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How to Secure Your VPS Server With SSH Keys

Since this is a marketing blog, I will keep my technical tutorials geared towards marketing professionals and entrepreneurs. Most of us own a virtual private server and hire programmers to upload work on our VPS. If you’re on Digital Ocean, using a password to login via SSH poses a great security threat since Digital Ocean IPs tend to face tens of thousands of brute force attempts every day. You should disable password login, and enable SSH keys to login.

First, get the user/freelancer to create a SSH key by following this Digital Ocean tutorial and have them send you the RSA key. It will look something like this:

ssh-rsa AAAAB3NzaC1yc2EAdf43dfSQABAAABAQDMu7E98pcHhLfwkF43fSitIx8n8/4Xx5lJdk232fDSWE1NE53WbhaH8p7jrOk2sjNE6KFzj697vaEWSfp3ZK4GVPpn0Kf3nJioBszqor6+ck6ckFek423RY+SN65jBm4e3GOE5ArdMPAzel9Nr0bV83QhRycqqLRDsd4iK+vcfe2OSbsJ1DSFk3kerkzWoFC3ogsXS5xj3ZlQK+Y0xHq1bdjsr34fdf34Fw4jejrdfslk492fn4jn23jRU0jk7jQ/VVzOgX4emh/7pD9IoiAY/RkLkzvgoK72N+cvNbHUrpUwqwYuC8ynKW+vr8gjRRnaDRdfj92mfm39wkm293 mohmed@mohmeds-MacBook-Pro.local

Secondly, you need to create a user on the server.

useradd <username>

Thirdly, you then need to add this string on a new line by first running su to get access to other user’s folders:

su

Then, you need to edit this file and add the string above to the last line of this file:

vim /home/username/.ssh/authorized_keys

To write and quit the editor, type:

:wq

Now you are all set. The third step is often where most people mess up. Digital Ocean offers an interface on their website to add SSH keys but I’ve never had luck using this.

A Lucrative Business Any College Student Can Start

I’m asked on regular basis, what is an easy way for a college student to make money. Well, the easiest way to make money is by offering something that is in very high demand and offer it at a fair price. You’ll make lots of money. In college, there are lots of students who, instead of focussing on the clep study guide, are desperate to make money in their spare time. Most students don’t have the luxury of a schedule that permits a part time job with scheduled hours.

The easiest way for a college student to make money is by freelancing. However, you’re probably wondering what kind of skills you can find on campus. Pretty much all students, regardless of their major, are essay writers and a fair chunk of them are good at it. Skilled English writers are hard to find in an economy where we outsource everything to offshore workers. They don’t have the English ability that we do.

A good student can likely pump out 1000 words in an hour. Article writers are paid anywhere from $2 to 6 per 100 words. Even if you only pay the student half the profit, you can easily scale this business across many writers and build something worthwhile. If you can sell a modest 5000 words per day at $4 per 100 words, that’s $200 per day in revenue.

Another talent you can find is programming. Second year computer science students are worth a lot of money in the workforce. They are at the turning point in their career where they are reaching the skill level to be employable. A couple loyal programmers can be the basis of an excellent in house programming service.

Now, you’re probably wondering where you should find these students. The easiest way is to post in your school’s Facebook group. Most schools have a group for jobs and internships. Message them and find out who feels reliable and has the best communication with you.

So lets say you’ve found the students. Where are you going to promote your services? The best place is online forums. There are tons of marketing forums out there that are always looking for services. Warrior Forum would be one of many options to list a thread. If you need help finding more places to offer your services, just shoot me a Tweet or email.

By offering writing or programming services online, you can fill a very large gap in the demand these services have.

How to Manipulate Domain Metrics

Question: How do I get a domain authority or trust flow above 50 without getting penalized by Google?

Spam a buffer site redirect that blocks search engines from crawling it!

Watch this video on YouTube.

Method 1:
robots.txt:
User-agent: googlebot
User-agent: yahoobot
User-agent: microsoftbot
Disallow: /

index.html:
<html>
<META http-equiv=”refresh” content=”3;URL=http://www.joshmacdonald.net/”>
<a href=”http://www.joshmacdonald.net/”>http://www.joshmacdonald.net</a>
</html>

Method 2:
.htaccess:
RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT} googlebot|yahoobot|microsoftbot [NC] RewriteRule ^.*$ – [R=403,L] Redirect 301 / http://www.joshmacdonald.net/

How I Learned to Code and How You Can Too

There’s no way to go about it, coding is an in demand skill and is at the heart of the tech industry which  has thousands of unfilled jobs every year. Many people are afraid to learn or just don’t have the discipline. Companies like Code.org have started initiatives like Hour of Code which organize events teaching students from all walks of life how to code. Hour of Code shows every student, boy or girl, that they can learn to code too. I’m now in a 3rd year Computer Science program and love what I do. Here’s how I did it.

I started messing around with code around grade 9, the beginning of high school. I didn’t actually know what I was doing until I took a class in grade 10 on it. I got 95% and another pair of 95s when I took the grade 11 and 12 version. Before then, I thought the key was reading books. I have several 500+ paged textbooks on Java, C++, C# and many other languages. The key to learning to write code is practice. You have to apply what you’ve read or learned or you’ll forget.

On another note, I spent way too much time worrying about which language to learn. Oddly enough, know I know several programming languages. The semantics between the languages are similar… there are if/else statements, variables, loops and objects. The only thing that really changes is the syntax… the brackets, the semicolons, the parenthesis, etc.

When I taught my sister and girlfriend to code, both of them had no idea or confidence that they could do it. I assured them that they can do it. I told them to register on Codecademy.com and start doing the lessons. Choose Python as your beginning language, and read the couple sentences and do the quiz. Each lesson requires you to apply your knowledge, which is why this method works.

Once you’re done the course, move on to creating your own projects. Try to apply what you’ve learned, use the Python documentation and third party libraries to get what you want done. You may have expected a big secret, but there is none. The only thing I could possibly call a secret is the fact that you need to practice what you’ve learned so that you actually remember what you’ve learned.

How I Generate Endless Freelance Work

So many freelancers sit on Upwork all day bidding on jobs. I started freelancing about 6 months ago, and I already have more work than I can handle, turning much of it down. I have no problem getting endless hourly jobs in the $25-50 USD per hour range. Being 20 years old, that’s not so bad.

The first step is to work with someone who has connections. Build out a simple project for them, and do it for dirt cheap. 20 hour job for $200. The key is, they’ve got to be a somebody. They have to have clients and the ability to refer you to others when they are given the chance. You likely know someone already who has this ability. Just help them out and they’ll treat you well.

I did this, and I was referred to a Wall Street Journal featured company who raised a $25,000,000 funding round earlier this year. The referrals just keep growing and the hourly rate keeps going up.

Also, do the first projects through Upwork (formerly Elance and oDesk). This will get your profile from 0 ratings to 1 or 2 ratings with 5 stars. This will be enough to generate jobs with a good cover letter. Explain why you’re better than the rest and you’ll win that job. You won’t ever rely off Upwork completely. It will help you get a few jobs, grow your portfolio, get experience and build a name. I imagine the amount of people that make $100k+ per year through the Upwork system is low because they eventually move off the system and work with the same repeat customers over and over.

By doing jobs for cheap initially, and getting some easy reviews on freelancing sites like Upwork, you’ll have no problem getting coding work.

Why Learning to Program Changed My Life

When I started out, I didn’t have much money or skills. It was tough to create value. I didn’t have the mindset or skills to get paying clients. I struggled to freelance write in high school, before finally being able to afford a programmer to help build out a software that went on to sell 6 figures, called Keyword Scout.

After that, I decided to push myself to learn to program. Programming not only offered the option to have a steady income from freelancing, but it also gave me an opportunity to create value for clients who didn’t know how to program. It’s a different feeling knowing there are thousands of software ideas out there and they’ll all make me money, as the clients are begging for them.

I no have so many options and opportunities open to me. Any time I want, I can sit down, build out a great product that will turn into a chunk of change. It’s a different feeling when you have such an in demand skill. It gives you so much confidence in your business.

Knowing how to program has now given me the option to hire programmers to work under me, leaving me with the small task of checking over their code for quality and knowing exactly what I’m paying for. In this industry, it’s so easy to get scammed but it’s nice to know that I know what I’m paying for. I can literally pay someone $1200 to build out a software system in 4 weeks, test it and review the code, and turn this system into a 4 figure per month income. When the product creation is handle, that just leaves marketing to me, which I love, and if it’s a good product, it will handle a lot of marketing by itself.

This entire process just leaves it to, getting the idea and validating it by talking to prospective buyers, then writing the spec and hiring the coder. I basically then just review the code and what I’m paying for, and bring it to market. More of my failed products were in the product creation step, but that’s now automated. I’d lose interest after coding for 200 hours when I was only halfway done. I’m motivated but easily distracted to something else.

How to Get Wikipedia Backlinks That Actually Stick

Getting Wikipedia backlinks can be very difficult if you don’t know what you’re doing. In this 14 minute video, I go over exactly what you need to do to be worthy of a Wikipedia backlink.

Here are the major points I address in the video:

  1. How to find articles that need your reference link. Not all articles need a link and most won’t stick if you put the links in a random article. There are signals we look for when finding a spot to put the backlink.
  2. What exactly needs to be done to place the link. This involves learning the basic Wikipedia syntax and adding value. You can’t simply just add a link, but you must also change the article, and add valuable content that displays your knowledge on the subject.
  3. Whether you should be logged in or edit as a guest. When to edit as a guest and when to use your account. Also, how to build authority to your Wikipedia account.
  4. I also touch on making a Wikipedia page. If there’s more interest in learning how to do it, and given there are enough readers with aged and authoritative Wikipedia accounts, I can make a video teaching it. Right now, I’m doing freelance writing where I’ll place your company on Wikipedia if it’s noteworthy and fits the Wikipedia guidelines. I’m familiar with Wikipedia syntax and non-promotional writing style requirements.

Here are some of the wikipedia footprints we used in the video:
“citation needed” food recipes site:wikipedia.org
“This section does not cite any references (sources)” food recipes
“This article possibly contains original research” food recipes

Here is the format your citations should follow:
<ref>{{cite web|title=Malaysian Cuisine: A Case of Neglected Culinary Globalization|author=Kosaku Yoshino|url=http://icc.fla.sophia.ac.jp |page=3 |publisher=Sophia University Institute of Comparative Culture, Tokyo |accessdate=2 May 2014}}</ref>

Watch this video on YouTube.

How to Find and Analyze Expired Domain Names for Free

You may be wondering what all this hype is about around expired domain names. Expired domains names are a great way to grab some aged backlinks without having to build them yourself. These expired domains can be used for both your money site or your private blog network. Since the previous domain owner likely had a legitimate business or blog, these expired domains tend to contain some very useful backlinks that you can’t usually buy for the price of  a $10 domain name.

In this brief video, I teach how to find expired domain names for free, and how to pick through them to find a domain that could be used as a money site or a private blog network. We use the free version of Dom Cop, and then analyzed the domains backlinks with Ahrefs, Moz and Majestic to check if the domain had been spammed. I also suggest a number of free tools to use and discuss the best backordering services.

How to Find and Analyze Expired Domain Names for Free
Watch this video on YouTube.

If you’d like to purchase my personal scraper that I used to check over 50 million news articles to discover 12,000 expired domains, use the contact form at the top of the site. For me to set the Python source code up on your server, create the databases, configure the crawler and teach you how to use it, this will run in the range of $3000-$4000.

3 Stupid Things I Do to Close More Sales Over Skype

Selling over Skype, not by calls, but by text messages is something that’s not commonly covered in mainstream selling books or courses.

1. I act like I’m too busy

I’m always super busy and I end up getting even more busy when these customers see I don’t have time for them. When you appear to have a lot of customers, they understand quickly that there’s a reason you’re busy, because you’re customers are happy and your work is in demand.

2. I act like I don’t need their sale

If customers under you don’t desperately need their sale, you must be doing alright and know a few things about what you’re doing.

By accidentally portraying these 2 personalities, I am able to get more sales. This is a perfect example why I believe success breeds success.

3. I offer time sensitive discounts or special offers

Once you offer a deal that is time sensitive and special to their needs, they will be pressured to buy. Once they leave for the day and sleep on the idea, the chance that they’ll come back and want to buy is going to half or less.

7 Tips to Make You and Your Product Successful

Since starting a software company in my teenage years, I’ve come to learn there are a few tips I wish people told me when I was starting. Everyone rants about the same old advice and I just never found it helpful. So here are 7 tips that all new entrepreneurs should know, understand and accept.

1. Stop reading mainstream media

Most articles in mainstream news and magazines are written by journalists, and not the billionaire name that appeared in the headline. The journalists and ghost writers are regular people, and many of them are not all that wealthy. Articles published by Donald Trump were likely written by his assistant or PR team.

2. Read more blogs by rising industry experts

The key is to find someone who specializes in exactly your industry. If you’re trying to learn about SEO, you don’t want to listen to a guy who goes on about all tech news, you want an internet marketer who lives and breathes SEO. You also don’t want someone who is overly successful because the chance that they are taking the time to write their own blog posts gets slimmer as they get more popular.

3. Concentrate on yourself and no one else

People often worry and compare themselves to others. “What was Bill Gates doing at my age? Am I on track?” Don’t worry about him. Your parents are different than his. Your entire life is different and shouldn’t be built to mimic his. Instead develop the ignorance he had to ignore everyone else and focus on his goals and dreams.

4. Focus on one project, and don’t worry about the rest

Everyone has 5 ideas, or 10. You don’t need 5 to be successful. You need one executed to the very end to be successful. You don’t need a backup plan and you don’t need to execute 2 plans at once. Make your one project work, regardless how much you lose interest. That being said, your idea may be bad and in that case, you should ask some of the most successful people that you know personally if they can share their thoughts on your idea.

5. Understand an idea is worth nothing

Stop worrying about getting people to sign an NDA agreement. 99% of the people who are capable of executing your idea better than you don’t care and don’t need ideas. We have our own, lots of them. There’s no such thing as an “idea” person unless you have a multi-million dollar track record and can vision everything from product development to marketing and growth hacking. You need to be good at sales or development. There’s no “idea guy” position needed.

6. Don’t cut corners

For example, when you are comparing designers to build out your website, don’t go for the half price guy who hardly has a track record. You need to put as much quality into your product as possible. If it’s a software product, you user interface and your code needs to be perfect. It should be enjoyable to use and it should work well. In this age, the most powerful form of marketing is word of mouth. Just get a few clients on board, and get them to like your product. If you can’t find 2 people who want to buy your product, then it’s probably a bad idea and you shouldn’t develop it. However, once you develop that product, get them onboard and impress them. If your product is as well built as they hoped, they will spread it to their industry friends.

7. Listen to your customers

Your first 10 customers are essential to how your company will proceed. You need to listen to their feedback and advice because at this point, you are suffering from tunnel vision and know exactly where you want to take your product, even if where you’re taking it isn’t where your customers want it to go. Listen to their feedback and be open to criticism. Promote and reward their feedback. Fulfilling their demands early on will save you from a lot of headaches later on.

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