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I am Selling Web Design From Scratch (SOLD)

Published a few months ago - 0 Comments

Update: WDFS is up for Auction on Flippa, ends August 24, 2017

Okay, I have finally taken the plunge and have decided to sell

I know it could do a lot of good for some people out there. I know that because, when I was in the web design business, that site generated all the leads I could handle. I was able to run a six figure web agency with very little marketing effort or spend.

The truth is, this site really was one of the first tutorial sites in the industry, and has been very influential for a lot of people. But my interests and business have moved on from “web design” into broader marketing and green issues, so sadly I have not found very much to talk about around that topic.

This is an incredible resource, and it would be a huge shame to see it go to waste, so I’m looking for someone who will be able to profit from the site.

Traffic Erosion

The result is that, lacking fresh new content, the traffic has very slowly died off over the years.

WDFS traffic erosion over nine years

For several years, while I was more active, WDFS was getting 100,000 monthly visits or more, hitting a peak of 229,000 in September 2011. Now, we’re looking at just 20,000 visits each month.

That can be reversed! All it needs is someone who cares and is active in the web design space. Could that be you?

Massive Ranking Potential

The site still has plenty of page-1 rankings, and will have a MASSIVE ability to rank for any new terms related to web design.

Here’s today’s Open Site Explorer snapshot, showing the very respectable domain authority of 54!

OSE summary

Here’s a summary from Analytics of the most popular search terms (2017).

Top search terms

Aside from HTML/CSS reference terms, I still have pages ranking very highly for phrases around “best websites in the world”, which is clearly a massive opportunity for anyone in the website delivery business (designers, producers, or theme vendors).

And clearly anyone who wants to sell courses in website production (HTML / CSS) will find it very easy with the traffic this site gets (197,046 visits from organic search terms that include “HTML” since January 1st).

What’s the Offer?

I’m open to selling the domain and all the website content. (If it’s feasible, I can even transfer the Moz Pro property, so you can use the historical data.) I don’t have a price, will probably take the best offer I get in the next two weeks.

Alternatively, you may prefer to lease the site! If so, just let me know.

In addition to individuals or businesses, perhaps you may like to go into a coalition with others? If so, I’ve set up a temporary Facebook group where you can post your ideas and invitations, or look for other people who might have compatible goals.

Who Should Be Excited Right Now?

I have some ideas for who the ideal new owner of WDFS might be. These include…

  • Web designers / agencies (I ran my whole 6-figure business for years on the leads I skimmed off WDFS)
  • Theme vendors
  • Course vendors
  • SEOs who specialise in the web sector (the outbound link value of this content is terrific)
  • Entrepreneurs who want to run a blog or magazine to build an audience
  • Affiliate marketers who sell web/marketing related products
  • …or whatever you do, perhaps?

If you’re interested, please feel free to comment here, or email me ( with any thoughts, suggestions, or offers. But my advice is to move fast! Even if you don’t have a firm offer, let me know if you’re interested, as I don’t want you to be disappointed.

The WDFS Facebook page is also included, obviously. It currently has 2770 likes.

Also feel free to ask me if you’d like any more data from Analytics, list building etc.


WDFS Premium is Ending… Tell Me What YOU Need In It!

Published last year - 0 Comments

At the end of today (February 29th, 2016), I’m removing the early-bird 50% discount on Web Design from Scratch Premium.

Tomorrow, the price will double to $19 per month.

What is WDFS Premium?

It’s a growing library of tutorials on a range of topics. Basically, I want to give you everything you need to do web design and online marketing the right way in 2016 and beyond.

If you’ve read “Web Design is Dead” you’ll know that a lot has changed in the past few years. Publishing a great-looking website that works across browsers, works on mobile, is accessible, and SEO-friendly is no longer something that only an expert can do.

Today, anyone can get a basically great website quickly and cheaply. Fact!

So the bar has lowered, and that simply changes the problem we’re faced with. If anyone can get a good website, what do we need to do to compete?

Well, that’s what WDFS+ is all about…

  • Yes, if you’re going to customize WordPress sites, you do need HTML and CSS skills (but not the same skills you needed a few years ago).
  • SEO and social media will continue to be extremely important (if you’re interested in getting a steady stream of traffic without having to pay for it).
  • And, fundamentally, the strategy you take to market is now more important than ever! There are now so many ways to publish, to reach prospects, and to manage your marketing relationships, you simply can’t even TRY them all! It’s impossible. You need to get wise, fast!

So that’s what I want to give you with WDFS+. All those core skills, plus whatever else you’ll need to travel light and fast in this new era (see below).

I want to train you to be lean and mean, to be highly efficient, so that you can out-meneuver your competitors.

Why am I charging for it?

Someone asked me this on email today, and quite rightly.

First, let me say I am going to continue to develop Open Source Marketing, and that will always be free. The Pro Web Design Course and Ultimate Web Design material will also stay free.

There are a few good reasons why I’m charging for this new material…

  1. In order to keep it relevant, it needs to be regularly updated, extended, and refreshed.
  2. I want to continue to put significant time into making this not just good, but excellent! If I’m getting some revenue from it, that justifies regular time.
  3. I’m not the only person who’s going to make content for WDFS+. My good friend Jonathan Perez is hard at work on the ultimate CSS tutorials, and I’m planning to bring on more experts too.

What is it going to include?

Well, I’ve got a pretty good idea about some of what’s needed. And a LOT of that is going to be around strategy. (In fact, I’m planning to create a new agency model that delivers marketing strategy exclusively! So that’s going to help me really accelerate the learning process in this area.)

And… we have a blank sheet, so we can create whatever we want!

So I’d like you to tell me what your biggest issues are. Let’s make this collaborative!

When you sign up for Web Design from Scratch Premium, I would love for you to tell me your questions and challenges. And I’ll see how I can use those real-life problems to create new guidance to help everyone.

In fact, I’ll commit to responding to every single feasible request.

How about a group??

facebook-shiny-logoWould you be interested in having a private, secret Facebook group exclusively for WDFS+ subscribers? We can use that to ask quick questions, discuss issues, get support, and help out each others’ businesses!

If YOU want a secret group, with direct access to me and other experts, let me know and we’ll make it happen!

You have a choice!

Web Design from Scratch Premium is happening. It has some great content NOW, and it’s going to get a lot more great content. Every month, it’s going to get better and better and better.

You may choose to be part of it today, or you may choose to be part of it in the future.

The difference is, if you join after today, you’ll pay an extra $9.50 per month. Hey, at $19/month it will still be great value! But it’s still $114 each year that you could use for other things.

I hope you’ll join us, and be an active part of the next generation of online marketers. We’re the ones who’ll outperform the competition because we’ll out-evolve the competition. We’re fast, we’re lean, we’re smart, we’re not wasteful, but we’re also real, and honest, and (perhaps most importantly) love doing what we do.

50% Lifetime Discount Expires at the end of February!


Grab the Early-Bird Discount Here!


“Slimed by Frank Kern”

Published a couple of years ago - 19 Comments

In April I wrote a blog post about a marketing email I got from Frank Kern that I thought was “insanely scammy” because it suggested that you could take cookie-cutter marketing messages and drop them into any business.

(Which, of course, you can’t! At least, not successfully.)

Well, I have an update for you! I was contacted today by someone who actually bought Frank’s offer. Her name is Susanne Friend, she and her husband are small business owners, running a small aquaponics farm. They market on the Internet intellectual property gained from their experience in their field.

Disclaimer: I am re-posting messages from this customer of Frank’s in the interest of openness. Of course, anyone’s description of their experience is bound to be subjective, and I cannot say whether the statements made are true.

Susanne and Tim paid Frank Kern’s organization an initial payment of $1620, the first of three payments, which would cover “Campaign Transplant Only – No Bootcamp.”

The problem is that Susanne and her husband Tim are pretty sophisticated, so they were ready to do their own research and comparisons. Check out their story…

Aloha Ben,

Frank Kern made us a $4,800 offer in 3 payments for his internet marketing package, called “The Implementation Package”.

When we were considering this purchase, we had a phone conversation with Frank Kern’s assistant, named Joe Rizzo, in which Joe promised us that the templates we would receive with this package would be customized for our business, with only minor tweaking required.

Joe then proceeded into an interview over the phone in which he told us he needed to “find out about our business” so that they could determine whether what they offered “was a good fit for our business”. At the end of the phone conversation he told us our business “was a fit for their product”, and that they would “customize the templates for our business”. We bought it.

Template problem #1: No such customization was ever done.

After purchase, one of Frank’s assistants named Josh Bretow emailed us and said: “I am working on setting up your megaphone account and building your pages right now. I will let you know as soon as those are all set!”. Josh was telling us that the web template site Megaphone was where some of the “customized templates” were going to be hosted; he called them “landing pages”, and “custom pages”.

Josh emailed us and said “Hey Susanne, The pages are half done, I am waiting for megaphone to upgrade your account so I can add the rest”.

Next, “Susanne, The pages are all complete in your megaphone account. Please let me know if you have any questions”.

Next, Josh emailed us a login for a Megaphone account of Frank Kern’s (not an account of ours as they’d claimed), which had standard Megaphone templates (which Megaphone gives to their subscribers for free) that had Frank Kern titles on them, and no other customization whatsoever.

There never was any “our account” the way Josh explained it; just another misrepresentation in a long string of them. I investigated, and found that if I’d purchased a standard Megaphone account for $49/month, I would have gotten the exact same pages, minus the Frank Kern titles.

It’s easy to verify: Megaphone shows prospective users these templates in a “preview” page on their site. Therefore, this claim of delivering customized templates is completely false.

Template problem #2: When we purchased our own InfusionSoft account (InfusionSoft is required to run Frank’s package), and had some questions about it, Frank’s assistant Josh emailed us again and said: “the value of the purchase you made is not in Infusionsoft it is that you get 9 of the most effective marketing campaigns Frank has ever run loaded into your account with all of the copy and setup. So really all you need to do is make a couple of tweaks and they are ready to launch.”

After my husband Tim spent a week learning how to use InfusionSoft by himself (Tim’s a technical guy, and it took much less time than plowing through Franks InfusionSoft “Post-BootCamp learning videos”, which are chatty and not very informative), he discovered that the InfusionSoft campaign templates that Josh had uploaded to our InfusionSoft account, that Frank had supposedly “customized” for us, were useless because they had NO tags configured; the tag values are all empty.

To be able to use these campaigns of Frank’s at all, you need to create your own tags. To do this, you need to know how how to use InfusionSoft at a fairly high level. If you’re at that level, it’s easier to write new campaigns from scratch than to try to customize Frank’s campaign templates, which are not made for our market, nor customized in the least. This claim of delivering customized templates is also completely false.

Template problem #3: The InfusionSoft email templates that Josh had uploaded to our InfusionSoft account, that Frank had supposedly “customized” for us, also had no customization, they were standard emails to Frank’s customers. They are of no use to us, and again, this claim of delivering customized templates is also completely false.

There’s more: These things were invisible until my husband had invested a week in watching Frank’s tutorial videos and learning InfusionSoft: If we follow the steps in their learning videos, we need to buy…

  • a membership to at $80/month,
  • membership at $80/month,
  • Megaphone account at $50/month,
  • and a account for $400/year (when Frank uses GoToMeeting for his webinars!), for an additional total of $245/month. (Ben adds: I think WebinarJam is about $399 per year?)

Nothing was disclosed about this in the original offer.  Frank Kern’s offering was billed as a “complete package” during phone calls and emails. I’d bet these dotcoms are all affiliate software links that pass along commissions to him, and these affiliations were not disclosed anywhere.

This is rather technical, but I hope it’s useful in your fighting the good fight against this type of internet marketing slime.

Why Am I Telling You This?

There are a few reasons.

The first reason is that I want to encourage you to be bold in demanding a refund, and sharing information, if you buy from any Internet Marketer (including me!) and you’re not happy that you got value in excess of the price you paid.

Susanne and Tim requested a refund from Frank’s people and are waiting for their $1620 back. I have since heard that the refund has been made.

When I asked Susanne if I could have her permission to share her email publicly, here is her response…

 Absolutely, you have our permission. However, I WANT you to use our full names, and the name of our business. Here’s the deal – I believe we represent EXACTLY who you’re most trying to help – we’re the “little guys”– business people who want to more successfully market online, but who get taken for a ride when we try to find “expert” help in the field. In this case, what saved us almost $5000 was the fact that at we are a little bit too technical, and we could quickly tell that what we were promised was NOT what was delivered – not even close. Unfortunately, some purchasers might not be able to tell that this offer was just smoke and mirrors!

While Frank Kern offered no explicit guarantee, there are numerous references throughout many of Frank’s videos to his “big balls guarantee”, where he states that if the purchaser is dissatisfied for any reason, he will refund any monies paid but the purchaser still gets to keep the product.

We initiated a dispute with our credit card company, along with our myriad of reasons, and informed Mr. Kern’s office via email that we were doing so. There was no hint of surprise or attempt whatsoever to find out why we were not satisfied. We merely received a reply saying that their “CEO would be refunding our money”, so, I suppose his implicit “big balls guarantee” will be met, in our case. But certainly not our expectations, based upon Mr. Kern’s promises.

The next reason is that it’s a great example of why we should have a Code of Practice for Internet Marketing. Our Code of Practice states that customers must get the value offered and that the information we present must be truthful.

For example, here’s one of the clauses from the Ethical Marketing Group’s COP:

If any other investment, assets, tools, skills, time, or work may be required to get the claimed benefits, we will make these explicit to every prospect prior to purchase.

Now, it seems that Frank’s marketing failed to do that, in a big way, because so many other systems were necessary for his processes even to have a chance of working (including promoting WebinarJam, which coincidentally is sold by Frank’s IM buddies Mike Filsaime and Andy Jenkins, despite the fact, as Susanne points out, that Frank himself uses GoToWebinar… hmm).

Imagine if we all adopt a system like this (which you can do voluntarily for free)! What would the marketplace be like if every vendor gave their word that they would treat every customer fairly?