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September 2016

5 NEW SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING TRENDS TO JUMP ON FOR UPCOMING HOLIDAYS   As summer’s winding down, it is time to start gaining a competitive edge before the holiday rush, which is why you need to pay attention to these three big social media marketing and advertising trends that are all the rage these days.   #1: Live Video Streaming   As video has taken over our social feeds, live streaming has popped up on the horizon as the hip new hip sidekick to regular video. Whether it be Facebook Live, Periscope, SnapChat, or Instagram, engaging with your audience in real-time through video is becoming essential to your social strategy. Video helps humanize your brand, but live video actually connects an individual to your brand in real-time, which is even more powerful than well-produced recorded content. The other benefit of live video is that the production quality isn’t expected to be high, which eases the production process. Most recently we’ve seen big brands use live video in a variety of ways, from Marc Jacobs using live video to give a sneak peak of their 2016 fashion line, The Tonight Show providing a behind-the-scenes look backstage before the show, and Madden video games providing behind-the-scenes coverage of players. But these are HUGE brands. How can you use live video? Live video can be used to build excitement about a new product release, show off your company culture, give live coverage of an event, or even host a live Q&A with your super-fans. The possibilities are endless. Check out the post below for a live video we made at Wistia of the unboxing of the brand new Canon 5D MarkIV. This is a great use-case of live video as this new video camera is a pretty big deal for a huge chunk of our customers, so the live stream was especially interesting for our audience.     Still not convinced? Live videos receive 10x more comments than pre-recorded videos, according to the VP of Facebook in Europe, Nicola Mendelsohn.   #2: Social SlideShow Ads   Ahh! More new and exciting forms of interactive visual content. What could be better!? Social slideshows are popping up in more and more social networks and for good reason! Social slideshows are easy to create and can utilize images, videos, or both. Advertisers can even pay to play for these babies leading to more, even more, exposure and interaction. So whether you’re showing off your new winter ski apparel or displaying videos promoting your upcoming conference, slideshows are a great way to help your social audience interact with your brand in a memorable way. These ads also work! Take the sock company Stance for instance;comparing their static image ads to slideshow ads, they saw a decrease in cost per acquisition by 48%, a 2.42X increase in click-through-rate, and a 1.48 increase in return on ad spend. Pretty outstanding stuff! Facebook also just made some improvements to their slideshow ads, outlined here.   #3: Diversifying Landscape of Social Channels   With different forms of content and social interaction, we’re also seeing more channels emerge as important places for marketers and advertisers to build a strong presence. Online social communities, run through platforms like Slack, are becoming a more and more important area for marketers to engage with their customers and prospects. Medium, Inbound.org, and Reddit are critical places to spread awareness of your content. Not to mention Snapchat and Instagram are taking over with sponsored stories and in-line ads. Long gone are the days of only having to maintain a Facebook and Twitter page. “Now, forms of interaction are starting to diversify. Platforms like Snapchat are allowing more one-sided conversations, in a more fleeting, temporary context. Brands and consumers are able to talk to each other in new, more diverse ways, and that range is only broadening,” says Forbes contributor Jayson DeMers.   #4: Instagram Stories   Instagram recently stole a page from Snapchat’s book by adding a story feature at the top of the feed. Now social browsers can see what their favorite Instagrammers are doing for 24 hours. So why copy Snapchat? Perhaps Facebook is still a bit bitter about Snapchat’s declining to sell the app for $3 billion, but regardless the reaction to this new Instagram feature was mixed. Some were outraged, others pleased to have their snap stories moved to their favorite social network.     Regardless, this has been a big opportunity for businesses to showcase their brands in a prime location on the app. Large brands like Starbucks, Taco Bell, and JCrew have already been taking advantage, as well as smaller brands like Justin’s PB and HubSpot. “Over time we look forward to introducing new advertising and other business opportunities as part of Instagram Stories,” says the Instagram Business Blog. “In the meantime, we’re excited to see all the ways our community will use it to highlight their businesses on Instagram.”   #5: Social Chat   Did you know that over 900 million people use Facebook Messenger? WhatsApp has become one of the largest chat apps in the world. Seventy-seven of the top 100 Fortune companies use Slack. Chat is no longer just used for internal communications, but it’s being used more and more to engage with prospects in a more personalized manner. “People are becoming more interested in actually communicating, rather than broadcasting,” according to Harvard Business Review. Marketers need to start utilizing chat apps to engage in real-time with their leads rather than posting and wishing for the best. In the future chat, bots will likely make this scalable in new and fascinating ways. About the Author: Margot is a Customer Success Coach at Wistia. She loves all things digital, and spends her free time running, traveling, and cooking. Follow her on: Twitter: @ChappyMargot Google+: +Margot da Cunha LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/margotdacunha...

How to successfully Growth Hack on WordPress   With WordPress anyone can build a website — quite literally. The platform is beginner-friendly, powerful and makes the process really easy. However, building a website and building a successful website are very different things. While anyone can now do the first part, not everyone is up for part two. What is a successful website? Simply put, a website that achieves it’s goal, be it generating traffic, profits, newsletter sign ups or awareness. Yet, the more important question is how do you arrive there? How do you grow from simple website to online success? One discipline that is obsessed with this question is growth hacking. Growth hacking has allowed a number of well-known companies and startups to reach high levels of success, among them Twitter, Dropbox and Airbnb. If it works for them, why not for you and your website? That’s exactly what this blog post is about. Below you will learn what growth hacking is, how growth hacking tactics can be applied to websites and the tools that WordPress puts at our disposal to do so. Ready to dive in? Then let’s go.   What Exactly is Growth Hacking? On the most basic level growth hacking describes a marketing approach that uses innovative techniques in order to achieve sustainable and scalable growth, mostly for web entities. The term growth hacker was first coined by Sean Ellis in 2010. By then, he had already achieved incredible growth results for a number of Internet companies, among them Dropbox. In the very same article Ellis also describes the characteristics and skills that make someone a growth hacker.   Growth Hackers Are Focused on Growth (Surprise!) A growth hacker is a person whose true north is growth. Everything they do is scrutinized by its potential impact on scalable growth. – Sean Ellis Growth hacking has only one success metric: growth. All it cares about is moving the needle forward, be it in terms of users, revenue or whatever your metric might be. Every decision, strategy, tactic, method and tool only is chosen only with this objective in mind — to create scalable and repeatable growth. What’s interesting, however, is that growth hacking has no constraints on how this goal is achieved. Business development and number crunching are just as much part of the growth hacking toolbox as viral videos and guerilla marketing. All that matters is whether the numbers are moving in the right direction. In that, growth hacking differs from classic marketing which has a limited set of tools and communication channels.   Growth Hacking is Often User and Product Driven Another characteristic of this discipline is that there is no distinct line between product and marketing. In fact, the product is the first step of marketing. Without something worthwhile to sell, growth hacking essentially falls flat. The discipline is all about distribution and getting things into the hands of users. To do so, the product often becomes part of the marketing machine. Instead of relying on buying ad space and the likes, growth hackers try to help the merchandise market itself and be part of its own distribution. Great examples for this are Dropbox’ offer of free additional space for user who successfully invite others to join or Airbnb’s offer to post ads on Craigslist with the click of a button. The latter allowed the company to mine Craiglist’s user base (which was much larger than their own at the time) and helped their own users get more exposure for their ads. Win win. Growth Hackers Have a Diverse Set of Skills Because methods for growing are so non-linear, growth hackers need to have a wide skill set and diverse range of knowledge. Their job involves working across multiple disciplines such as data analysis, product development and marketing. For that reason, many people involved in this discipline are hybrids between coder and marketer. They use creativity, analytical thinking, social metrics and technology alike, run A/B tests and use landing pages and other non-traditional marketing tools to achieve their goal. For that reason, growth hacking is also not a cookie cutter recipe but a process that will be different for every product.   Hackers by Nature The more attentive among you will have noticed the word “hacking” in growth hacking. It originates from the fact that growth hackers are not concerned with following norms or an established process but instead try to figure out how to “hack the system” and short circuit modern communication channels. Since this profession is coming from the world of startups, much of their work is also concentrated on low cost and innovation. Plus, many growth hackers are also coders, though this isn’t strictly necessary.   Growth Hacking For Websites Now that we know more about the nature of growth hacking and what growth hackers do, how can we apply this to our websites? If you’ve been paying attention, you will have noticed that growth hacking comes down to a few principles: Focus on Data — Knowing what works, tracking results to uncover relationships and causation in order to make informed decisions, make success repeatable and allow predictions about the future. Emphasis on Creativity and Experimentation — Pushing the envelope and trying out new things, being curious and thinking outside the box. Product Driven — Concentrating on building something valuable first before getting it into the hands of people, making the product (i.e. website) part of the distribution process. Interdisciplinary Thinking — Not being constrained by one communication channel, having a multi-faceted approach to marketing, being a jack of many trades (like many website owners already are). Concentrated on Low Cost — Using innovation and creativity to make up for budget, employing existing tools in non-standard ways to create traction. To apply these principles to our websites, we have a number of tools at our disposal including (but not limited to): Content management systems Web design Content marketing SEO Social media Email marketing A/B testing Viral marketing As you can see, these are things that bloggers and website owners already make use of on a regular basis. It’s also the reason why WordPress is the perfect tool for aspiring growth hackers.   Why WordPress is the Perfect Growth Hacking Tool The WordPress platform is a great choice for those wanting to growth hack their way to the top. First of all, it offers lots of control and flexibility. In fact, one of the main reasons for the success of WordPress is that it enables you to build basically any website you want, be it a blog, forum, online shop or something else. In addition to that, WordPress provides plenty of opportunities for experimentation and hacking. You can run different marketing campaigns, A/B test the crap out of every site element and modify almost anything you want to increase conversions, improve the user experience and more. Plus, WordPress is very search engine friendly out of the box and has lots of additional options in that area. No wonder Google loves WordPress. That extends to mobile search, which has surpassed that of desktop machines in many places of the world. Masses of available responsive themes allow you to take advantage of this traffic source. Last but not least, thousands of plugins let you optimize and tweak your site in many different ways, making growth hacking and WordPress a match made in heaven. To make it easier to start hacking your own site, from here on out I will list a number of WordPress plugins that are especially suitable for doing so.   WordPress Growth Hacking Plugins Below you will find some concrete plugin ideas that will help you integrate growth hacking principles into your WordPress website. All-in-One Solutions While all plugins on this list are helpful, one of them deserves special mention as an almost complete growth hacking solution. The plugin suite SumoMe contains tools for lead generation, sharing, analytics and more all rolled into one attractive package. While its basic functionality is free, you will need to purchase a premium license for more advanced things like A/B testing. Still, highly recommended! You can find a detailed article on SumoMe here.   Analytics As mentioned earlier, growth hacking relies heavily on data. Therefore, the first order of the day is to make sure you collect relevant information. Plugin options for that include: Google Analytics by MonsterInsights  — I don’t know any other plugin that makes setting up Google Analytics as easy as this one. It literally takes seconds to connect your site to Google’s service. Plus, the plugin displays your most important data in the dashboard so you don’t have to sign in to your account to get an overview of where you are standing. Jetpack Analytics — Similar to SumoMe, Jetpack is a collection of different plugins rolled into one. While it’s overall worth a look, one of the plugin highlights are the real-time analytics for your WordPress dashboard. While not as sophisticated as Google, they are definitely enough to keep track of your traffic and the direction of your site. Clicky — Very neat plugin for those using Clicky analytics as it helps you connect your site with the service. The plugin is a bit dated but still rated well so it’s worth trying out. Hotspots Analytics — Heat maps help you understand how users interact with your site. See what they are interested in and which actions they take. This stuff is great info for A/B testing site elements. Feelback Reactions — Feedback doesn’t always have to be in the form of numbers, you can also collect it directly from your users. Feelback allows your visitors to express their feelings about your content via Facebook-style emoticons. If it works for Facebook…   Social Media Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and other platforms have millions of users, making social media an important piece of your growth hacking strategy, especially if you plan on producing viral content. The following plugins will help you make that happen: Jetpack Sharing — I already mentioned Jetpack further above and Sharing is another one of its modules. The plugin enables you to easily add social sharing buttons for many platforms to your site. You can also add your own networks as well as customize button location and style. Ultimate Social Media Icons — Another solution for adding sharing buttons that comes with 16 different designs and loads of options. Customize button function, turn them sticky so they stay on screen, use pop-ups and more. Image Sharer — Part of the aforementioned SumoMe plugin suite. Image Sharer is specially made for sharing visuals on different platforms. When activated, share buttons will appear on images when visitors hover over them. Good stuff!   A/B Testing While analytics can give you data on the status quo, they can not provide you with alternatives that might work better. That’s where A/B testing comes in. By trying different variants of website elements you can improve conversions and other growth markers. WordPress has several solutions to offer for this. Nelio A/B Testing — One of the most well-known conversion optimization plugins. Test anything on your site from headlines to widgets. Includes heatmaps and is compatible with WooCommerce. What more do you want? Simple Page Tester — If you just want to try out different page versions, this plugin has got your back. Run split tests for pages without changing any code and quickly figure out which one is performing better. WordPress Calls to Action — This plugin lets you add and test calls to action on your web pages, including as popups. Great for lead generations and building your email list. Title Experiments Free — Finally, if all you want to optimize are your post titles, this is the plugin for you. Put in multiple titles for the same post, see which one gets the most clicks, pick the winner and rest easy knowing you went with the best possible option. List Building You have probably heard the saying “the money is in the list”. That’s because email remains one of the most important online marketing channels and list building is one of the best ways to grow your website. These plugins will help you do so: OptinMonster — In my opinion, OptinMonster is the list-building plugin par excellence. While it’s a premium solution, the plugin is worth every penny. Together with SumoMe it forms the pinnacle of lead generation plugins for WordPress. For a comparison between the two, read this article. OptinForms — However, there are also free alternatives for collecting email subscribers and MailChimp is the favorite of many. This plugin makes the integration of MailChimp forms on your site easy as pie. Alternatives: MC4WP, MailChimp Forms by MailMunch, and Easy Forms for MailChimp. Those are my personal picks but you can find more list building plugins right here on WPKube.   Content Promotion In our day and age, content creation one of the most important factors for marketing success. Few growth hackers will be able to do without it. However, content promotion just as important and these plugins make it a little easier: Related posts by Jetpack — Showing related posts at the bottom of your content is a great way to keep visitors on your site. While there are many other solutions out there (like this one and this one) these types of plugins are infamous for being performance hogs. Jetpack addresses this problem by outsourcing related post to the WordPress.com servers instead of the WordPress database. Popular posts — Talking about keeping people on your site: Showing off your most popular content is another good way to do so (besides highlighting your latest posts, which is built into WordPress). The plugin mentioned here is highly customizable and should cover all your needs in this area. Revive old posts — Older but still relevant content is an excellent promotion tool and should not be forgotten. This aptly named plugin does exactly what the name suggests and gives your dated content another go-around in social networks to keep it visible. OnePress Social Locker — Finally, this plugin increases your visibility on social networks by locking popular content until your visitors share or like it. An easy way to get more social presence. SEO As I said before, WordPress is very search engine friendly from the get-go. However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement and the following plugins will help your site play nice with Google: Yoast SEO — The SEO solution by team Yoast is probably the plugin I recommend most often. For good reason. Not only does it automatically optimize many aspects of your site for search engines, it also offers a lot of help for creating optimized content. Also check the alternative and IMO the BEST All-in-One SEO Pack. I perfer this plugin to Yoast any day of the week but for some reason people are stuck on Yoast so go for it. Broken Link Checker — Having dead links on your site is bad for your bounce rate and user experience. This plugin helps you find them. Be careful though, some people complain about performance problems so maybe only activate the plugin once in a while and not continuously. Caching — Caching is important for site speed and thus user experience and search rankings. The most popular free solutions in this area are W3 Total Cache and WP Super Cache. Both have their pros and cons so you need to decide which one is right for you. A popular premium solution is WP Rocket. User Engagement Site growth is all about users and keeping them engaged to keep them around. Here are the tools to do so: Postmatic — One of my favorite plugins of the last year. It sends blog comments directly to your email inbox and lets you answer from there, too. That makes staying on top of the discussion much easier and eliminates many signup steps. Subiz Live Chat — Live chat is especially suitable for websites that sell something. It enables you to talk to website visitors in real time in order find out what they need and how you can make them happy. If that’s something you might be interested in, this plugin is for you. Contact Form 7 — Of course, giving visitors a way to get in contact with you directly is one of the most important ways to engage with them. Luckily, Contact Form 7 makes creating contact forms a breeze and is free, too. E-Commerce Your website itself does not have to be your main product. Sometimes it might just be a vehicle to sling your actual merchandise. In order to growth hack your profits, the following e-commerce solutions will be your best friends: WooCommerce — The most popular WordPress solution for building online shops and for good reason. Stable, sophisticated, and free! At least for the basic functionality. Some functions require paid addons. WooCommerce is also highly supported by other plugins. Easy Digital Downloads — If you are selling virtual products only, this is the plugin for you. The people behind it are known for their quality and the solution comes with multiple payment gateways out of the box. Again, the basic version is free with premium addons available. Ready to Growth Hack Your WordPress Website? Growth hacking is an established discipline for growing companies and startups. Its sole purpose is to move the needle forward and it is characterized by a certain mindset, creativity, the use of many disciplines and a focus on both product and users. For site owners, the principles of growth hacking are also applicable for building successful websites and WordPress is the perfect companion platform to do so. Its flexibility, the ability to modify any aspect of the website and the abundance of available tools make it a prime candidate for growth hacking traffic and users. The plugins listed in this article are only the beginning and there are more tools out there. If you have any others to add, please feel free to do so in the comments below. Aside from that, I wish you all the best in growing your site....

Case Study: How we made a 237% ROI on one Authority Site (via Spartan Traveler) Why building an authority site is one of the best investments I’ve made.   How does one go about making money online? Or alternatively, what are the best investments one can make in online businesses? I was recently surprised by my own answers to these questions. As one of the most basic ways to make money online, it didn’t occur to me until I saw the numbers that I was getting a 237% return on money invested (ROI) in building an authority site. In other words, for ever $1 we spent on content in 2015 we made $3.37 back.You can get an idea of what this growth looks like from our internal dashboard above. The rest of this post is about how this is possible, and how you can learn how to do the same. — One of the most common questions I get is: ‘how do you make money online’ and ‘how can I do that too?’ I’ve been purposefully vague on this site about the specifics, not necessarily to hide what I’m doing but more because it’s been a fluid progression from thing to thing and for a long-time was hard to pin down into one classification. So here’s a partial answer: it all started with writing content and building websites. When total beginners ask me “how can I get started working online” I usually answer: Get an account on Upwork. Start writing. I’ll never forget the look on my girlfriend’s face when, in the midst of looking for a job locally (in Hungary), I told her to think about expanding her job search globally. Why would you restrict yourself to some pretty horrible options in your local area when you could land a job as a copywriter or virtual assistant for some busy executive in the USA? Fast forward a few months and she was cranking out content and receiving payments at a pace to exceed a salaried job here. Content is still king on the internet, and many great business have been built on a solid content strategy. Step 1 is learning how to write content. Step 2 is learning how to turn that content into an asset you own.   What Exactly is an Authority Website? An authority website is just a high-quality, well-respected site on a topic, one that doesn’t cut corners and provides some real value. And there’s a really important distinction here: there are two paths if you go down the road of building websites, which both have to do with Google (the primary, lowest maintenance, highest converting, long-term traffic source): White hat, meaning avoiding breaking Google’s terms of service, and Grey/Black Hat which means trying to game the system. And in case you aren’t in the loop yet, here is the simple rule: any time you game a system you will eventually get caught. I know a number of people who have lost large 6 figures in a single Google algorithm update. I’ve also personally been smacked in my early days for cheating, and I’ve watched a couple of my websites completely crash and burn. With that in mind, I have no interest in doing any work that doesn’t build a long-term asset that will either make me money for a long time to come or can be sold later on. It’s ditch-digging where I know the ditch is going to be around for the foreseeable future. And it means we’re only talking about building high-quality, completely white-hat websites. It’s potentially slower and more difficult, but not necessarily when you factor in the cost of doing it wrong. Want to learn how to build Authority Websites? Authority Hacker Pro Closes on Thursday, September 29th! => Click Here to Learn More And the the hilarious punchline to many SEO discussions ends up being: “Well, you could always just try to create something of actual value…”. Make something great and people will link to it, and in the long run this is a lot easier than trying to game things (this applies to a lot more than online business).   Authority Sites vs Niche Sites vs Amazon Affiliate Sites Many of you may be familiar with niche websites or Amazon Affiliate sites, which are often hyperfocused sites intended to dominate a specific keyword or product category. No doubt people are making big money off these and have for a long time. As I’ve mentioned before this is one of the first things I played around with online via Pat Flynn’s original niche site challenge. The advantages of going niche can be increasing the chances of winning ranking on the keywords you’re after and the likelihood that site visitors will be willing to buy something, simply because it’s so focused on the topic. The disadvantage of going too niche though the difficulty in getting white-hat links (especially if your site is pretty hollow on the content front) and pigeonholing yourself into a place where you have limited products or content options. So here’s my litmus test for an authority site: can I get onto the front page of Reddit or get written about by a major newspaper with this site? There are many layers in between but that’s where I want to go. Here are some details on what this kind of site can look like.   The Case Study: 237% Return With a Content Site I was blown away when I finally did my 2015 taxes to see that every $1 we spent on content in 2015 we made a little over $3.37 back. Here is what the actual numbers look like in 2015: Writer Cost: $5,255.09 Revenue: $17,742.34 Net: $12,487.25 That’s technically a 237% return, which is quite frankly insane. While I’ve commonly seen a 100% growth on overall business year to year the margins are much smaller, and it’s not quite as discreet, simple, and tangible as a standalone website like this. Ok, fantastic numbers, but as usual this isn’t the whole story. I haven’t counted my time invested on the site, nor have I included staff and operating expenses like technology (e.g. hosting) either. I actually spent very little time working directly on this project since it was managed by one of our full-time staff. Her time was split on this and other projects, so to fudge my personal investment in managing her we’ll just say she spent 100% of her time there. Here’s what the complete numbers look like: Revenue: $17,742.34 Writer Cost: $5,255.09 Staff Cost (site manager): $6,769.38 Other Costs (e.g. hosting): $720.00 Total Costs: $12,744.47 Net: $4,997.87 Return: 39.2% Even with all the costs added back in it still beats the hell out of any other investment I’ve made. For reference, the S&P 500 returned an estimated 1.19% in 2015. The beauty of running an authority site like this–as opposed to a typical staff-heavy business that forever requires a workforce to run-is how easily we can reduce costs and still make money. Once the posts and rankings are in place we could cut writer and staff costs by 80% or more and still earn a similar amount. The original niche site I built back in 2012 still makes $500+ a month and I haven’t looked at it in years. How we built our Authority Site Since we hadn’t really written much content as of early 2015 (the site was started in very late 2014 with just a few posts to get it going) it’s easy to attribute the growth and revenue to the added content. Over the course of 2015 we wrote about 127 posts. This means our average cost / post was about $41.38. Here’s what the organic traffic looked like in 2015: This isn’t mind-blowing traffic, but the key is building traffic that has some potential to convert later. More on that in a second. Also note it looks like it stalls out at the end but that’s just because Thanksgiving-December sucks in our market. So how much link-building did we do: Exactly zero, from my memory. All of our focus was writing the most detailed, highest quality content we could afford, and making sure we had a good monetization strategy in place. It also involved some basic keyword research and a rough content plan, but this was honestly pretty loose.   How did we make so much on so little traffic? Ok, so here is the catch that I can’t easily gloss-over. The site was monetized very effectively, primarily by lead-generation, which is both a business I run (with a partner) and was in place ahead of time. I need to underscore the point here: we had a damn good way to monetize this site before we ever thought about building it. In other words, we were thinking about and working on the end game before we implemented a thing. Here are some numbers on what the monetization looks like: Pageviews (2015): 110,678 Revenue (2015): $17,172.34 Estimated RPM: $155 That means we made $155 for every 1000 page loads on the site. Back when I ran a blog network we were lucky to hit $10 for the same amount. We also ran one 300×250 Adsense ad unit on the page (which is factored in here), and played around with some lead magnets to collect email addresses. So is this is a non-typical case? In the sense that it will be hard to monetize a website this effectively from the beginning? Absolutely. But can you build out a monetization strategy like this later on? Yes, I’ve seen others do it with spectacular results. And obviously this underscores the point that if you already have the product to sell, a content strategy makes a lot of business sense. The key though is planning, thinking, and understanding how you’ll go about selling things on the site later on. The industry term for this is basically ‘keyword research’, which means finding out just how much the words people type into Google are worth, and how likely you are to rank well for them. But I know websites that did not have the endgame in place before getting started, and now make 10s or even 100s of thousands of dollars a year. Because they chose the right category and kept plugging away. My first website came at is from this direction too: building first and monetizing later. After building my first niche website back in 2012 and seeing $3-$5 clicks on Adsense on the site my thinking went along the lines of ‘there must be a lot more money here than I’m getting’, and a lead-generation business was born.   How things are progressing in 2016 We’re having similar results in 2016 so far, with about 151% return for money invested in content on the site. If you add up all costs we’re running at about 17.2% overall return. Here are the numbers through August 2016: Revenue: $19,812.29 Writer Cost: $7,895.77 Staff Cost: $7,827.31 Other Costs: $1,181.00 Total Costs: $16,904.08 Net: $2,908.21 Return %: 17.2% On initial glance it seems like we’re doing a little worse this year, but looking more closely: We’re on pace to do over $30,000+ in revenue on the site this year, which is a solid bump from $17,742 last year. Our monthly goal by the end of the year is actually to hit about $9,000 a month. We’ve invested much more heavily in content, and our writer costs have increased (we’re always trying to increase quality). We’ve paid for some fancier tools and training, which you can find at the bottom of this post. We’ve invested more staff time in building out the site, which adds overhead.   Some Downsides to Authority Site Building If you’re thinking ‘wait, this doesn’t look like that great of an investment’, I understand. First of all, this is pretty gnarly, grinding work. What I mean by that is there is no instant gratification here of the kind you might get with doing PPC (like ‘well, I made $500 on my first day!’). I’d liken it more to going to the gym: set a time horizon of at least 6 months before you expect real results. Anything before that is a bonus. In reality, it took us about a year of work to get things moving on the website in this case study. Think about that for a minute if you’re just starting out: you need to be able to cover a year’s worth of content, hosting, and all other expenses associated with the site before you make any real money. Obviously, results vary, but since most people (myself included) f#ck up their first site or two it make sense to be really conservative when planning. A lot of people also can’t live in $3000-$5000 a year either (unless you’re a westerner really scraping by in Chiang Mai or Bali). One thing to keep in mind about the numbers above though is we were paying a full-time employee to work on the site, so if you were bootstrapping you could cut a lot of those costs out. But this major lag-time in revenue earning is part of the reason I got out of the site building business a while back and got into something that scaled a bit faster (lead-generation). It’s interesting to see how, once day-to-day cashflow needs were covered, I’ve circled back to websites as an obvious long-term investment and asset building activity. In terms of grinding it out, if you proceed down this path you’ll probably do most of the work in the beginning. This is one reason Spartan Traveler has not grown sequentially, since I write 100% of the posts (not advisable) they come out in fits and starts between projects. But as a business, building an authority website is very simple without too many moving parts. And I like that.   Alright, so if you’ve read this far you’re probably in one of a few buckets: You already build sites like this and this is the equivalent of stats pr0n / procrastination. You’re new, and want to figure out how to get started. You’re sitting in an office somewhere trying to figure out how to get out of it. I think the following resources will be useful no matter what stage you’re in:   Resources for Building Authority Sites You don’t need that much gear to build authority sites, so choose wisely and upgrade only as needed. Authority Hacker Training – (Free and Paid) – This is the most thorough, well-organized, and high-quality training I’ve seen for building websites. I originally bought this for my staff member who is in charge of building the site and it’s been instrumental in taking her from a basic to advanced level of capability. Hosting by Digital Ocean – A little bit more technical than the entry level stuff but fast as hell and super scalable. You’ll regret other crappy shared hosting providers later. WordPress Theme by Thrive Themes – I use Thrive for everything now, including recently moving SpartanTraveler to it. More on that later. Thrive Content Builder (for Landing Pages) – Tools of choice for building custom pages in WordPress. Thrive Leads (for email capture) – This is a plugin by the same people that built Thrive Themes and you can see some of the results on this site (e.g. any optin box here). I’ll publish results here but needless to say it massively increases the number of emails you’ll get from a website. Active Campaign – This is what all online marketers I know personally use. It’s really powerful and really cheap to start (as low as $9). Ahrefs – For more advanced content and keyword research and tracking, this is hard to beat. And a few other sites you may want to check out: Niche Pursuits Smart Passive Income Cloud Living Fatstacks ...

Jack Smith is one of the premier Growth Hackers out there & straight online hustler, CEO, Founder & Advisor.   Founder of Mediaroots, Vungle & Shyp talks about his growth hacking technique that landed his startup in the hands of VC AngelPad. Here is his keynote at last years HustleCon conference.   [su_youtube_advanced url="https://youtu.be/y5RVV37_-Kc" width="560" height="320"]   Here is his personal story and visionary tactics. Visit Jack's personal blog here. (via JackSmith.eu)   I moved to America four years ago, when I was 22. Since then, I’ve co-founded two startups that have raised ~$90 million in venture capital and have created hundreds of jobs in five different countries. Greg Kumparak, a writer at TechCrunch, wrote that I was “just about the biggest (actual) hustler I’ve ever met.” And so, because this month on The Hustle is all about gaming the system, here are 1,200 words explaining how I honeybadgered my way into a situation that changed my life. Only a few years ago I was in a cramped East London office with my co-founder and three interns. It was the summer of 2011. I was running my first startup when I came across an article on TechCrunch that changed everything. A new incubator in San Francisco was giving $120,000 to anyone accepted into its program. At the end of the article, it said: “[The incubator] was nice enough to keep one spot open for any entrepreneur(s) reading this post. If you’re interested in applying, you have until Wednesday.” I told my business partner Zain that we should apply. “Naw man, they just tweeted that they’ve gotten hundreds of applications in the past few hours. There’s no point,” he said.   Thomas Korte ‏@thomask 160 AngelPad applications in the past 8 hours ...

Is online video advertising and marketing the new big thing or all hype?     These charts show a glimpse into the ROI of the potentially lucrative world of Video Marketing through Ads, Affiliate Offers, etc   Your video ad metrics are likely failing you—at least when it comes to helping you understand ROI. A new study from the Nielsen Media Lab and HIRO Media suggests that there’s hardly any correlation between engagement-based metrics (like click-through rates and views) and ROI (intent to purchase). So while it might be nice to brag that your Facebook video got a million views, those views still don’t tell you how many people remembered the ad or decided they wanted to buy your product. It shouldn’t be surprising, then, that 43 percent of marketers say they have difficulty proving the ROI of their online video ads, according to an eMarketer report. Without knowing how to show business results, it’s difficult for marketers to optimize going forward. To help out, Nielsen looked at three non-engagement-based metrics and studied how they affected consumer behavior: 1. Player size: small (300 x 250) vs. big (640 x 360) 2. Content environment: content relevant to target audience vs. non-relevant 3. Site ranking: comScore top 1000 vs. comScore top 10 Here’s what Nielsen found.   1. You might be burning your budget Brands can shell out up to five times more money for big video players on sites in the comScore top 10, but Nielsen found that these factors had almost no impact on purchase intent. Perhaps marketers may be spending all that extra money for nothing. This is especially true for “known brands,” which Nielsen defines as large brands like leading car manufacturers or cosmetics companies. Content Methodology: A New Model for Content Marketing Download While there’s a slight difference in recall, it’s marginal given the amount brands spend for that tiny boost. As Nielsen notes, the difference in price can reach 500 percent while the effect on consumers is lower than five percent.   2. Bigger players reach non-target audiences You might want your ads to reach a non-target audience in an effort to generate brand awareness. For instance, a brand may aim to get men looking at women’s cosmetic products during the holidays so they can purchase them as gifts. In that case, it does help to buy a larger video ad on a high-ranking site, as it increases overall recall.   3. Video size and site ranking can affect small brands The size of the video player and site rankings can have a significant effect on ads run by “unknown brands,” such as niche brands and regional companies. For these brands, the bigger the video and more popular the site, the bigger the impact. The report notes, “If you are unknown, you do need to shout in order to be noticed.” Specifically, Nielsen recommends first running a campaign in a big player across top sites. Then, once your brand gains recognition, you can move to a small player across a broader range of sites.   4. Digital video is still a lot like cable Nielsen found that timelines for successful digital video advertising mirrors what marketers have been doing on TV for decades. When brands launch a new product, they’ll often start campaigning with longer ads on major networks. Once they gain recognition and blast their message, they’ll switch to shorter ads on more niche cable channels. Following this logic, online video advertisers should start by running ads on big players across top 10 sites for two to four weeks. Then, they can switch to small players on top 1000 sites.   5. Content environment matters Ads that were paired with relevant content to the target audience saw a 30 percent increase in consumer impact (such as recall and purchase intent) compared to ads that were placed with irrelevant content or content that didn’t appeal to the target demographic. As outlined in this chart from Nielsen, content relevance seems to have the biggest impact on automative and sports-oriented ads. The blue bars show the impact of ads surrounded by relevant content, and the yellow bars show the impact of ads surrounded by content that didn’t interest the target audience. While marketers still struggle to find metrics that correlate with ROI, this research should help them allocate their budgets more effectively and make smarter decisions about ad format and placement.   Image by Getty ...

17 things you NEED to do before starting a Niche Site but probably won't because your lazy, don't be lazy.     1. Who is your target audience?   Just because you're the most passionate person in the world when it comes to scuba diving gear doesn't mean the rest of the internet shares your enthusiasm for that particular sport. Or that enough people are looking to buy wetsuits and tanks to sustain yourself on Amazon affiliate sales. (Check out how to make your own coupon website) So think creatively beyond "people who are passionate about scuba diving every weekend" and think more in terms of people who have broader interests that might include scuba diving as well. People who are passionate about marine life, for example. Or tourists visiting the coast. Or beach bums who like to explore the ocean's depths every once in a while. Decide the range of who you will target so you know who to write your blog posts and on-site content for, and where to focus your marketing efforts. 2. Where will your traffic come from?   Because honestly, you can optimize your pages for keyword-based SEO all day long and twice on Sunday and still not get the kind of traffic you need to make your niche site sustainable. No, you’ll need another strategy beyond writing keyword-based content to get interested readers on your site. To give yourself a boost, go ahead and stand on someone else’s shoulders for a while… there’s bound to be groups of people that avidly share their interest in your niche on Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook. Why not interact with them and find ways to benefit them within the space they're already hanging out in so they'll be naturally interested in coming to your site?   3. What are some other popular niche sites adjacent to yours?   A big part of online success—especially in getting your first swarms of traffic—comes from networking and recommendations from other influential people online. We’re not talking about your competitors here, but people who do still share some of your same target audience that would happily visit your site. For example, if you run a blog that’s all about cooking and sharing your at-home gourmet recipes, you might want to check out some family life and parenting blogs. Brainstorm a handful of these sites and start commenting on the posts there and interacting with the blogger herself on social media.   4. How will you make money?   Though your number one purpose in setting up this site is to make money, a little thought into exactly how that money will be generated and added to your bank account will be helpful...

Better listen, these 37 guys & gals collectively made more money than Wall St last year and did it all with out leaving their bedrooms. Here's their thoughts and predictions on future trends in the industry.   With Digital heavy hitterz like Superstar Sean Si of SEO-Hacker (one of our Influencers), The OG of Growth Hacking Nasty Neil Patel of KISSmetrics (awesome company name broheem), Ziggy Zac Johnson, host of ROTE podcast & CANNOT FORGET "Vicious" Venchito Tampon of..well venchitotampon.com fame.   Drazen Prastalo, founder of IncomeMesh.com Affiliate marketing won’t change drastically in 2016, those who were successful in 2015 will remain successful if they continue to follow the same principles. The affiliate formula is always the same - find out what people need or desire (pain points) and put the solution in front of them. Now, what separates successful affiliates from unsuccessful ones is persistence (most of the time). Yes, we all fail from occasionally, but the ones who keep going are the ones who succeed in the end. From my personal experience finding the solution for people’s problems and showing it to them in a clearest way possible, is the way to go. Sure, traffic matters, but you don’t need tens of thousands monthly visitors to make money online. I have about 3000 visits per month and I make between $500-$1000 promoting affiliate products. I do that by presenting the products in a bit different way, answering all the question a potential buyer could have and I do my best to show a live demo of each tool/product I recommend. You can see what I mean in my Thrive Leads Review article. For everyone starting in affiliate marketing I would suggest to be as descriptive as possible when reviewing products. Use unique images, videos and text. Write longer articles, format your articles nicely and optimize your website for SEO. First impression matters too, so make sure your website looks nice, but keep the usability and functionality at the highest rate possible. In short, if you want to be successful in affiliate marketing in 2016, make sure to be different, to over-deliver and to answer all the questions your visitors might have (so that they don’t need to look for it elsewhere).       David Schnieder, CEO and co-founder of Ninja Outreach Affiliate marketing is done through the medium, which customers want to buy. Traditionally this has been content but now I believe we are seeing more and more people move to video, as that is what people want to consume. Therefore, one trend I see is video playing a larger role in affiliate marketing, which will inevitably give rise to video search engines like YouTube (already important, but easily overlooked). Additionally, we are seeing more and more marketers using personalized drip campaigns that are highly triggered based on user behavior. This makes complete sense to me, and I believe it will start to catch on now that lower cost tools are available like Drip (not cheap, but affordable).       Sean Si, founder of SEO Hacker and Qeryz What key trends will shape 2016 affiliate marketing strategies? I think Affiliate Marketing will increase on eCommerce products and will see a massive segmentation on SaaS products - basically due to SaaS products are vastly increasing and eCommerce is rising in usage, visits and popularity. Is it all about mobile? More quality traffic? More copywriting and content? Personalization? Focusing on user experience? I think mobile affiliate marketing is very interesting if mobile websites and payment gateways can make affiliate purchasing (or purchasing in general) to have a seamless, friction-less experience for mobile. Everything's compressed and simple in mobile browsing - so if mobile purchasing could be as compressed and simple in 2016, I think affiliate marketing could see a huge boost in sales volume. The Google-backed Accelerated Mobile Pages could also prove to be a powerful way for affiliate marketers to earn through publishing - and distributing those publications to mobile apps that take advantage of AMP loading such as Flipboard and the Native Twitter app. How can affiliate marketers best grow and engage their audience for the new year? Email marketing. I think it's been proven and tested that email is the best converting and retention method that affiliate marketers use. There's tons of data to back my statement out there. Email is changing drastically. Google is making it so - as well as the other multiple email plugins and integration out there such as Streak and Hubspot's Sidekick.        Justin Cooke, founder of EmpireFlippers In the last few years, we've seen a ton of standard, run-of-the-mill affiliate sites. You know the type - those niche-specific Amazon review sites that aren't well differentiated and don't have terribly helpful content. There are two things I'd love to see in 2016: 1. Honest, heads-up review sites. This probably wouldn't work if you're comparing one set of belts to another, but what if you were to create in-depth, meaty write-ups on CRM's for small-medium sized businesses? (i.e. Salesforce Vs. Microsoft Dynamics) Optin Software? (Leadpages Vs. Unbounce) If you look at most of the reviews for this software you'll find fairly crappy content in systems that have no data (probably test accounts?) from marketers, not real users. Can't we do better than that as affiliates? 2. Blended monetization methods Instead of your standard niche Amazon affiliate site, why not take a more holistic view of the visitors? What problems are they trying to solve? Are there any infoproducts or paid communities that might be a good fit for them? These are the kind of questions that will lead to more opportunities for affiliate marketers. It will be interesting to see how 2016 shapes out.       Zac Johnson, founder of Blogging.org Having been in the industry for 20 years now, I've been able to see a lot of transitions in affiliate marketing over the years. People are always saying this will change and that will change...

7 Social Media Stats All Marketers Should Know By Yardain Amron 12th September 2016 via Contently.com - The Content Strategist blog Keeping track of all the most effective social media techniques can be dizzying. There’s no golden rule or master trick that works across all platforms. Even if there were, it would probably be outdated in a month. Why? Because effectively using social media requires Rubik’s Cube-like logic. There are so many different platforms to keep track of, and a shift on one network could impact how you approach others. With that in mind, here are seven social media stats we’ve compiled from around the web that should help you start to crack that cube. Clicks are still the universal barometer of publishing success, but that doesn’t mean they’re always good. Clicks can be bought on social networks for cheap these days. And if someone spends less than a minute reading your article before bouncing, how much is that click actually worth? social media stats You might assume that teens and tweens would be most active on social. They’re the ones walking into oncoming traffic with their eyes glued down to their screens, right? Turns out mothers of young kids are spending more time scrolling through feeds. It would be tough to speculate why without generalizing, but it might be time to change the demographic you target with social ads. Social shares are useful when thinking about engagement, but they don’t tell the whole story. The way content spreads has gotten so complex, and we need the software to be able to track that complexity. As strategies evolve, marketers would be wise to think about dark social when building a content operation. It’s easy to get caught up in likes and retweets, but as this stat from RadiumOne suggests, so much sharing happens beyond our purview. The average American spends about 10 hours in front of screens every day. That’s either awfully incredible or incredibly awful, depending on how you see it. Almost 20 percent of that time is spent on social media, meaning there is ample opportunity to get content in front of your audience. But with so much consumption, there’s also a risk that your content will blur together with everything else as users hop from network to network. Most marketers understand the still-growing value of mobile by now. But if you still needed motivation to optimize your site for mobile usage, this stat from eMarketer is it. Also, when it comes to targeting your Facebook ads, make sure you prioritize mobile users. Remember when Snapchat was a punchline? Some sort of cult platform for millennials? It still may be those things, but it’s also become incredibly important to brands and publishers. Everyone likes to talk about how video is the future of content. As engagement continues to skyrocket, Snapchat may be showing us why. If you’re a brand, it’s easy to post on Facebook and create a story on Snapchat. But it requires a bit more effort to get consumers to trust you. Social media isn’t just a one-way street for pushing your content in front of consumers. If people seek out brands with a question or problem, they want prompt replies. And the companies that do this well will seem like more than just faceless corporations—they’ll become valuable resources. Image by Getty Images © Contently 2016...

Came across this on Quora and found it incredible interesting, turns out Sons of Anarchy is quite true to the world of 1% biker gangs.   Read the full question and post a few people give their opinions, one from an "Ole Lady" perspective, another from a former 1%'er. Enjoy reapers.     Being a female, I can only describe what it was like being in the one-percenter culture, but not the actual club Members must be men. But make no mistake: women who are the wives or girlfriends of these men still spend a great deal of time around club members doing club stuff. My ex was a member of the Bandidos for several years. I found that the illusion of being in a biker gang and the reality of being in a biker gang were very different. Over the years, people in the one-percenter world would tell me their stories of how they had ended up being a Bandit or a PBOL, and I would see some distinct patterns in the lives of people drawn to the outlaw biker lifestyle.   Interestingly enough, I was surprised by the women in the culture, and their reasons for being drawn to it. The outlaw biker women are very much second class citizens in that testosterone-driven life. Everyone knows that. But what surprised me was these women still tended to be more loyal and devoted to the spirit of the brotherhood than most of the men who were actually in it.   Outlaw biker clubs are a one-stop shop when you're looking for things in life geared toward stroking your own ego. There’s the thrill that comes when one flirts with danger. There’s the adrenaline rush of being affiliated with something notorious and known world-wide, like the Bandidos, Hell's Angels, Outlaws, etc. There’s the cat and mouse game you play with every cop around. Every time a news story runs about law enforcement mobilizing in preparation for a visit from the club, you can’t help but feel like a movie star. There’s the satisfaction of being either respected by citizens or feared by them. Both reactions are equally acceptable. There’s knowing that so many people wish they were where you are, and never will be. And most common attraction to the life –A bond almost stronger than that of blood,  and a dedication to each other's lives that most people would never understand. Your problem is everyone’s problem, and theirs are yours.   There’s always a trade off in everything, and outlaw clubs are no exception. These clubs are not democratic organizations, ruled by the many for the good of the all. They are run very firmly by men who usually clawed their way to the top of this primal food chain, and considering the general savagery of the ordinary member, that’s impressive.  Private agendas and cut-throat politics are the typical motivations that see these men to the top, and what keep them in power. Many men and women enter this lifestyle thinking that every member in it lives by the creed of love, loyalty and respect between every brother. The club is huge, and the every member and his family bring with it different values, different expectations, and invariably, people clash. A misunderstanding gets magnified by these impossible expectations, and the ensuing disappointment is almost crushing to so many of these people. It's rather common for a large percentage of patched men to be out of the lifestyle with 5 years’ time of their patching out. The lifestyle is expensive, and time consuming. Depending on where your ole man is in the hierarchy, you can either find it somewhat of a steady sort of hobby, or your life can be immersed daily in club stuff. Hobby members never last long, so if you manage to stay in it long enough, it consumes every part of your life. Outsiders, called Citizens, once close friends, will fade away. The secrecy of all things club-related often makes Citizens feel somewhat insulted by their exclusion. It's a very specific kind of lifestyle that can only work for certain personality types. Men must be able to follow without question, trust without proof, and be someone people can depend on. It attracts a certain amount of men who genuinely dislike women, but those members rarely make it through the prospecting period. Should they manage to hide this fact long enough to get their patch, the patch-itis, (the arrogance a newly patched out member gets that irritates everyone within a mile of him), renders him unable to hide his mommy issues, and he is tossed out quickly. It’s complicated when it comes to the girls, but I’ve never witnessed men who hate women ever allowed to stay in. Women must be outwardly submissive, be thick-skinned about sexist attitudes, and be able to get along reasonably well with the other women. The women, thrown together regularly, bound by the same rules, and who share a common interest, have their own sort of club. It’s taboo to suggest this to any member of the club, but that is the very definition of a club.  The women control of nothing about her club affiliations, though. You spend a great deal of time with other women you may or may not find interesting, gathering in places that the guys picked out, usually without  considering any of the female’s thoughts on the matter. Strip clubs and dive bars were common watering holes. PBOL’s have basic rules they must live by to get by. She never disrespects a patch holder in public, including her own ole man. She’s the eyes and ears for the club, and lives in a precarious place between what she should know about and what she shouldn’t know about.     It really isn't all that hard to understand the attraction for most men. After all, boys will be boys. The women, however, are far more complicated and interesting, in my opinion. Very few of them actually resemble the media’s stereotypical outlaw biker chick. On the surface, they seem to hold no sway over their own lives. Yet they also tend to be most common reason for the male members ending up in jail. While it can be frightening to break up with a member of the Bandidos, the statistics show, it should be equally scary for a Bandido to break up with a PBOL. Scorching the earth and poisoning the wells is a very woman thing to do, and PBOL’s are still very much women. PBOL’s can stir up strife between members, chase off girlfriends/wives of other brothers, and quietly impact the club in ways only the most observant will notice. Every woman going in knows that every part of her club affiliation is on loan to her by her Bandido, PBOL patches and clothes included, and he can take it all away whenever he pleases. But knowing this, and actually experiencing it, are much different, as so many of us would find out. There’s really no good way to explain how much harder it is to break up with a club than it is to lose just one man. In a split second, everything and everyone is simply gone. Friendships that once felt so loyal, strong, and enduring, are simply over, and the silence is deafening. Some of these women will find another member of the club to hook up with, choosing to find a way back into the culture they love. Others walk away bitter and angry at the betrayal of not only her old man, but an ocean of people you thought were your friends. I loved my husband, and he loved being a Bandido. I set aside my natural instinct to demand respect and compromised with myself in order to make him look good. I carved out my own niche, and for the most part, was able to preserve some of my self-respect. But when he was gone, so were my reasons to conform to things I found ridiculous. I resented the assumption that my vagina automatically rendered my intellect inferior to a person with a penis and a three piece patch. I hated the lip-service to brotherhood when the reality was, when the hard time came, the bonds never held.  Friends had turned their backs on me when I needed a friend most of all, and their welcomes when I returned only made me despise all of this even more. How can this be a brotherhood when there is no real friendship? I stopped allowing a patch to dictate how I was treated by a person. If you wanted my respect, then you needed more than a patch to earn it, Finally, I decided to leave all of it behind. Too much about me had changed, and I was never going to fit in again. Better to part ways now. I'm a writer, and it is often rumored I will someday write a tell-all book about the my time with the Bandidos. I won’t. If I were to write on this subject, I would write about the women instead. They surprised me so many times, with their resilience, patience, and sacrifice. They are assumed to be morally bankrupt and unintelligent, selling themselves into a life of slavery to a club. Frankly, I never met a single woman that fit this stereotype in the decade I was in.  Instead, I saw many a PBOL wield her own sort power by simply influencing her own old man. Some aided political agendas; others mediated potential problems for the club; and all of them had sway over the club in some small way. The women are the ones who show what true brotherhood should look like, and they sacrifice for those they love all the time. The endure a lot in the outlaw culture, and their men reap the reward.If you ask me, it is the PBOLs are the real outlaw bikers.   ~AHHHH SPOKEN LIKE A TRUE FEMINIST NOW A MAN'S PRESPECTIVE   1st and foremost, never make the mistake of referring to a 1% or outlaw motorcycle club as a biker gang.Gangs ride the subway and rob little old ladies. Bikers live a lifestyle centered around riding motorcycles and the culture that has evolved since the 1950’s when many clubs were formed after WWII. Your question is about the extreme side of the Biker scene. The 1% label still fits after all these years.These are the guys who have, and did what it takes, to earn the right to fly a 1% patch. Whats it like? I’ve never seen a new member not sit down at his first meeting without a big smile on his face. All of his hard work has finally paid off and he officially has the respect of his new family,a sense of belonging to something greater than most can imagine.” I am the real deal!”. Congratulations! you are now at the bottom of the top 1%…Still feels great though. By now you know the clubs rules, laws, and customs, so well they are no longer rules and laws, they are your attitude and line of reason. By now, you may have noticed that with very few exceptions, your respect for others not in your club, will never be quite as high as for members of your club. Your life now consists of club issues, club functions, other club members.Keeping your bike running.You also inherited a steady stream of paranoia, constantly on the lookout for threats from ex- members in “bad standing”, other clubs,outright plain harassment from the local police, up to serious surveillance from the FBI and DEA etc. People not familiar with the biker lifestyle most likely view your anti social behavior with contempt, but they are also scared shitless of you,so fuck them… Did I mention there seems to be a certain type of woman from out side the biker scene attracted to the bad boy image? Your success may vary here, but I guarantee they are out there. What about the drugs,prostitution, gun running, and racketeering? All clubs, from 1% down to weekend warrior clubs are into some kind of business to raise money.It’s important to notice that all clubs use their club structure to raise money.How money is raised and where it goes I can’t answer, there are too many possibilities. I can say that I have never gone to church(meeting) and received a envelope full of money as was so often shown in the S.O.A. FACT OF LIFE! Lots of bikers(not all) do drugs of all types, have multiple sex partners, believe in, and have a need to defend themselves with deadly force. These things and a lot more are no where near as taboo in the biker lifestyle as in the “civilian” world. FACT OF LIFE! Most 1% do not make a living through criminal enterprise. Many have regular day jobs just like you and me.Quite a few are small business owners or self employed with specialty skills. Please keep in mind that no two motorcycle clubs are the same. No two bikers are the same. Attitude, image, and intentions of all Motorcycle clubs shift over time.The desire for Brotherhood,trust, and security, never changes.  ...