Author Archive John Allen

ByJohn Allen

5 Places to Live in Mexico…and 3 to Avoid

By , InternationalLiving.com

Mexico is not only the nearest destination abroad for U.S. and Canadian expats; it is also one of the most popular. More than a million expats are estimated to live in Mexico full- or part-time…the largest concentration of North American expats anywhere in the world.

Of course, it helps that Mexico is also one of the largest countries in the Americas, offering just about any climate, geographical landscape, and lifestyle you might want. As a result, you’ll find expats scattered all over Mexico. But some places have proven to be especially popular, with an appeal that makes them stand out from the crowd.

Here are five Mexico destinations where the living is easy…and any one of them could be your perfect expat home. (Plus a few places you may want to cross off your list.)

Modern Beach Living

For many North Americans, say “Mexico” and they think of white-sand beaches. That’s not surprising. Mexico has nearly 6,000 miles of coastline, much of it beautiful beach. If you’re looking for a beach lifestyle, Mexico will have you spoiled for choice.

For classic white-sand beaches and turquoise waters, it’s hard to beat Mexico’s Riviera Maya. This 80-mile stretch of coast runs along the Yucatán Peninsula from Cancún to Tulúm. Little beach towns are scattered all along the coast…and one—Playa del Carmen—has grown to become a city. One of the fastest-growing destinations in Mexico, Playa, as it’s known locally, offers a laidback beach vibe…and the upper-end shopping and restaurant scene of a larger city.

To enjoy small-town (but upscale) beach life on this coast, head to Tulúm. Once the domain of backpackers, Tulúm today attracts fashionistas and other trendsetters who come to get away from it all. Today you’ll find rustic, palm-thatched palapasalongside gourmet restaurants here…and a beach that’s considered one of the world’s most beautiful.

Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta, on Mexico’s Pacific Coast, has been an international beach resort for more than 50 years. Once a small fishing village, today the greater Vallarta area stretches for nearly 30 miles along the shores of Banderas Bay, one of the world’s largest bays. This area offers pure First-World living, with shopping, restaurants, and real estate at every price point; an international airport; and a large, international expat community. Beaches and a long malecón (esplanade) border large swaths of the city. But Puerto Vallarta offers so much to do—from zip-lining and horseback riding in the hills, to fine dining and recent film releases in town—that you’ll have plenty to do, even if you never put a toe in the water.

If you want big-city life with the beach a short distance away, there’s Mérida. Capital of the Yucatán Peninsula, this city of nearly a million residents lies about half an hour from the Yucatán Gulf Coast. Small villages dot this placid coast. This is where Mérida’s middle-class families have summered for generations. Today expats have joined them, but many towns still have a family-oriented feel. Don’t look for boutique shopping or dining here, but if you’re seeking a laidback beach life at still-low prices, you can find it here.

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Historic Cities

Not everyone wants to live on the beach…. If you prefer temperate weather and Spanish-colonial style, then Lake Chapala or San Miguel de Allende, both in central Mexico, may fit the bill. Lake Chapala has an enviably near-perfect climate—spring-like almost all year—and a large, diverse expat community. And being near Guadalajara, Mexico’s second-largest city, means easy access to its international airport and excellent medical facilities. San Miguel, about three hours north of Mexico City, is a beautifully preserved Spanish-colonial town that offers art galleries, gourmet restaurants, a wealth of arts and crafts, and a large expat community.

Places to Skip in Mexico

No country is perfect, and Mexico has gotten more than its share of knocks. But yes, some parts of Mexico should be avoided, while others are just not worth your time.

Some Mexican states bordering the U.S.—notably Tamaulipas, Coahuila, and Chihuahua—have vast, empty interiors where you can be at the mercy of accidents and bad weather. If you’re looking to drive down into central Mexico or farther south (and many expats do), consider checking routes through other Mexican states like Nuevo León, Sonora, and Baja California.

Acapulco was once one of Mexico’s top beach resorts, but age and scattered violence has dimmed the city’s glitter. If you want to stay on the beaches of Acapulco’s home state, Guerrero, head north to Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo.

Finally, Tabasco may be a famous hot sauce, but the Mexican state is largely humid, low-lying land. It’s the boring, often wet stretch you’ll pass if you’re driving from central Mexico to the Yucatán Peninsula. Tabasco’s capital, Villahermosa, is a major business city, headquarters of Mexico’s oil industry and home to several museums. Take a quick look if you’re inclined…but with so many interesting places both north and south of it, you probably won’t want to linger.

ByJohn Allen

Moving to Mexico: How Safe to Live in Mexico?

by Diane Schmidt, TheSpruce.com

When people speak of moving to a country like Mexico, one of the inevitable first questions will be whether it is safe to live there. With media stories going on about drug wars, shootings, and kidnapping, can it be safe to live in Mexico?

Rather than believing all I have heard and read, I decided to ask my sister about how safe she felt in Mexico since she’s now lived there for over a year.

Now that you are way past the “honeymoon” period of your love affair with Mexico, I would like to ask you about some of the less savory aspects the country is heavily rumored to possess. How safe have you felt living in Mexico this past year?

Why is that, do you think?

According to her, the peninsula is a deterrent to crime as it makes it hard for criminals to escape, being surrounded on three sides by water. I, myself, think it has also something to do with the nature of The Mayans, a peaceful, honest and hardworking people who make up much of the population in the Yucatan. I have never felt unsafe even walking the streets by myself at night here in Playa Del Carmen.

What about lesser crimes? Have you experienced anyone trying to cheat you or ever had anything stolen from you?

Where we are in Playa Del Carmen is also heavily populated by tourists, especially in the high seasons, and yes, there is a sense when you walk down busy Quinta Avenida that everybody is out to make a buck off you.

And while 90% of the time, it is just a matter of enterprising Mexicans working hard at making a living, yes, we have experienced an instance or two when someone has tried to cheat us. Bertrand had a minor incident at the gas station once. Now we were made aware of the common ploy where the gas attendant does not reset the pump to zero, and you end up paying for your gas plus whatever the last person put into his or her car.

In a flash, he had exchanged one of the 200-peso bills for a 20-peso bill, so that when Bertrand looked at what the boy was holding out, it looked like Bertrand had mistakenly given him a 200 and a 20 instead of two 200-peso bills.

Fortunately, Bertrand was wise to the trick, gave the boy one of his fiercer looks, and the boy sheepishly made a change. Needless to say, he didn’t get a tip. The next time Bertrand filled up, another attendant also made a point of showing him that he was resisting the pump. When Bertrand paid him, he made sure to count out the money bill by bill to the attendant, to make sure there was no discrepancy.

But really, this has been just about the only time thus far that we’ve been directly targeted in anything dishonest.

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No. We decided we would rather not live like that, and if we do lose something, either through our own carelessness and/or through somebody else’s dishonesty, then chances are that what we’ve lost has probably gone to someone who obviously needed it more.

ByJohn Allen

Emergency App for ExPats

English speakers, Live Safe and Secure in Mexico using our emergency and crime reporting service.

ByJohn Allen

Top 10 Commandments of Affiliate Marketing

By Lynn Truong

Affiliate marketing can be a big source of revenue. The key to maximizing your affiliate earnings is engaging your readers. Unlike traditional ads where you are paid for impressions or clicks, affiliates are only paid if or when a specific action is performed. The action might be something as simple as signing up for a newsletter to submitting their zip code information up to having a sale completed. Regardless, you are not paid until you’ve compelled your readers to take some type of action.​​

With that in mind, here are the Top 10 Commandments for affiliate marketing success.

1   Know Your Audience

The most successful way to use affiliate programs is to only promote products, services, and offers that match the needs and wants of your audience. Consider why they are coming to your site, joining your email marketing list, or following you on social media.

What are you providing that they are looking for? Make sure the affiliate products you are promoting provide a solution to your audience’s problems.

If you are writing about sports, don’t put up affiliate ads for printer toner just because everyone has a printer and those programs have a high payout. The people who are coming to read commentary or get stats for their favorite teams aren’t thinking about those things when they’re on your site.

The more relevant the ads are to your readers, the more likely they will use them. An interesting way of looking at affiliate marketing is this: educating your audience about relevant products and services they may be interested in can be considered a value added form of content.

If you haven’t yet started and are still trying to decide what market you want to serve then see this article on how to pick a profitable niche for your online business.

The bottom line here is to promote products that are directly relevant to the audience you are serving. The more relevant the offers; the more sales you’ll generate.

See Also: Increase Affiliate Earnings by Engaging Your Audience

Readers are savvy. They know an affiliate link when they see one. If you break their trust by promoting a product you don’t believe in or take advantage of their visit with too many ads, they will leave and never come back.

It is your repeat visitors that will drive traffic. They are the ones who will give you linkbacks, spread the word, and recommend your site as the go-to place for valuable content. You need to build a relationship based on genuine content.

If your visitors don’t think you’re being honest or think that you are only recommended products and services due to a profit motive, they won’t read anything else you have to say.

If you promote products and services that aren’t high value, they’ll lose trust in your recommendations and stop acting on them; costing you sales and profits.

With this in mind, you’ll want to make sure that your #1 priority is adding value to your website visitors and email list. Only share products that you know are relevant, useful, and can truly help them.

If you do that, you’ll make much more money in the long run with repeat sales.

See Also: How to Increase Trust and Sales with Email Marketing

Think of affiliate ads as additional resources that complement your content. Give value to your content by making it helpful, useful, and informative.

Don’t put up a list of your favorite books, hoping people will click on the affiliate link, purchase the books (just because you listed them), so you can cash in on a sale.

Take some time to write a detailed review, and use affiliate ads to point them in the right direction if they decide to act on your information.

Even better, if you have a personal testimonial or case study to share; write a detailed post about it then include your recommendation with your affiliate link in your review.

That’s what affiliate ads are for. If you write a great review recommending a book and readers buy the book because of it, you should get affiliate sales sales credit for that.

But just throwing out links to products with no rhyme or reason will result in a quick exit by visitors who don’t take any action at all.

Remember the main idea: always provide valuable content that adds value to the​ visitor experience. The sales will follow.

Always disclose your affiliations. Your readers will appreciate your honesty and will feel better about contributing to your earnings. If they sense that you are being less than honest about your affiliations, they are savvy enough to bypass your link and go directly to the vendor just to avoid giving you referral credit (even though the price is the same it’s just something people do; strange but true!).

Honesty and full disclosure is a necessary part to building a loyal reader base (and it’s also the law!). They know they are supporting you by using your referral links. Make them happy and eager to do so.

In some cases, not only do you want to be transparent about your affiliate relationship, you may even want to offer a bonus or some type of incentive if they take action and use your affiliate link.

This is an extremely powerful tactic that can significantly increase the amount of affiliate sales you generate and a great way to stand out from other competing affiliates.

See Also: How to Brand Yourself as an Affiliate to Increase Sales

5  Select Affiliate Products Carefully

Take the time to go through all the different options for products or services available through different affiliate marketing programs. Put some thought into which products or services your readers may need or like. Also, change the ads around often, try different ones, and use different graphics and text to see which are the most effective.

It may take some time before you figure out the best formula, and you may also find that you need to continually rotate ads to attract more attention.

In many cases the product creators will provide you with a handful of ads to use on your site, on social media, and via email. Test different ad creative to see which ones work best for you.

One thing you should strongly consider is promoting digital information products. These products are attractive for two reasons. First, they have higher conversion rates because the customers can get instant access and instant gratification when they purchase. Second, they typically offer much higher commission rates than physical products — which means more profits for you.

Also consider promoting higher priced products as well as products that renew monthly to get higher commissions and ongoing monthly commissions.

6  Try Different Programs

If one particular program doesn’t seem to be working for you, try another one.

Affiliate programs aren’t all the same. They offer different products, services, and payment structures. Some vendors will have better marketing and sales materials than others.

Some programs will have a lifetime payout on sales while others will limit it to 30-90 days. Some programs allow much more flexibility in the types of ad units available, as well as colors and design so it fits better on your site’s layout.

Also, check your favorite vendors to see if they run their own affiliate program. Sometimes you can go directly to the source. You’re not limited to big affiliate networks.

Integrate systematic ad testing into your strategy to maximize your profits.

By continually testing different programs you’ll see which ones convert the best and which ones your audience responds to the most – increasing your overall conversions and sales.

Also, constantly be on the lookout for new products and services that you can test and add to your affiliate marketing portfolio.

7  Write Timeless Content

Your old content can still be valuable even though it’s no longer on your front page. Take advantage of the long-term opportunities by making sure you provide timeless content.

If visitors come across your older content first and find that it offers dated information, they will leave right away. Of course, information moves forward, so relevant content changes quickly. You can make your content timeless simply by adding links to your updated articles on your old ones.

Many platforms allow you to show “most recent” or “most popular” or “related articles” on every page, so no matter how old the article is, it will always show access to your new ones. Your old content can make money for you indefinitely.

Although writing about new and up to date information can be beneficial, another strategy is to focus on writing about “evergreen” content – that is content that is timeless.

This will give you more mileage out of your content and drive traffic for years to come, and you can always change up the products you are promoting related to the content.

The name of the game here is to have content that is relevant, useful, and up-to-date.

You’ll want to use both strategies in your content; for every two pieces of new and updated content consider writing an evergreen content piece.

See Also: How to Get Massive Amounts of Website Traffic

8   Be Patient

Affiliate revenue grows and builds up with time. Remember that some programs offer lifetime payouts. If you refer a visitor, you may continue to make money from that one visitor even if he doesn’t come back to your site. Also, as long as you have referral links still active in your old posts, they may still payout for you.

If you focus on promoting recurring billing / continuity type products (as mentioned above) you can continually earn commissions every month on the same products which can add up over time.

As an example, if you promoted a product or service that pays a $5 commission every month and referred 100 sales; you’d make $500 in that month. At the same rate and assuming all the sales stick; after just one year that would translate into a monthly recurring revenue of $6,000.

Also, as discussed above, sometimes you may have to test different offers, products, and services until you find the best ones that are a match for your audience.

Affiliate programs aren’t a get rich quick plan, but it provides an opportunity to make passive income from your blog.

As you continue to add more content to your website, promote more products, drive more traffic to your website, and build your email marketing list, you’ll continue to grow the affiliate marketing side of your business and make more money.

9   Stay Relevant

Keep up to date on the latest offerings of your affiliate programs. New ad units, advertisers, and tools are constantly being added to improve usability and be more visually appealing. Small changes go a long way in motivating action by readers. You may be left out in the dust by being complacent with your strategy.

Don’t get lazy about monitoring trends and exploring new opportunities. For instance, if a certain diet or clothing trend is no longer popular you may want to remove that content and recommendation from your site; or update your post to acknowledge and reflect that.

Constantly be on the lookout for new products that are useful and relevant to your audience — the more products your promote and the higher the relevance to your audience, the more money you’ll make.

See Also: Follow These Affiliate Marketing Trends to Increase Sales

10   Content Comes First

Above all else, your content marketing strategy must be your highest priority.

Your content is your foundation, the life blood on which the site exists. Without valuable and helpful content, readers won’t come. Focus on providing excellent content and the monetizing strategies will work out.

Once you start compromising your content to cater to the affiliate programs or any of the other ways to make money online, you will lose your readers. Once that happens, you will lose the opportunity to receive any earnings from any of your ads, be they CPM, CPC, or referral based.

It can’t be stressed enough that the quality of your content will be the single biggest factor in the credibility of your website, blog, or business.

See Also: How to Promote Affiliate Products to Your Email List

Edited by Online Business/Hosting Expert Brian T. Edmondson

ByJohn Allen

Can You Make Money from Affiliate Marketing?

I do not believe in easy money and there are no magical tips in this article that will help you get rich overnight. So if you are after easy money then this article is not for you.

This article mainly covers the following topics:

  • What affiliate marketing is and the different types of affiliate marketing
  • The advantages of being an affiliate marketer
  • Some tips and good practices to become a successful affiliate marketer

So, can you really make money from affiliate programs? Well yes and no; there is money in affiliate marketing but if YOU can make money from it or not depends on a lot of other factors such as your commitment, experience, site traffic etc.

What is Affiliate Marketing?

According to Wikipedia

“Affiliate marketing is a marketing practice in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought about by the affiliate’s marketing efforts”

Basically, you as a publisher will be rewarded when you help a business by promoting their products or services. So for example, if you sign up for Tips and Ticks HQ’s affiliate program and promote it’s products then you will get a commission when the visitor you send from your site makes a purchase.

Affiliate marketing is probably one of the quickest and cheapest (not the easiest) ways to start making money online as you don’t have to create any products yourself. You simply link up a buyer and a seller, and you take a commission on the sale that has been referred by you.

How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?

When you join an Affiliate program and choose the products that you want to sell, sellers provide you with a unique affiliate code that you can use to refer traffic to the target site. Most affiliate programs will offer ready made text links, banners and other forms of creative copies whereby you only have to copy the code and place it on your website to start referring traffic. When interested visitors click on these links from your site they get redirected to the product site and if they purchase a product or subscribe to a service you as the referrer make a commission.

The sellers can track your performance through your affiliate ID and the affiliate software.  You also have complete, real time access to all sales and commissions stats.

You don’t need to sell products all the time to make a commission. Different affiliate programs can use different payment terms such as:

  • Pay per Sale: In this program a merchant pays you a percentage of the sale price when the purchase is completed.
  • Pay per Click: In this program you get paid based on the number of visitors you redirect to the Merchant’s website from your affiliate site, whether or not a sale is made.
  • Pay per Lead: You get paid once the referred visitors provide their contact information on the target site by filling out a simple contact form.

Why be an Affiliate Marketer?

Affiliate marketing is considered to be one of the world’s fastest growing and best internet marketing techniques to earn money online and I will explain why:

  • Cost effective: Marketing on the internet is cheap and you don’t have to worry about the production cost as the product is already developed by the seller. You don’t need a physical business location or hire employees either.
  • Global Market: Online marketing gives you the opportunity to reach people all over the world easily.
  • No Fees: You don’t need to pay anything to join affiliate programs.
  • No Storage No Shipping: You don’t need to worry about storage, packing or shipment of the product. They are all taken care of by the seller.
  • No customer support: You don’t need to provide any customer support or deal with consumer complaints as the Seller does that for you.
  • Passive income: A regular job can give you a fixed income as long as you continue to work. Depending on your marketing skill Affiliate marketing can create a steady flow of income even when you are not in front of your computer.
  • Work from home: If you make enough money then you don’t have to worry about going to work at the same time every day or getting stuck in traffic. You can work in the comfort of your own home.

Tips on Becoming a Successful Affiliate Marketer

After reading all the benefits of affiliate marketing if you think you will be rich over night by selling affiliate products online then you are wrong. Affiliate marketing is definitely an excellent way to make money online but it’s highly competitive too. In order to be successful in Affiliate marketing you need to know the market needs, learn how to promote products, what works and what doesn’t. The following are a few tricks on becoming successful in affiliate marketing that I have learnt over time.

1. Only Choose a Handful of Good Products

The first mistake a lot of affiliate marketers make is that they register with too many different affiliate programs and try to promote everything. Pursuing affiliate marketing down this path can become very overwhelming and you won’t be able to promote any product properly. All you need in order to be successful is a handful of good products to promote. Try to understand the market needs and look for products that align correctly with the topic of your site.

2. Use Several Traffic Sources to Promote Products

Most affiliate marketers put up the ads only on their sites. There is nothing wrong with this approach but know that there are many other traffic sources that you can tap into and promote the products simultaneously. The more targeted traffic you can send to the sales page the more your chances are of making money.

Google Adwords can be used to drive targeted traffic to a sales page. You simply make an ad in your adwords account then use your affiliate link in the target page URL of the ad. Obviously, you will have to continuously measure the conversions and see if the campaign cost is less than the campaign profit in order to keep the campaign running but I am sure you get the idea.

3. Test, Measure and Track Your Affiliate Campaign

It is a very good idea to use different product promotion strategies so you can figure out what is working and what is not. Try to do split testing and measure the performance of each campaign then take actions accordingly. Changing a few things here and there can increase your profit dramatically. Make sure to place the banner ads on different areas of your site’s pages. Some positions will make the ads more noticeable than others.

Most affiliate programs will give you basic stats that you may need but there is nothing stopping you from using your own conversion tracking software too. There are many conversions tracking sofware out there that you can use to track your affiliate campaign.

4. Research the Demand of the Product

If you try to sell a product that is in low demand then chances are that you are not going to get many sales no matter how hard you try. So it is a good idea to spend a bit of time researching and finding out if a product that you are thinking of promoting is a product that your audience needs. If your site gets decent traffic then you can conduct an online survey and easily get input from your visitors.

5. Stay Current with New Methods and Techniques

Affiliate marketing is a very competitive field and people are always coming up with new techniques. Try to stay current with these new techniques and market trends otherwise you will fall behind.

6. Choose the Right Merchant

When you promote a product you also promote the person or the company who is behind the product so try to choose wisely. You don’t want your visitors to go and buy a product following your advice then come back unhappy. Do you think that this visitor will come back to your site and take your advice again? Most likely no; this can hurt your credibility in the long run. Usually, websites/company that offer good customer service will have better customer satisfaction so try to stick with promoting their products.

7. Use Helpful Tools

If you are serious about affiliate marketing then try to find tools that will help you be more efficient. There are many helpful tools out there. If you are using a WordPress powered site then consider getting a plugin similar to the Affiliate Link Manager.

Don’t just hope and pray that visitors will buy; setup everything correctly and make it happen! If you think that visitors will click on your affiliate links and buy just because you placed dozens of affiliate links on your website then you are wrong! You need to have a structured plan in place. Affiliate marketing is a business so you will have a much better chance of succeeding if you treat it like one.

I am sure I haven’t covered everything so please feel free to share your tips in the comment area below.

Read original article at TipsAndTricks-HQ.com

ByJohn Allen

Use Our Smart Phone App and Get Emergency Ready

Sign up and download our easy-to-use smart phone APP where one button click alerts all needed emergency services in Mexico to come to your aid.

ByJohn Allen

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For just an average of $ 9.00 USD per month, you can live in Mexico safe and secure without worry