I had a suspicion and I was right. I always found it odd when so many clients left “no feedback” for a freelancer. Take a look, a client and freelancer exchange a review, fully displayed on the client’s profile.
Let me tell you about a customer experience from hell.
StockX is a platform for people to buy and sell limited edition sneakers and other apparel. At 4:43 AM, I received a notification that my PayPal was charged for $364.36 USD.
I saw this notification about an hour after it came in and immediately emailed their support email explaining this unauthorized charge. I hopped onto the StockX website to find that the email address on file for my account was changed. I immediately clicked to unlink my PayPal from StockX before another charge would occur.
I discovered that someone purchased a Supreme x North Face backpack and had planned to ship it to Paris, France.
After no response for an hour, I decided to log into PayPal to place a hold on the charge, before the money was gone for good. What happens next? They ban me for denying the charge.
We will be suspending your account indefinitely due to a chargeback via PayPal. We cannot risk another future chargeback from your account. We do not allow any returns, or exchanges on StockX.
Finally, a support agent reaches out to my original email, saying they cannot find the fraudulent item that was purchased. I go to login to StockX so I can send over a screenshot about the fraudulent email and the page loads blank, because my account is disabled.
So how exactly did this happen?
Figure it out, Russ.
Even with all the new communication tools that companies are leveraging, such as Slack or Discord, email continues to be the main mode of communication for businesses.I don’t where my company would be, without leveraging some of the advanced tools on the market today.
HubSpot initially got me hooked on read notifications, but their free plan limits you to 200 notifications per month, which just isn’t enough for my business. Their introductory plan starts at $50/month and I feel it has a lot of useless features that are used to justify the price. After deciding I need reliable and affordable read notifications, I spent an entire evening testing and using alternatives.
MixMax won me over because they had all the features I wanted and a beautiful interface. Every time someone opens an email of mine, it records when they opened it, from which device and where they were.
My second favorite feature is the email scheduling. Although I’ve been up working since 3:30 am this morning, I used to be a night owl, which means I’d be responding to emails at night. The problem with emailing at night, is the rest of the world is usually sleeping. So if I was writing an email at 1am, I’d schedule it to send at 9:30 AM in the morning.
However, schedule sending is nothing unique to this list. What is unique is the fact that MixMax leverages data to build predictions of when you should target each recipient. In the following screenshot, MixMax concludes that I should send an email to my dad at 1:26 PM. This number changes, based on who you choose as the recepient.
Although this is my software of choice, it’s not perfect and I am always following the competitors for better options.
Some of the things I’d like to see in MixMax:
SalesHandy is also one of the top email marketing solutions available on the market. For any of the good features like a multi-staged mail merge, you’re looking at $20/month.
Similarly to MixMax, SalesHandy also makes you use a template structure for follow-ups, which very well could have been enough to make me switch from MixMax.
I did give SalesHandy an opportunity to perform, but I couldn’t get my contacts imported, without a vague error message. However, I will likely revisit SalesHandy in the future and advise all of you to give it a fair chance.
For those of you on a budget and looking for automated followups, look no further than ReplyUp. For just $12/month, you can deploy follow up sequences which schedule bulk, personalized emails and track their open rate.
Gmelius is currently playing catch-up but priced at just $15/month with a load of features, CEO Florian Bersier could be sitting on top of one of the most promising email solutions in 2018. In a day and age where multiple followups are everything, the founder reassured me that this and everything I’m looking for is coming in 2018. Out of all the solutions available, this is the platform to watch.
Thanks for your email. Sequences or multiple follow-ups are not part of our solution yet. This is on our road-map and will be released at the start of Q1 2018.
All the best,
Boomerang is the reigning champion. They are the PayPal of payment processing, which is a good and bad thing. They’re well known mainly due to their free version, but the benefits don’t justify spending $15/month given the amazing options on the market. However, if you’re sending from a Gmail address, you can get a handful of Boomerang features for just $5/month whereas the others on the list start at a much higher price.
I tried GMass a while back and ran into some issues. The software itself runs out of Gmail, whereas competitors like MixMax and SendHandy have their own thought-out user interface to manage campaigns, reports and statistics. The messy labelling system used to report message reads reminds me of a makeshift mail solution I made a few years back.
They have a strong marketing campaign to get the company in front of people like myself, but they really need to rethink the product.
If you’d like me to review your email marketing software, send me an email.
People wonder why I didn’t self-publisher rather than going with Morgan James. Some articles discuss the idea that Morgan James authors are conned into using Morgan James but that’s not necessarily true. While I’ve ran into several issues with Morgan James and my experience has been far from perfect (more on that here), I chose Morgan James for a few reasons. I’m going to go over the benefits and drawbacks of going with Morgan James rather than CreateSpace, as I did consider this carefully. This is informal review of my experience so far.
The main benefits over CreateSpace:
The main drawbacks:
People also ask me why I went with Morgan James instead of going with a literary agent who could hunt up a big publishing house like Penguin or any of its imprints.
The main benefits:
The main drawbacks:
I think Morgan James has its place in the publishing space. It may not be right for everyone, but it was right for me. So far the first 6 months has been a good experience and I hope I can say the same 6 months from now. Talk soon.
So first, when registering on the registration page, there are several textboxes to fill out. However, the textbox wouldn’t take any of my emails. My personal joshmacodnald.net email, nor my gmail or hotmail addresses. It just said the email was invalid, when it clearly wasn’t. Frustrating.
So I click to email them, guess what? 502 error. I got back, click the button again, okay the email form appears now. So I send an email.
After submitting an email to the sales department to explain you can’t sign up (a HUGE CRO issue, probably costing them 5-10% loss in sales), you’re told they’ll be in touch “very shortly” and by that, I’d expect an email within an hour. No, of course they didn’t follow up within an hour.
As I said, an hour goes by without a response so I just try to submit the form. It gives me an error message, with a phone number. Awesome! I’ll hop on call and get this sorted right away I imagine. NOPE. After calling, a pre-recorded message says the number is no longer in service. Wonderful.
So I search Google and find a live chat option, cool. I’m connect with someone right away who says the issue is I must have my DNS records set for my domain. Why? He nor I have a clue. I run A records for my VPS and I run MX records to connect to my mail server. His answer doesn’t explain why I can’t register with my hotmail or gmail.
Also, why does the email of the admin need to have this? It’s not like this is the email we’ll be sending emails from anyways. This is more so my personal email for billing, support etc. I don’t want emails to be sending from this. But with GetResponse, yes, they try to imply that you’ll be sending from your personal email.
Whatever, so I exit out of that live chat, annoyed. I go to the homepage, there is a single form that asks for an email address and a password to get started. I enter in the EXACT SAME details as before, and it works. So one registration form works, and the other does not. Talk about lost sales.
So I finally get into the control panel. Cool. I setup an email, and the HTML editor delays every input for 1 second. Frustrating! So you don’t spot a type until you’re 5 words along and have to click back or wait for the arrows to catch up, etc. What a mess. So I wrote the email text in my local editor, then just pasted it into GetResponse.
Would you believe me if I said the backspace button stopped working within the editor and I had to refresh the entire page?
So now it’s time to integrate with my existing solution. I found someone made an extension for Contact Form 7 on WordPress and GetResponse (no idea why GetResponse wouldn’t code this for their own customers – it sure would be nice), so I download the extension and it asks for an API key. Okay, so I go into my dashboard, I can’t find it in the options. So I search on Google, and find this article. I try to implement what it says – outdated. The pages and settings it explains are no longer part of the current UI.
So I go back to live chat to clarify how to find the API key. The worst part? It lags about 20 seconds when you try to type something in, and that is sometimes not quick enough before the live agent tries to cancel the conversation before a response can be fired off.
Here’s another one for you: you’re basically signed up for endless emails from them. No unsubscribe link.
End rant. So, does anyone have an autoresponder recommendation?
It’s been on my agenda to master PHP and the WordPress Codex to build a WordPress theme. Last week I sat down and decided to knock out a bad-ass free WordPress theme. The first thing I realized was how many requirements WordPress forces on you. For example, on themes built for business, I really hate comments. Comments are unprofessional and generally cause problems. If you don’t acknowledge comments, customers will think you’re ignore them. If you do acknowledge them, you have to have a secretary check them daily. Besides, the comment form boxes are always unattractive, so I usually have to edit the theme to get rid of them for all of my clients.
Now for the theme. It’s pretty lightweight – under 2 MB in size before WordPress made me add a few things to take it over 3 MB. The theme features a header image across the top which is the bulk of the size, which you can replace with your own image.By changing the header image, you can completely change the entire niche of the theme, to make it applicable for almost any sort of luxury theme.
The theme features a pinstripe background which gives the theme a luxury feel, making it applicable for businesses such as modelling and talent agencies, or even for wineries, jewellers, and bespoke tailors.
The theme works great, both with the front page as a static page, or as a blog post.
Lastly, I named it Bisou for the French word kiss.
Download the theme here:
Click here to download.
Here’s what the theme looks like when the homepage is setup to be a blog.
Expired domains are becoming increasingly valuable in the SEO world and being able to sift through them quickly by checking how many editorial links they have is invaluable. While domain authority can be very useful, it’s sometimes accurate. It’s entirely possible to have an expired domain with a domain authority of 10 or 15 but have 3 or 4 editorial links that carry serious link juice.
If you watch my videos on YouTube, you know I hate on metrics often. Even trust flow isn’t that great. The amount of sites that I’ve ranked with PBN domains with a trust flow under 5 is absolutely ludicrous. While everyone is out hunting for those spammed PBN domains with TF20+, I’m grabbing all the good stuff under the radar and finding some expired domains with some seriously undervalued backlink profiles. Majestic’s trust flow is good to judge spam. Moz’s domain authority is better to judge link power. More on this in my videos.
I coded a tool that checks the Moz domain authority of a list of domains, and also counts the editorial links for each domain. This software is very useful if you’re hunting for expired domains yourself, rather than hiring it out. The software only works on Windows, as most of my desktop software does. If you’re also a Mac user like myself, you can use this, or pick up a cheap Windows computer to run your software, like I do.
Fill out your info here to have the software emailed to you.
Everything here is free. You can use a free Moz account, instead of your main.
If you have any problems, please reply in the comments below. Emails regarding free software are ignored as I just get way too many emails in a day to try to respond to everyone who needs help. As always, there is pay per minute consultation available on the contact page if you need anything. If this domain authority checker and editorial backlink counter helped you in anyway, please let me know in the comments.
This blog is mainly dedicated to more advanced techniques, however here is an introductory rundown for those new to the space.
So you’re a small business, and you have a website, but you want to rank higher on Google. This process is called search engine optimization, or SEO. Since 2009, I’ve been studying the hundreds of factors that affect the rankings. While learning about how SEO impacts your business is a must for every business owner, make sure to hire Austin SEO services for an SEO company as good as them. SEO is one process, you should not be practising until and unless you are sure about it. There are plenty of search tips that need to be followed while managing SEO and developing skills for it. I’m now going to summarize a few points that I have for small businesses who are just starting to get interested in SEO.
You need to check if your website is indexed at all by Google. Simply use the search query below to check if your site is indexed. If your website comes up, you’re safe. If it doesn’t display any results, then you need to submit it here. This is mainly just for new websites.
Start with submitting your website to Google Maps. Then add it to YellowPages, Yelp and any other speciality directory that applies. If you run a dog kennel, maybe search “dog kennel directory.” This may bring direct traffic to your business, but the main focus here is links and mentions of your website name. The more mentions, the higher you will rank, essentially. It’s more complicated than this, but it’s all you need to understand.
I’m not asking you to become a social rockstar, but if you can start up a Facebook page, get 50 likes and post a photo once a month, Google will be able to determine that you’re a legit business.
Word count and word relevancy is very important on your website. If you want to rank for the phrase “Toronto corporate law firm” then you need to mention each of those 4 words in your homepage article, at least once or twice. You also want to have as many words as you possibly can. 300 is enough, but 500 words should be your goal. I’ve seen the best businesses hit even more words.
Once you’re on Google Maps, it’s very helpful to have a few reviews, again to prove you’re a legit business. I manage the SEO strategy for a very large motorsports rental company and over the years, we have built up to over 80 reviews on Google Maps. We are one of the most-reviewed companies in that industry in Canada and are ranking #1.
You want other companies in your industry to link to your website. If you’re a restaurant, and you often recommend a local comedy club, you guys should link to each other. You can have a “partners” page and link to the comedy club and they will reciprocate. This is one example, but there are many ways to get links to your site. Google values links to your website.
My Twitter has thousands of real followers which I have obtained through a number of ways. People tend to claim they are “social media expert” but I wouldn’t consider myself an expert. I just understand the system. Here are a few tips to get you to my level of engagement.
People will forget who you are if you don’t post daily on Twitter. I like to hit a minimum of 3-4 tweets a week, but my aim is 2-3 a day. If you get too many thoughts in one day, save them as drafts and post them on a day when you don’t have the creativity or time to craft tweets.
You can schedule tweets, but I don’t. I like to tweet anytime from 9 AM to midnight. You could post earlier. People are always on Twitter at night, so that’s a safe bet.
Links are the spam of Twitter. Unless the link is of direct benefit to you, do not post it. Do not share interesting articles. Instead, take a screenshot of a good paragraph, crop it, and post that. See next point about images.
I don’t get that great of results with images. Post them if they’re really good, but do not post many. Probably 1 out of 30 tweets of mine are images.
This is the same as links. Retweets can be viewed as spam. You want people to retweet you. Do not shove content in your audience’s face unless it’s of benefit to you. You do not get any benefits unless it’s a friend’s tweet, etc. Retweets don’t benefit you as much as you think they do.
This world is in need of creative and original thinking. Twitter is spammed with popular quotes. Instead, try to make up your own quotes and explain yourself. Craft a specific way of thinking for your followers. My most engaged and popular tweets are simply random thoughts that I came up with.
I use Twitter as a producer, not as a consumer. I do not view other people’s tweets, unless I look on a specific person’s timeline. I never view the newsfeed. That’s why I am not worried that I follow 5,000 people. I follow people because it makes them feel good and makes them engage in my content and retweet me. It’s these people that power every tweet to thousands of people using retweets, so following them is the least I can do. If you’re going to automated this, make sure you automatically unfollow others so your following count is always less than your follower count.
I named this post imaginary value based off the idea of imaginary numbers. Just because the additional earnings and value accumulated that we are about to talk about are not real or tangible at this point, it doesn’t mean they don’t exist.
Ok Josh, you’re off your rocker. What are you talking about?!
When you start a software venture and it makes say $2,000 per month net profit for example. Cash in hand, you pocket $2,000 every month, before taxes. However, if you’re new to starting companies, like I was a few years ago, you don’t see the additional value. Right now, you might be thinking, “Wow, I’m only making $2,000 after all this work! That’s only $24k a year. It’s not nearly enough to justify all this work.”
One of the first things most beginners miss is the increase in company value. Let’s assume your company is worth 12 times monthly net profit. So now after 1 year, you have a $24,000 company. So if you sell out, you actually made approx. $48,000.
Then, you have things like the brand name. You won’t always own the brand but it will always be attached to your résumé. If the company takes off after you sell it, that résumé item really holds a lot of value. By résumé, I don’t just mean applying for jobs, but it will allow you to get media coverage, and if it was big enough, maybe even a book deal!
If you replicated the process of building a similar company a couple more times, you could even write a book or create a course on it. You’ll have 3 brand names (that you may or may not own anymore) that you can mention in your sale pitch.
Then you have what you learned. Experience is one of the best forms of education. You can take what you just learned, and apply it on a bigger idea next time. After each success, your chance of success increases. You know the process. You’re much less naive. It’s like my good friend Don tells me, your first million is always the hardest.
Another form of imaginary value is the connections you make. Your business likely made new connections with suppliers, freelancers, investors and many forms of people who can add value to your business. I personally owe a large portion of my success to mentors — not paid mentors but more experience people who lend advice once a month. With these people now added to my life, every aspect of my future projects will be better off with their opinion.