GLP #3 – How to Optimize to Blog and Convert Search Engine Traffic

A lot is going on with the Go Large Project (GLP). It hasn’t made much money. But we’ve experienced a number of breakthroughs that’s pushing this project to the next level.

{Now if you’re having trouble with starting a blog; I recommend using these blog post ideas.}

The biggest result comes from what I call a “MWR Blog.”

This one concept has produced a number of great results. Specifically we’re getting over 20 subscribers a day from about 300 unique visitors. In my opinion, that’s not a bad starting point.

So today I’d like about the MWR Blog. We’ll discuss what it is and how it can help your affiliate marketing business.

While I can’t show the actual MWR Blog we’re using for this project; I will provide a mock-up of what it looks like.

Once again, there’s a lot to cover. So let’s get to it!

What is a MWR Blog?

Let’s first start by giving a definition of a MWR Blog. The concept is simple. You design a blog around the most wanted response.

We’re all used to the standard authority blog. It’s filled with useful content with a whole lot of links and advertisements. This provides readers with too many options. Subscriber numbers are low because there are too many things to look at.  (If you’re interested in building long-term authority blogs then check out this site which teaches successful blogging.)

A MWR Blog follows a different system. You present quality content. Then you make a strong push for people to join an email list.

It’s a simple choice – Either they join an email list or they leave your site.

From my tests, I’ve learned a MWR Blog is great for converting casual web searchers into subscribers. It’s all about having a clean design that emphasizes the opt-in points.

An Example of a MWR Blog

It’s hard to describe what a MWR blog looks like. So I’ve created a mock-up here ===> MWR Blog Example.

Now I have to warn you…I’m NOT a web designer.

I created this blog as an example. I didn’t have time to outsource a logo or make it all pretty like.

Normally I’d hire an outsourcer to customize the blog and give it a more professional appearance.

What you should notice is this blog isn’t filled with links/images that distract readers. Instead it makes a strong push to get people to join an email list.

Now… I’ll admit it’s a bit overkill with the email subscription areas. However I’ve learned the “bounce rate” of search engine traffic is really high. Most will immediately leave your site. So I’m trying to catch their attention the moment they enter the blog.

No matter what, you should TEST a MWR Blog. What works for me, might not work for you. (We’ll discuss this later.)

So the question is how do you design a MWR Blog?

I follow a simple system which takes about ten minutes:

1) Buy a hosting package that has the Cpanel option.

2) Use the Fantastico feature in Cpanel to automatically install a WordPress blog.

Fantastico Image


WordPress Installation Button

3) Upload a theme that has a clean design. I prefer the Simple Folio theme.

4) Customize the theme and remove everything that distracts the visitor

It’s not that hard to customize a blog. You don’t need web designer to do it! In fact, it can be done in a few minutes.

How to Customize your Word Press Theme

This might create a bit of controversy…I don’t allow any outboud links that aren’t connected to an offer. In other words, I DELETE every link that comes with a WordPress theme.

I don’t mind recommending sending link love on this blog.  But my affiliate sites are about making money – Not building relationships. So I don’t link to anything that doesn’t increase subscriber rates.

When customizing a blog you want to remove extraneous content and increase the visibility of the subscription areas.

Here’s how to do this:

#1. The Logo: At the top of the page is the logo for the SimpleFolio site:

Insert Logo Here

You can change this by going to the Theme Options tab and inserting the URL for your logo:

Upload New Logo

Like I said before, I’m not a graphics guy. So please excuse my 2nd grade attempt to create an image.

#2. Insert Sidebar: Out of the box, Simple Folio doesn’t have a sidebar:

No Sidebar in Simple Folio

At the very least, you’ll need to go the Widgets tab and add the categories option:

Inserting Category Page

Plus you’ll want to add the text blog to add an advertisement for your lead magnet and/or email list:

Insert Text Block Widget

Play around the Widgets.  This area can have an incredible impact on the number of people subscribing to your email list.

#3. Footer: A big thanks to the people at Smashing Magazine for designing the Simple Folio theme. I appreciate the effort it took to create this theme. So I’ll be sure to link to your site whenever someone asks for a WordPress Theme recommendation.

With that said, I feel a MWR Blog is about converting web traffic.  So having a large link on my page does not help my affiliate business. That’s why I recommend getting rid of this ad:

Footer Simple Folio

This is easy to do. Go to the Appearance –> Editor section of your site. Open the Option and delete the link. While you’re there, you might as well change the name of the site:

Delete Footer of Simple Folio This step is completely optional.  You could also leave it like it is and reward the people Simple Folio designers for creating a great theme.  Your choice!

Change WordPress CSS#4. Hyperlink Color: Out of the box, your hyperlink has a soft blue color that’s hard to notice.

My advice is to change it into the standard hyperlink color that gets a reader’s attention:

Go into the Stylesheet section of the Editor tab and change the hyperlink color:

Change Hyperlink Color

You’re done!

That’s it for the customization. You don’t need technical expertise to do a few simple edits of this theme.  Remember this site is about converting traffic.  So it’s actually better to have a simple site than a fancy presentation.

At this point, your site is properly tweaked.  But your work isn’t done!  In fact, you need to add a few plugins to make it fully functional.  In the next section, we’ll talk about a few plugins that I’m currently testing.

6 “Must-Have” MWR Plugins

Remember…your ultimate goal is blog conversion.  That means it’s important to get a casual web searcher and turn him/her into a loyal email subscriber.

This is accomplished by focusing on email subscriptions.  Test and tweak your blog till it’s converting a high number of web traffic.  My goal is to get this rate to over 30%.

A high-converting MWR blog doesn’t happen overnight.  It requires a lot of optimization and testing.  That’s why I recommend using the following tools:

#1. Popup Domination: I installed this tool on my MWR Blog and it instantly increased my opt-in rate by 33%. This plugin displays a pop-up whenever someone enters your site and encourages people to subscribe.

Personally I get annoyed by pop-ups.  But you can’t argue with a 33% subscription increase.

#2. Google Analytics – The most important point in this entire post is to experiment and see what works best with your site. Use my suggestions.  Then test new things to maximize your results.

That’s why I recommend the Google Analytics tool. This is the best stat tracking program available – Plus it’s free!

The best part of this tool is the Site Overlay option.  This is a heat map that tells you where people are clicking on your site. I haven’t used it yet, but it looks like it’s a great way to know exactly what parts of your site get results.  In addition it helps target those areas that need to be tweaked.

#3. Add Sig Plugin: This plugin puts a signature file at the end of every post. I use it to display another advertisement for my email list:

Ad Sig Advertisement Example

This is yet another area that lets people know about your free offer.

#4. Ad-Rotator: You should create images/eCovers that promote the free offer.  But you’ll find that some people react better to different advertisements.  That’s why I recommend this plugin because it rotates images on your site.

The downside of this plugin is it doesn’t track impressions and click-thrus.

#5. Open X Ad Server: This is a more robust solution over the Ad-Rotator tool.  It does the same thing, but also tracks the individual ads and clicks.  This is important because you’ll know which advertisements produce the best results.

Currently I’m only researching this tool.  So I can’t give feedback about its effectiveness.  I’ll definitely keep you posted on what I learn.

#6. WP-Polls: Polling is an incredible way to learn what content people want.  I recommend using this plugin to regularly interact with people.

Like I said, a MWR Blog is about getting email subscribers.  With that said, you can gain a lot of knowledge from the people NOT going to your opt-in forms.  Simply install this plugin at the bottom of your sidebar and ask a multiple-option question.  This information can help you improve both the content and the lead magnets you’re offering.

More Plugins to Come: You want to maximize the number of people subscribing. So use these tools to keep testing and tweaking.  Right now, I’m looking into more plugins that help convert.  So I’ll tell you about them once I get results from my tests.

Final Thoughts on the MWR Blog…

Experimentation is at the heart of the Go Large Project.  I don’t claim to be any sort of Internet guru.  All of my results came from throwing a lot of s**t against a wall and seeing what sticks.

Every day, we’re getting feedback on what works best with an affiliate blog.  As I learn something, you’ll learn something.

Till then, I recommend creating your own MWR Blog.  This is the perfect solution if you want to build a content-rich site targeting lots of keywords.  It converts web searchers into loyal subscribers.  And ultimately these subscribers will lead to more affiliate income.

Good luck!

Take Action. Get Results.

32 thoughts on “GLP #3 – How to Optimize to Blog and Convert Search Engine Traffic”

  1. Hi Steve

    Just followed your link from John McNallys site.
    This is a great article and a wonderful idea for getting sign ups.

    Love the links to tools you have used, been checking them out and will keep a note for future use.

    Loving the site as well, a good mix of content.

    How to outsource ezine article creation, top stuff.

    By the way John McNally ha s done a guest post on my site, great piece, well worth checking out…



  2. Awesome! You’ve described right from getting domain and hosting up to develop effective MWR blog. This tutorial is a great resource for any beginner wish to enter affiliate market. Going to bookmark the post to BlogEngage! Wonderful!

    • Thanks Suresh,

      I certainly appreciate the B-Mark and all! 🙂 Glad you liked the content.

      I think it is certainly important to differentiate a MWR blog from a blog like this for a new person. A blog like this one is a really (really) long term strategy for making money. It relies on community branding and really making name for yourself.

      An MWR is completely different. in a crowded niche it would be swallowed up. But for a less crowded niche it doesnt need nearly as much effort and all results are far more targeted.

      It is one of those minor differences, that are huge.

  3. Sounds like some good concepts Steve.

    A year or so ago many of us were thinking in terms of a single blog that covered everything under the sun and was full of affiliate links.

    Now the trend is towards more specialized blogs, and with fewer adverts etc, a leaner cleaner look, you ought to be able to focus on getting subscribers.

    Once you do that, I assume you then let them know about your other sites.

    • For sure. The best way is to always get people on a list. Once you do that you can let them know about everything else you have that is related.

  4. Beautiful and extremely easy to do as well! That’s one thing I regret from my portal building days….I never did have that one ‘push’ to build my lists as well (and that was when I could easily rank for the top 10 for any keyword imaginable).

    To think of the money lost…ah well, it’s character-building indeed.

    • Ouch,

      I wish I had been at this as long as you and my brother. The good thing I guess is that I started building lists from about day-1. The bad thing is that at day 200 + I am just starting to see a “regular” result from the lists.

      It takes time but is certainly worth the effort.

      It has certainly become a lot harder to get those, “ranking” keywords I imagine.

      Such is life, I wish I had started long ago. I think of all those hours I sat playing “solitare” bored at wrk when I could have been doing something online. It is easy to say, “if I only knew then….”

  5. Interesting concept, these mwr blogs which are only designed for a specific purpose such as email list subscriptions. You could also go further with this idea and only create it to channel readers to your facebook or twitter page or just a specific affiliate program that you would like your readers sign-up to.

    • Andreas,

      For sure! It can be whatever you want. Once you get a name on a list or Twitter or Facebook you can then always try to get to another forum for communication.

      I would guess a lot of that depends upon which medium a person is “strongest” at communicating in.

  6. “All of my results came from throwing a lot of s**t against a wall and seeing what sticks.”

    Steve and Gene, that one sentence summarized what I think are some of the best blog posts. Try something. See if it works. Write about your results.

    Thanks for sharing this info here. I have yet to build a blog that’s solely for the purpose of funneling people to buy something, but it is something I’ve been toying with. So thanks for that info. There are a couple plugins you mentioned that look particularly good that I’ll apply to my normal blog soon, too.

    There are two things I’d like to see in the future: A review of TubeFool (could be part of a larger “tools I use” type GLP post), and more info about Gene. Gene, what’s your background? What do you currently do, and how close are you to doing IM stuff full time? Is that even a desire of yours? Are you doing stuff other than the GLP thing (I know you’ve been doing Helium stuff in the past, are you still working on that)?

    I know this is called Steve Scott Site… But hey, when Gene Scott is part of the show, I’m interested in him, too!

  7. Tristan,

    I think a deeper “tubefool” review will be coming. Playing with that has been one of the things I have been doing recently. It does seem like it is effective (though spammy) waiting on stronger results, since it is a little “spammy” it is hard to give too strong of an endorsement now until we really know HOW effective it will be. And my opinion that take months of results.

    Thanks for asking about me. I will give you a quick bio. At some point and time I may give a far more detailed, “here is what I have learned” report.

    I am the older brother. Being a shade over 4 years older than steve. I started playing around with the internet marketing stuff about 7-8 months ago. I do it full time, but I do not make a “full time” salary out of it yet.

    My brother pays me about 1/3 of what I live on as a “salary” for a whole bunch of misc. things I do for him. I make about 1/3 of my money from affiliate marketing and online writing (Helium just being one site…but the one where I have the most articles) and another 1/3 is my retirement money.

    Yes, I am “retired,” just shy of 40 (less than a month away). I spent 20 years in the US Navy and got my fair share of travel and excitement there.

    Of course as you can imagine my retirement is more about busting ass working 12-14 hour days. 3 hours a so a day “working” on things for my brother. 3 hours working on the joint stuff. and then getting around to, “my stuff”

    Anyhow, I am not going to delve to deeply into the “who I am” right now -in either the metaphysical or historical aspects. Like I said perhaps a there is a “what I am/have done/have learned” article will be on its way sometime in the not “too” far distant future.

    But I am certainly interested in IM for the long haul, and I have learned quite a bit in the past few months – quite a fair bit from your site, though I do not comment. ( I am one of the unwashed hordes of lurkers.)



  8. Hi Gene

    Hope Steve’s having a great holiday. Another really useful post. Always can rely on learning heaps over here. This one will definitely be a post I will be coming back to as I would like to try this out at some point.

    That is after I get all my other tasks and my latest project off the ground! All the best for your biz ventures too Gene. Great that you and your brother can work together so well 🙂

    Patricia Perth Australia

  9. Hello Steve,

    You have some great ideas and this is one of them.

    Now about the blog, I always new that simple is the best way to go when wanting to collect emails or try to make a sales (now we all know why those sales pages don’t have a lot of outbound links or any kind of links for that matter).

    I also now that Google has a feature where you can test you split tests. I think it was called Optimizer or something like that. THis utility didn’t only provided you with a way to determine which page performed best, but from what I remember I think it also gave you other info about what the visitor did on your website(like links clicked, forms filled etc).

    Is your vacation over? Anyway, I hope you have a good one!

    • Alex,

      Had a great vacation. just got back a bit ago and a little run down, but still had a great time.

      The info on “optimizer” is some great stuff. Sometimes I may be too quick to jump on the pay tools with fancy bells and whistles. But anytime a tool has “Google” in front of it there should be particular attention paid, since often the whole point of all these efforts is to be seen well in Google’s eyes, you cannot get a better place to get data from than the big “G” itself.

    • For sure,

      A full blown blog is a TON of work, with few results until you get a TON of traffic. But the MWR blog can be a great way to format a fairly easy to maintain and really directed way to gain list or “single purpose” addditions.

  10. Hi Steve awesome stuff as always. I have used Open X AdServer in the past, and if you don’t have some technical chops to set up an app I don’t really recommend it. One plugin that works really well and rotates banner ads, tracks clicks, and much more, is OIO Publisher. I use it on many of my niche sites and it kicks ass.

    I’ll check out the Add Signature plugin. Looks like a plain text file but that’s a great strategy. I’ve hacked a WordPress theme before but it’s inflexible.

  11. Wow great stuff Steve. It is very inspring and very motivating. I want to make one of these sites today! Thank you!

    Also, can these MWR sites be authority sites, or can they not use email marketing?

  12. Hi Steve,You have given a great idea of about MWR blog and I find it from your post that MWR blog make a strong push for people to join an email list.
    I definitely look now for MWR blog because it is great for converting casual web searches into subscribers.

  13. Hey Steve,
    I like the Most Wanted Response blog concept, it seems logical to optimize a site for conversion to signing up for an email list. But I think the next important question is “What exactly do you do with your email list once it’s created?”, but that’s another post I guess. I like also how you described how to setup a WordPress blog from scratch to do it. You gave all the tools to do it, so much respect there. Although, I prefer 1and1 to hostgator.


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