My 3 Month Review At Wealthy Affiliate.
My name is Richard Brecknock. Some of us have met already, I look forward to meeting many more WA members over time. I've been here just 3 months; it feels like a lot longer... I guess that's because I do something at the WA site every day.
Before Aug 2020: A bit of my back-story
Cutting a long story short ... late in 2013, it made sense to me to start a business online in anticipation of an expected drop in income around September 2015.
So I set out on a learning 'spree' for marketing on the internet, using free online resources.
I bought a domain name and hosting, played around with WordPress (.org) and had signed up for Wealthy Affiliate (WA) in April 2014. Then within days of joining WA, I learned that my income would be cut by 1/3, about 18 months earlier than anticipated, immediately leaving me with negative cash flow. So after one month I reluctantly decided I couldn’t continue with WA at the time.
What Happened Next?
Over the next couple of years I went back to learning what I could from free resources, There is a wealth of useful information available for free, online. Some of it is excellent, but nothing that I found was comprehensive and I found myself continually repeating the same lessons.
By mixing and matching the free stuff I might have put together a strategy that worked, but I had no idea which ideas I could rely on nor which might work together. Having little spare time didn't help and I incompetently allowed myself to be pulled in many different directions. Life was hectic enough so experimenting to see what worked seemed counterproductive.
Nonetheless, having lost my hosting for a while, I dabbled in WordPress.com, email marketing, creating free PDFs, going back to WordPress.org, and trying out free hosting services e.t.c. with no real direction in mind other than learning.
What I really needed was an experienced marketer as a teacher or mentor.
To remedy this lack I joined a number of Facebook groups which seemed to be full of people intent on promoting their products as opposed to helping each other or learning more themselves.
I found plenty of free resources for learning about WordPress that gave a reasonable grounding in building a blog from scratch. I found several FB groups for moral support.
Using different unconnected learning sources was confusing. I started looking for an affordable one-stop-shop for training in marketing and technical skills plus a non-competitive community of like-minded learners willing to support each other.
Back To The Future
Then one day in May 2020, I started to clear out old email folders on my laptop and rediscovered Wealthy Affiliate. I'm embarrassed to admit that I'd forgotten WA (although it had of course been 6 years though since my one-month membership).
When I re-looked at the WA site I realised it includes everything I was looking for, and more:
- Well organised, progressive lessons from beginner to eventual expert for essential marketing and technical skills;
- Countless additional and regularly augmented training modules on an enormous range of related subjects;
- A large actively supportive community of like-minded people... all of whom are or want to be, earning money online, and most of whom genuinely want to help each other.
In addition, I discovered that Wealthy Affiliate includes:
- The best value domain registration;
- Provision of fast, reliable, secure web hosting and dedicated technical support;
- Excellent turnaround of answers to questions when asked;
- Inclusion of the Jaaxy Keyword research (and more) software.
I could even join again for free before making a longer-term commitment, which gave me the chance to test the up to date WA training and services.
When I went back to WA at the end of July 2020 I already had a domain name in the 'get organised / get things done / productivity' niche with hosting set up, but no site beyond a framework. While working through the introductory, free lessons, I was able to set up from scratch a completely free subdomain based on a free WA URL and WA hosting. If you are new to building websites, this simply means that you can learn to build your own website, completely free, with free hosting included.
The community welcome was a breath of fresh air... I wondered if it would last... incredibly it's been consistently supportive. If you decide to try out Wealthy Affiliate, be aware of this delightful value add, it is a very unusual experience.
Then, when I opted to pay for the premium WA service, I was able to have my free Wealthy Affiliate based site converted to my own new domain name. There was no additional charge for the conversion, which was handled by Technical Support remarkably fast.
When I joined I had not had a single visitor to my productivity website. With the application of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) training at WA, it has gone from 1 hit per day in my second month to averaging around 10 hits per day. There's a long way to go but it's a start.
Writing posts hasn't been smooth however, not because of anything to do with WA... my circumstances have changed again due to commitments I made to my wife's offline business. She's having a particularly difficult time, partly due to the pandemic in Portugal. So I find myself helping out as a volunteer in her care home due to a dire lack of staff at present. I have muscular dystrophy myself; not a major problem but it means I can't easily handle anything other than light work.
For this reason, I spend most of my time on a watching brief and simply ask for help from able-bodied carers when needed. The advantage of this role is that I am able to use my phone a lot; but I don't have much time at a computer.
The training here has been excellent. Although my lack of access to enough PC hours makes for slow progress; I have nearly completed level 3.
Anyone who has been using their phone for developing websites or writing, in general, will know how inefficient, restrictive and frustrating the use of a mobile phone is for writing. It is of course better than nothing but far from ideal.
I wrote 7 blog posts over the first month with WA by creating outlines on my phone then finishing on the PC... but that's nowhere near as much writing as I had intended. I realised I needed to create a writing workflow process and find software tools to support it. The writing process I use is:
- Capture ideas for articles as they arise;
- Research information for content;
- Research Keywords;
- Create a draft article building incorporating the keywords;
- Proofread the article and edit to create the final copy;
- Finalise the heading for the article and check keywords;
- Find images for the article;
- Copy words and images to a publishing site;
- Check and optimise all aspects of SEO;
- Publish the post.
When I first started writing, I looked for writing tools and bought a copy of Scrivener for the PC. Scrivener is great writing software but since I spent most of my time on iPhone I needed to be able to easily transfer files from PC to iPhone and vice versa.
Scrivener does this via Google Drive. I know many people like Google Drive but I find that its automatic daily backup routine always seemed to kick in just when I wanted to work with files on the PC. There is no way to set up a different time for the backup. Much time was wasted waiting for the backup to end before I could continue since it caused the PC to freeze while running. Not to mention the inefficiency of the process of moving files about when an automatic process would have been much more efficient.
Also, I needed a depository for capturing ideas and for clipping web-based articles for research purposes. Evernote was excellent for this ... and interfaces well with iPhone and PC.
Then I needed a way to control the development of articles; a way to handle the workflow through the process outlined above. I used Trello for this. Another excellent tool.
However, using three tools (Scrivener, Evernote and Trello) was very clunky, and I started looking for a better way to handle all the above operations.
What A Notion
Early in September, I can't remember how I found it, but I started noticing software called Notion popping up in searches more and more. I downloaded the windows and ios apps since they are free but I really didn't understand it at first.
Notion seemed to be difficult to get started with; it opens up to an almost blank screen. Given how little time I have on PC at the moment I put off attempting to get my head around it. Then one day I found a rave review by a writer who claimed that Notion.os had changed her life!
In the meantime, I had been re-reading a book called 'Getting Things Done' by a productivity expert, David Allen. I began to notice various people saying how they were using Notion to implement David Allen's ideas for Getting Things Done (GTD).
I bit the bullet and started to learn. Within no time I realised Notion is a remarkable piece of software which I can now honestly say has changed my life!
It is functional and fun and I currently have around 30 blog posts under development and many hundreds of writing ideas for moving into my workflow process.
All of my writing research, preparation, drafting and editing e.t.c. is now all in one place. Notion is accessible through a web browser or via the apps in Windows, Mac OS, iOS or Android.
The Notion apps can be used offline, and when connected to the internet, all versions are automatically updated within seconds.
Notion is designed for team collaboration but for individual use it is available for free! I didn’t believe this at first so contacted their support (who responded very quickly) and discovered that it really is free for individuals. It seems that their market is primarily corporate teams. Even as an individual user you can allow 'guests' to access data files for collaboration purposes.
The only real restriction compared to the premium version (which only costs $5 per month anyway) is that web clips or downloads (perhaps for research) are limited to 5Mb (large enough for most purposes). Anything larger simply has to be transferred manually (cut and paste). For me, Notion has replaced Scrivener, Evernote and Trello.
So very soon now, following this post, I will start to post more articles at WA, and at my two other websites.
That's all for now folks.. until next time...
My next post here at WA will describe how I use Notion ... or should it be a training?.
In the meantime, if you have productivity challenges like I had, search for Notion.os online... you just might like it. Let me know if you do...
To your success