Ben Donahower – 3/19 CMC Update

Ben Donahower – 3/19 CMC Update

While I felt like I was behind the power curve with keyword research and choosing a niche, I feel much more confident and capable of developing a WordPress site.  This week was much easier!

I’ve been blogging for a number of years about news and current events.  I know enough HTML to be dangerous, so I’ve built websites for political campaigns and community groups from time to time.  In the last several years though, I’ve used WordPress themes and modified them as necessary.  I have an existing hosting account with Dreamhost that I’m using for some community groups that I’m a part of so the hosting for the minisite was already taken care

Unbeknownst to me, I had a free domain name with my hosting plan that I’ve never used, so I registered my domain with Dreamhost as well for free:

Three weeks ago, Sarah talked about the colors that she chose for one of her niche sites on a program that she hosts regularly Monday’s at 7 pm.  I used this same technique, looking at other sites in the niche for ideas about design and color, and was lucky enough to find a suitable free theme.

While this is technically on next week’s to do list, I wanted to knock out the obligatory about, contact, terms of service, and privacy pages.  I took some time to craft an about page that was informative yet had commercial value.  Site visitors can learn more about the site but are also directed to affiliate links from the about page itself.  I used the Contact Form 7 plugin for the contact page and piggybacked off of one of the Sarah’s sites for the terms of service and privacy pages.

The other plugins I’m using are:

  • Google XML sitemaps
  • No Comments on Pages
  • Statpress dashboard widget lite
  • Statpress reloaded
  • WordPress SEO

A quick note about the last one.  I tried a couple free WordPress SEO plugins and preferred WordPress SEO by Yoast over All in One SEO mainly because they offer a snippet preview.  The preview helped me understand what the impact of altering the title and meta description were to the search engine results page.

When I was establishing relationships with companies that have affiliate programs, I wanted to promote a number of products from a number of companies to diversify and to upsell visitors.  In light of Amazon cutting off Illinois affiliates, this might prove to be an important strategy more generally and one that Sarah commented on in TMN last week.

Once I pulled all of this together, I asked for some feedback on the private forum for this challenge, and got a lot of great responses.  I changed the way that I presented my relationship with affiliates and created a clearer call to action on my homepage.

Now to fleshing out some content!

One Response to Ben Donahower – 3/19 CMC Update

  1. Jon says:


    Your About page is great. The fact that you proudly back your site by placing your own pic on there is powerful.

    Great job substantiating your health claim with a link to a site on the health benefits of wine. Your sub-headings on the About page tell a good story for those who will quickly scan the page. It’s evolving into a resource and looking less like an affiliate site, nice!

    You also chose a welcoming color palette that seems appropriate to the industry. Keep up the great work.


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