Masako Houghton’s Story: Running, Submarines And Internet Marketing

Masako is one very interesting lady with diverse interests and experience…

She has made some great progress with her internet marketing, and hopefully I can guide her to achieve the success she deserves.

First, let Masako tell you her story…

Masako Houghton’s Story

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Masako Houghton

Masako Houghton

My name is Masako Houghton and I live in Vancouver, Canada.

I am currently unemployed. My previous job was a Head Cross Country Running Coach at the University in Hawaii.

I like to train for 5km running races, work out in the gym, cook, drink wine, learn about web site design & internet business, research things on the internet, and create something by sewing.

I learned about internet marketing from the Niche Profit Classroom and Chris Farrell.

I am subscribed to Chris Farrell’s membership at about $35 per month, and have been subscribed for 6 months or so.

I am also subscribed to NPC (Niche Profit Classroom) by Adam Short at $67 per month, and I’ve been subscribed for 8 month or so.

My websites are:

www.vibramreviews.org – this is a niche site for the review of vibram fivefinger shoes & other related shoes. It has Google Adsense on it. I have only done some back linking on web directory’s for traffic. I had 64 visitors last month. I think this product is a good niche, and I want to work on this website a little bit more. But, I lost my motivation after Ezine article’s rejected my article submission.

www.learn2playviolineasy.com – this is an affiliate niche site made with one of the Niche Packs provided by NPC. I have installed a Clickbank ad banner. The only traffic strategy I have implemented is some back linking on website directory’s. I had 21 visitors last month. I would like to see this website make some money.

www.worldklassrunners.com – this is a running blog I created for my hobby and is the newest of all sites (about 3 months old). It contains Google Adsense & Amazon ads. I haven’t applied any traffic strategies to this site, but I am getting more visitors by organic search than the other two niche sites. I had 145 visitors last month. I would like this site to be my main money maker, because I am passionate about running and it is easy for me to keep writing articles. I would eventually like to write & sell my own e-book, and I’m also thinking of podcasting. I can interview successful runners.

My goal is to make $2,000 per month within the next 12 months.

I was born and raised in Japan, and moved to the U.S. in 1995. I’ve lived in the U.S. almost 18 years, and moved to Canada about 6 months ago, due to my husband’s job.

Running is a big part of my life. My running taught me to be dedicated & motivated to achieve my goals.I have completed 10 Marathons and I was recruited to be a college Cross Country runner at the age of 35 on a full scholarship. I then became a Head Coach for NCAA DII university.

I was also a Submarine Pilot in Hawaii (yes, it was a real submarine, but for tourists) .
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My Comments To Masako

Masako, I’m not sure if you have listened to this interview, but the path you are on with niche sites is the same path I was on many years ago.

Many years ago, it was possible to have, manage and maintain 10 or more blogs that made about $500 each per month. This strategy usually relied heavily on rankings in the search engines, to bring traffic to your site.

The problem is, if you have 1,000 pages (spread across the different niches) with great search engine rankings today, tomorrow you could have none. Reliance on search engine rankings, as a standalone traffic strategy, is very risky.

To build a successful internet marketing business you need many dependable and reliable traffic channels.

It takes effort and dedication to build different traffic channels. But it is necessary, so that if one channel changes or disappears, you have many others to fall back on.

However, traffic is only one part of the equation and conversion is the next critical component. This also takes effort and dedication to test and tweak different components, to ensure you have the best possible converting website.

Because of the effort and dedication required for traffic and conversion, it is very hard to effectively run, manage and maintain a website in more than one niche.

You may have been told, by the training you have completed, to build many niche sites, build backlinks to each of them, submit articles for each of them, and your web pages will rank well…

I can tell you from first hand experience that you may get many pages to rank in the search engines, but one Google algorithm change could put an end to that overnight.

I have over 45 websites which were painstakingly built over 12 months. Some have ebooks, some have sales pages, some have backlinks, some have had numerous articles submitted to directories and some used to make up to $50 a day. The penguin and panda Google updates ended the income overnight.

However, if someone took any one of those websites and focused on the traffic and conversion of just that one niche, they would probably have a winner within 3 months. I just don’t have the time, and I won’t outsource the work, because then I have to manage people again.

I suggest your running blog is where you focus and make that an authority blog. There is so much you can do and you have all the credibility to provide up and coming runners with good quality advice.

I look forward to your comments.

Have Fun,
Ian

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  • Masako Houghton

    Hi Ian,

    Thank you for your introduction and comment about my story. Yes, Yaro’s interview is where I found you and immediately recognized the fact that you took the same path (Niche Profit Classroom)I took. That is why I could relate myself to you and also I was very inspired by your success story and it gave me a hope! Your humble, honest way of answering the questions during the interview set you a part from the other online business coaches and gave me an impression that you are someone who really care about helping people. I am very excited about receiving more guidance from you!

    • Ian McConnell

      Hi Masako,

      Thanks, but I noticed that there is something wrong with http://worldklassrunners.com/

      Cheers
      Ian

      • Masako Houghton

        Hi Coach Ian,

        Thank you so much for pointing out the problem of my site. It was loading normally on my PC so I did not realize if you did not let me know.(Sure enough, my site looked strange on my ipad and iphone.) W3 Total Cache Plugin I just installed was causing the problem. Now it looks normal.

        • Ian McConnell

          Hi Masako,

          Your website looks great now, except some images are not loading, like the first post on treadmill running (viewed from the home page).

          I’ve removed the W3 Total Cache Plugin from my website because it was making the site load very slowing, which defeats the purpose.

          I am also noticing that many free WP plugins don’t work well together. So I am reducing my plugins to the absolute essential ones. I’n the future I’ll create a post about essential plugins.

          Have Fun,
          Ian

  • Cambell Baxter

    Hi Masako 🙂

    I think it is really important to try and find something you are passionate about. Being viable is one thing but passion is what sets one endeavour apart from another. I say the running website should be your main focus, especially since it seems to do so well with very little effort.

    I wish you all the best!

    • Ian McConnell

      I agree that viability must be considered in the planning stage, but it’s the passion of the subject (or the process) that will keep you going in the tough times.

      I had no passion for model trains, but I was passionate about the membership site process and helping the affiliates succeed.

      Have Fun,
      Ian

  • Masako Houghton

    Hi Cambell,

    Thank you so much for your insightful comment. I agree with you 🙂

  • Owen

    Great story and great advice from you,Ian. I agree. It’s better if Masako concentrates entirely on the running website and build it into an authority site.
    I have 2 websites and sometimes,I struggle.
    I’m a member of Chris Farrel myself and in his training he says to build one site first into an authority site and he is big on building the e-mail list with squeeze pages.
    Anyway, great read.

    • Masako Houghton

      Thanks for your comment Owen. Your site looks great.
      I am no longer a member at Chris Farrel but I signed up for his site when I knew “absolutely nothing about Internet marketing”. So it did nothing but further confused me into becoming an “Information Over Load”. If I sign up again now, it might make a better sense….but I found a better mentor for my particular situation
      now…right? Coach? Cheers!

      • Ian McConnell

        Masako, most people make the same mistake…

        The BIG problem with all this training is that the ‘gurus’ are enticing people with their ‘make money online quickly and easily’ and then focusing on tactics.

        They teach people how to pick a niche, how to set up a blog, how to create an affiliate link, how to build a list of subscribers, etc.

        This just overloads people with information and they usually give up.

        The MOST important thing to learn is ‘how to be an entrepreneur’.

        Entrepreneur’s don’t build their own websites… They work on ideas and get other people to implement them fast.

        Have Fun,
        Ian

        • Masako

          I have to admit that I have been spending way too much time building website…I kind of like learning that aspect (Web designing etc.) But you are right it takes too much of my time and makes sense to outsource. It is though, hard to make that investment when you are not sure if your website will make any money.

  • Joe

    I really like the running site and it seems given your interest and experience in the niche that you should pursue that site.

    Interviewing other runners in podcast form is a great idea. As you have a good background in running it should hopefully help you get access to interesting guests for your podcasts.

    Do you wear those vibram shoes when running?

    I look forward to reading Ian’s advice for your site.

    Joe

    • Masako Houghton

      Thank you for your encouraging comment, Joe.
      I do own several pairs of vibram five finger shoes and do wear them on my trail runs.Though I am a bit self-conscious to wear them on the regular road so I do use New Balance Minimus (Same vibram sole in the regular running shoe style) which I also mention on my site, instead : )

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  • Masako Houghton

    Hi Coach & Everyone,

    I am trying to add “Footer” to my free wordpress theme. I came across with comments on the web about creating”Child theme” instead of just using downloaded “Parent theme” to do that. This is new to me. Does everyone do this? Is this important?

    • Ian McConnell

      Hi Masako,

      Some developers like to confuse us with new technical terms. I think they get bored so they create something like this to try and confuse us… Basically, the parent theme creates the functionality of your site (where the menus are located, sidebar size, etc.), while the child theme is the skin (the color, the look and feel).

      Parent and child themes allow you to mix and match functionality with look and feel…

      My suggestion… On an authority blog use a straight forward theme like ‘Headlines’ from Woothemes.com (the one on this blog). It’s easy to make unique to you and looks good across any niche.

      For a direct response blog, with a membership site, squeeze pages and sales pages, use the OptimizePress theme. Keep it simple!

      BTW Masako your blog is looking so much better. Just one suggestion would be to add a simple ‘Subscribe to this blog’ optin. Some visitors to your site will want to subscribe to get your blog updates, but will not want the free report.

      What are your plans in the future for your blog?

      Have Fun,
      Ian

      • Masako Houghton

        Hi Coach,

        Thank you for your advice. I will make an adjustment to my optin.
        As for my plans in the future, I am thinking about creating E-book and Podcast interviews.Adding membership option for the audience to receive automated coaching on running might be nice too. What do you think?

        Regards,
        Masako

        • Ian McConnell

          Hi Masako,

          There is no reason why you couldn’t have both types of optin (free report and subscribe to the blog). Then you could test both.

          As with anything you have to always be testing, measuring and tweaking.

          Traffic from one source (referred traffic) might prefer a free report while traffic from another source (organic) will like your tips and just want to subscribe.

          Test, test, test and test…

          If your Google Analytics goals are set up correctly you can tell which traffic source converts at what rate.

          Have Fun,
          Ian

    • Ian McConnell

      Hi Masako,

      I’m assuming that you are trying to create a footer to insert your privacy, terms, disclaimer, contact, about, and sitemap pages.

      My suggestion is to create links to these pages (Links > Add New) and create them under a ‘More Information’ link category.

      In your sidebar or footer you can then use the links widget and set it to show only the ‘More Information’ links.

      The reason I do it this way, is that in the future if I update or change the theme my important legal links will always be there. I’ve made the mistake before where I hard coded the links into the footer, done a theme update and weeks later realised my legal links had been deleted. These links are important for SEO and credibility.

      The copyright info will already be hard coded into your theme.

      Have Fun,
      Ian

  • Ian McConnell

    Hi Masako,

    Your idea of having a membership site coaching runners sounds like a good one.

    You could do monthly podcasts and interviews with other experts, create a forum for runners around the world to network, have a specials area on running gear, a worldwide marathon schedule and so much more.

    Do you know of anyone else doing this online in the running niche?

    Have Fun,
    Ian

    • Masako Houghton

      Hi Coach,

      I don’t personally know anyone but I googled and found out a couple of bloggers are doing podcast about running. However, those are not well organized, bad sound quality and I found them rather boring to listen to. So I think I have a shot if I do it right. There are so many people blogging about running and coaching on line so it is a matter of how to stand out in the already crowded market.As for running gear, I set up Amazon store on my blog and plan to add more categories like shoes and running related books.

      Cheers,
      Masako

      • Ian McConnell

        Hi Masako,

        A podcast would be the perfect way to stand out. Runners don’t have the time to sit and read stuff, but they could listen to your podcast while running…

        The Amazon store is a start, but is this giving your readers the absolute best deals available. I doubt it. My wife is a personal trainer and finds Amazon expensive and very limited. She buys shoes from eBay at much better prices with a much bigger range. That might be because we are in Australia, but these eBay sellers are in the US.

        To be an authority in your niche, you must always be providing the best possible information, deals, variety, etc. Don’t go the easy route of using Amazon, because your reader might see a product on there that is overpriced and it will ruin your reputation. They’ll go and never come back.

        And… Amazon commissions are terrible.

        Check out my resources page and look for the “Products You Can Promote” section for a list of suppliers and dropshippers. Check the prices of all products across all the different suppliers and only put products on your site that serves your reader well.

        You need to build trust with your readers and become the worldwide authority site on running. You do this with only the best info, the best deals, etc.

        Have Fun,
        Ian