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Free Link Building Tips

August 16, 2006

If you haven’t seen it yet, go check out the free link building guide that Aaron Wall and Andy Hagans have put together by clicking here.

It’s an excellent read.

Should I Add your Blog?

August 14, 2006

Darren Rowse of Problogger has another group writing projectthis time with prizes!

In this project Darren is asking bloggers to write a list of anything and submit it.

I am always making lists in my day to day life. My wife says that one of my top skills is list making. What I find so funny about that is how very few lists I create on my blogs. I am very thankful for this group writing project, because it might help me to start writing more lists on my blogs.

When I first saw the project, I immediately thought of submitting “top ten tidbits of advice for Dads to be”. So did my wife Jill. I have had a lot of people tell me how funny they thought it was. However, Darren doesn’t want people submitting old lists so…

I decided to make a list of the top 10 blogs that I read on a regular basis. Note: these are not all blogs about making money, and it was hard to rank them.

Here is the list of blogs that I currently spend the most time reading:

1. All of the blogs my wife Jill writes for.
It should go without saying, but I read most of my wife’s posts and her blogs will always be number one for me.

2. ProBlogger
I read most of the posts on Problogger. Darren’s blogging advice has been very useful.

3. Aaron Wall’s SEOBook
Aaron Wall’s blog is a fun read if you are into SEO like myself. While I occasionaly check out other SEO blogs, Aaron’s is my favorite to read. Aaron’s blog almost came in second for me. It was hard to decide between 2 and 3, but Problogger won out because Darren’s posts are more frequent and more consistent.

4. Thread Watch
Whenever I am looking over my RSS subscriptions and a headline from Thread Watch intrigues me I take a peek.

5. TechnoSailor
I have recently started reading Aaron Brazels blog and enjoy it a lot.

6. Performancing
Performancing was close to being number 4 on this list. When Performancing first came on the scene I would have ranked it number 3. I think that if the postings were more consistent and more frequent I would move Performancing up to number 4 on my list.

7. Jason Calcanis blog
A couple of times a month I try to catch up with what Jason is talking about. It is pretty good reading. I think Jason is an excellent business man and while I don’t always agree with him, a lot be can learned by reading his blogs and listening to his interviews.

8. SFSignal
I occasionally have to see what my coworkers are writing on their science fiction blog. Especially since one of them reads everything I write on “If I were President

9. I gotta Tell You
Internet Marketer Jim Edwards of Minisitecreator fame has an excellent blog that I enjoy reading. Actually, these days most of his posts are really fun marketing videos.

I check out Donna’s blog every now and then to see her view on what’s happening in the Search Engine World.

If you weren’t on this list, please don’t be offended. It’s just that I couldn’t add all the blogs that I read to a top ten list. Any of you who would like to be in my next list, just post your blog in my comments, so I can go visit your blog and add them to the feeds I keep an eye on.

There were quite a few blogs that almost made my list. Here are just a few blogs (not all) that were really close to cracking my top ten in no particular order:

Jeremy Zawodny Blog
Michel Fortin Blog
Seth Godin.

What do you think about the list? Should I add your blog to my ever growing list of RSS subscriptions?

Weekly Update – Visions, Summer Olympics, Contests, and a Marketing Course

August 11, 2006

This week Jill and I spent some time working on our business plan and I redefined my monetary goals for our business.

Our homeschooling contest ended last night. We will be announcing a winner soon and I plan on discussing what I learned from running my first online contest.

I have not talked about it yet on this blog, but Mareike (our friend in Germany) is going to be interning for us in Beijing this summer. She is going over there to do some early reporting for our Summer Olympics blog. We are excited about that. This week we worked together on a prioritized list of things we would like her to accomplish while she is there. Mareike is majoring in Chinese and she spent a year in Beijing studying, so she knows the area and she has friends there. It will be fun for her and profitable all at the same time.

Also, early this week I received a full blown Internet Marketing course that costs almost a thousand dollars. It has 11 audio cds and 12 training video cds. I have gotten through some of the audio cds and I am very impressed so far. I am not sure how long it is going to take to get through all the materials. My guess is maybe 2 -3 weeks. It will depend on how much time I can dedicate to it. When I am finished I will write a review of the product. So far, so good.

I look forward to a busy week next week and hope you enjoy your weekend.

Link Building Question from A Reader

August 10, 2006

Dale of The Dessert Cafe asked a question on my website promotion book blog, that I thought I would answer over here, since the purpose of that blog is primarily to reproduce most of my book.

Dale asked:

I have been doing a lot of work trying to get links, one way and recip., I just can’t keep up, I get some than I loose some. What really hurts is when I loose my google links, it really hurts my ranking when people search for my key words. This has hurt my sales. What to do?

I don’t really have the time to do a complete SEO analysis of your site for free, but here is my short answer:

An initial look at your site tells me that you need to get lots of quality links to get decent Search Engine traffic to your site. Unfortunately, storefront ecommerce sites are not the easiest type of site to get natural links to, which means you will probably need to continue link building for the life of the site.

If you can afford it, hire a professional link building company. And don’t go cheap on this, cheap will likely get you junk links. Go with a respected link builder like Andy Hagans. This way you won’t have to worry about the link building as much and can be sure that you are getting quality links to your site.

If you can’t afford to hire someone, then you are going to have to do it yourself. Most people searching for desserts are probably searching for dessert recipes. You might need to create some free dessert recipes or better yet create free dessert recipe blog to help draw more traffic to your dessert store. Personally, I would recommend the blog option. A blog can be a great tool for promoting your business. If you are interested in blogging I higly recommend you start reading Pro Blogger, and Performancing. If you are the type of person who prefers to learn via a course then I recommend taking the six figure blogging course by Darren Rowse and Andy Wibbels.

In the online store business you need to find a way to make your site unique. You need it to stand out like a Purple Cow. Creating a blog might do that. But also think of other ideas like giving free cooking advice, or hiring someone to creating a dessert baking video game or quiz, create a cake that really stands out (providing these are your cakes and you aren’t drop shipping them), having free monthly giveaways for people who make purchases, etc. You have to stand out from the crowd to get free natural links to your site.

Use Pay Per Click Advertising (PPC). PPC advertising is an easy way to get traffic to your site. However, you need to have a good product that has a high conversion rate for this to work. If your conversion rate is low you need to find out why that is (it probably is because your landing pages are NOT doing a good job of selling your customers, or there aren’t really that many people that would want your product).

Note: PPC is not useful if when your products are priced low.

For a detailed look at PPC I recommend checking out this free PPC ebook by clicking here.

Ultimately, the best ways to get long term traffic to your website are to build relationships, and make your site unique.

I already talked about making your site unique, so I will just quickly talk about what I mean by “build relationships”. Creating relationships, through forums, mailing lists, partnering with other business owners in your field and so forth, will skyrocket the amount of traffic you get to your site. However, relationships take time to build. If you become part of the community you are targeting, it will become much easier to get traffic to your site. The sites I have had the quickest results with, were highly tied to a community I was already heavily involved in.

Anyone else have suggestions for Dale?

PS. The links that Google shows is not accurate picture of the links that Google counts for your site. Google plainly states that their link command only shows a small sample of the links that they know about. It is much better to use Yahoo’s linkdomain command or MSNs Link command. I would not rely on Google’s link command to analyze your link building success.

New Big Money Goal

August 9, 2006

I have decided that my definition for Big Money is going to change. I still think $1000/day is big money, but when I am honest with myself what I would really like to make is a million dollars (or more) per year. So I am going to change my definition of big money to being 1 million dollars a year.

That is a lot of money, but imagine how many people you could help with that kind of money, not to mention how many ipods you could buy…

So with my new goal, I decided to take the formula that Rich Schefren gave in his Internet Manifesto book and apply it. If you didn’t read the book, here’s a brief synopsis of the forumula Rich talks about, which is actually a formula he got from John Reese (which is where I first learned the formula as well).

What I did was take my long term income goal, subtracted what I am currently making from it, and then I took 10% of the difference and added that back to what I was currently making. That becomes my short term goal.

Here’s how the numbers looked:

1 million dollars a year – 12,000 dollars a year = 988,000 /yr.

988,000 /yr x .10 = 98,800 /yr

98,800 + 12,000 = 110,000 /yr (my short term goal)

110,000 per year is much easier to reach than my long range goal of a million dollars per year. I broke that number down further to the amount of money per hour that I wanted to make. Since 1 year is 52 weeks and since I want to work 20-30 hours a week. Here is what my short term hourly rate looks like:

110,000 / 52 = 2115 /week

2115 /20 hrs = $105 / hr

2115 /30 hrs = $70/hr

Therefore, my short term goal is to make somewhere between $70/hr and $105 /hr. I decided that $100/hr would be a good goal, it’s a nice even number that falls into the range that I set up for my short term goal.

So my first step is to make on average $100/hr. We made close to that amount with the Winter Olympics Blog, so I am confident Jill and I can reach that goal.

Right now, my wife and I are working on setting up goals for our business and creating a vision for our business. I will talk about that process some in the near future.

What are the short term and long term financial goals you have for your business?

Fun Blogging Quiz

August 8, 2006

I just took this real fun blogging quiz over at Problogger. It’s a quick and fun quiz to take. It said I was a “serious amateur”, because I got 24 out of 40 points.

Anyway, if you are a blogger then you can click here to take the pro blogger quiz.

When you are finished come back here and let me know how you did.

Did you score more point than I did?

No Vision Yet – Business Update for First Week of August

August 3, 2006

This has been another very busy week outside of my business. So I didn’t get a lot of time to work on my business this week.

I am still working on creating a compelling vision for our business. I will let you know what we decide, once we make a decision about that. The one thing I do know is that I will be asking for help from other people whose strengths are different than ours.

Also, an affiliate manager for a fairly underground Internet Marketer contacted me last week, and I have been looking through their products. So far I am very impressed and will tell you more about them in the near future.

One last thing, our $500 dollar giveaway on our homeschooling wiki ends in a week (August 10th). So if you want to contribute or know of any homeschoolers who would be interested in contributing to the wiki and be entered into the drawing, please forward this on to them.

Questions, Questions, Questions

August 2, 2006

Questions are an invaluable tool in life. I learned a long time ago that asking the right questions help us greatly improve our day to day life.

We should all be asking the right questions about our business.

Some of the current questions I am trying to figure out the answer to for our business are:

How is our business going to be different than everyone else?
What is our greater cause?
What will we provide that other people don’t provide that will cause people to want to work for us?
How can Jill and I use our strengths to create a business that is unique and that other people will want to be involved in?

What questions are you asking about your online business?

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