Phase 2 – Figure Out a Product

face-think-about-it-1554892-639x479Phase 1, My Blog, is finished.  I thought creating the blog was very straight forward and easy.  This is probably because I had done most of tasks before.  I am currently reading Bloggers Roadmap looking for ways to improve my blog.  I have already found a couple of things one of which I have implemented.  I created a footer menu and moved all the mundane pages like the legal pages to that menu from the blog menu.  I like those pages on the footer much better.  The second thing I learned is where all the code is for the various parts of the blog in case I have to modify it.  I am going to do my best to avoid changing code.

Enough about Phase 1, I am on Phase 2 now.  I freely admit I am not looking forward to this Phase.  I have absolutely no idea what product I want to create.  Let alone a product I am capable of creating.  What the heck do I know enough about to create a product.  Plus I need at least one up sell and a down sell products.

At the moment, I am leaning toward an ebook for a product because I don’t have the necessary skills to program anything.  But, an ebook about what?  I am an expert at not succeeding on the internet.  Doesn’t sound very marketable to me.  Hopefully, Partnership to Success has some great methods to teach me how to solve this problem.  I really need to keep a positive attitude.

Phase 1 Wrap Up

blogworldI have finished Phase 1 of Partnership to Success (building the foundation).  Overall, I would say that the training and videos are very well done.  I thought the tasks during the 8 weeks for Phase 1 could have been accomplished easily in 6 weeks by anyone.  I finished it in 4 weeks because I had done similar things before.  Thank goodness you can go faster by asking support.  As I said at the end of my last post, I still don’t know what is in store for my website but I am fairly certain there is more to come.

I feel I understand and can use WordPress functionality without any major problems.  I did learn when I had to search for specific functionality that people have no problem diving into the code and making changes.  I don’t think I really want to know WordPress to that level; plus, I would have to learn PHP.  On the other hand, I have just scratched the surface of Optimize Press functionality.  The P2S videos have used just a few features of Optimize Press so far.  Since I was ahead of schedule with the training, I played with some of the other OP features (elements).  What I learned from my “playing” with OP and several support tickets is that I wish that OP was a theme instead of a plugin.

I say this because when OP elements are used on WordPress posts and pages they are added as shortcodes (like HTML).  The elements look fine when viewing the blog but are not editable.  The OP elements are only editable when using OP’s Live Editor.  Using Live Editor is no harder than using WordPress but, to have “blog functionality” in OP, it has to be the theme not a plugin.  As a plugin, you can create pages but no sidebar functionality.  There is probably more that is missing from OP as a plugin but I haven’t found it yet.

Aweber was a pleasant surprise.  If you remember, I didn’t want to join Aweber since I already had TrafficWave as an auto responder.  Now, I am very impressed with Aweber.  I need to learn more about Aweber since I am sure I have only scratched the surface of its capabilities.  But, Aweber’s interface with Optimize Press and form creation capabilities impressed me and I will bet there is more to come.

There were 4 minor glitches during Phase 1.  The first glitch was becoming a member of the P2S Facebook Group.  Paula on P2S tech support was very diligent in getting this resolved.  It turned out the problem was Facebook didn’t like my email address.  Changed it to a gmail account and that fixed the problem.  The second glitch was the lack of “comment capability” on my blog.  This most likely happened because defaults in WordPress have changed since John made his blog settings video.  To fix this problem, I watched the video again.  When John was scrolling past the comment settings saying nothing needed to change, I stopped the video and set my comment settings to match his.  Problem solved for new posts.  The existing posts all said “comments closed”.  The fix for that is a check box; allow comments, on each post found under “Quick Edit”.

The third and fourth glitches were associated with the creation and testing of the optin form that slides when you come to the blog.  When John created the optin form on the videos, the button fit perfectly on the form.  When I did the same things, the button was too big and spilled over the edge of the form.  This problem gave me the opportunity to learn more of Aweber’s capabilities.  I learned I could change the font size, move the titles, move the location of the optin form.  Finally, whitelisting on ClickBank is required to get credit for signups to P2S that came from my blog.  There was some problem on ClickBank’s side which delayed me getting whitelisted for 5 days.  John eventually found out about the problem and fixed it the same day.

The final video of Phase 1 proved to me John is a man after my own heart.  The final video is “Test, Test, Test”.  John is a strong advocate of EVERYTHING must be tested.  I could not agree more.  Internet applications have so many pieces, it is easy for something not to work the way intended.  So I agree – TEST, TEST, TEST!

In summary, I give the training 4.5 out of 5 stars.  The .5 star deduction is for the length of the phase, not the minor glitches.  I believe that anyone regardless of technical knowledge can complete Phase 1 and have a good-looking blog up and running.

Week 8 – List Building

sky-blogWeek 8 is the end of Partnership to Success Phase 1.  Phase 1 was all about getting my blog all set up.  I will freely admit I am glad Phase 1 is ending.  I think my blog is acceptable, not great but better than some I have seen.  I also have to admit that I still don’t fully understand what the purpose of the blog is.  I am sure that will become apparent eventually.

This week added a couple more features to the blog.  First, I added a product called Link Supercharger.  Link Supercharger allows me to change affiliate links to customized links.  For example, the following link


can be changed to

I think the new link is more likely to be clicked.  Installation of Link Supercharger could not be simpler.  Download to your computer; add a directory (‘recommends’ in my case) to the site; ftp a file to the new directory; enter the file location in your browser; enter a user name, password, and email; and you are done.  To produce the example above, copy the affiliate link in the space provided, enter the desired name, P2S, and click the create button.  That’s it.  The new link can be cloaked or uncloaked.   A cloaked link remains the same on the link’s web page.  An uncloaked link changes back to the original link.  Some vendors, like ClickBank, do not allow cloaking so make sure you check.  Link Supercharger has other functionality as well but I haven’t used any of those yet.

The finishing touch to the blog was the opt-in form that greets a visitor upon arrival at the blog.  The opt-in form was created with Aweber.  I sure couldn’t create that form with TrafficWave.  John walking through the creation was a necessity.  First, I would not have even known the capability to create a form that complex existed.  Secondly, the positioning of the actual form on the background was at the pixel level and would have required a lot of trial and error.  Aweber allows the setting of the delay, how it appears and how frequently it appears.  I was definitely impressed.  I need to take time and learn all the Aweber functionality.  I am sure there is a lot more there.

Week 7 – Essential Techniques

Legal StuffWeek 7 is about getting my blog ready for the world.  The first part of this is to add “legal stuff” to the blog.  Guess what?  There is a plugin for the legal pages.  The plugin is WP InstaLegalPages.  It contains the following nine legal pages.

  • Affiliate Disclosure
  • Amazon Affiliate Disclaimer (multiple countries available)
  • Anti-Spam Policy
  • Contact Us
  • Digital Millennium Copyright Act Notice
  • Earnings Disclaimer
  • Medical Disclaimer
  • Privacy Policy
  • Terms of Use

When activating the plugin, creates all nine pages as drafts.  The pages are fully editable as needed and published when ready.  I used all the pages except the Amazon Affiliate Disclaimer and the Medical Disclaimer.  Once published, seven new, boring pages appear on my menu.  Not the best result for a good-looking blog.  The solution is to create and publish a page called “Legal Stuff” or whatever you prefer.  The “Legal Stuff” page is the main page for all the legal pages.  Making the legal pages sub-pages to “Legal Stuff” is done through Appearance, Menu.  The Menu page allows you to drag and drop, up and down, your pages to create the sequence you want.  To make the legal pages sub-items to “Legal Stuff”, you drag them to the right.  Click save, view the blog.  Now, you see “Legal Stuff” with a down arrow on the main menu.  When the cursor is on “Legal Stuff”, the list of the legal pages displays.  Clicking on one of the legal pages displays that page.

Week 7 also taught how to add images and videos to a post.  I have added images to several posts but still have several that need images.  I am hoping to find a site to get decent free images.  No luck so far. I haven’t added a video yet but I will just for the experience.  I may even get adventuresome and create a video.

How to schedule publishing a post and emailing broadcasts to your lists at a future date and time is the last topic of the week.  This functionality is useful if you are unavailable when you want the post published or the broadcast sent.  This is definitely a handy feature for both WordPress and Aweber.  I am starting to see why Aweber costs a little more than other autoresponders.  It has more functionality.

Please leave comments to help me improve and return soon.

Week 5 – Networking

There was almost nothing new this week from a learning prospective. Download a widget, install a widget, activate and set up the widget.  I have done this several times before.  So what was important this week is the use of the new widget.

networkingThe widget is Widlink.  This is not a widget anyone can find by searching widgets.  A friend of John’s wrote this widget for use in the Partnership to Success program.  Widlink goes in the sidebar and provides links to other P2S members’ blogs.  Once Widlink is installed and activated, setup entails telling the widget how many members to display and giving the list a title. After this is done, the list will appear in the sidebar.  A great feature of Widlink is that it is dynamic and random.  The list has a different list of names each time someone accesses my blog.

Are you asking, ”Why is Widlink important?”  Widlink provides a network of P2S blogs.  It is important to have links pointing to my blog from other websites and vice-a-versa.  This helps the various internet “crawlers” find my blog.  The more references to my blog found, the higher its ranking.

Another task assigned was to go to the blogs of other members and leave comments.  This also helps the “crawlers”.  When I leave a comment, part of the information I provide is my website.  Once again, this creates a link back to me blog.  Plus, some of the blogs use a plugin called CommentLuv.  This plugin provides a link back to the commenter’s most recent post.  If their blog uses that plugin or an equivalent, I get double the back links.  I need to install CommentLuv.

Two other small tasks for this week were adjust the width of the sidebar and signup for Google Adsense.  Adjusting the width of the sidebar is easy if you know where to do it.  The sidebar width is set by going to OptimizePress, Blog Settings, Layout Structure, Sidebar Column Preferences and entering the desired width.  (I hate to think how long it would take me to find that on my own.)  The default setting was 309 pixels which I changed to 375.  The reason for signing up for Google Adsense this week is because it takes time to get it approved.  I already had an Adsense account but deleting old sites and adding a new one is just like signing up for the first time.  Google has to approve everything.

More about Adsense next week.

Week 4 – Social Media

socialmediaThis week is about adding social media links to the blog and a couple of clean up tasks. I already had Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin accounts so there wasn’t really anything for me to do from the first video.  I did think that I could use Skype as well but not so.  I spent about an hour trying to learn how to link to Skype.  It turns out you don’t really “link” to Skype.  You can have the icon call or chat with an individual but that is it.  I couldn’t find a way for them to leave a message.  Maybe that is a chat.  I didn’t think this was something I wanted so I didn’t include Skype with the other social media.

A zip file with the social media icons was provided.  This file had to be downloaded and unzipped for use.  Once unzipped, the icons are uploaded to the blog using “add media”.  When the icons are in the blog media folder they are ready for use.  Next, a small file of HTML code that John calls the ”top sidebar code” is downloaded.  The purpose of this code is to link the social media icons to the profile pages.  This is done using the href and image HTML commands.  IMAGE is used to provide a link to the image that will be shown.  When the image is clicked, HREF provides the link where the user is sent. The complete HTML command looks like this

<a href=”LINK TO TWITTER” target=”_blank”><img alt=”Twitter” src=”LINK TO TWITTER BUTTON”></a>

After being modified for my blog it looks like this

<a href=”” target=”_blank”><img alt=”Twitter” src=””></a>

(The target=”_blank” is a command that causes the destination site open in a new window or tab.
The img alt= command contains the text that will be displayed if the image is not available.)

OK, enough coding detail.  I am not qualified to teach HTML.  I just know a little bit and I know how to look up more detail when I need it.

When I had modified the code for all three social media icon on my PC, I copied it into a text widget which I put on the sidebar.  WALLA!  The Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin icons linked to my profile pages appear on the sidebar.  Like any widget on the sidebar, you can drag it around to place it where you want.  I placed the icons just below the opt in form.

The last lesson for week 4 contained a couple of clean up items.  Redirecting the blog’s home directory to the blog and correcting settings to allow comments.  What is funny is that I had actually already fixed both of these.  I thought I was fixing the redirection based on personal preference.  Guess not.  There may actually be a good reason to do it to help the blog get evaluated by the internet gremlins.  The lack of comments was an oversight on John’s part because of changes in OptimizePress.  I had already discovered the fix for this by watching an earlier lesson.  On my blog the default settings to get comments were wrong.  I had to stop the video and copy what was on the screen.  John didn’t need to change his setting.  If others have the same defaults as me, they will have a problem as well.

After I got comments appearing on new posts, I had to tackle the problem of all my existing posts saying “Closed to Comments”.  It turns out this is easy to fix once you know the trick.  You “quick edit” each post that has closed comments and checking the allow comments box.  POOF! Comments box appears.

Wow, I didn’t think I had much to say about week 4 and this has turned into one of my longest posts.

On to week 5.

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Week 3 – Opt In Form

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This week is about adding an opt in form to my blog.  Unfortunately, this means I need to join Aweber.  I say unfortunately because I already subscribe to TrafficWave.  I don’t think I really need 2 autoresonders.  I have 2 paid lead campaigns running with TrafficWave that I would have to throw away if I left.  Also, if I want to continue to pursue Team Atlantis, I need to stay with TrafficWave.  Aweber is integrated with products that are used with program.  I won’t have to struggle as much and will be able to do everything if I just join Aweber.  I guess I will just have to have 2 autoresponders for now.

I registered with Aweber through my affiliate ID.  Maybe I can get a commission but probably not.  Aweber walks you through creating the first list which follows the videos.  I customized the confirmation message but am sure I will tweak it at least once more.  I also added a follow-up email thanking the person for signing up in the email series but that is the only email in the series for now.

Creating the sign up form was straight forward.  Again, Aweber pretty much walked me through it which matched the video.  I am really not sure if creating a form in Aweber was necessary or not.  I say that because OptimizerPress interfaces with Aweber and I designed another form in OptimizerPress.  I just went back and watched the video again.  The HTML code for the Aweber form is copied into OptimizePress but some of it must be changed since the final form is designed and edited in my blog.  This is one of those details I just have to accept because I am sure I will never know exactly how it works.  It just works.

The week 3 checklist concludes with

“add an optin form to your blog, you will then be ready to start building a mailing list.”

That is true but we still need to drive traffic to the blog.

On to week 4

Week 2 – Reflections

columboBefore I plunge into week 3, I thought I would pause and share my thoughts about the Partnership to Success program.  With two weeks under my belt, I am impressed.  The videos are very well done.  Occasionally, the screens on the videos don’t match what I see.  That is a because of a difference in versions or the fact that I am doing something for the first time whereas John has already used a particular function.  This is not surprising and hasn’t caused any hardship completing tasks.  A couple of times I had to search briefly to find the correct screen but it didn’t take long.

So far, the most difficult task has been joining the Facebook group.  This is a “secret” group which requires Facebook to send an invitation to my Facebook email.  My Facebook email was forwarded to my email address.  It worked fine if I sent an email to the Facebook email.  I received the forwarded email where it was suppose to be.  But it sure didn’t work when Facebook sent me email.  It just disappeared.  After 4 or 5 attempts, Facebook won’t send any more to that address.  I switched the forwarding to a gmail account and it worked first try.  Paula, tech support, tried every day for a week.  I am sure she was glad to get me off her list.  Since switching to the gmail account, I have learned I have been missing emails for a long time.

I told you in the week 2 post about my problems deciding what to put in my blog header.  Now, I need to find a picture or graphic for my Facebook page header.  Something other that a big black rectangle at the top would be more interesting.  I am hoping I can find a picture from the Alaska or China trips.  That shouldn’t be that hard for me to find one.  I hope.

I have to tell you, there is a small part of me that does not want to start week 3.  Why?  The program uses Aweber as the autoresponder of choice.  I already have TrafficWave.  Everybody doing internet sales needs an autoresponder but 2?  I might be able to figure out how to use TrafficWave to do the same things but from what I have seen Aweber is more integrated with programs we are going to be using.  Optimizepress has a direct interface with Aweber and so does JVZoo.  I would drop TrafficWave but it is tied to a couple of other programs I am promoting.

The lessons for each week definitely don’t take a week.  So far, they don’t take a day.  I am sure this is partly because I have done most of this before and because John wants us to get used to writing posts.  Somewhere I heard John say I needed at least 10 posts before I can add any Adsense ads to the blog.  This is number 8.  Plus, I need the practice writing.  I didn’t realize how out of practice I was.  I am sure there are lessons to come that will take me longer.

On to week 3!

Please help me improve by leaving comments.  

All feedback is welcomed and helpful and the more the better.

Week 2 – Blog Appearance

This week is about improving the appearance of the blog.  Boy does it need it. The first thing needed was a product called OptimizePress.  This is like a super theme or widget, it can be either.  I guess you use it as a widget if you already have a theme you like.  I purchased the Core Package for now which allows use on 3 sites.   Downloaded the theme version, installed it, activated it and set it up.  Since I installed OptimizePress and set it up, I have watched a couple of training videos.  Just seeing a few of the capabilities is overwhelming.  Knowing how to use the full potential of OptimizePress easily could be a career.  Unbelievable capabilities!!!  Can’t wait to use more of the capabilities.

Now a blog header is needed.  This will really start jazzing up my blog.  The problem is I have no idea what I want for a header.  I went to the P2S forum and looked at many blogs for ideas.  No real help.  I have thought and thought about a header to no avail.  Finally, I was to the point I had to do something.  I finally settled on a roadmap concept.  I realize it is not very original but I needed something.  John suggested using his graphic’s guy or checking out  I checked out fiverr but everyone was more expensive than John’s guy, Steve.

Scan-130318-0002 (2)While I was trying to figure out a header, I came across a picture from our trip to Yellowstone.  We were all around a sign for Old Faithful.  I ask Steve to use the picture in the header with the other family members removed.  The result is the right side of the header.  Let me know what you think of the header.

Since it took me several days to figure out the header, I completed the reset of the checklist first.  I installed the ShareBar, All in One SEO and Link Manager plugins.  I wrote an “About Bob Caine” page.   I am not good at talking about myself so this still needs work,

I wanted a separate page for reviews and tips.  I needed this page to be a blog like the home page.  A plugin, WP Exclude From Home Page,  which allows the exclusion of specified topics from the home page.  Then I created a page which includes only those topics.  Finally I added the all pages to a menu.

So concludes week 2.

Week 1 – The Foundation

FoundationWeek 1 is about building the foundation needed for the program. This week is not very exciting but very necessary.  First I needed hosting and a domain name for a website.  The recommended hosting service is D9.  I am not familiar with D9 but it doesn’t matter.  I already have hosting with HostGator so I am going to use that.  I got the hosting a couple of months ago but could never figure out what I wanted to do with it.  For a domain name, your is recommended if available.  Bob was available so I purchased it and was born almost.

When I originally got my HostGator account I purchased the smallest package available which only handles a single domain.  Now I had to upgrade my hosting to allow multiple domains.  There was about a 36 hour delay before I could activate  After the delay, activating my new domain was a piece-of-cake.  When I was doing my research for hosting and domain registration, I read that for security reasons your hosting and domain should not be purchased from the same place.  This also saves some money but makes connecting the two a little more complicated.  I had already done this once, so, no problem the the second time.

The domain is up and running.   I created a directory called “blog” and installed WordPress in that directory.  John provided instructions to accomplish these tasks.  I watched his instructions but modified them because I was using a different hosting service.  On HostGator, installing WordPress requires clicking an icon and in a few seconds installation is complete.  I am really curious why WordPress is installed in the blog directory and not the home directory.  I am sure I will find out eventually.

Now, we suppose to create our first post.  I had used WordPress (WP) before so between the video instructions and previous knowledge this was not a problem.  You can read my first post, Hello World, by clicking on the name.  The last task in week 1 was setting up an email account.  You can now contact me at