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I Will Be Back Tuesday

April 13, 2007

Just so you know, I am going to San Antonio this weekend and won’t be back blogging until Tuesday. When I get back, I am going to test out writing a little more frequently. We will see how that goes…

Internet Marketing Tips From Around The Net 4/13/2007

April 13, 2007

I haven’t done much online reading this week, because I have been spending a lot of time going through both recent and previous editions of the Reese Report (more on that next week).

However, there was one article in particular that really caught my eye. I found it via this post by Aaron Wall.

The article is titled, “SERP Domination“. (SERP stands for – Search Engine Results Page and means the pages of results returned after searching for a keyword phrase in a Search Engine).

One of the most interesting things about the article is that I know people are doing similar things. The only things they weren’t doing was removing competing website links from wikipedia. I find that to be very underhanded, but I guess we all draw our own lines in the world of Internet marketing…

Anyway, you can click here to check out the article, but be forewarned that there is some colorful language.

Can You Make A Living With Affiliate Marketing?

April 12, 2007

Allan Gardyne gave some great tips on affiliate marketing in the interview I did with him. He makes his living from affililiate marketing, but maybe you are thinking that he is an exception to the rule.

Well, he’s not the exception. It is possible to make a really good living affiliate marketing.

I just went out to lunch with a friend who makes over 30,000/month from affiliate marketing. He doesn’t have a product, just websites and blogs. It is definitely possible to do.

If you are interested in adding affiliate marketing to your monetization strategy, but aren’t sure where to start, go to SiteSell’s Affiliate Master’s course and the Free Affiliate Classroom Magazine. And, of course, you’ll want to check out Allan Gardyne’s AssociatePrograms.com.

Let me know if you have any favorite affiliate marketing programs.

Free Expert Blog Optimization Tips

April 12, 2007

My friend Daniel Scocco of Daily Blog Tips just announced that he is giving away free blog optimization tips. Every Wednesday he will pick one blogger to work with on optimizing their blog. He will be helping that blogger with blog design, Blog layout, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), Blog Promotion Techniques, Blogging Strategy, and Blog Monetization.

I have considered offering a service like this, but I was going to charge between 500 and 1500 dollars. I think this is a great opportunity for new bloggers to get expert blog optimization advice for free.

For more information about the project, click here.

The 4 Simple Steps That Doubled My Blog Traffic In 4 Weeks

April 11, 2007

WAY COOL! I managed to double my blog traffic in 4 weeks time!

Last week, I had twice as many visitors as I did during the same period in March and 2.7 times as many page views. Which means I have already achieved the three month goal I set for myself in the blog traffic challenge.

Here are the 4 simple steps I took to double the traffic to my blog:

1. Made My Blog Design Look More Professional
I wasn’t really happy with the former design of my blog, but I couldn’t find the time to change it. Last month, I finally decided I just had to take the time to make this blog look better. Boy, am I glad I changed it. Having a nice, easy to navigate, easy to look at, user friendly design is one of the most important factors in having repeat visitors.

2. Wrote More Quality Content
I felt like this was either the first or second most important thing I did to increase my traffic. Since starting the blog traffic challenge, I have actually been writing a little less frequently (which I normally find means less traffic). However, I have put a lot more time and energy into creating quality content. It seems to be paying off.

3. Networked
I felt like this was either the first or second most important thing I did to increase my traffic. I have been spending a lot of time building strong relationships with other bloggers and Internet marketers. It really seems to be paying off, and it has been great making new friends.

This networking has consisted of:

A. Leaving comments on blogs and participating in the conversations.
B. Having email conversations with other bloggers and forming relationships with them.
C. Using MyBlogLog to conact and discuss things with other bloggers.
D. Interviewing bloggers and Internet marketers.

4. Tested Stumbleupon
Last week, I tested the service StumbleUpon. While it did not bring in a huge amount of traffic, it did account for some traffic. I will write more about my StumbleUpon results in a future post.

Before I go, I want to make a few things clear…

The fact of the matter is that this blog gets a lot of traffic from sources not accounted for by the four steps above (especially Search Engine traffic). It was getting decent Search Engine traffic, BEFORE I started the Blog Traffic challenge. I don’t want to go into detail about all the terms I get traffic for. However, I will point out that prior to announcing the blog traffic challenge this blog was ranked in the top 10 for the term “make money online” in Google. That along with other lucrative terms help bring this blog some good Search Engine traffic.

While, I haven’t done a lot of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for this blog over the past month, I have done some. In the blog traffic series I plan on sharing the basics of SEO and talk a little about some of the things I do to get Search Engine traffic to my blog.

Anyway, I am very happy that I have managed to double my traffic in 4 weeks. I look forward to hearing your success stories over the coming months.

Convince Me To Join AGLOCO

April 9, 2007

I have seen the word AGLOCO mentioned over and over, but haven’t really looked into it. From the little bit I have read about it, it seems like some sort of MLM scheme. I wanted to give YOU a chance to convince me it was a legitimate way to make money.

So here’s the deal. If you like AGLOCO (or if you don’t like it), go to the comments on this post and tell me why I should join AGLOCO . Please include your affiliate link in the comment.

If anyone convinces me to join AGLOCO , then I will use YOUR affiliate link to sign up for it.

Have at it!

Internet Marketing Tips From Around The Net 4/5/2007

April 6, 2007

This week I did a lot of reading online. Most of it was going through the list of 48 blogging mistakes. Here are some of the other articles that I enjoyed reading from around the web:

I Made $6549.52 From Blogging in March
Great Post by Yaro. As I said in the comments:


Excellent post. I think it is really cool that you have found a good balance between blogging and making money other ways online. I made the mistake of putting too much time into blogging and I am now thinking of ways to change that. I want more freedom with my time then what many of the top bloggers appear to have. I don’t want blogging to become a 9-5 job. More like 9-noon…

eMoms Birthday Party Contest – Grow Your Business with ShoeMoney & eMom!
Great contest idea by Wendy. Count me in. If you have a blog you should enter it as well. The prizes include tons of great free Intenet marketing products and advice.

The One Million Dollar Race
This looks like a fun contest. The rules aren’t complete yet, but the basic idea is you enter the competition to see who can earn a million dollars online the quickest. For those of us who are ultra competitive it may help motivate us to make more money. I will write more about this contest, once the rules are finalized.

My Take on Third Party Advertisement
Good post by Garry. I personally think that third party advertisers offer several advantages over going it on your own, like a bigger audience of potential advertisers, payment processing, etc. That said, I know that many people including my friend Austin, say that once you get enough traffic you should try to find a direct adveriser to sponsor your site.

The Ultimate Guide to Getting Lots of Link Love
An excellent guest post on problogger about getting links to your blog by Wendy.

Questioning the Legitimacy and Authenticity of Internet Marketing Advice & Sources
Great post by Aaron Wall about being careful about who you go to for advice and mentoring.

Gayla Reveals Her Income Sources

April 6, 2007

After my interview with Allan Gardyne, Allan checked out my interview with Gayla and he asked the question:


...
You mentioned promoting niche products and AdSense. What other methods are you using to monetize your blogs? (Perhaps George will be kind enough to refer this question to you.)

Gayla posted the response to Allan’s question on her blog. Since some of you wondered about that as well, I thought you would be interested in checking out Gayla’s response by clicking here. You also might want to bookmark the new page she created to track her blogging income sources.

Thanks Gayla for writing that post!

My Only Problem With The List of 48 Blogging Mistakes

April 5, 2007

My friend Daniel of Daily Blog Tips had his second group writing project last week. Daniel asked each of us to write about a blogging mistake we have made. My entry was this post about my point of view.

Here is a look at the other 47 entries (with my comments below the entry):

My Blogging Mistakes and Their Outcome by Thilak
Really nice post. I never tested the difference between having a link to your newsletter vs. having a subscription box, but Thilak’s results make sense to me.

A Star for a day. What I learned by Clever Dude
Very interesting story about copyright problems.

My Biggest Blogging Mistake: Posting Frequency by Chris
Excellent post about scheduling your posts. This was one of my favorites from the group.

Your Blog Will Perish for Lack of Vision by Shawn
Really nice post. Very similar to my entry.

My Biggest Blogging Mistake is not Updating Often Enough by Julian
Good article. Writing on your blog less than once a week is a good way to lose readers. Less than once month is a sure way to let your reaers know you are not interested in you blog, so why should they be?

DYH isn’t perfect? by Cory O’Brien
Cory is right. Picking a name for your blog is very important. When I picked a name for this blog, it took a long time. My wife Jill actually came up with the one I decided to go with, “Can I Make Big Money Online”. The name for this blog clearly explains it’s purpose and I like that.

Don’t Change the Name by Denise
It is definitely good to find a name and stick with it. If you want to change the name of your blog it might make more sense to start a brand new one and keep your other blog as well.

Why this Blog Looks this Way by Ben
It’s definitely important to plan ahead. Something I need to do a better job of when it comes to my online business.

My Blogging Mistake: Too Many Blogs by Green Llama
I was going to write about this mistake, but my friend Leroy beat me to it.

What is Wrong with my Blog. An Honest Self-Assessment by Bret
Bret had the same problem as I mentioned.

I Almost Ruined Everything by Annie
Interesting mistake. When blogging I think it’s very important not to do things that could get you in trouble at your 9-5 job and especially not into legal trouble.

Common Blogging Mistakes by Vijay
Vijay lists five common blogging mistakes in his post.

How to Not Run a Contest by Robert
I made a simialr mistake with a contest Jill and I ran on our homeschooling wiki. Didn’t have enough time to advertise it. It turned out ok though.

5 Things I Regret About March by Bill
A good list of five mistakes that Bill made.

Trying to Promote my Blog without enough Traffic by Nathan
Contests can be hit or misses, especially with new blogs.

Always Install WordPress on the Root Diretory by Daniel
I agree with Daniel on this one.

I should have included media contents by Madhur
Images and video definitely help make your blog more interesting. I don’t do much with video or graphics on this blog, but we liberaly use video on some of our other blogs.

The Biggest Blogging Mistake I did was not Blogging by Francesco
I think most bloggers probably wish they started earlier. Better late than never…

Learning from Mistakes: Opening Links in New Windows by Nirmal
Interesting usability post. When I was starting out I found a site that would not trade links with any site that opened links in new windows. I guess they aren’t the only ones who are annoyed by that.

Mr. Frisky Retreats with his Tail Between his Legs by Rory
I actually have done this same thing. My first blog (If I were President) was an experiment to see if I liked blogging. It turned out that I loved blogging. The problem is that my first blog was hosted free by blogger. If I were to move it to it’s own domain, I would write on it a lot more. Even if you just want to “experiment” with blogging, it’s probably best to go ahead and purchase web hosting for your “experimental” blog. If you don’t like it, then don’t renew the hosting and let the domain name registration expire. Sure, you are out a little money, but it’s less frustrating.

Use a Smart Permalink Structure on your Blog by Leftblank
Nice SEO tip.

Internet Explorer vs. Firefox Issues by Mark Paddock
It is very important to remember to test your blog or website in both browsers. It’s also important to test it with large and small fonts turned on. I use large fonts on my system, and some blogs are a mess when you turn on large fonts in Windows.

Not Having Drafts Saved for Rainy Days by Inspirationbit
This doesn’t really work for news/current events blogs, but it is definitely good to do on “how to” blogs.

Don’t Underestimate the Commitment by Andrew
It is important to plan to dedicate time to blogging.

Get your Own Domain and WordPress for your Blog by Andrew Flusche
Another good example of why it’s important to get your own domain name.

Delete Your First Blog Post by Mark Alves
Interesting mistake.

Don’t Forget to Use Blog Carnivals by Andrea
I have not entered blog carnivals, but have thought about it. My wife Jill has entered them and they do bring you extra traffic.

Why Blogs and Blogging Will Ruin your Self Discipline by Dave
I really like this tip. It is something I have been thinking about a lot lately.

Careful on How You Tag your Posts by Shankar
Good tip on tagging your blog posts.

Should’ve Gone WP Yesterday! by Jimbo
Good list of mistakes from Jimbo.

Don’t Make the Mistake of Monetizing your Blog Too Early by Maki
I actually saw a major SEO blog mention this as a mistake recently and meant to write about it then. I don’t believe that putting ads on your blog when you first start is really a mistake. I do agree that too many ads is a problem. However, I believe that bloggers should feel free to put ads on their blog from day one. The most successful blogging network in the world (Weblogs Inc.), had ads plastered all over their blogs when they started. They were so succesful that AOL paid a good amount of money to buy the company. I could certainly be wrong about this mistake, but Jason Calacanis’ millions seem to suggest otherwise.

PS. Maki’s blog is full of great information, I just don’t happen to agree with part of this tip.

Don’t Ignore the Basics of SEO by Simonne
Nice post on some SEO basics to keep in mind when posting.

Spending Too Much Time Link-Begging by David Paul
Good point. While I look for links, I don’t do it nearly as much as I try to create great content.

Lack of Predictability on Your Posts by Roberto
Very similar to my entry and a good read.

What to Do When You don’t Have Anything to Say by Philip Liu
I have done this before, and I agree with Philip.

Copying, Mimicking, Duplication by Paper Bull
I think most people would agree that it’s important to be unique.

Starting Too Many Blogs by Mohammed
Deja Vu… As I mentioned earlier, I almost wrote about this too.

Leaving the Amateur League of Blogging: the Hosting Lesson by Rene
I don’t agree with this one. It just doesn’t make sense for some people to move their blog to a dedicated server. It may not meet their budget either. I use a budget host (ipowerweb) and have had very few problems with them. However, once I get to a certain level of traffic/income then I will make the switch.

Be Careful how you Choose your Domain Name by Calvin
Good post on the importance of choosing a good domain name.

The Ad King by Jason
Good post on finding the right balance of advertising on your blog.

Move to your Own Domain Now by Gaurav
Another good read on buying a domain instead of going with a free blog host.

Lack of Persistence by Blake
Excellent post on the importance of persistence. I plan on talking about this more in the future, because of something I realized about myself a few weeks back.

Not Commenting Enough on other People’s Blogs by Somu
While it can take a lot of time, it’s definitely important to participate on other people’s blogs.

Failing to Realize the Importance of Relationships with Readers by Ronald
Another good post on building relationships.

Don’t Handle Important Matters Lightly by Amanda
Great post. I have made mistakes like this and it’s not fun cleaning up the mess.

Do not Underestimate the Important of RSS Feeds by Kevin
A lot of the top bloggers talk about this. That’s why I have recently moved my feed subscription button to the top right hand side of the navigation for this blog. I want to make it easy for people to subscribe to this blog’s feed.

Why you Should Own your Domain Name by Engtech
One more post about owning your own domain name. Since this was the most common mistake mentioned, it also may be one of the most important ones to remember.

That’s it for the blogging mistakes list.

Update: Ooops, I made a mistake when I posted this. I posted it with the wrong title. I meant to change the title when I decided to take this post a different direction. I guess that could be mistake number 49…

Interview With Affiliate Marketing Guru Allan Gardyne

April 4, 2007

This week I had the privilege of interviewing Affiliate Marketing guru Allan Gardyne of Associate Programs. When I was first looking into online opportunities, Allan was one of the first extremely successful Affiliate Marketers I read about. Allan owns many websites, including PayPerClickSearchEngines.com a directory of pay-per-click search engines and KeywordWorkshop.com, the first website to give comprehensive reviews of keyword research tools.

Allan I am honored to interview you. I have been a regular reader of your newsletter since I signed up for it 2 years ago.

Q. On your site, you say that you’ve been making a good living from affiliate programs since 1998. Did you do anything before that to make money online? What led you to affiliate marketing?

I started online in 1996 with a hobby business website aimed at people like me who have an intolerance to gluten. My wife, Joanna, and I had spent a lot of time experimenting with gluten-free recipes so I wrote and sold a gluten-free recipes ebook – although I’d never heard the word “ebook” in those days. I called it a “digital book”, which probably puzzled most of my visitors!

That old site still exists but I give the recipes away now.

Selling the book wasn’t terribly successful, especially at first, so I spent a lot of time studying how to market on the Internet. One of the books I bought had an affiliate program. I found the book useful, so I started promoting it on a niche website and received a few commission cheques.

I thought “This is great!” and wanted to find more affiliate programs. I searched for an affiliate directory and couldn’t find one, so I started my own. That’s how AssociatePrograms.com was born, early in 1998. Apparently there was already one affiliate directory, but I didn’t find it.

In a fairly similar way, in 1999 I saw people on a discussion list asking for a list of pay-pay-click search engines. I couldn’t find one, so I created PayPerClickSearchEngines.com and handed it over to an employee to manage.

Q. What were you doing before you started your online business?

I was a journalist – reporter, sub-editor, chief of staff – for daily newspapers in New Zealand and Australia.

Q. Who most influenced you when you were starting out?

My boss. I’d grown to hate my job and was striving to escape from a control freak boss. That was mighty powerful motivation.

I was broke when I started and made the time-wasting mistake of trying to do things purely by trial and error. As soon as I could afford to, I started buying marketing manuals and read voraciously. The first marketing book I read was written by Jim Daniels. I learned a lot from Corey Rudl, Ken Evoy, Marlon Sanders… and lots of other people.

Q. What was the best thing you did to increase your online income?

I sat down and analyzed my skills and interests and decided to build a business around them. I’d wasted a couple of years online before doing that.

Now I always advise people to design their own businesses to suit them. For me, starting websites and newsletters in fast-growing niches was a really good decision.

Q. How has affiliate marketing changed in the past ten years, and how do you see it changing in the next five years?

Whew! It would take books to answer that, because there have been so many changes, so many hyped up fads. However, in all those hectic years, one thing has remained constant: If you build a truly USEFUL, interesting website which genuinely helps your visitors, you’ll have a very good chance of success. I don’t see that changing much in the next five years, although things will inevitably get more intensely competitive.

I think it’s inevitable that search engines will get better at sorting out the junk and auto-generated stuff. They’ll have to.

The whole “Internet marketing” scene is crazily competitive now. Wise affiliates are getting themselves established in less competitive niches.

I think affiliate merchants will have to work much harder to reward successful affiliates and encourage them to stay loyal.

We’ll also see a lot more video, more effectively used – I hope.

Q. In your last newsletter you mentioned how video is helping people sell their products. How can affiliate marketers utilize video to improve their conversions promoting other people’s products?

Yes. It’s good to see people pioneering the use of video for affiliates. I really must make the time to get more involved in video. I’ve seen some good videos created by affiliates who use Camtasia to show you how to use software or they take you inside a membership site – with the merchant’s permission, of course.

There’s fantastic potential for affiliates to do more of this.

It’s the old story. The affiliates who do some work instead of just pasting a link into their site, are more likely to get sales.

Q. Are there any questions you ask yourself about a product before promoting it?

I nearly always test a product before I promote it. I’m swamped with offers to promote stuff, so I can choose only those I strongly believe in. As well as being sure that the product is high quality, I like to know as much as I can about the people behind it. That’s really important to me. I like working with merchants I know and trust.

I’m also keen on programs which pay residual revenue, the sort we review at LifetimeCommissions.com. I like doing the work once and being paid over and over again.

Q. What kind of sites does affiliate marketing work best for? Are there any types of sites that should avoid affiliate programs?

They work well on review sites, where someone in a buying frame of mind types “product XYZ 478659” into a search engine and finds a favorable review just when they’re considering buying the product. That’s powerful.

Affiliate programs work well on any sites where the affiliate has gone to the trouble of researching the products thoroughly and writing in-depth case studies describing in specific detail how the product has helped someone.

Here’s a bad use of affiliate programs…

If I’m promoting product A, I hate seeing affiliate links on the sales letter promoting product B, on which I don’t earn a commission. I saw an affiliate merchant site the other day which had a pop-up which not only included an AdSense ad – against the AdSense rules! – but also promoted a third-party product. That sort of behavior isn’t fair to affiliates.

If affiliates spot this sort of thing, I think we should not only avoid the affiliate merchant but also tell them why.

Diverting traffic to non-commissioned sales is a really dumb thing for an affiliate merchant to do because experienced affiliates – the ones most likely to produce good sales – will see what’s happening and not sign up.

Q. What is the most important thing to remember when promoting an affiliate program?

The affiliate’s job is to help someone decide what to buy. You have to make a conscious decision to do this, not merely present a few facts.

Try to see things from your visitor’s point of view. Try to imagine what is going on in your visitor’s mind, and help him or her decide what to buy. This may sound simple, but it’s so easy to forget to do it.

Obviously, it’s really important to promote high quality products so you can enthusiastically endorse them. Enthusiasm sells.

Q. What is the biggest mistake people make when trying to promote an affiliate program?

The most common mistake is for an affiliate newcomer to create a site about how to do Internet marketing – when they know almost nothing about Internet marketing.

There are tens of thousands of affiliate programs and millions of products you can choose from. New affiliates often overlook the fact that it’s easier to succeed if you choose a less competitive niche. I own a bunch of websites in non-Internet marketing niches.

Here’s an article I wrote describing 12 mistakes affiliates make:
http://www.AssociatePrograms.com/articles/108/1/12-mistakes-affiliates-make

Q. What are your favorite affiliate marketing tools?

My mind and my fingers on the keyboard. Sorry if that sounds flippant, but it’s so true. When I look at how I spend most of my time, that’s what I do – answering questions on our affiliate forum, writing my affiliate newsletter and writing articles.

Of course keyword research is hugely important when you’re researching a new site or writing an article. I have an annual subscription to Wordtracker and dip in there every now and again.

I’ve never really been one for in-depth tracking and analysis, but I know it’s hugely important. That’s why I teamed up with Jay Stockwell, who created KeywordWorkshop.com for us. He loves doing that stuff.

Q You are one of the most recognized names in affiliate marketing. If you were to write a formula for affiliate marketing success, what would it be?

I think far too many new affiliates try to run before they can walk. They should start with something fairly easy and earn while they learn.

That’s why I strongly recommend that every new affiliate should start by creating a useful niche content site, weave in a few affiliate links and AdSense ads, and get good links to it. By doing this, you gradually learn all the main facets of Internet marketing, while generating revenue at the same time.

Who knows? You may do so well with this formula that you never venture beyond it.

My Affiliate Program Tutorial, which I wrote when our bookkeeper started asking questions, explains this in more detail:

http://www.AssociatePrograms.com/articles/188/1/Affiliate-Program-Tutorial

Q. One last question. What is the best way I can learn more about affiliate marketing from you?

Thanks for asking! Explore the hundreds of articles on AssociatePrograms.com, explore our affiliate forum, subscribe to my newsletter, and explore the newsletter archives. If it all seems too overwhelming, start with my free Affiliate Program Tutorial. It sums up years of experience – and a lot of hard work.

Website Monetization Tips Coming Soon

April 2, 2007

A lot of you have emailed me or left comments on this blog with questions about monetizing your website and/or blog. So…

I decided to ask an expert about website monetization.

I knew that what I needed was to find an affiliate marketing guru to interview.

Yes, I have read tons of stuff on affiliate marketing and I do a decent job with affiliate marketing myself. However, there is always room for learning, especially from an expert!

I decided to ask the first person who came to my mind when I thought of the words “affiliate marketing guru”. I consider this person to be one of the top 10 Internet marketers in the world. He agreed to an interview and I will be posting the interview on Wednesday when I get back from a day of rest tomorrow.

If you are interested in learning affiliate marketing from an expert, then be sure to check out the interview I post on Wednesday.

How Is My Five Step Blog Traffic Plan Working Out?

April 2, 2007

I wanted to quickly mention that entries for the Blog Traffic Challenge are now closed.

I am sure that this challenge will help all of us learn the best tactics to increase our blog traffic. Early results have already made some things clear to me.

I officially started my Blog Traffic Challenge on March 6th. After just 3 weeks, I have gone from an average of 503.3 visitors a day to 735.14 visitors a day. That is a traffic gain of about 43%.

So in three weeks I am almost half way to reaching my original 3 month goal.

I have done this by following four of the five steps I mentioned in my five step blog traffic plan. I am fairly sure I will more than double my traffic if I only follow 2 of the steps from here on out:


2. Write More Quality Posts…
4. Continue to Network…

Anyway, I will be writing more about my blog traffic experiments and will start writing a series on the basics of blog traffic over the next few months.

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