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Marketing Tips and News From the Net – 2/2/2007

February 2, 2007

Here are some interesting Internet Marketing articles that I read this week. The first post by copywriting guru Michel Fortin is a MUST read for bloggers. Not only does he give good advice, but he offers to rewrite one of your blog headlines for free!

Are Headlines Tangling Your Readers?

Don’t Be The Best… Be The First!

Thinking outside of the box

What ProBloggers Can Learn from TechCrunch 20

Google Stops Google Bombs

Campaign to Reduce Wikipedia’s PageRank to Zero via (jazzcatseo)

My Todo List For January 2007

January 16, 2007

After getting back from vacation, I decided to make a quick summary of some of the things I want to do in January for my online business. In no particular order here is my todo list for January 2007:

1. Hire a Traffic Assistant
Austin mentioned this site called www.trafficassistants.com to me the other day. I am looking for ways to outsource some of my tasks and this looks like it could be a very cost effective method of bringing in more traffic to my websites. This should free up some time to do other tasks. I do love getting traffic to my sites, so I will still do some work on it myself. It’s just that after I hire a traffic assistant, I won’t be doing as much of it myself. I will let you know how it works out.

2. Get Active on MyBlogLog.com
I joined it a month ago, but haven’t done anything with mybloglog yet. Now that Yahoo has bought it, I should definitely get started making use of it.

3. Do my Taxes
Any volunteers to do my taxes for free?

I am not a big of fan working on my taxes, but it’s something I have to do.

4. Promote our American Idol Blog and Homeschooling Wiki
Our American Idol blog is a pretty decent money maker during the season. Jill will be writing on it a lot. It is one of my favorite blogs, because I am big fan of American Idol and because Jill does the writing.

On the other hand, our homeschooling wiki is the site I want to focus the most on for the first quarter of 2007.

5. Work/mentor/network with Austin of Trust My Mechanic

Austin and I are working on a quick project that takes precedence over all my other work. I figure Austin is making his living online and if he has an idea that might help me get there faster I should try it. I am learning a lot from Austin, and I hope to continue building a friendship with him (as he is a very nice person).

6. Keep up with my Blogs

Keeping up with my blogs can be a lot of work.

7. Make a Solid Business Plan
Goes without saying that this is important.

8. Write my Next Newsletters

I put out a newsletter for an ebook I wrote about website traffic. It wasn’t exaxctly as successful as I had hoped at the time. I would do things WAY differently now than I did at the time I created that ebook. However, it was a great learning experience.

Anyway, I write a free monthly internet marketing newsletter, where I talk about some things that I don’t cover on this blog. This month, I plan on writing about a Search Engine Optimization technique that I use and see ton’s of other top ranking websites use to get higher rankings from the Search Engines.

9. Sort through the JV offers I got while I was on Vacation
I recieved about 4 Joint Venture offers while I was on vacation and I need to determine which ones look the best. They are all Internet Marketing related.

10. Pray
Yes, you read that right. I have to pray about my business. When I don’t pray about my business it seems to just putter along, when I do pray about it doors open up. At least that has been my experience so far.

I have a lot of work left for the rest of this month. The first part of this month was consumed by a vacation, but the vacation reinforced some things that I learned towards the end of 2006 (in particular this and this).

Have you created a custom Search Engine yet?

December 6, 2006

I saw a lot of people do it a few weeks ago…

If you haven’t heard, Google announced this new way to create a custom search engine using the Google search engine. You can create one yourself by signing up for Google Co-op here.

I created a custom search engine for our homeschooling site and called it “The Homeschooling Search Engine”. When you use our Search Engine you are only searching from homeschooling sites that I or someone else has added to the Search Engine.

What is really cool is the whole social aspect. Anyone can sign up to be an editor for the search engine and add their favorite homeschooling sites.

You can even make money with it, by associating your Goolge Adsense account with the Search Engine.

Anyway, you can check out our Homeschooling Search Engine by clicking here. It’s a pretty cool technology that I have been meaning to play around with. I am glad I did!

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Why You Need to KISS Your Navigation

December 6, 2006

This past weekend, I fixed the navigation for our homeschooling wiki. You can check out the new navigation by clicking here.

I modeled the original design after wikipedia. It had featured articles, featured categories, etc. I think that the original design was too cluttered and from what I discovered non-techies found it hard to navigate.

In the redesign of the home page, I decided to follow the axiom: Keep it Simple Stupid (KISS). Instead of having featured articles and featured categories I made one big table with a list of the most popular categories, subcategories and articles. I find this layout much easier to navigate.

I also moved most of the introduction text to a separate page. Right at the top of the page, I direct new users to this new Introduction page.

I feel like the new home page is WAY easier to navigate and much more user friendly. I think that often times technical types (like myself) forget that most of the people who use the web are not necessarily as web savvy as we are. It needs to be simple for people to a navigate your site. That’s actually a lesson I learned way back, but I was reminded of this by my wife Jill, a visitor to our site and from interviewing Austin of Trust My Mechanic. It didn’t sink in that our wiki was in violation of this rule, until others pointed it out. Easy navigation is very important.

I suggest taking a look at your sites and/or blogs and asking the question,

“How can I make it easier for my visitors to use this site?”

We should all probably ask that question on a regular basis….

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How Can Squidoo Increase Website Traffic?

December 4, 2006

I got a comment the other day on one of my posts asking:


I still don’t get it. What can Squidoo can do for you to increase pagelink?

First of all, website traffic 101 tells us that the more links you get to your website the better.

How does Squidoo help you get links to your site?

When you create a Squidoo Lens you create tags for it. These tags are used to categorize your lens. Your lens and other lenses have links to these tag pages. The tag pages link back to all of the lenses that use that tag. This means that when you create a new lens your lens automaticly gets links from the tag pages on the Squidoo site. Which increases the PageRank for your Lens.

Now we have a Lens with Links to it. How does this Lens help your webiste?

Let’s use my first Squidoo lens as an example. Click here and take a look at the lens.

Notice that the first link on the Lens is a link to our homeschooling wiki.

If you do what I did and create a link on your lens to one of your websites, you will have a new link to your website. Which is good, because some people will find your lens, click on the link to your site, and bring your site traffic.

This link is also good, because almost every link you get to your site will help it rank higher for Search Engine terms.

Another way that this link helps is that you are getting a link from what is known as an Authority site. Most people believe that Squidoo is considered an authority site. Authority sites are sites that are considered an authority on a specific topic and have lots of links to them. For instance, I think it is pretty safe to say that CNN is an authority site for news.

When you get a link from an authority site it is considered more valuable than a link from a non-authority site.

The Search Engines will see the link on the Squidoo Lens as a link from an authority site. Therefore this link from the Squidoo lens is going to be a good quality link to your website. Ulitmately, this one link isn’t going to make any site rise to the top of the Search Engine rankings, but it will help.

How to remove the arrow images that follow external links in a Mediawiki wiki

December 2, 2006

I searched, and searched and couldn’t find any useful information on removing those external link arrow images that mediawiki’s wiki software automaticly inserts directly after links to external sites.

I find those images annoying and feel like they clutter up the screen. So I went through the code and found out how to get rid of the arrow -> images.

If you own a wiki here’s what you do:

1. Go to the skins directory and into the directory of the skin you are using. For our homeschooling wiki it is the monobook directory.

2. Open up the style sheet file “main.css”.

3. Search for the word “external”.

You should see something that look like this:

#bodyContent a.external,

#bodyContent a[href ^="gopher://"] {
background: url(external.png) center right no-repeat;
padding-right: 13px;
}

4. Remove the 5 lines above, save the file and upload it back to your server

Then say goodbye to the annoying arrow images!

You can see the results on our wiki by clicking here. Notice that none of our links have those annoying images. Woohoo!

The next step is updating the navigation for our homeschool wiki. It is going to be much easier to navigate when we are done with it.

UPDATE:
You also need to do those same steps for the files: “IE60Fixes.css”, “Opera6Fixes.CSS”, and “Opera7Fixes.CSS”.

Internet Marketing Board Game Just in Time for the Holidays???

November 29, 2006

I just had to write you about this very interesting new Internet Marketing product. It is the first ever Internet Marketing Board Game. I learned about it from Nash who commented on my last post.

The game claims to teach all about Internet Marketing, earning residual income, affiliate marketing, joint ventures, list building, blogging, podcasting, etc. It also helps you get familiar with terms like wikis, social tagging, etc.

At first I wasn’t sure what to think of it, because it is not your normal Internet Marketing product. However, I am starting to think that I might want to buy it for my two oldest kids. It might be a fun way to teach them about Internet Marketing.

I had never really thought about creating an actual board game to teach others, but it is a very interesting idea. This product is definitely another example of a “Purple Cow“.

If you are interested in checking it out, you can click here to go learn more about it.

Thanks to Nash for letting me know about it.

What do you think about the idea of an Internet Marketing Board Game? Is it something you would want to buy, or do you just want to stick with videos, ebooks, and podcasts?

Internet Marketing is NOT DEAD!

November 14, 2006

Just so you know, I really like Mike Filsaime’s new free ebook.

However, I think the title is misleading. Obviously, Internet Marketing is NOT dead. If it were then Mike would be quitting and he is not.

There is a ton of money to be made on the net with all kinds of sites (blogs, wikis, forums, download sites, affiliate marketing, Adsense, ebooks, services, copywriting, seo, web design, software, games, membership sites, Internet Marketing, drop shipping, etc). There are all kinds of statistics out there about how fast the Internet is growing and how much money consumers will spend on the net.

So if you are trying to make money online, don’t worry. There is plenty of money to be made on the web and just like Google Adsense, Internet Marketing is NOT DEAD!

I just wanted to make sure I was clear about that.

That said, “The Death of Internet Marketing” is still a good read.

What Are You doing right now?

November 9, 2006

You might be wondering what I have been working on lately. Well, I mentioned earlier that I added a new blog for Jill and updated the theme for this blog this past weekend. But what else have I been doing?

Most of my free time I have been working on my 9-5 job. I am still putting in a lot of overtime at it.

As far as my online business, I have been having trouble keeping up with my blogs because of my 9-5 job and the fact that my top business priority right now is to turn our Homeschooling Wiki into the best possible site it can be. I have started off by really putting in a lot of effort on our homeschool curriculum category. I just finished up most of my work on the homeschool christian curriculum and I am currently working on adding Hebrew sites. I have a lot left to do, but I want to try and make each current category of the wiki more complete than any other homeschooling site on the Internet.

I also plan on starting to work on getting more links to our wiki. That said, it has received some fairly decent natural links just by being the first of it’s kind homeschool wiki.

Anyway, planning the direction of our wiki and building content in our wiki has taken up most of my free time. My goal is for it to be producing the kind of money (or more) that our dinosaur site does in the next 3 months.

I am trying to keep up our OnOurTV blog, but it hasn’t been easy.

Also, I am writing a series of posts for this blog that I think will be very good. But, it’s keeping me from having as much content to post on this blog (only so much time in a day).

Once my 9-5 becomes a 9-5 again, I am going to finish my business plan and get an even clearer vision for the business. In the meantime, my wife Jill and I have come up with lots of really good business ideas. Which is one reason I need to accomplish the goal of getting our wiki lot’s of traffic. Once it is bringing in more money, I should be able to spend more money to get our other business ideas off the ground. For now, the goal is to stay focused on the sites we have and build them up.

Lastly, Jill surprised me the other day when she bought accounting software, so I no longer have to do my books by hand. It should be a good time saver until I can afford an accountant/bookkeeper. I installed it last night, but have not used it yet.

So what are you doing to make money online? Are you bogged down reading about making money online or are you taking action?

Great Reading from this week – October 20th

October 20, 2006

Here is some great reading I found from around the net this week:

Make Something Happen NOW! (quick, and to the point excellent advice)

time the one thing we cant control (this has been very true for me lately)

Rich Schefren Final Chapter (awesome, free business changing ebook)

What skills are crucial to be a good SEO? (good discussion)

Performancing Partners Launch (cool news)

Citizendium – Wikipedia For Grownups. (interesting idea)

My 9-5 job has still been very busy, so I haven’t had much time for anything except for writing on a few blogs. However, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I have learned so much from the past few weeks. It has been a good experience. I will write about the business lessons I have learned from the last several weeks, once more of my time frees up.

What is Squidoo?

October 4, 2006

Yesterday, I wrote a brief post about my Squidoo homeschooling lens.

After writing the post, I had someone ask me:
“What is Squidoo?”.

Apparently, I didn’t do a good job of answering that question. So here is my brief definition of Squidoo:

Squidoo is kind of like a wiki, only when you create a page (called a lens) you are the only one who can edit it.

Then you split the profits from the money made by that page (lens). You can use it to create almost any kind of page. For instance, you could use it to create a business page advertisiing your business services, or a page on a particular topic like baby poop, or whatever topic you want to write about.

You can advertise and promote the page or just leave it alone and see if it gets natural traffic. Squidoo pays you every month for the money your pages make. You have the option to let all or a percentage of your earnings go to charity.

I also want to briefly mention that in the comments for my previous post, Seth Godin pointed out exactly how much Squiddo is growing (see details here).

It’s pretty impressive growth. Squidoo is definitely something to look into, even if you intend to use it only as another method of promoting your websites.

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How to get Bloggers to Promote Your Business

September 8, 2006

I ran across this excellent article the other day on how to get bloggers to promote your business. It’s definitely worth a read for all of you trying to get more traffic to your site.

Bloggers have given our new wiki (Know Homeschooling) most of it’s traffic and we have been very happy with the results.

Update: One further note, several bloggers have gotten me to write about their business just by asking or by leaving comments on my blog.

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