Welcome to my blog. If you are reading this page then you probably want to known a little more about me
I have been working online since 2000 and I am very lucky to be able to make a living from working online. I run a wide variety of websites online however I also make money through blogging for others.
Through this blog, I hope to share my experiences from working online and help others make money too. I mostly write about blogging, social media, technology, making money online and the WordPress platform.
Being self employed via the internet has also allowed me to travel the world doing what I love. Although I still own a house in my native Scotland, for the last few years I have been living and travelling around South America.
I hope you enjoy the blog. If you enjoy reading my blog, I encourage you to subscribe to my newsletter to get daily or weekly updates. I regularly offer discounts and freebies of my products to my newsletter subscribers so make sure you don’t miss out.
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The Longer Story
Everyone falls into the world of internet marketing in different ways. It’s always interesting to hear about the path others have taken. Here’s my story
The Very Beginning – 2000 to 2003
Working online was a natural progression for me. I had enjoyed video games ever since I can remember. I used to play the Atari 2600 all the time when I was younger and shared a Commodore 64 with my brother too. To load games on the Commodore 64 you regularly had to input long pieces of code. Then wait for an insane amount of time for the games to load. Happy days.
I then learned Basic and Comal in high school. From the first day, programming was a subject I enjoyed. In 1996, at the age of 17, I went to University to take on a degree in Maths, Statistics and Finance. I had chosen C+ as one of my additional classes. Looking bad, I should have changed my maths degree to computing as I picked up coding easily and really enjoyed it (though at the time I didn’t want to set myself back a year).
University was my first introduction to using the internet. It’s easy to forget what life was like before the internet was so widespread. In my first year, every student had to take a compulsary course which showed you the basics of the internet. The class involved setting up an email address and learning what the internet did. Looking back, it seems crazy that we had to take a course in setting up a Yahoo email account, though I do remember many people struggled with it. It was in that class I set up my first email account.
Perhaps more important was what I spent my University grant on. Many students simply blew any government grant they got by getting drunk in the student union. I worked at least 4 times every week at a local swimming pool as a lifeguard, so whilst I wasn’t flush for money, I had enough to go out when I wanted. So my whole grant was spent on something very useful: a computer.
It cost around 1,700 for a Pentium PC with 166MHZ MMX (remember the power of MMX!!!!). I used the computer for some university work but I mostly used it for games and connecting to the internet. It regularly crashed. It was more common for computers to crash back then. It was kind of a good thing as it forced you to resolve problems yourself and because of it, I was more computer savvy than most of my friends.
In 2000 I registered my first domain name. Me and my friend had read about domain names and how you could make money by buying and selling them to other people. Like many first time domain buyers, we registered a domain but couldn’t sell it….what did we expect, we knew nothing about it. Rather than have the domain name sit there and do nothing, I decided to build a website with it. Little did I know, this little decision would change the direction my life would take.
My first website in 2000 was a shopping directory. By today’s standards, it looked terrible, however back then it didn’t look out of place. All I did was link to shopping websites using affiliate links and do a small review of each website. It made enough money to keep me interested in working online. I recall one particular day when someone bought expensive Jewelry through my site. I got close to £1,000 in commissions…then Commission Junction later rejected it (Boooo!). I still remember how excited I was to see that amount of money generated by one referral.
For the first year or so I created all my websites using notepad. Most people were creating websites using FrontPage at the time however I’m glad I did it the way I did as I became proficient with HTML. This was before I started using databases and server side includes so when I made one small change in the design, I had to make that change in dozens and dozens of HTML files and then upload the files using Leech FTP.
In 2001, I went back to university to do a post graduate course in Software Development. Back then there were no courses available for web design or working on the web and Software Development was the closest match to what I wanted to do. The course didn’t cover anything that helped me with working online. There was one basic class on web design and I knew more than the teacher. Great!
It wasn’t a complete waste of time. In my Software Development course I studied Java. Like C+, Java is an object-oriented language, which would help me when dealing with PHP in later years. Between 2001 and 2003 I built, developed and sold hundreds of websites and domains. I launched a very successful football forum using vBulletin in 2001. I wasn’t able to monetize it. This was years before Google Adsense was released and advertising companies were reluctant to accept forums as they weren’t considered good quality. Eventually, I just offered the forum to the members to nothing. It was costing me $60+ a month in hosting fees and bringing in nothing. Little did I know, if I had held onto it for a few years I would have sold it for thousands of dollars later.
During this time I tried out dozens of content management systems such as PostNuke and PHPNuke. These scripts made publishing articles much easier than coding websites myself. I still developed most sites using PHP header and footer templates manually.
One such website was my affiliate website Affiliate-Review, which I launched in the Summer of 2002. I reviewed dozens of affiliate networks through the site and gave each network a rating out of ten. It was launched with discussion forums, however I later moved the forums to its own domain at Affiliate-Talk.com. The site generated revenue through referral commissions.
All the affiliate networks promised “lifetime referral commissions“. As anyone who has been involved with affiliate networks will tell you, there is no such thing. FastClick was one of the networks I promoted heavily (it was one of the biggest ad networks at the time before being bought by ValueClick). Despite referring them hundreds of new members, they decided a year or two later to stop paying referral commissions to affiliates. It was a harsh lesson that I’ve never forgotten: companies that promote referrals for life will only pay you as long as they want to. Unfortunately, over the years I have had dozens of companies screw me over by suddenly stopping affiliate referral commissions.
There are still some good guys out there who honoured the agreements with affiliates. For example, I promoted HTML templates a lot in 2001 and 2002. To this day, MyTemplateStorage generates a few hundred dollars a year for me.
Through 2002 and 2003 I built and sold a lot of websites. I made developed several discussion forums (e.g. webmasterads.com, webmasterarena.com, WebSiteTrading.net etc.), made a lot of money with a ringtones website called Ringtones King and had over a dozen webmaster related websites, all of which I promoted under the banner Webmaster Empire.
I sold lots of domains too. One sale in particular pleased me…and still does to this day. In 2003 I was living and working in Edinburgh, the capital of my homeland Scotland. I was working around 50 hours a week as I was saving up to go my first backpacking trip. My seat was perfect as my back was against the wall. The only person who could see my computer was my boss and she was constantly walking around the office talking to people. I took a pride in my work and always finished the most work in my team, however I took every opportunity I could to make some extra money. Whilst other people were wasting time at work visiting news websites, I was searching for domains to register.
Each day I would arrive around 8am. One day I found a good domain and registered the .com, .net and .org of the domain. By Lunchtime I had sold the domains for $300+. Not a bad turnaround for an investment of less than $24. I had sold some domain collections for more however I had never flipped a domain so quickly.
Looking back at this time, I wish I focused on one website rather than spreading my time and energy over so many websites. Whilst I did make a lot of money from affiliate commissions and a few ad sales, most of my money was being generated through building websites and selling them to others. I had in excess of 50 websites at any one time and was constantly building and selling them. This was a long time before Flippa, so I advertised websites for sale over dozens of related discussion forums.
I believe that spending so much time trading websites and domains during that period (2000-2003) stopped me from becoming successful with any one website, I did gain a huge amount of experience. I was constantly making mistakes during this time but the lessons I learned have helped me ever since.
The Gambling Years 2004 to 2007
I used to frequently watch the TV show Late Night Poker, a late night poker show from the UK. It played a huge part in the poker explosion in the UK and is famous for being the first every show in the world to show poker using the under-the-table camera technique. I have no doubt that this paved the way for other poker shows around the world and the huge explosion of poker that followed.
As soon as I started playing Poker, I was hooked. I played all the time. I played with friends, I played online, I played at a local poker club, and I played at the Casino club (for the record, I’m not a big gambler). The only nights I wasn’t playing poker was the nights I was training at Taekwondo.
I also launched lots of mirror websites. One particular gambling network allowed you to download mirrors. Essentially, there are pre-made websites that have your affiliate link attached. One afternoon I registered over a dozen gambling names and uploaded the mirrors. I probably spent less than an hour doing this. Yet, I made thousands and thousands and dollars from it. It was crazy. I don’t know how I managed to rank so highly for those websites as I only linked them to each other.
My biggest success came with TexasHoldemForums.com, a poker discussion forum that I initially launched as HoldemForums.com. It was initially launched in 2004, just a few months before I returned to Asia for a 3 month backpacking trip (that took in 6 countries in South East Asia). It proved very popular however at the end of the year I made a mistake… a huge mistake! I had the bad habit of working late and sometimes I would get lazy, making quick changes to the site or the database without making a complete backup.
I managed to delete one of the tables by accident. I wasn’t too worried as my host had rolled back the server in the past when someone I sold a website to reversed the funds, stole a website from me and deleted all content. They had recovered the website for me on that occasion but this time, they were not able to. I had a backup, but it was from months before. Due to the error, the forum lost hundreds of members and thousands of threads.
It turned out to be a blessing in disguise. An idiotic mistake by me had given me the determination to make the site a success. From January 2005 I started investing heavily in it. I used a lot of funds from my credit card in order to get it going. Within 6 months it was profitable. Very profitable. In May and June 2005 I cleared more than $20,000 per month through Pokerstars alone. I cleared the debt I had put on my credit card, cleared my students loan and paid for my brothers honeymoon. At that rate, I was going to be a millionaire within just a few years. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to last. Pokerstars changed the way they tracked things and I went from referring thousands per month to hundreds. My income dropped to around $5,000 per month, which was still a lot of money.
The website made me money through referrals. I would put up prize money of a few hundred or a few thousand dollars for a poker tournament. Players were only able to register if they signed up under my account and became a referred player by me. I held dozens of tournaments every week for years.
I ran the website like a business, which is why it was so successful. I reviewed products and books, I wrote in depth tutorials about poker and I interviewed famous poker players. It had a blog for news (members had blogs too) and there was a photo gallery. I had a custom hand history converter that parsed poker histories for posting on the forum, and I had a unique poker odds calculator application developed that worked out the odds of winning a hand.
I effectively split the forum in two by moving free tournaments to a dedicated website entitled FreerollForums.com This was something I had to do at the time as the paid poker tournaments attracted good poker players and the freeroll tournaments attracted idiots (well, 99% were idiots). I lter reversed this decision and sold the forum and brought free tournaments back to THF (which is what TexasHoldemForums was commonly known as).
TexasHoldemForums was a full time job. I had over 8,000 posts on the forum and a large percentage of my posts were thousands of words long. I worked damn hard on it. It generated income through dozens of different gambling related websites. The biggest earners were PokerStars and FullTiltPoker. PokerStars generated more than $95,000 dollars alone whilst FullTiltPoker cleared between $1,000 and $2,000 every month consistently for several years. Many other poker companies generated a few hundred dollars every month too.
My enthusiasm for the site slowly waned over time and I didn’t work on it as much. I still set up tournaments and made sure it ticked over ok, however I was kind of lazy with it as it generated so much money on autopilot. I effectively made over $100K over for a year or two with a few hours work a week. Which I can’t complain about, however I should have been smarter. I should have developed more websites during the time and show the same motivation I had in previous years.
TexasholdemForums was eventually sold for $40,500 on Flippa on in 2008. I was quite lucky with the sale. The buyer didn’t want me to transfer the affiliate accounts to him. So he sent me $10,000 less….but those affiliate accounts went onto to make me at least three times that over the next two years.
In 2010, the poker industry was destroyed by ban on poker in the USA. Even though it had been over two years since I sold my last gambling related website, I still had all affiliate accounts in my name. I literally had thousands of players reffered by me under my account. Many poker companies such as PokerStars that paid a set commission around $75 whenever a player made their first deposit. So my income through poker companies like that continued to drop every month to the point where I was making less only a few hundred dollars a month.
I still made ok money through poker companies that paid a set percentage of the earnings a player made a poker company. Full Tilt was one of these companies. When the ban came into play I was still earning between $1,00 and $1,500 a month through them. That money disappeared overnight. Tens of thousands of players and affiliates lost money. It didn’t matter if a player had tens of thousands of dollars in their account, the money was lost. Some poker affiliates lost millions due to this move. Full Tilt Poker was later relaunched in November 2012, having been purchased by PokerStars. Unfortunately, PokerStars decided not to honour the thousands of dollars that FullTiltPoker affiliates were owed. Many large poker websites sued PokerStars in response.
Some poker companies, such as Cake Poker, continue to generate a little for me every year, though the decision by FullTilt/Pokerstars not to honour payments to affiliates was the final nail in my gambling coffin. Thankfully, by the time this happened, I had moved into something new altogether.
Progression into Blogging – 2006 Onwards
In 2006 I heading to New Zealand, for what would be a 9 month trip taking in Thailand, Australian, New Zealand, Japan and Germany. This was my third major trip backpacking, having travelled in 2003 and 2004 (in 2005 I spent some time in the USA).
I developed a blog in order to keep friends and family back home updated of my travels. I tried several blogging platforms, however the one I settled for was Serendipity. It was a great little script (and is still updated actively today). I had been using content management systems (CMS) for years though most were bloated and full of unnecessary features that I never used.
Blogging scripts were so much easier to install, develop and maintain than the CMS scripts I had used previously. This led me to start using blogging platforms to build websites. I started building mini-sites using blogging platforms. Most only had around 10 pages or so. I did attempt to update them regularly with new blog posts, however I simply didn’t have the time to update them actively whilst travelling etc.
Me and my friends stayed in New Zealand for nearly 6 months. We had an apartment in the capital, Auckland, directly across from the Sky Tower. When they went off to work, I started looking for a new project. I was still making a lot of money through poker referrals, however I was really excited about blogging and the thought of writing every day. This led me to launch BloggingTips in March 2007. The blog was launched using the blogging platform WordPress. I had tested many different blogging platforums, and whilst I still used Serendipity for a few websites, WordPress was a better platform for commercial websites due to the number of themes and plugins available.
BloggingTips was launched with the domain name bloggingtips.org, however I managed to secure bloggingtips.com shortly afterwards. I worked hard on the site. It was perhaps a little strange of me to giving blogging advice to others initially as I hadn’t been actively blogging for long. The thing is, by this point I had been working online for seven years. Several years earlier I had developed websites which gave advice on website trading, HTML, search engines, building websites, website promotion and more. Sure, I was still learning about the subtle differences that made blogging different, however 90% of the articles I wrote tackled subjects I had wrote about several years before.
I run BloggingTips for 3 years. During that time I launched a WordPress theme store, a blogging discussion forum, released several eBooks to readers for free, and grew the blog to over 8,000 subscribers.
The blog was updated 3 to 4 times per day by myself and a dozen other bloggers. When I sold the site in 2010, it had over 2,500 published articles. The site was sold for $60,000 to affiliate marketer Zac Johnson. I always wanted to keep the site long term, however after three years of running the site, I felt that I needed a challenge, and it can be difficult to throw yourself into a project if you are busy maintaining another website.
Selling wasn’t a decision I made overnight. For months I had been doing research for my next blog. The topic I was going to focus on was WordPress. I had written hundreds of articles about the WordPress platform and used it for most of my websites, so I didn’t have to think too long about what my new blog would be.
By the time BloggingTips was sold, I had already written dozens of articles for my new blog. The new blog was called WPMods.com. It focused on WordPress modifications: Themes, Plugins, Resources, News, Views & Tutorials.
In hindsight, I should have sold BloggingTips at a later date. If I had launched WPMods off the back of BloggingTips, I could have pushed a lot of traffic to it right from the start. Whilst I did plan the launch of the blog well, I didn’t take advantage of the readership that BloggingTips had. It wasn’t a complete mess up. I had learned a lot during my three years of running BloggingTips, and it helped me establish WPMods quickly.
What was strange was that traffic grew twice as quick as my last blog, however in comparison, very few people subscribed. I realised that this was the nature of the subject. When someone has a problem with WordPress, they do a search for the problem, find it, and move on. Having a slow subscription rate compared to BloggingTips was never a major problem, and within 2 years the blog had become much more profitable than BloggingTips had in 3 years.
This wasn’t luck. Whilst I did post short news stories from time to time, I also focused a lot on in depth reviews. Many theme and plugin reviews were between 2,000 and 5,000 words long. The graphic resource articles that I published brought in huge amounts of traffic. One of the resources took me over 60 hours to complete.
In 2012, I decided to sell WPMods.com. Once again, I wanted a fresh challenge, and I knew that with a long backpacking trip around South America planned, I didn’t have the time to work. I did give a lot of consideration to outsourcing most work for the blog. I decided that selling would not only give me money, it would also free up my time. It was the right decision. The blog was sold in May 2012 for $80,000 on Flippa to Michael Jackness from WP Hub. Michael merged the content from WP Mods into WP Hub. It’s a shame that the site was not kept online though I understand his decision to do this, as I did this in the past after buying a poker forum for $5,000 in 2005.
To this day, I still chat to the buyers of my two major blogs regularly and have a great working relationship with them.
Martial Arts Websites – 2012 Onwards
I first started training in martial arts in 2000. I trained Taekwondo for many years however I’ve also trained in Muay Thai. Over the last few years I’ve tried to move more into Brazilian Jujitsu, though it’s been difficult as I suffered a serious neck injury in September 2010 that has stopped me from training regularly.
After selling WP Mods, I was looking for something to keep me busy. I had been living in Colombia for 11 months however I was returning to Scotland for two months before flying back to start my trip around the continent.
I create the Taekwondo tutition website Taekwondo Patterns many years ago. I had always wanted to develop to develop more martial arts websites. Selling WP Mods allowed me to do that.
I also launched three discussion forums: MMA Forums, Taekwondo Forums and Black Belt Forums. Both BloggingTips and WP Mods had discussion forums integrated with them, though this was my first launch of a stand-alone discussion forum since selling TexasHoldemForums in 2008 (i.e. forums that were not placed in the sub-directory of a blog).
I really enjoy developing discussion forums. The most difficult part is getting them launched. They can take a lot of work to get started. Once they have been established, you need to work hard to maintain the growth of the forum.
The growth of all three forums has stagnated a little due to me travelling so much, however I have big plans for them. I will be investing more money into these sites in the second half of 2013 as I try and take them onto the next level.
Relaunching Kevin Muldoon – 2013 & BeyondI registered the domain KevinMuldoon.com in 2002, and launched a blog here 5 years later. It was never a blog I took seriously. I always devoted my time to my commercial blogs, therefore this blog was never given the attention it deserves. I used it to post occasional updates about my websites though many of the posts were quite random: films, music, fitness, technology. Every post was different-no wonder I didn’t develop a readership.
For around a year I removed the blog and uploaded a static page instead. The page detailed the websites I owned and listed blogs I have written articles for. It was nothing more than a holding page.
Travelling South America was good for me. It gave me a long time to think about my career and where I want it to go. Mentally, I was ready to tackle something new.
I decided that this blog would be the hub of everything I did in the future. Therefore I relaunched this blog on November 30 2012.
My Love for Travel
Like most people in the UK, I had been to various places around Europe. Around a dozen two-week trips to Spain and various trips to other countries such as Ireland, Denmark and The Netherlands. My first serious trip was in 2003 when, at the age of 24, I set off with 3 other friends on a trip to the other side of the globe.
I had finished university at 19 with a degree in Maths, Statistics and Finance. After a year working in finance, I returned to University to do a Post-Graduate diploma in Software Development. The following year I sat my financial qualifications in order to give financial advice in the UK. In addition to studying, I was working 55+ hour weeks at my job to save money for my trip. I also worked on my websites at night. It was hard work, but it was worth it.
We set off on our trip in September 2003, stopping off in Thailand for a month on way to start our working visa in Australia. At the time, I was making more money from working on the internet than I could working a “real job” in Australia, which is why I only worked for 2 and a half days during my time there (a 2 contract at Time magazine entering subscriptions and training for the bank Westpac, before walking out on the first day due to their unethical policies which conned old people of their money). After being in Australia a few months, I decided to head back to Asia, as my money went further there. I spent a month in The Phillipines and another few weeks in Thailand.
The trip didn’t exactly go to plan. I didn’t see the things I wanted to see and I came home earlier than planned. However, from that moment on, I was hooked. I have loved travelling ever since. I came home earlier specifically to save money. After a few months back in the UK, I returned to Asia to complete a 3 month backpacking trip, taking in 6 countries. I’ve come to the age where I know I need to settle down if I want a family etc., however I know that travelling is going to be a passion of mine until I die.
I get a lot of emails from readers asking where I travelled, and whether I lived there or just stopped over. I’m not a big fan of telling people where I’ve been. A lot of travellers seem to think the more countries you’ve been to, the better you are as a traveller. It’s a lot of bull.
I’m not the most travelled person, however I have spent a lot of time in certain countries. Rather than repeat myself about this subject via email another 50 times, here’s a list of the countries I have visited. Enjoy:)
- Scotland (My home)
- Spain (12+ times)
- Czech Republic
- Phillipines (One month trip)
- Thailand (Over 9 months in total)
- Vietnam (Stayed for a month on my second trip there)
- Australia (4-5 months)
- New Zealand (6 months)
- United States (Several times)
- Colombia (I have a Colombian visa. Lived there for over a year)
- Ecuador (Lived in Cuenca for a month)
- Paraguay (Lived in Asunción for a month)
There are so many cities, countries and places I want to visit. Too many to mention here. I know I’ll never visit them all, however I’ll do my best to see everything I can before my time is up.
Thank You for Reading
If you want to know more about me, please feel free to drop me an email and I’ll expand this page.
Thanks for reading.