Ask Me (Almost) Anything

As you can imagine, I get asked questions on a regular basis. It’s something I actively invite through comments on this site as well as through the contact form.

I love to get questions (and answer them) because it gives me a real view of where you are in the process of building and growing your online business. My main goal is always to create content that is as useful as possible to you, without wasting any of your time. And I can do  a better job of that, the more feedback I get from you.

Last week, I received not one, but 3 excellent questions in a row and they inspired me to write this post.

Questions With Built-In Value

The usefulness of my answer depends a lot on the question asked. Sometimes, it can be frustrating to receive a vague question and all I can do is provide a vague, generalized answer, even though I’d love to be more helpful.

Right here, in this post, I want to encourage you to leave a question (in the comments below), but not just any question. I want you to ask a question the answer to which will be hugely useful to you. How do you do that? Let’s look at these 3 examples:

The first was a question submitted in a comment, that can be summarized as follows:

“How can I create a minimum viable product of an information product? I can see how you can release an ‘incomplete’ software product as a beta, but doesn’t an incomplete information product lose all usefulness and value?”

This question also came with some further description of exactly why creating an MVP of an information product seems so impossible to do. I absolutely love this question and am working on an entire post to answer it.

The second question was from Debra, who teaches gardening. In summary, she’s wondering if she should focus on marketing just to her local region, where she can give hands-on coaching and where she knows exactly what works (in the local soil, with the local weather etc.) or if she should create a more generic information product with a more global appeal. She tells me exactly what’s going on in her market and lists the pros and cons of both options.

The third question was sent by Julius and it’s actually a whole list of questions, such as:

  • How can I make a #shanestyle video blog post (including lighting, equipment etc.)? – side note: you can find my guide to video creating here and my video tools here.
  • How do I set up an affiliate program? Should I use something hosted or self-hosted?
  • Do you make an estimate of how many customers you need to get, before starting a project? How do you figure out if it’s viable or not?
  • List segmentation: everyone talks about how this is an important part of email marketing, but how do you actually do it?

Out of a series of questions like this emerges a picture of where Julius is at in his business, what he’s planning to do and what obstacles he’s currently facing.

For most of these questions, answers are incoming, in the form of blog posts and/or videos (like this one).

What Makes a Valuable Question?

These kinds of questions allow me to provide a detailed, highly specific answer and these answers will not only help the people who asked the original question, but possibly also hundreds or even thousands of other visitors on this site.

To give you a contrasting example, here’s a question that’s difficult to provide a good answer to:

I’m new to this and I want to make at least $100 a day. How do I start?

Well, I’m not sure. I don’t know what you’re good at, what you’re currently working on, what you know or don’t know about online marketing…

Or how about this one:

I have a website about shoes and my biggest problem is that I need more traffic. How do I get more traffic?

Again, I can’t really give a good answer. Do you sell shoes on your site or just write about them? What traffic generation strategies have you tried? What does your budget look like?

There are two factors that make for a really good question:

  1. Ask a specific question about a specific problem.
  2. Provide some background information about you and your business.

And that’s exactly what I want you to do next.

Over to You

I want to help you in a big way and at the same time, create more content that will be useful to many readers. I invite you to leave a comment below with a question of your own. Please also write a few details about what your business model is and what you’re working on.

What I offer is simple: I will answer every question posted in the comments below. I will also pick some to spin out into entire posts or videos, but at the very least, I will give you a reply in the comments here, with the best advice I can give for your situation.

I’m looking forward to reading your comments!

Shane's Signature

P.S.: If you like what I’m doing here, spread the word by sharing this post! But ask your question first. :)

About the Author Shane Melaugh

I'm the founder of ActiveGrowth and Thrive Themes and over the last years, I've created and marketed a dozen different software, information and SaaS products. Apart from running my business, I spend most of my time reading, learning, developing skills and helping other people develop theirs. On ActiveGrowth, I want to help you become a better entrepreneur and product creator. Read more about my story here.

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  • Paula says:

    Hi Shane! First off, thanks for Q&A section.

    I do like your style and approach when you guide us (readers) on conversion. I’m really curious (dying to know) your point of view on SEO and social media.

    1. ‘Cause you seldom talk about SEO. Do you care about SEO when you build sales pages, blog posts and the likes?

    2. I might be wrong. Once, you said (one of the webinars – couldn’t recall which one) you don’t like to put effort getting traffic through social media. Why?

    Thanks again and looking forward!

    • Shane says:

      Hi Paula,

      Those are great questions and I’m considering doing a post on these. The short answer to both is the same: I started focusing on creating excellent products, building a relationship with customers, creating good content and getting affiliate promotions. It’s mostly a matter of priorities: for what I do, it’s a better investment of my time if I spend an hour creating a good piece of content for my readers or reaching out to potential affiliates than if I spend an hour on SEO or social media promotions.

      So, I’m not saying either of those are bad things, it’s just that I decided to put all my focus on a smaller set of tasks instead of constantly trying to do everything (which I think is something that often leads to overwhelm).

  • Imutopia says:

    Hi Shane, I own Imutopia which is an online community dedicated to online entrepreneurship. I sell info products and have generated over 6 figures this year doing it. However, I have been looking at my business and now that in order to get to 7 figures I need to do something different. I;m pretty good at launching products but the issue I have is that the launch generates 95% of the product’s revenue. I want to launch products on a bigger scale next year, but I also want to generate consistent sales with those products as well. What is your suggestions on how to generate consistent sales for an info product after the initial launch is done? Thanks.

    • Shane says:

      I love this question. Can you tell me more about how you’re currently getting traffic and promoting your products?

      Also, what’s the price range of your products and how many of them are single purchase or have some kind of recurring nature?

  • OK Guru Shane, I’m wrestling w/ a branding issue, and your input would no doubt be helpful.

    I’m in the process of recasting a blog about health matters ( into a website focused on age intervention. I have a comprehensive method that is informed by both my own experience and relevant science.

    Question: What do I brand — me or the method?

    Note 1: Although I’m nearly done w/ a Freemium (“12 Ageproof BioHacks”), have not productized the “method”. This would take several months. In the meantime, I intend to point readers to other products and services that I deem worthy.

    Note 2: I’m a pretty good example of what’s possible if a person does the method – lean, some muscle, look younger than I am, good biomarkers, so making me the brand is doable.


    Self branding — Lewis Howe brands himself, and the subliminal message is, “Hey, I’m so together that you should take my advice and buy my stuff”.

    Product branding —

    Blended brand —

    Thanks in advance for any insights you care to share.


    • Shane says:

      Hi Joe,

      I think the most important question you have to ask about this is: is it a brand/company you aim to sell in a few years? If yes, then the non-personal approach will make that easier. If no, then I believe having personal branding will make things easier for you. Even the “product branding” example you link to features this one guy who makes a personal appearance on video. I see this in almost all fitness products (although I also need to mention that I don’t have a wide knowledge of this market), so I’d say the market indicates that a personal brand helps with health and fitness related products.

      Another factor is your personality. Do you enjoy speaking to an audience? Are you comfortable on camera? Even if the answer is no, you can practice to get better at it, but it’s something to take into consideration.

      Final point: don’t listen to anything I said above and test it, instead. This is a great basis for a test and you can run it on your highest traffic page. Test a version of the page that has you, the person, as the main focus against a version that is more product focused. If you run a couple of tests like this and one of the two always wins (e.g. the personal one always wins), you can make a good guess that this approach will work better in general, for your whole site and marketing approach.

  • Sam says:

    Hi Shane,
    I’m looking to JV with complimentary services (like how a auto mechanic may JV with a glass service).

    I offer SMS marketing. I may align with eg printing companies, or web design, or SEO (any other suggestions?). Looking to give them an affiliate fee or referral fee if they pass customers open to SMS.

    1. What’s an appropriate fee percentage to give them?

    2. How can I make it (apart from the monetary side) so it’s absolute win-win for them?


    • Shane says:

      Hi Sam,

      I don’t quite understand the setup you have in mind, yet. What exactly would you be paying the companies for and what would you do afterwards?

  • Chad says:

    Well, I’m glad I made it to the list with my MVP question:)

    Just wanted to list a few more questions in case you’d be interested to address.

    1) Most people do not suggest creating info products on a topic where the target market is not even aware of. Their argument is “if you do that then you’ll need to sell them BOTH the idea first and then the product”. My question will probably apply more to international info marketers selling to international markets in their native language, but here is an example to make it more specific for you.

    For example, creating and selling info products online is a huge market in countries such as US, UK, etc. but not so much in other countries. Do you suggest releasing info products(e.g: teaching how to create and sell info products) where you’ll need to convince your market for this “never heard” opportunity/idea first and then market the product to them? People say no, but again iPhone was a totally new idea, people weren’t aware of smart phones. Isn’t this all about innovation and don’t you think it’d be great to be the first introducing a never heard opportunity to a market who’d be interested in your new idea(therefore your possible products related to that idea)? Doesn’t this apply to info products as well?

    Would you start a business or create a product for a market who isn’t even aware of the opportunity?(e.g: online business for entrepreneurs/experts who isn’t aware of the power of doing business online). Would you do it or would you wait until they actively start looking for online business ideas specifically?

    2)Do you suggest having a different members area for each product(for info product creators)? I honestly don’t understand why people do it that way and then put themselves into a hassle of managing 5-6 different sites for different products of theirs. Wouldn’t it be more productive to have one main members area(e.g: for all our info products and deliver them on there in the same members area? I think both Wishlist and DAP offer this flexibility, right? What’d be your suggestion? Why? And is that a technical or a strategical decision for you?

    3) Finally, I’d love to know why you stop following so called “gurus” and if you’d name a few whom you still follow:) The why part is more important to me, because I value your perspective and would love to know if there is anything I should be aware of. Do you think following “gurus” work against our progress?

    OK, enough of me:)

    Thanks Shane!

    • Shane says:

      Hi Chad,

      1) In general, I agree that it’s harder to sell something when there’s no awareness for it yet. But it can also represent a big opportunity, especially if you can see a big, active market in other countries. There’s a company in Germany that does nothing other than “clone” successful US startups for the German market and they are wildly successful.

      The example you give is about teaching people to create and sell information products. I don’t think this is really a case of there being no awareness in the market. Surely, wherever you intend to sell this, people are aware of self-employment, the internet and the general idea of being an entrepreneur and making money for yourself, right? Surely, they know that there are authors who make a living by selling books containing useful information? So, even if no one has talked about information products online to them yet, there’s only a tiny gap you need to close, to help them make sense of it all.

      2) This is something I’ll write a separate post about. There are pros and cons to each approach and even a summary would take up an awful lot of space, here. :)

      3) Another one that I think needs to be a separate post or video. Short answer: “guru” is a very widely used term, but the IM people it was most often used on were mostly just predatorial marketers. They pushed the limits of how much money you can charge and how little value you can offer in return and used a lot of questionable methods to sell their stuff. I can only make progress by looking up and learning from those who are my equals or superiors. The things the “gurus” do have very little in common with what I do, so there’s nothing I can learn from them.

  • Michael says:

    Hello Shane,
    My question is quite simple, I suspect.

    I’m in the throws of updating my site with your, ‘Performag’ theme.

    My question is, I want to be able to get people to sign up to my list by using different opt-ins.

    EG. Straight forward sign up to keep updated with the latest news, but I would also like to offer different incentives (freebies) to get people to sign up to my list.

    My question is: is it possible to have different opt-ins with aweber and if so, how is it done?


    • Shane says:

      Hello Michael,

      Thanks for your question!
      Yes, this is possible. In Aweber, you can create multiple lists as well as multiple signup forms (or web forms) for each list. If you want to use different opt-in forms and send subscribers to different thank you pages, but keep them all in the same list, create one list and multiple signup forms.

      If you want different opt-in forms and segment your subscribers depending on which one they opt in on, create different lists with one signup form each.

      In the theme, you can integrate the different forms from Aweber as Thrive Opt-Ins and then create Focus Areas and widgets that will display those opt-in forms in different places on your site. The simplest and most effective thing you can do is create a few different offers that are targeted to different topics on your site and then use Focus Areas to display them. Nothing increases conversions from a blog post like relevancy and that’s why we created the Focus Area targeting options.

      I hope this helps!

  • Jim Saporito says:

    Hi Shane,
    I’ve been developing websites since 1998. I have a whole bunch of offline clients. I maintain their WordPress sites, provide backup services and a few other things. I have no problems “creating stuff.” My problem is in finding a niche. For example, I don’t want to teach people how to code, how to setup WordPress sites, how to install a plugin, etc. The reason is, WordPress stuff is always changing and will always have to be updated.

    Same thing with creating courses, writing books, etc., around this topic. So, maybe I need to find a niche within the niche that’s more “evergreen?”

    On the other hand, I need to solve a real problem (like I did with my website development and maintenance business) that people are willing to pay for. That’s where I’m a little bit lost. I can’t see the forest for the trees…

    • Shane says:

      Hello Jim,

      This is less of an issue than you imagine it to be. Let me give you two scenarios:

      1) You create and sell the product yourself, as a solopreneur. Once a year, you update the parts of the product that need updating. This will take you a maximum of a few weeks per year and you can keep selling the product indefinitely. It’s quite possible that you’d end up with a small number of information products that bring in a 6-figure yearly income and you wouldn’t have to be spending more than a few weeks per year to keep each one up to date.
      Maybe you’d do a complete overhaul of the product after 4-5 years, investing a bit more to keep sales going.

      2) You scale up the business with impactful marketing and start building a team around your products. After a few years, you are no longer the person updating your products or managing your community, you’re the guy in charge of a team of people who do that for you. It will probably take more time to get there, but you can put yourself in a position where you can grow and expand the business at a fast pace, without having to do the leg-work yourself.

      This is basically how I look at information products: you work towards either creating a low-maintenance product that generates a good volume of sales or towards an information product empire.
      In either case, having to keep the material up to date will be the least of your problems. :)

      So, what should you aim for? Take a good look at the market, get in there and do some intense market research (read here about how I do this) and figure out where you really want to create your product. What’s the best opportunity? Where are you most passionate? Where is there a gaping hole in the market?
      This should inform what product you end up creating and you shouldn’t let concerns about updates get in the way.

      Worst case is that I end up being wrong and you pull a product from the market because you don’t want to update it anymore (in which case you’ve still made money up until that point).

  • Hi Shane,

    First off, I really appreciate all your informative videos and advice. I am one of your Thrive Themes monthly subscribers for a while now. Although, I haven’t had much time to install any of the themes yet. My web designer is busy updating three of our marketing sites, which I need finished before the New Year.

    Which brings me to my question. I need to change the look of my two blogs, and I want to try my best to make them look somewhat similar to Could you suggest which one of your themes should I use? I am not a coder, but I have intermediate knowledge of WordPress. Your help would be appreciated.

    Thank you

    • Shane says:

      Hello Ed,

      Alright, here’s what I see when I look at your “target” website: boxed style, white and light grey, dark header and footer areas, blue highlights, small thumbnail images on the index page, floating navigation, floating social shares, related posts at the bottom.

      The closest you can get to that with our themes is by using FocusBlog and customizing the header area to be dark and float on scrolling, activating the social sharing buttons, using the blue color scheme, activating the related posts feature with thumbnails, setting the blog view to use thumbnail featured images and customizing the heading fonts to be smaller and less bold. All of this can be done without touching any code. It will take you a few minutes if you’re familiar with our themes and maybe 30 minutes if you’re new to them.

      As you maybe notice, I’m looking at the theme in in terms of broad strokes, design wise and in terms of functionality. Your site won’t end up looking exactly like the target example, but in every way that matters, it will function very similarly. Don’t waste too much time on small tweaks.

  • Sam says:

    Hi Shane,
    (I hit reply to your comment but it just scrolls me to top of screen)

    To answer your comment: “I don’t quite understand the setup you have in mind, yet. What exactly would you be paying the companies for and what would you do afterwards?”

    I will be paying companies for passing me over customers/clients if they come on board and use my services.

    So for example, there may be a web design company. A restaurant client goes to them and so the web company has made them a website. That company may then ask eg do you believe SMS may help you bring in more revenue on demand at the click of a button?

    If yes, the web design company would pass the client to me. And I’d give the web design company a referral/affiliate fee.

    So it’s leveraging and trying to form win-wins with other companies.

    Hope that makes sense.


    • Shane says:

      Sorry about the technical issue. We’ll get that fixed.

      Thank you for clarifying your question!

      A couple of thoughts about this: the best way you can make this a win for everyone is by getting high conversions and high retention (I’m assuming this is a recurring subscription product). How and how much you want to pay out is still up to you, but even if you pay a large, upfront commission and no recurring fee, higher conversions and higher retention will allow you to pay more.

      Also, if you have proof that you get high conversions and your customers are happy and stay with you, the offer becomes more attractive to partners, so that’s what I’d aim for.

      The end customer is going to be a local business, so there’s a certain “tech-hurdle” there. Don’t assume that these local business owners can recognize the value in your product without significant hand-holding. Two things you can do to address this:

      1) Make niche-specific offers. E.g. create a landing page that sells your service as “SMS follow-up for restaurants” one for “SMS follow-up for beauty salons” etc. Start with the highest priority niches (the ones you have most access to and/or have the largest target audience). If I’m a restaurant owner and I see an offer for SMS marketing, my first thought is “I don’t need that”. If I see an offer specifically for restaurants, my first thought is “this is clearly made for me” and so at least you’ll have my attention for a few minutes.

      2) Offer a concierge service, so that new customers aren’t just handed a tool and a manual and then left to their own devices. Offer a complete done-for-you setup of the whole thing for new clients. This can be at a premium, of course. But it’s definitely something I would test in a market like this.

  • Neil says:

    Hi Shane

    A few days back, I checked with your support staff if a whitelabel license was available for thrive products, and the answer was no.

    I wish to know if offering whitelabel is not in the interest of growing your business.

    Personally, I feel that since you are offering a developers license, you could go ahead and offer a whitelabel license as well. The market is so huge that I think it wont really affect your business… and at the same time capture those who wish to project it under their own brand – Afterall, you are in control of all the licenses and of course the buyers will still depend on you for all the development and updates – so business continuity from these licenses is ensured for you. Of course, you also get to charge much more than a developers license.

    I am keenly looking for one, and hopefully, with so many new inline editing wp plugins being developed, should be able to get one – but would have been happier getting one from you.

    • Shane says:

      Hello Neil,

      For a small, growing company like Thrive Themes, offering a whitelabel license isn’t in our best interest. It means more people will use our products (and inevitably love them), but they won’t know who we are and won’t enter into our sales funnel or community.

      The second factor is one of priorities. For a whitelabel solution, we’d have to set up a new branch for each of our products, set up a new membership level, new sales pages, offers etc. This will cost us a lot of time and in my estimation, it’s not where our time is best spent, at the moment.

      If you suspect that all of this is just a question of money, you’re essentially right: we can roll all this extra cost, time and opportunity cost into the price we charge for a whitelabel license. We’d also have to consider the potential size of the market (i.e. how many whitelabel licensees are we likely to get?) and look at the income we can generate from this versus the income we already generate from regular sales. End result: the pricing of such a license would be rather shocking and you could probably develop a solution of your own at a similar or even lower cost.

  • Maricarmen says:

    Hi Shane, what an awesome way to ask for subscriber’s feedback! I keep loving what you do and they way you do business and marketing, BRAVO!

    Here’s my question. I’m a nutrition coach. I help people (Hispanics from around the world) lose weight by teaching them how to eat healthier and implemente healthy lifestyle habits, all through my online coaching courses and programs.

    Over the last 4 years I’v passed from having a blog in Blogger to a more professional looking blog and several products (3 short email courses, one 5-month email + membership site with private forums DIY program, and one core 3-month email + membership site with private forum + live group coaching program). These products range from $7 (4-week email course) to $295 (live group coaching – only available twice a year). I’m convinced I could sell my products for at least double the money if I were marketing to an English-speaking audience, but these seem to be right prices for Hispanics (think Spain and Latin America).

    My blog’s subscribers list is around 7K. I’m not currently getting many organic visits to my blog (it’s like that since I moved away from Blogger, haven’t been able to reciver all that traffic), but I consistently get anyhting from 5 to 30 subscribers a day (and sometimes 200 to 300 if I get lucky with some guest post).

    I’m not currently paying for traffic, so my only way to reach new prospects is through social media, guest blogging, or JVs (only when launching a new product or special offer) – none of which is a real hit (I’m probably missing consistency there).

    It seems that by my number of subscribers, products, and time in the market I should be crushing it (or that’s what I’ve read). But instead I’m barely metting $1k per month ($2k in very good months). So I’m doing something wrong, but I obviously don’t know what.

    There’s A LOT of places I think I can make improvements, but I find myself with so many things to think of I paralize just by trying to decide where to start: should I start getting paid traffic? (doesn’t seem like a good idea if my conversions are not optimized). Should I optimize conversions in product sales? (seems logical, but which product first and how? landing page? AR sequence? salespage?). Should I improve my email AR sequences? (I have so many lists that I don’t know which one to start with). And so on.

    I feel like I’ve built a monster who is performing in a ‘Meh’ way and I have no idea what to do to make it rock the place. I’m clear on the business model I want to follow (a blog where I share general things, to showcase what I stand for and the way I help people, plus specific low price products leading to high priced grup coaching).

    So after the looong letter (sorry about that), I guess my question is: where should a person in my place focus on FIRST in order to make their business really profitable and scalable?

    • Shane says:

      Hello Maricarmen,

      Thank you for your question! I love this one, because it’s full of detail and full of potential. :)

      I will create a separate post with a detailed answer, but here are a few quick points:

      1) Your website is extremely slow. It’s so slow, you might be losing more than half of your visitors because of it. So, speed optimization alone has the potential of doubling your business. Here’s a post about how to speed up your site.

      2) The speed issue is also undoubtedly impacting your organic traffic. Here’s a case study where one of our customers got an almost immediate traffic boost from speeding up his site.

      3) For your lead generation, you give a range of 5-300 new leads per day. I know there’s a lot of variation, but it would be much easier for me to work with an average number. Can you tell me the average per month for the last 6 months and the 6 months before that?

      4) Have you done any price testing? As in: an A/B test with two different price points and statistically accurate results showing which one leads to more revenue?

      5) What does your traffic volume look like? Maybe we could work together on a case study, based on your site.

      • Maricarmen says:

        Hi Shane, I didn’t get notification of this reply and I just found about it today. What a pleasant surprise! Thank you so much for answering my question and I’ll be extremely happy to be featured in a blog post or (even better!) as a case study!! I’m honoured to say the least, thank you! :)

        No won to your comments…

        I’m fully aware of the speed issue, and also that the design is not helping converisons (especially on the home page). Actually that’s the main reason why I jumped on your offer to TCB customers to join Thrive Themes, and I’m revamping the website with one of those and a completely different home page design (inspired from templates given by Marisa Murgatroyd). So that’s definitely on the list, but I’m still polishing details about the messaging (specific words to use, USP, etc.). This, of course, takes me longer than I’d like because there’s always something urgent to do (like sell some product!).

        As for lead generation, the 300 subscribers per day is a very rare thing, so it’s normally from 5 to 30 daily. As an average per month, I’ve got 640 subscribers per month in the last four to five months, and 280 subscribers per month in the first semester of 2014 (I’m not counting subscribers I’ve got from recent launches – e.g. from affiliate traffic). Factor in unsubscribers and I’ve go a 12 month average of 125 monthly ACTIVE subscribers.

        I’ve NEVER done price A/B testing. To be honest, I’m pretty much scared of testing (I find it technically difficult) so I never have ‘enough time’ for that. I’ve consistently increased my prices over the last couple of years, but I’ve never A/B tested any product’s price in one run.

        And about blog traffic, I’ve got aroun 10k unique visits per month, of which 1.5k is from Google (the rest comes from social media promotion or referrals).

        Thank you for asking these questions, I had never truly given a look at all this data!

        I’m eager to know what you think and, as I said, I’m all on board for a case study with Thrive Themes!

      • Shane says:

        Thanks for your reply! I’ve sent you an email with some further details.

  • Thor says:

    Hi Shane,

    I’m thinking about giving away a short eBook for free. Mainly to establish myself in the industry. And I want these people to sign up for myl mailing list to get access to the free eBook.

    How easy would you make it for these people to download this free eBook? I’m thinking to use a CTA button on the landing page that triggers a sign up embedded in Lightbox, then they’re taken to the thank you page where they are asked to confirm their e-mail. Only then they are taken to the actual download page. Are these too many steps?

    I know I’m giving the eBook for free, but they should be able to do a bit in return right? I read everywhere about “training” your leads, that they should do some small things, then bigger, so that eventually selling them a smaller and then bigger product is not such sudden big commitment.I’m probably overthinking this, but that’s where I’m at :)

    I would love to here your take on this :) Thanks!

    • Shane says:

      Hello Thor,

      Short answer: yes.

      Longer answer: take a look at this video (you can ignore the Thrive Themes specific stuff, the important thing is the process). What you are writing is exactly correct: it makes sense to ask new subscribers to confirm their email address because that’s like a practice run for what you want them to do with future emails you send.

      It’s also absolutely not too much to ask them to do this. The problem with the process is usually not that there are too many steps, but that it’s just done in a bad way. Make sure that when new visitors sign up, the process from signup to receiving their free product is a smooth and pleasant as possible. Give very clear instructions about what you want them to do, don’t add in more steps than necessary (e.g. going back to the inbox again after confirming) and make the pages nice and easy to understand.

      Confirmed opt-in is also a good thing because you get higher quality leads (people can’t just enter someone else’s address or a made-up address to get the freebie).

  • Giovanni says:

    Hi Shane, sorry for my poor english…
    I bought focus & action and I want now to improve my skill of copywriting for one month ( the grind)…
    but there is a problem:
    there are too many formulas (over 27…AIDA, PPPP, PAS, FAB, SSS…) for write a sales letter and too many authors and styles.

    I do not know where to start,
    for example, I really like the style of Neville Medhora but also the style of Sean D’Souza, and are completely different.

    Then there are the experts of conversion rate as Peep Laja or Michael Aagaard and their advice are very different from the advice of people classic copywriter like John Carlton or Dan Kennedy or Micheal Fortin (for example, Carlton writes very long headline and words full of exaltation)

    My ultimate goal is to be able to write a decent sales letter, but I don’t start because I don’t know what works seriously on the web pages…

    • Shane says:

      Hello Giovanni,

      There’s one basic truth you can derive from everything you already told me: there are many different ways to write copy that sells. There are many different approaches that work.

      So, the first thing you have to do is stop thinking that there’s a “right” way and that you somehow have to find the perfect system before you write the first word.

      Do you know how many copywriting systems and methods I knew about when I created my first sales page? Zero.

      I updated my first product many times but I only updated the sales page once. It was still good enough to bring in a good living income for two years.

      Alternatively, I could have spent those two years trying to figure out which copywriting method is “the best”.

      Okay, so you see where I’m getting at with this.

      Here’s what I would do, in your shoes (and I also have to say: it’s awesome that you’re setting yourself the task of grinding copywriting for a specific period of time): the first thing you need to do on the first day and in the first minute of your 30 day challenge is… write copy. Forget systems and methods and gurus. Just start writing some copy for some product. If you don’t have a product of your own, go to amazon and pick a random product that shows up on the homepage and start writing copy for that. Set yourself a minimum number of hours you’ll spend writing each day.

      You say there are two styles you like and that are very different? Great! Two styles is all you need for 30 days. Spend some days writing in the first style and then some days writing in the second style. You’ll learn a lot from exploring two very different styles (but don’t mix in anything else for the time being or it becomes chaotic).

      The most important point is to just start, though.

  • Hi Shane,

    Many thanks for offering to answer questions. I have the utmost respect for what you are doing online.

    I run the website where I sell a course on how to learn piano. I started it a couple years ago and it is starting to ramp up in success. People just pay me with Paypal and then get access to the course.

    My question is, at what point to I file to create an actual business. And what type of business should I create (LLC, etc)?


    • Shane says:

      Hello Jacques,

      I have to start by stating that I’m not a lawyer and I’m not an accountant and you shouldn’t listen to anything I say etc. etc.

      The decision about when to create an actual business is usually made for you by the laws of the country you are living in. There’s usually some kind of threshold where as soon as you earn more than that, you have to register a business. But you have to check with your local laws about this.

      When you create a business, you should create one that removes liability. As an example, in Switzerland there’s a very simple form of a personal business you can create, but it doesn’t remove as much liability as an LLC type business which means that if the business goes under, it can have a greater impact on your personal finances as well.

      Finally, if you are a solo-preneur and all your sales are made online, consider the option of incorporating in an offshore district. I founded my company in Switzerland simply because I’m from Switzerland and that seemed like the only option. In hindsight, I can say there are no real advantages to having the company incorporated in Switzerland, but it has cost me a lot of money that I could have saved by choosing my location of incorporation more wisely. With a purely virtual business, you have much more choice in where you want to incorporate than if you have local offices, employees etc.

  • Eric Ruth says:

    Shane, thanks for the opportunity to ask you a question. Here’s mine.

    Currently my simple funnel goes like this:
    1. Lead magnet offer for opt-in
    2. Thank you page reminding them to confirm (double opt-in)
    3. Confirmation link takes them to LM download page with VSL offering $7 product
    4. Purchasers of $7 product get up-sell to $47 continuity

    I plan to split-test step #2 by showing VSL for $7 product on Thank You page prior to the double opt-in confirmation. I’m curious if you’ve tested these two options and if so, what did you discover?

    Thanks very much,

    • Shane says:

      Hi Eric,

      This is something I haven’t tested, no. I don’t want to discourage you from testing, but my thoughts are that interrupting the opt-in process with an offer is probably not going to improve results for you. On the one hand, people are still trying to get access to what they signed up for so they’re less likely to pay attention to a sales message and on the other hand, the offer is distracting and will probably lead to lower confirmation rates.
      But as always: don’t listen to me, test it and see what happens. :)

      If the issue is that you’re getting a lot of unconfirmed opt-ins, remember that there’s a lot of optimization that can be done there, as well. Check out Ramit Sethi’s confirmation page for one of the funniest (and no doubt most effective) examples I know.

  • Jim Saporito says:

    Thank you, Shane. It really helps to have another person’s perspective who understands the big picture. I’m going to start my research today and give myself a deadline (December 7th) to have my basic research complete. Afterwards, I will start building and be set to launch very early in the new year (before February).

    • Shane says:

      Sounds good, Jim! Deadlines are always a good idea.

  • Martin says:

    Hi Shane,

    Firstly, a big THANK YOU for what your doing, and the way you’re doing it.

    I’m currently doing a complete makeover of my site using Thrive Content Builder – what an awesome tool it is for folk like me, who have little or no programming ability.

    My question is more about the backend (admin) of the site than the front end. It can be extremely slow moving from page to page or post to post via the dashboard, which gets very frustrating. So much so that I would be happy to pay someone to fix it, so my questions are:

    1. Is what I’m experiencing common? In your video tutorials everything seems instantaneous, but maybe you edit out the pauses.

    2. Does your company provide such a service?

    3. If not, do you know of one that does and/or do you have any hints you could offer me as to the most likely cause, such as poor plugins, number of pages, posts, media files, … ?

    Thanks Shane

    • Shane says:

      Hi Martin,

      Thanks for your comment!

      In my videos, I edit out pauses to make them snappier. No point in having my viewers watch a page load while nothing else happens. :)

      The dashboard of WordPress is indeed not the fastest environment to work with and I know your frustration. Apart from setting up with a faster hosting service, I don’t know how much more optimization can be done. Unless your experiencing extreme slowness (10+ seconds for every page load), I think you are just experiencing the norm.

  • Martin says:

    Thanks Shane,

    Not sure whether that’s good news or bad news :), but reassuring to know that I’m not alone.


  • Cristina says:

    Hi Shane. This may be too vague of a question, but I’m looking for step-by-step, A-Z instructions (preferably print/PDF) on how to set up a new client on WordPress with Thrive Themes/Content Builder (keeping techno dolts and newbies in mind!). I realize this may be a tall order… Just throwing it out there!

    • Shane says:

      Hello Cristina,

      I don’t know if we can provide this, but we’d definitely need more details about it. What the exact requirements are, who the training is for etc. would be good to know. Can you tell me where you or your clients typically get stuck or struggle the most in the process?

  • Scott Rogers says:

    Shane, With so many places to place content (my blog, FB, G+, YouTube vids), I am often confused which is the BEST original place to PUT my content – and then to syndicate out or have my clients Share out. Where should the tip of the arrow be?

    My situation is I take quality photos of each WINE GIFT BOX that I make for clients, and I want to direct THEM to the post, and have them like, share, tweet, etc. – So if you visualize an upside down funnel, WHERE should the Photo/image POST be made?

    I am hoping people want to “brag” on the gift they went to the trouble of ordering (unique, personalized, etc) and click share to start the viral effect (hopefully). The posting date would be scheduled as NOT to ruin a surprise gift.

    Or should I post on EVERY property I have, and email the client the several URLs to “check out” and share. I am trying to do a mini-show-and-tell.

    Shotgun or Arrow? ~or~ all of the above!

    • Shane says:

      Hello Scott,

      I don’t feel entirely qualified to answer this question, because it’s not my area of expertise.

      Since we’re talking about photos in this particular case, I’d say Facebook and Pinterest make the most sense. Twitter isn’t very image centric and while Instagram is for images, my impression is that it’s not for that kind of image.

      I think what I’d do is post to Pinterest and Facebook and invite the customer to share and comment on whichever of the two they prefer. But I’d also broadcast to my own following on all the other channels. The way I see it, posting about your latest thing (whether that’s a wine box, a blog post or something else) on one social network doesn’t detract in any way from the results you get posting it to other networks. It’s about meeting people where they’re already hanging out.

  • Dennis says:

    A question regarding Thrive Content Builder … Is there a built-in way to delay the publishing of a page or post update of an already existing page or post? This would be helpful for pricing changes if there was a “sale” that started or ended at a particular time, etc.. If not, what plug-in would you recommend that would work well with TCB?

    Also, is there a recommended “best” bare bones, basic WP theme that works efficiently with TCB when doing a ‘start from scratch’ new web site design? I’ve tried TCB with a couple of premium themes and have run into some compatibility issues.

    • Shane says:

      Hi Dennis,

      We don’t have a feature like that yet. I also don’t know of a product I can recommend. I created Offer Countdown with a friend, years ago. It does what you have in mind, but it’s not made specifically for WordPress. I also don’t know if it’s still being maintained and updated.

      As for a theme, I’m too biased to make a recommendation. As you can imagine, our own Thrive Themes are built to suit my needs very well and I honestly don’t want to work with any non-Thrive theme anymore.

  • Tom says:

    Hi Shane,

    I’ve been following you since and became a customer of SECockpit as I had – and still have- a very good feeling trusting you personally. So I am more looking on people in first place and in second step on their business & products. That was the reason to follow you and also bought thrivetheme which I guess is the best structured & fastes page builder available.

    Nevertheless I bought the Optimizepress 2 license before and still use this – But this week they provided an update (which I didn’t install immediately) which leads to the situation, that all (people) pictures form social proof statements on my landingpage didn’t show up any longer! So a new version not yet installed had impact on my dedicated hosted site!

    Question: Can this also happen with thrivetheme?
    I assumed that with a theme installed on my own domain all content and representation should keep integer. After installing OP2 newest update everything is ok again – but it seems that it uses resources on the OP server for presentation layer ?! (which I guess also slows down the site if so)


    • Shane says:

      I don’t know any details about the OP2 problem you describe, but I can tell you that with Thrive Themes, everything is hosted on your own servers. Your site and content aren’t dependent on our servers in any way, so that’s definitely not something you have to worry about with our themes.

  • Shane,

    First Thanks for all the continued great information! I have a question on Blog Commenting and wanted to get your thoughts. I am curious on your thoughts about using built in WordPress Comments, vs 3rd party systems like Disqus or other plugin like CommentLuv. I see on your blogs you are using standard comments?

    I’ve heard arguments for both, but no one has really been able to give me a great answer on why one vs the other and what is best for engagement.

    Appreciate your thoughts.


    • Shane says:

      Hello Stephen,

      I’m working on a post comparing some of these comment solutions, so I hope I can provide a detailed answer soon. :)

      • Stephen Gardner says:

        Looking forward to it. Thanks.

  • Shane,

    I have just purchased and begun using Thrive Builder, and the Focus Blog Theme! So far things are going very well, and love how clean and straight forward things are working together.

    I am curious on one of your products, Hybrid connect. There seems to be some overlapping features with the theme/builder, but seems like there is more there as well. Do you use these products in conjunction or is that overkill? I am just getting started with Infusionsoft and wasn’t sure. I am happy to buy the plugin just didn’t want to add something I had already.

    Thanks in advance for your feedback.

    • Shane says:

      Hybrid Connect can be used alongside our Thrive Themes features. However, we are also working on a new product that will completely replace and improve upon Hybrid Connect and make it obsolete.

      • Chad says:

        Shane, can you elaborate on this(HC becoming obsolete) a bit pls? I’m a HC customer and now curious about whether you are taking the product out of market or not. OP2 did the same thing, now InstaBuilder is doing it too. Products are calling themselves version2 but they are releasing a totally different product and sadly they stop supporting version1’s. Will this be the case for HC as well or did I miss something?

        Also, since we get techie, I’d like to ask you a question and will appreciate if you can answer. You might be biased with this but still I believe you’ll be open with it.

        I believe Thrive Themes focus on speed and conversion. When it comes to speed and page load time, etc. what would be the performance difference between Thrive Themes and lets say the best seller theme Avada in Themeforest? Is there a major difference in speed?

      • Shane says:

        Hybrid Connect will continue working and continue being supported, of course. I can’t say more than that, yet.

        As for the speed question, here’s a quick comparison I made between one o our themes and Avada (tested in GTmetrix):


        This isn’t a thorough comparison or anything. I just loaded the two themes on my demo site and tested one of the pages. The demo site is quite bloated, because I test all sorts of things there, but that should affect both things equally. There’s also absolutely no speed optimization done on this site (no caching etc.) and it runs on a cheap, shared hosting server. As you can see, Avada actually has a better page speed score. That means that in the Thrive Theme, there’s more room for improvement, even though it’s already significantly faster.

      • Chad says:

        Thanks for the honest comparison Shane. Frankly, even though I purchased multiple products from you before, I am a bit hesitant to get Thrive Themes and the only reason is its room for improvement when it comes to flexibility and design. I know these type of feedback is important for you so I’m just sharing it with you openly. I was one of the people filled out the survey before you released the product, but I guess people on your list chosen simplicity and conversion over flexibility and design.

        Regarding to HC;
        It’s both exciting and frustrating:) Exciting because obviously a better product is coming. Frustrating because I’m building my website using HC all over and all those pages/posts which uses HC might need to be redesigned again(in case you come up with a more advanced and totally different version like OP2 or Instabuilder did). Minimizing number of plugins used on a blog is not an easy task:)

        Thanks for your comment.

      • Shane says:

        I see what you mean about Hybrid Connect. The fact that we’re replacing it with a different product isn’t a marketing move. We’re doing it for technical reasons, as the original plugin simply can’t be extended to do the things we want the new plugin to do. I promise it will be worth the switch, though.

  • Michael says:

    Hello Shane,
    I would like your views on: ‘noindex & nofollow’

    I have read lot’s of information on the topic but I’m
    always left confused.


    • Shane says:

      Hello Michael,

      Here’s how I use noindex/nofollow: any page that isn’t an important content page on your site or that shouldn’t be found via search engines, I apply noindex/nofollow to.

      For example: transactional pages like email confirmation pages or dynamically generated content like invoice pages don’t need to be indexed.

      Sales pages, blog posts and other content pages on the other hand, should be indexed.

      Someone who’s more into the SEO stuff will probably give a more refined answer than this, but this is the simple principle I stick to.

  • Michael says:

    Hello Shane,
    I think my question should be fairly straight forward.
    I am transferring most of my sites to Thrive Themes and
    would like to know your recommendation for e-commerce. Woo e-commerce plugin etc)

    • Shane says:

      Hello Michael,

      Unfortunately, I don’t have any hands-on experience with ecommerce plugins, so I’m not in a position to make any recommendations.
      What I can say is that for Thrive Themes, we’re working on WooCommerce compatibility because that’s what’s most demanded.

  • Emil says:

    Hi Shane,
    How do you think it’s better to set up the links for the posts? or There are some respectable people who say that the latter option is better for SEO (more liked by Google). On the other hand, there are a lot of good internet marketer whi go for the first option. What’s your take on this and why?
    Thank you.

    • Shane says:

      Hi Emil,

      Thanks for your comment! Unfortunately, I can’t give you a good answer, at least not one concerning SEO. I basically don’t do SEO anymore and so I don’t know much about it anymore either. What I can say is that for my own websites, I make all the decisions with humans in mind and I don’t care about bots. So I create URLs that are human friendly, easy to read and easy to understand. For something like a blog or a smaller site, that means keeping it short. For something like an ecommerce store with hundreds or thousands of products, I’d use a tree structure for the URLs as well, because I believe that would help my visitors too.

      • Emil says:

        Hi Shane,
        Thank you for your answer and for all your great information you take the time and energy to share with us.
        All the best,

    • Stephen Gardner says:

      Just my two cents, from an SEO perspective, if you are using a silo methodology (see then its better to use category/subcategory, but there are other requirements needed to gain the benefit of the longer URLs. Most of the time, its not worth the bother, unless you have A LOT out of content and as Shane said, short for the user.

      • Emil says:

        Thank you Stephen for this hint. I took a look on the link you’ve shared and it’s interesting. I have to determine now if it worths the effort for my kind of website.
        Best regards,

  • Emil says:

    Hi Shane,

    I am going to buy your Video Marketing Blueprints course this month or the next month. However, these days the guys at AppSumo offer Camtasia Studio for PC at half of its price, only for three days. I am inclined to buy it, but before that I wanted to ask you if this software will help me apply what I will be learning in the Video Marketing Blueprints. Do I need this kind of software? Do you recommend using Camtasia Studio in your course, or do you prefer other similar tool?
    Thank you.

    • Shane says:

      Hi Emil,

      Sorry that I wasn’t able to answer this in time. I personally use Camtasia Studio as well and I can definitely recommend it.

      • Emil says:

        Hi Shane,
        Thak you for your answer. Bought Camtasia Studio, Video Blueprint is the next on my list.
        Thanks again.

  • Thor says:

    Hi Shane,

    I have a eBook that I’m selling on Amazon. No landing page on my website at the moment. I’m marketing it via Facebook Ads, and I’m interacting with readers on Facebook. But this way I’ve got no way of telling who bought the eBook (at least no e-mails), or a chance to re-target them. Even with a landing page, I would not know who clicks through to Amazon and buys it.. How would you set up the marketing funnel for a eBook if you were to sell it only on Amazon, so you have a more or less good picture of who your buyers are, and to have the option to re-target the ones that did not buy at first glance? I find it kind of tricky, and I would love your input and expertise!

    Thank you.

    • Shane says:

      Hi Thor,

      I’ve never sold something on Amazon, so I can’t be of much help. I don’t know if Amazon offers any kind of tracking, although one would hope they do.

      For retargeting, you could set it up so that you have a custom audience for people who come to your own landing page and for people who click from your landing page through to the amazon page. But without some integration with Amazon (which may or may not be possible) you won’t be able to have a custom audience of buyers only.

  • Scott Rogers says:

    Do you have any training on how to implement a SILOED website with Thrive Themes.

    • Shane says:

      Hi Scott,

      I have to start this reply with my usual disclaimer about no longer being an SEO expert: I’m no longer an SEO expert. :)

      Having said that, if you want a silo structure on your site, all you need to do is make use of categories in WordPress. Ideally, you should also have breadcrumbs (and if you’re using a Thrive Theme, that’s taken care of, including the correct markup for those breadcrumbs). This will automatically create a silo structure, since every category has a category archive page that lists all the posts belonging to it. For a good silo setup, you should ensure that the categories are clearly defined and that each post is assigned to only one category.

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