Round three with my 20 Questions interview series, and I have to say that I’m surprised with not only the response, but the fact that established affiliate marketers and Internet veterans are actually agreeing to participate! So far we’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Alan LeStourgeon from AffiliateConfession.com and Paul Piotrowski from InspiredMoneyMaker.com on a more intimate level, and they were both really awesome interviews.
Today I am going to introduce you to someone who has played a very important role in my budding career as a work-at-home ninja marketer. His name is Mark Hansen and he runs TheNicheStoreBuilder.com where you will find endless information on finding niche markets, keyword research techniques, and the ever popular eBay affiliate site building script Build A Niche Store.
Mark’s blog is where I began my journey online and where I learned almost everything I know about Wordtracker, generating organic traffic and spotting niche markets. Since we started this blog I have had the opportunity to become better acquainted with Mark via email, and you can expect to hear more about him in the next few weeks as we have some cool little “projects” that we’re going to be working on together. He is a super cool dude, and a great teacher – even though he thinks differently about that!
So without further ado I give you 20 Questions With Mark Hansen From TheNicheStoreBuilder.com:
1. Who are you and what do you do?
I am Mark Hansen aka The Niche Store Builder. Thanks to Al Gore, I too, discovered the Internet back in 1993 the same way most did, on a Packard Bell 25mhz home PC dialing in through Prodigy. I became so encompassed with how to build a website at that time, I decided to learn how to do it! After 14 years of running my own web design business, the time was right in 2007 to take the leap into affiliate marketing, build a small network of my own sites, and start sharing everything I know with others… thus the birth of The Niche Store Builder site. In total, I have developed about 1200 websites (not counting affiliate sites of my own) ranging from basic business card type sites, to very extensive air charter reservation and estimating applications for the web.
If I had to choose one thing that really drives me every day, it’s search engine ranking! If I can make one of my own, or my customers managed sites, rank in the top 5 of the serp’s… I have done it right! When you can beat hundreds or thousands at the same game… it is a great feeling of accomplishment, usually followed quickly with financial rewards!
2. In 1,000,000 words or less describe how you made your first profit on the Internet.
Buddys Baby Products… It was the first commercial website I developed in 1994! I remember having one of my own boys record a 5 second audio clip that was used on the site to introduce the lineup. “Hi – I’m Buddy and Welcome to My Website” it was typical of most websites you saw in the early days… full of images and HUGE files that never got viewed due to dial up access anyhow! Fortunately, the site sold spit-up bibs, which I am sure most people did when they first viewed it! I still get a weak stomach thinking of that site!
3. I’ve noticed that you have a great head of hair, does that mean you’re against wearing hats?
I am probably one of the only people I know that actually reads the directions on the shampoo bottle! Work the lather deep into the scalp, rinse thoroughly and repeat as needed… how friggin boring is that! I mean, you just squirt out a handful, work it in, rinse it out and your done right? Not me… gotta read the directions on EVERYTHING I do! Which is why I am not a hat wearer, no directions!
4. Give me a brief description of your home office, or lack thereof?
Ahhh – My pride and joy! Wait, it’s in here under this mess somewhere! Big messy desk, dual 24 inch widescreen monitors in my office make it very easy to develop anything where the web is concerned. I also keep a laptop next to my recliner in the TV room. If I could recommend 1 thing that makes life easier, figure out how to setup 2 monitors on your system! Your workspace is instantly doubled and even if you’re just killing time reading directions, you get twice as much at once!
5. Coffee or tea?
Coffee – by the gallon, all day long! I did have to switch to half-decaf though, my doctor said I am a bit hyper and drink too much! I wish they made coffee flavored Popsicles!
6. If you could have 15 minutes with any successful businessman or woman, who would it be and why?
To me, success is not based on the money in the bank. it is based on the practices that led up to that money being there. I would love to talk to someone like Warren Buffet, but I think they would talk beyond me. Right now, I would like 15 minutes with Jeremy Schoemaker aka Shoemoney. He is more in line with the regular guy like myself, and could help me with some ideas I have for a new website, before I make costly mistakes!
7. Early bird, evening owl, or midnight marauder?
All three! My mind is always running at 150mph… No alarm clock here, I usually wake to a dog licking my face between 6-7am and work until my eyes burn late at night! Jump into bed around 11pm and within 30 minutes, I am back in front a PC doing just “One more Thing” before I can finally sleep!
8. Name the artist and title of the last full song you listened to.
Buck Cherry – Crazy Bitch! It was in the shuffle of the iPod on the way home from my mid-afternoon drive yesterday!
9. In your opinion, name 3 tools or services that are necessary to becoming successful at niche marketing.
1 – High Speed Internet access! I actually watch that stat on my own site and wonder how 14% of visitors can survive with dial up!
2 – WordTracker for keyword research! I have tried almost every keyword research tool out there and have subscriptions to many right now. In the end, I return to WordTracker every single time!
3 – A monthly subscription to a rag-mag like People, US, or even Teen Magazine! Not only does it make for good ‘bathroom’ reading, you will always spot niche trends here first!
10. What was the worst Halloween costume you ever had?
Ironically, it was also the easiest! I cut 2 holes in a paper bag, pulled it over my head and went to a party as the unknown comic! I have wore some very interesting get-ups in the past, but since I don’t know the age demographic of your readers, I won’t go there!
11. Did your mom ever cut your hair as a kid? My mother destroyed mine.
My mother and older sister went to beauty school together when I was a teenager… my head became their dummy! I have been permed, up-do’d, and literally lost chunks of meat off the ridges of my ears! The things we will do for gas money as kids huh?
12. I’ve heard rumors that Facebook Ads is run by 13 year olds who play hacky sack in between approving ads. I’m really good at hacky sack, do you think they’d give me a job?
Hmmm HackyAds.com, a place to kick around new ad ideas! You might be onto something with that!! I imagine a good Youtube video resume would be in order during the application process!
13. Sean Connery, Roger Moore, or Pierce Brosnan?
I would have to say Roger Moore. They should have chipped off the mole though.
14. I know things have been bumpy for a lot of Build A Niche Store users over the last few months, where do you see the future of BANs going?
Honestly, if you forget you are developing a BANS site and focus on the content and overall visitor experience, you will be fine. It’s the point/click/done sites that have to worry! BANS is a very powerful application and simply took the place of “made for adsense” sites that were all the rage a few years ago with domain owners wanting to monetize parked domains. It was only a matter of time before Google and other engines took notice of the BanSpam in the index.
If you spend 30 minutes every day on _each_ of your BANS sites… you won’t have much to worry about! If you spend 2 hours every day pushing out new bans sites with no original content, you might as well just go to Vegas! The BANS developers are truly listening to the needs of the users, so I think they will respond with better, more flexible version in the future. I just don’t know if it will be ePN only. In my opinion, they would enrich the product by making it work with many product feeds and affiliate programs, versus being tied to only ebay.
15. I recently had my 27th birthday, do you remember what you were doing at 27?
We have 7 kids… you wanna guess?
16. Like many others, I learned niche marketing and keyword research from your blog, and you’re a great teacher! Do you ever feel like Mr. Miyagi from the Karate Kid movies?
Truthfully, I think I am a horrible teacher! I jump around too much and stray off topic in the videos and series of posts! I need to sit down and watch Karate Kid to get some good focus training of my own! On a good note though… I can wax the hell out of my car!
17. In 1,000,000 words or less explain why most people fail to make a living online.
This goes along with #9 – someone should sell a service or tool for patience! Too many people develop a site today and then watch the stats for 2-3 weeks, only to be disappointed with the results and give up on it. Instead of focusing efforts on growing the site, they move on to another one and repeat the same process endlessly! In the end, they have 20-30 websites doing nothing for them and they think affiliate website marketing is horrible!
Everyone has been led to think they can put up a site and it will just start earning money. It’s just not going to happen like that… and you have to sweat some of the labors of trial and error before you ever start realizing success. Those who give up early are the ones that populate the expired domain market to the tune of 95,000+ expired domains EVERY DAY!
18. Do you think eating dirt as a child will cause any serious side effects later on in life?
This sounds like a trick question… you mean that wasn’t dirt?
19. Star Wars or Spaceballs?
Definitely Spaceballs! It’s right up there with Office Space and the one of my favorites here lately, Mr. Woodcock.
20. Why did you accept this interview?
I love reading about myself! Seriously, I have enjoyed your blog for several months now and love your style of writing. It is very engaging and entertaining to say the least. When I got your email on the subject a few weeks ago, I couldn’t wait to get the questions from you!
Mark’s blog is one of my favorites to read, and I hope you guys take the time to stop by TheNicheStoreBuilder if you haven’t already. To get an idea of his tutorials in action, I would stop by a recent post he did on using Wordtracker and the Google Adwords Tool to find targeted keywords and content for your niche site.
Who’s the next victim? I have no idea! I guess it’s time for me to start sending out some more threatening emails…