent way to monetize your blog!
This could be a continuation from writing an eBook. If you are a good writer you could publish your book in Hardback or paperback form. You could sell this on your website and send a copy to buyers.
This method is usually only successful for authors that have an existing following. An author may have a successful book that they then build a website around to promote it to a global audience. It can work the other way however. Many people have built a successful blog first and then written a book that has sold well.
If you are a good writer then this could be a good option for you. You can then find a self publishing site, such as iUniverse that lets you publish your very own book.
15. Write Tutorials & Guides
The internet is a great place to find information. Everyone searches for tutorials detailing how to do something. You are reading a guide yourself on ’30 ways your website can earn you money’ right now!
I myself know very little about cars, so I would find tutorials and guides useful explaining technical things that I don’t know. For example, a guide listing ‘Help on buying a new car’ or ‘How to service your own car’ would be very useful.
Everybody knows something that they could teach to another, so why not write about it and publish it on your own website. If its a particularly popular niche that you are writing about, then you could attract a lot of traffic!
Check out some brilliant ways to create content for your website:
The next step from writing tutorials would be to create an online teaching course. You could charge people a membership fee (see #22) or a fixed amount for joining a course that you have set up.
These courses could be about anything and could include podcasts, videos, tutorials, etc.
For example, you may be an expert photographer. You could set up a 2 week online training course detailing how to be a better photographer. You could make videos describing all of the different equipment that you might need, techniques that help achieve excellent quality photos, how to develop photos in a dark room, etc.
You need to make sure that the information that you offer to your paying customers is different to any free content that you offer on your site. You will receive a lot of complaints if you just charged people $100 for information that they just read in your free blog! You can only charge people premium prices for premium content.
The next step from creating an online teaching course is to have a live workshop. Live workshops let you interact with your audience and find out what they like about your website. People who come to your workshops get to meet you and ask you questions face-to-face.
Many people find these types of workshops appealing as they can get so much more out of it, than just following an online tutorial. This is why some people are prepared to pay a lot of money to attend these workshops.
As well as charging people for a ticket, you can make money in other ways from these gatherings. You can promote your own products or books (See methods #12, #13 & #14) at the end of each workshop. If you invite guest speakers to attend your workshops, then you can also collect 50% of everything that they make from promoting their own products.
You can also record the whole event and upload it to your website afterwards, perhaps advertising a future workshop.
Workshops aren’t hard to arrange. Many hotels have conference rooms that you can book for an event. Once booked, you have a date to promote to your readers of when the workshop is taking place. You just have to prepare some kind of presentation, and keep advertising your upcoming workshop.
18. Host A Webinar
Webinar’s are basically a live workshop online. People go on to Webinar’s to hear you talk about your specialist subject. This is great for people that live over-seas that can’t get to one of your workshops.
You make money from Webinar’s by charging an individual for a virtual seat on your presentation. They pay to watch you perform your presentation online and they can interact during the process.
Webinar’s can incorporate power point presentations, web-cams, photos, microphones, polls, etc., making them fully interactive with your audience. Questions are usually left till the end of the Webinar, where each viewer has the opportunity to ask any questions that they want to you.
You don’t have to charge your audience anything to view a Webinar that you are conducting. You could just use it as a marketing tool promoting your website, but the majority of people often host an initial Webinar for free and then charge people for the subsequent ones.
InstantPresenter is a great site that you can use to do this.
19. Be a Consultant
You could monetize your blog by offering consultancy in your specific niche. You need to have a large number of followers and have built a good reputation in your field for this method to earn you money. You can offer one-on-one consulting to people over the phone or via Skype for a fixed rate. People would be willing to pay a premium for this service as they are paying for your undivided attention for an hour or more.
For example, you have built a reputation as being an expert in health and fitness and have a successful blog talking about methods of weight-loss and healthy eating. You could offer a consultancy service, where for one hour a day people can arrange to talk to you via web-cam to plan out a personal tailored exercise regime. You might charge $100 for the hour and the individual might not need to contact you until the next month.
As previously stated, you do need a reputation for this to generate you any money. This is not a method for a start up website, but it could be something to aim for in the future as you grow your website.
20. Find Sponsors For An Event
If your website involves organising events, such as a workshop (See Method #17), or a weekly podcast, etc., you could find companies to sponsor them. Then at the beginning and at the end you would have to promote the sponsor.
You see this type of advertising a lot on TV and in Sport. Many TV shows are sponsored to generate income.
The advantage of this method is that it gives website owners more options to monetise each aspect of their site. Advertisers are attracted to sponsorship deals on high traffic websites as it allows them to reach a targeted audience.
21. Selling Services (Hire Me)
This is often the reason why many people start a website in the first place. You might have a profession in the real world, such as a stock trader, architect, life coach, etc. You could build a website advertising your services to increase your client numbers. Visitors can pay for your professional services through your website and receive your help, as in the previous example this could mean full financial planning and strategies on stock trading.
Obviously, with this method you only get paid when you are working.
Increasing numbers of sites offer premium membership areas. The most famous of these are Newspapers who are switching to more online content due to decreasing sales of actual newspapers. Websites attract visitors with free content and then they realise that they can get added benefits by paying a membership fee.
An example of this could be a 3D modelling website. The website could offer free tutorials, detailing step-by-step instructions on how to create 3D renderings of objects, perhaps a car. Paying members can download pre-made 3D models that they can use in animations, etc.
Similar to a paid membership, private forums can be created to cater to your audience. Members can pay an annual/monthly fee to access the forum and interact with the other members.
There are many free forums out there, so to charge members a fee to access your forum you need to provide excellent, individual content that isn’t available elsewhere.
One example could be a networking forum where people can interact within a professional environment. A forum focusing on academic scientific research could attract scientists from around the world to collaborate with one another.
24. Email Marketing
Email marketing can generate you lots of money. The key is to build a large email list of your customers/visitors. When people register to become a member, you get their email address. When people sign up to your weekly newsletter, you get their email address. The more ways there are to get someone’s email address the better.
With an email list, you can build a brand, recommend products, promote any events/workshops that you may be holding and more importantly to can encourage people to keep returning to your website.
Email marketing isn’t a direct way of making money, but it is a powerful way of increasing your income from your other methods by driving traffic back to your site. Just don’t go overboard with emails so that they are viewed as spam! Nobody likes spam!
Check out this list of software to help manage your email newsletters:
You can place surveys and polls from certain companies on your website that will pay you for the privilege. You can sign up to these sites and choose a particular survey/poll that will fit in with the content on your website. Visitors of your site can participate in voting, whilst you get paid for displaying it. Most of these polls operate on a Cost per Mile basis.
26. Paid Directory Listings
This method is an alternate way of selling advertising. Unlike displaying adverts on a page, you allocate space on your website to list links to different companies and services that are related to your niche.
For example, a blog about graphic design could have a separate page that displays links to professional graphic design companies and freelance graphic designers.
You can charge for the privilege to display these links on your website. You can guarantee that the links will be seen by X amount of people per month and you can charge a monthly fee. If you had a list consisting of 500 people and charged them $5 a month, you would make $2500 per month!
27. Job Boards
An advancement of a direct listings is a job board. You can create a web-page that allows companies to post job vacancies. You can charge a small fee for the listing and maybe even a small finders fee if the job is filled by one of your viewers.
This method is very competitive, there are many job boards out there, so a small site will have a very hard time surviving. This could be a suitable method for a larger site, as the more traffic you have, the more listings you are likely to attract.
Check out these great job boards that you can use in WordPress:
If you have spent time making your OWN custom template or theme, then you can consider selling it. An increasing amount of people are making their own website, therefore there is a demand for more templates that people can use.
The amount of money that you can make from this method depends on your website skills. A high quality template can be sold for as much as $100+ but that is the top of the range themes. If you have a skill for making these then you could build a small business around making and selling them.
This website runs on a theme that was purchased. The professional themes at WooThemes is a great place to buy high quality templates.
There are loads of sites that make money selling themes:
A method that a lot of people don’t even think of, Donations can provide an alternate source of income from your website. You can get a donate button from PayPal to place on your site and ask people to donate a small amount to you for the service that you provide.
This method is a good way to generate some income if you have a small website, you could ask people to donate an amount to help you pay the upkeep of the website. This method can work for much larger sites as well, generally sites that offer helpful information to its users, can benefit from this method as it allows readers to donate a small amount of money if they feel that you have helped them in some way.
Some people may not like the idea of this, but the advantage of this method is that it can be easily set up and left. If people want to donate anything then they can, if not they don’t have to. You’ll be surprised how many people are willing to give you some money if you have genuinely helped them. Why not buy me a coffee!
30. Auction Your Website
Some websites just don’t make money for whatever reason, but before you just give up and walk away, you could consider selling your website. You can find many sites that offer to list your site for sale for people to bid on. You would be surprised to see how much some websites can go for.
Why would anybody want to buy your website? Well that is because people are lazy! It takes time and effort to build a website from scratch, so a lot of people like to buy built websites and build upon them. Some people do it for a living, building websites and then selling them on for a profit.
The advantage of this is that you can make quite a bit of money selling your website, it just depends on the quality of it.
So what do you think? How many of these methods do you use on your website/blog? Do you use any other methods to monetize your blog that aren’t listed here? Let us know your views by leaving a comment below!
If you’re a blogger, you’ll find that the number of “recommended” plugins, hosting, etc. is vast. Frankly, if you do a web search for something like “best SEO plugin,” most of the results you’ll find will actually be sponsored posts. To help cut down on some of the noise, below you’ll find some of the blog resources and best blogging tools that I recommend and use myself, or, in some cases, that others have recommended to me.
RECOMMENDED BLOGGING TOOLS
Good writing will make your blog appear more professional. Take your writing skills to the next level with these tools.
Blogging is a written platform, so it’s important for bloggers to pay special emphasis to things like grammar. I don’t profess to know all of the writing rules, but Grammarly is a HUGE help on this front! I use the free version, which corrects 250+ mistakes (such as spelling, incorrect word usage, comma placement, and grammar) and works on any web-based program, including WordPress, Facebook, Gmail, and Twitter.
I’ve been using Grammarly for the better part of a year now, and I honestly cannot imagine writing anything without it. No matter how good your writing skills are, I bet you’ll be able to make use of this tool.
When I first started FantabulouslyFrugal.com I was hosting it through Blogger, but after about a year I made the migration to WordPress. Blogger vs WordPress is a big debate in the blogging world, but if you choose to go the self-hosted WordPress route, here is a short list of recommended web hosting for bloggers. (No, I in NO WAY recommend Bluehost. Bluehost sucks. Run as far away as quickly as you can.)
If you’re looking for an affordable web host that’s not affiliated with EIG (the company that owns Bluehost and myriad other hosting companies), GreenGeeks is a fantastic option! Packages start at $3.96 per month, and that includes web hosting, email, unlimited space, a transfer to their servers and more.
SiteGround has been getting a lot of buzz as being one of the most stable and affordable web hosts for bloggers. Prices start as low as $3.95 per month for your first year and you also get a free domain name for one year. One great thing about SiteGround is that you can scale your service so you’re not paying for server space that you’re not using. For instance, the cheapest plan works until you’re receiving 10,000 visitors per month, at which case you may want to upgrade to prevent downtime. Having options like this is rare, but great for new bloggers!
Since we weren’t all born with – or taught – graphic design skills, it’s great to have a few design resources that you can turn to when you need something like a new font, a background, graphics or templates. These are the design resources I turn to on a regular basis.
Whether you’re looking for new fonts, or website templates, or maybe even Photoshop tools or stock images, Creative Market is a great place to look. It has become one of my go-to destinations when I am looking for anything related to graphic design.
Tip: Every Monday Creative Market releases six free design tools! I obsessively check for their newsletter on Monday mornings!
I have found that Creative Market and The Hungry JPEG are very similar but I use them both. The prices at The Hungry JPEG are a little better overall, but more importantly, you never know what will be on sale or offered for free at either site. Another thing I love about this site is that they have a large selection of $1 deals, which is mostly filled with fonts.
EMAIL NEWSLETTER OPTIONS FOR BLOGGERS
If you’re new to blogging, one of the things you’re going to constantly hear is that you need a “list.” A “list” means an email list of people who subscribe to your blog. It’s a long-held belief that you need a “list” to be successful but I’m going to call it like I see it: I think this is mostly BS. Is it nice to get your blog posts directly in front of people who subscribe to your list? Sure. But only 20-30 percent of people open those emails so I would tell you to carefully consider your budget and goals before paying to set up an email newsletter. Honestly, with ShopGirlDaily.com I really wish I had gone the route of sending out a *free* daily newsletter via my RSS feed. It would have been 10x easier and saved me hundreds of dollars.
Note: I do not in any way think email lists are bad but I don’t think they’re the end all be all that some suggest.
Most RSS feed burners will allow you to send out an email newsletter of your feed for free, but if you’re looking for something with more formatting options I highly recommend Mad Mimi as one of the best email newsletter providers for bloggers. It’s one of the most reliable and affordable newsletter options out there. Get started with their free plan to see if it’s right for your needs!
Mail Chimp is what I personally use on most of my websites. It’s reliable, fairly easy to use, and there are tons of theme options. For ShopGirlDaily.com I use the RSS newsletter option, so every day at 5 p.m. CT an email goes out with the posts I wrote that day. You can also manually send newsletters, among a score of other options. Mail Chimp is free if you send less than 12,000 emails per month, however, you will need to pay to upgrade for some of their advanced features. Paid plans start at $10 per month.
MailerLite is a newer email newsletter option that I’ve started using and I absolutely love it! In my opinion, it is actually the best free email option because not only is your plan free until you reach 1,000 subscribers (regardless of how many messages you send out a month), but they also offer sequences (great if you want to send out a course via email) as part of the free package!
I decided to upgrade to a heftier email system for this site because I wanted to add the option of landing pages and also have the ability to easily set up multiple automated emails. I love ConvertKit and think it’s great, but the service starts at $29 per month so I don’t recommend this as an ideal option for beginning bloggers. If you’re looking for a heavy duty email system that gives you the option to create landing pages, email series, and so much more, ConvertKit is a great investment.
Canva is one of the most popular photo editing programs with bloggers because it is so easy to use. Canva is free, although power users may wish to upgrade to the subscription-based Canva for Work version, which costs $12.95 per month.
PicMonkey is a fantastic photo editing and design tool that is quite easy for beginners to learn and use. Whether you’re editing the photos you take on your phone or DSLR, or creating collages for your blog posts (and Pinterest), PicMonkey is a great all-around tool. The basic edition of PicMonkey is free, or you can upgrade to the premium version that includes all of the bells and whistles for $4.99 per month (or less if you pre-pay for a year).
The design program that I’m currently obsessed with is Stencil. Stencil makes it incredibly easy to design graphics for your posts, and with the click of a button you can resize them for all of the different social media sites. With your Stencil membership, you’ll receive access to their library of 1,000,000+ photos (no more paying for stock images!) and a massive library of quotes and icons. Stencil has a free plan, or you can upgrade for $9 per month if you want more power. I used to allocate at least an hour to create graphics for any post, but with Stencil, I have decreased that time to approximately 10 minutes per post.
Another thing I love? You can post your creations to social media sites from within Stencil and have a live preview of how the post will look.
If you’re going to be taking a lot of detailed shots of products – for instance, books, jewelry, or makeup – and you don’t have a lot of natural sunlight at your disposal, I highly recommend investing in this Photography Shooting Tent Kit. You get the enormous tent as well as the two lights, which will help you almost perfectly replicate sunlight. Believe me when I say that this will make your photos that much brighter and cleaner, which will, in turn, help you to look more professional. I’ve found this especially helpful on Instagram photos and now nearly all of the photos on my Shop Girl Daily account are taken inside this photo tent. At just $49.60, it’s one of the best purchases I’ve made.
We don’t all have professional photographers that we can use for fashion shoots or product photography. If you don’t want to beg someone to take pictures for you, I highly recommend using your trusty cell phone! The cameras on cell phones are pretty amazing these days, so you may find you can take many of your own photos with nothing more than a cell phone tripod and remote. If you already have a tripod, there are adapters you can purchase that will hold your cell phone in place.
If you’re setting up a website that you don’t want the outside world to see yet, then Coming Soon Pro is definitely worth purchasing. It’s the plugin I used on this site and I loved that it let me completely customize a landing page that had an email newsletter sign-up form and also shared our social media links. At $29, this plug-in probably isn’t necessary for new bloggers but it can be great in certain situations.
CoSchedule is a must-have for bloggers who are looking for an all-in-one solution that will help you keep and manage an editorial calendar but also schedule social media posts to Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, and G+… for years in advance if you want to do so. Check out our full CoSchedule reviewfor all of the details.
All bloggers that are using affiliate links should use a link cloaker like Pretty Link Lite or Thirsty Affiliates. What these plug-ins do is mask your ugly affiliate links (or long links in general). For instance, this is the link to our list of sites that will pay you to blog:
I’ve tried quite a few different plug-ins to show social media buttons on my site, including SumoMe (which is also great), but I recently became a convert to Social Warfare. They have the typical social media buttons that you can place wherever you want on your site, but the reason I LOVE Social Warfare is because of its Pinterest integration. The general consensus is that Pinterest images should be long and skinny, which usually don’t look too great in blog posts. Thanks to Social Warfare you can “hide” those images so that they don’t show up in your post but when people click the Pinterest link on your page they will be prompted to pin the special Pinterest-friendly image! You can also create a special image that’s optimized for Twitter and Facebook shares as well. Social Warfare costs $24 per year.
This is one of the most valuable plug-ins I have installed on my sites, it’s considered a must-have by virtually everyone and it is FREE! Yoast will help you optimize search engine optimization (SEO) for your entire site, as well as each individual post. Tip: Make sure you’re downloading the Yoast SEO plug-in, as there are quite a few SEO plug-ins available.
BoardBooster is a great tool for those looking to grow and automate their Pinterest accounts. It gives you the option of scheduling pins via secret boards, looping pins (aka repinning your pins to the same boards or other boards), and other powerful tools that heavy Pinterest users will love. Plans start at $5 per month for 500 pins and go up from there.
I use a lot of different scheduling tools to help minimize my workload and Buffer is the tool I use to schedule posts to Twitter, as well as my Facebook pages and groups. You can also use Buffer to schedule your retweets. Or to share items you find on Pinterest (the link will go to the original post and NOT to Pinterest!). This is an easy and fast tool to use that costs $9.99 per month.
Grum is currently one of the only tools that will let you post directly to your Instagram account from your computer. You can schedule posts (that get published when you want them to without you needing to log back into Instagram after receiving a reminder). You can also access multiple accounts from the same dashboard. Grum is not a viewing platform, however. It is just for posting. Grum offers a 3-day free trial with unlimited photo sharing and no credit card required. After the trial is up the service costs $9.95 for 2 accounts; $3.95 each for 3-5 accounts; or $2.95 each for 6+ accounts per month.
Something that’s currently not very easy to accomplish is posting affiliate links on Instagram since you can’t have live hyperlinks in your captions. The only “active” link is the one that goes to your website in your profile. Well, thanks to Link in Profile, it’s actually really easy to use affiliate links on Instagram. When writing a post, you just need to include an affiliate link in the caption of the post (it can even be buried at the bottom). Then, when people click the link in your profile they are taken to a new page where they can see all of your Instagram posts. From there, they can click on an image and be taken right to that product page via an affiliate link. I know that’s confusing. I don’t really understand the technology myself; It’s magic! Link in Profile costs $9.99 per month, which could be a bargain if you make a lot of sales via Instagram!
I didn’t want to believe all of the hubbub about Tailwind, but after a couple of days of using it I was sucked in and haven’t looked back. Like many bloggers, I’m often pulled in a hundred different directions and short on time so I’m always falling behind on something. Thanks to Tailwind that “something” isn’t Pinterest because it makes it SO easy to schedule Pinterest posts for weeks at a time. Not only that, but they offer better analytics than you will find anywhere else. Since using Tailwind I have only seen my repins and followers go up and up and up. With a $119 paid yearly subscription you can schedule an unlimited number of pins at a time. A $9.99 monthly subscription is also available but with that you can only schedule 400 pins at a time.
A lot of new bloggers think that they need to hire someone to design an intricate site for them. Let me assure you that this is absolutely not the case, especially not these days. I am in no way a web designer. I am lucky enough that I know my way around Photoshop so I can design headers, but I cannot do intricate web design. I paid someone to design FantabulouslyFrugal.com, but I’ve been able to design and maintain every other site I have thanks to the following theme designers.
I found Angie Makes when I was shopping for a new theme for ShopGirlDaily.com and her aesthetic really spoke to me so I’m now using their Jasmine Theme. They offer exceptional customer support – I had a question once and they not only responded to me within minutes but they also updated their general FAQ with my question and answer immediately so that others would have access to the same knowledge. Their “pretty, feminine” themes cost $70 each. For an additional $15 they will install it for you, too.
When it comes to easily customizable WordPress themes for online entrepreneurs, Restored 316 just gets it. The themes have all of the bells and whistles – like sticky announcement bars and Pinterest images that don’t show up in your posts – and most cost less than $100. Their themes are built on the Genesis Framework, which is fine, except that you will also need to purchase that framework before purchasing/installing your Restored 316 theme.
This site right here, Oh, She Blogs! was designed by the amazing people at Station Seven Creative! Looking for more specifics? We’re using their Parker Theme, which cost all of $49 and was so easy to customize. Honestly, Parker is the easiest site I’ve customized, which is really saying something because there are a lot of bells and whistles. Whenever I got hung up on something I checked out the theme help section of their website, which was full of Q&As and general support topics. All of the themes from Station Seven Creative have a clean and minimalistic vibe that I love.
I’ve tried out lots of different WordPress themes over the years, but bar none I think Swift Themes is one of the absolute easiest for beginners to use. It’s fairly easy to design a site to look exactly how you want it to look without needing to know how to code. There is a free version of Swift, but the Personal License (which comes with support) costs $57 and then $10 per year. This is what I use.
While most of the sites in this list have a limited number of theme options available, Themeforest is the exact opposite. Themeforest has 22,000+ WordPress themes listed, with prices starting as low as $2. While you’re sure to find something you like, the sheer number of options is a bit daunting!
At the risk of sounding like a little old lady, it used to be a lot easier to start a blog. Now there’s so much competition that if you want to become a professional blogger you really need to go into it with a plan in place to help you be as successful as you can be. Everyone talks about SEO and one of the best ways to achieve good SEO on your site (aka get lots of love from Google) is to focus on the keywords in your post. A keyword is basically the general theme of your post, or the words someone would type into a search engine that would *hopefully* lead them to your site. To help drive traffic to your site, a good keyword research tool is a must.
I have tried out a bunch of different SEO tools. Some cost as much as $99 per month, and while they were amazing, that’s way outside of my budget. Currently, I’m using Keysearch, which does just about everything that the pricier options do but costs just $17 per month!
With Keysearch you can do quick keyword research that will let you know how difficult any keyword or phrase will be to rank for, and will also give you related terms. You can see the websites that are the top-ranked pages for the terms you’re targeting. You can track how your own pages do in terms of SEO ranking. Keysearch is an invaluable research tool.
Keysearch Coupon: Use code “KSDISC” at checkout to take 20% off your subscription!
BLOG MAINTENANCE TOOLS
Check out how your blog is doing – for free – with QuickSprout.
How quickly your blog loads is important, and with GTmetrix you can check that out for free, and they’ll even provide specific suggestions that will help speed things up.
Want to know what a real user thinks of your site? Check out Peek, where you’ll receive a five-minute video of someone using your site – for free! This is a great way to see what you might need to work on from someone else’s viewpoint.
At some point you might want to take your blog styling into your own hands, at which point you might need a little bit of help. I’ve been doing this for quite a few years and I constantly need help with things like CSS! When the going gets tough, here are a few of my favorite resources.
CSS Tutorials – Code it Pretty (this site is no longer updating but the tutorials remain some of the best)
WORDPRESS HELP FOR BLOGGERS
I don’t think I’m alone in saying that over the years I have needed WordPress help for my blog but I never knew where to turn. I didn’t have any friends who had an interest in WordPress or blogging, so I was more or less on my own. Now, however, these are the sites I turn to when I have a WordPress problem that I can’t fix on my own.
I have nothing but good things to say about Fantasktic. For $99 they will help you fix almost any WordPress issue. $99 sounds like a lot of money, but sometimes there are things you just don’t know how to do. For instance, I recently spent a couple of weeks trying to get a plug-in installed on my site and it just wasn’t working. I spent probably a good 15-20 hours trying to figure out what was wrong and even asked a couple of bloggers who were hosting the same plug-in for help to no avail. Finally, I contacted Fantasktic and they were able to fix the problem within 24 hours.
For cheap WordPress help look no further than Fiverr! Yes, Fiverr! I’ve been able to get help with basic WordPress, CSS, and HTML issues for just $5 from this site and the turnaround time is super quick once they begin working on your site (the best people usually have a queue so it can take awhile to get started). I have found that you need to be VERY specific with your request though.
Lisa Koivu is the founder of Oh, She Blogs! A seven year blogging veteran, Lisa can also be found posting shopping deals and steals at ShopGirlDaily.com . In her free time (ha!) she is also a freelance writer who has written for About.com and U.S. News.