Tuesday, May 31, 2005
You can however subscribe to the Sitesell RSS feeds
I have found many of the articles very interesting. They give you a great source for ideas.
Eventually I will get them formatted enough to include them in my footer.
Saturday, May 28, 2005
This is one of the only ebooks I own (I have over $10,000 worth) that I have actually read cover to cover multiple times. The new edition is 197 pages long, and above all puts you in the right mindset to success.
Ken Evoy doesn't preach "get rich quick" methods. He teaches people how to build quality websites that ooze high demand, keyword focused content.
Site Build It is one of the cornerstones on which I am building my home based niche marketing businesses, but the Affiliate Masters ebook contains valuable information whichever hosting service you choose to use.
If there is one ebook you should download and read this year, make it Affiliate Masters.
Now for the best news
Friday, May 27, 2005
It is not "pretty" yet - I am not a graphics designer, and I am still very rusty on the HTML.
It does use a nice neat trick that I haven't seen anyone really talk about before. (though I haven't searched)
You may or not be aware that spiders/bots start spidering your site at the top left hand corner and work their way to the bottom right.
Now I have read SEO experts state that you should have your menu bar on the right hand site so that a spider doesn't go chasing links to other areas of your site before it has had a look at your content on a page.
What I have done is used a floating DHTML menu on the left, but the code for it is after the H1 and H3 content.
I do have a second menu at the bottom of the pages to ease navigation, as I am not sure how well the DHTML degrades with browsers. Also, to help with the degrading, my DHTML code is currently before the main body of my text, so the menu doesn't appear in an odd position if something doesn't quite work out. I don't know whether this will work the way I planned. Sometime in the future I will have to test it. In hindsight the code should really be in a cell on the right hand side of the page (even if the menu appears on the left)
I haven't actually had anyone visit any of my sites who isn't using a browser that is not at least IE 4.0+, so I am not too worried about it.
A few days later it plummeted in ranking.
The site went from 40 new visitors daily from Google to ZERO. (it is not a huge niche)
Whilst I worked out why this happened by myself, I hadn't seen much commenting about it. I happened across this post today that relates about the problem.
Nova Blog » A Back Road Loophole For Getting into Google?:
And this is especially true if you’ve got a brand new site. New sites that have been crawled by the Googlebot are sometimes given a decent ranking in Google for a few days before they plunge to the depths of Neverworld.
What a TEASE that Google is!
The unknowing webmaster thinks they’ve hit paydirt with an almost instantaneous top 20-30 listing. Then one day - POOF - their site is gone as fast as it arrived.
Now the webmaster has to prove that the site has staying power by getting links from other sites within its niche. Not just any links. Links from sites with a decent PageRank would really do the trick. Getting listed in the infamous Yahoo! or Open Directory would be even better.
Now the way I look at it, when Google visits your site for the first time, they give you the benefit of the doubt and rank your site purely on the content of the page. They also schedule a 2nd visit, and add your site to some form of site analysis. When the results of that analysis come in, you get a true listing.
Obviously I am now working on a revised version of my site that will have a lot more content and linking to relevant sites of further research.
One important note: My linking strategy is based on links within my content, rather than a "links" page. Thus all outgoing links will be highly relevant.
Once it is in place, I am hoping to attract some similar linking from portal sites. There are very few sites within my niche that have a high enough GR to justify a lot of time in acquiring links.
If I had link management tools, I would probably use them as an addition to this strategy, and I will discuss such tools sometime in the furute.
As promised, I am reporting my failures as well as success.
Tuesday, May 24, 2005
You will read in many places that emulating success is a good technique.
Now what better way to emulate success than to actually work for a successful internet marketeer on a part-time basis.
There are many aspects of niche marketing that are quite time consuming, and the skills you need to perform the task are quite easy to pick-up.
Recently I spotted a post on a popular internet marketing forum from someone looking for help with reciprocal linking. Now this is a subject I know something about already, and I have the tools to do it. It is also something that will benefit their bottom line, and I can earn some financial compensation.
Obviously you are going to have to know enough to prove that you are not going to be wasting their time, or cause them any complications. If your communications skills were refined in the unsavory part of the internet world, expect to be turned down sharply.
My proposal was successful, and I am now working out a reciprocal link plan for someone, searching for internet sites that I should contact for reciprocal links, or 1 way links.
A tabbed browser - I would certainly recommend Firefox
Searchstatus toolbar - this gives you Alexa and Google rating in one
http://www.faganfinder.com - a great tool for finding out loads of information about a site in the same niche.
I am learning a lot from this experience and I thoroughly recommend giving it a try if you have the time, will & energy to make the most of such an niche marketing learning opportunity.
Sitesell provide a great free service called Value Exchange where you can also register and search for high quality linking partners.
On the same page you can download one of the best books on linking, "Make your links work". This 90 page tome is a must read, and something you will reference repeatedly during your online career. Best of all, it is also totally free.
Tuesday, May 17, 2005
I have been looking at monetizing some of the niche websites I have planned.
These comments are based on the Findwhat.com terms and conditions.
Some of the countries/regions that do not qualify as clicks are really strange.
Not allowed: Gibraltar, Guernsey
Seems that Jersey, Isle of Mann and the Falkland Islands are ok though.
Not allowed: Norway, Denmark, Sweden
But for some reason Finland is acceptable
Not allowed: Belgium, The Netherlands, Italy
But France, Spain, Germany, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Austria, Malta, Monaco, Corsica, all ok
Yes I know Corsica is part of France, but remember Gibraltar & Guernsey were not allowed.
Now of course most of South America is allowed, but not Mexico or Ecuador.
I can't believe the fraudulent number of clicks from these territories are any worse than other territories.
I would hazard a guess that certainly among internet users, there is a higher understanding of the English language, and income per capita in many of these countries than you would find in many states of America.
Who makes these decisions?
I can't see any correlation between region, language or Gross National Capita.
Edit: Support for Germany, France and Spain are probably because of the merger with Espotting who supported those 3 counties. It is strange that they don't support Italy however, considering Espotting have a service there.
Monday, May 16, 2005
I promised juicy information and here is some...
The site was first uploaded 4 days ago.
The site is hosted on a free host
The site has to my knowledge no external links pointing to it other than this blog (which is also only 4 days old)
The site is relatively well optimised for keywords
Google was not spotted on Statscounter
Regarding search engines/directories, I submitted to the top15 or so that allowed subdomains on Friday (just over 48hrs ago), though Google, MSN and Yahoo are probably more like 72 hrs
All external links are currently fed through a metatag redirect page, which I don't think Gooogle bots really follow (or if they do, you don't get credit for linking to good content that way)
Am I a gifted beginner at SEO?
The site is now listed on Google
Here are some nice search terms I have already checked for positioning. Actually 2 of these are already from potential customers.
Getting rid of ground moles (Ranked 2)
These came from real 3rd party searches (potential customers)
Get rid of moles (Ranked 8th or 9th)
Natural ways to control moles lawn (Ranked 4th)
I have a lot more content I intend to add to cover a few more types of product and to provide some high quality links to research papers, so I should be able to catch some more keywords.
I certainly don't think Google is penalising me for being on a free web host. I would never be able to achieve a No.2 rank on a search so quickly if they were.
It is not listed on Yahoo yet
It is not listed on MSN yet
As far as I can tell this blog has not been spotted by Google yet (and I didn't submit it to Google). This blog has only been sending out pings and is in maybe 2 directories. Thus this blog had nothing to do with my "Getting rid of Ground Moles" niche website appearing in Google so quickly.
So did Google crawl my site within 3-4 days of being submitted?
Based purely on me submitting a free site suggestion?
I can't see any other reason for that site being listed, and it simply amazes me...
Sunday, May 15, 2005
All during today I have been worrying about my blog template being broken. I had been playing with it slightly, but nothing serious.
The broken formatting was only showing up in Internet Explorer, and because I use Firefox 95% of the time, I hadn't noticed it.
I am not up to speed on CSS enough to spot anything more than a glaring error, and couldn't see anything wrong.
It turned out that a table I had cut and pasted into my blog from a website was to blame. The offending post has now been moved to the drafts section for some cleaning up.
So be careful what content you copy from normal websites, because it can be a mass of HTML tables used for formatting, and some browsers handle them differently to others when combined with CSS forms used in blogs.
"I use Sage RSS reader as part of my FireFox web browser. It's free and works on both Mac and PC." Lee Odden
I am in many ways so glad I started my Blogging now and not a few years ago.
Multiple times over the last few days I have said to myself "There must be an easier way...".
Then it is time to search for an easier way, rather than continue struggling with the tools you already have.
It happened to me 2 more times today, but finding the answers often involves a different kind of logic to normal "finding something on the internet".
I am now almost preconditioned - if I want to find something, I search for it on Google. If I don't find it, I try another search tool.
The problem is that sometimes there are so many services that offer something similar to what you are looking for, but just don't live up to your expectations.
The 2 problems that were nagging me
1. Reading Blogs
This might be something that many old time Bloggers will laugh at, but I might be typical of the unwashed masses. Up until today, the only way I found Blogs was through Google, and the only way I was reading them was in Firefox.
Now I wasn't subscribing to a feed. The default "Live feed" option I had found totally unworkable, both when adding a new bookmark, and reading it later.
I wanted a nice tool for managing bookmarks on my blog. Now if you search for "bookmark managers" on Google, you get 100s. Everyone is doing it. So I visited maybe 30 bookmark manager sites, 10 bookmark manager review sites, and signed up to join 4 sites to really see what the interface was like, and how flexible the output would be.
I didn't find the tool I wanted to use. I found a couple I might have experimented with, but they were not my "killer application".
Real Solutions at the Drop of a Hat
Suffering from insomnia, I decide to have a look at a few community blogs.
As one of my subjects is "Internet Marketing", I typed "Blog Marketing" in Google, and top of the list was Lee Oden's "Online Marketing Blog".
I glanced down the page and "Bang!"
Solution No.1 - Reading Blogs
RSS - A non-technical introduction
Most of the article is all about the Sage RSS reader he uses, which is an extension of Firefox.
I had honestly overlooked it, because it is probably the tool with the lowest amount of downloads in the "Extensions" section of the Firefox site. A typical "not on the first 2 pages" searching phenomenon.
It meets my requirements exactly. Tools don't have to be complicated to be a "killer application". They just have to function in a truely logical manner.
Sage is exactly how I believe Firefox should have RSS reading built in by default.
I have only found one fault, the hotkey function when opening the Sage Sidebar doesn't work if you have a list of bookmarks in your sidebar (well at least on Windows 98SE/ Firefox 1.0.4).
Now obviously there are features you could add to it to improve the experience, but for what it is, it does the job very well.
Solution No.2 Bookmark managing
Now the day before I had heard about people being "Blogrolled"
So I searched for "Blogrolled" on Google (naturally).
I found loads of sites. Many were complaining about it. Some were taking advantaged of the popularity of the search term.
After 2 or 3 search pages with nothing "hiting me in the face" saying "read me, I am the answer", I moved onto something else.
RSS - A non-technical introduction
Here we go, Lee Oden's Blog again
I noticed in the sidebar "Blogroll Me!"
I was a little undecided whether to click it.
You see I already knew how to "trackback". Some of the sites I had been to were complaining about people being "Blogrolled" and geting a huge (unnatural?)explosion in traffic and link popularity. I was already assuming being "Blogrolled" was a lot to do with trackback.
So anyway I clicked the link and "Bang!"
Now in hindsite, if you type in "Blogroll", "Blog Roll" or "Blog Rolling" the first search result in Google is http://www.Blogrolling.com
They seem to have missed out "Blogrolled" as a target word.
They offer a bookmarking service that is exactly what I was looking for as a free user, with some attractive upgrade features.
Basically they will allow me to manage my whole sidebar without messing with templates.
For someone hosting their blog on Blogger servers, they are ideal.
They are not quite my killer application, because they do not own the rest of the infrastructure needed to make it perfect.
Ken Evoy's service Site Build It! is about the only service positioned to be able to give me my ultimate killer niche marketing system. They already have the most efficient and tightly integrated service for building profitable websites. Even for such a good service, my wish list is extensive.
Saturday, May 14, 2005
If you read his blog, you often get a chance to sign up before everyone on the internet hears about it, and Mike always promotes the best internet marketing products.
IN THIS ISSUE:
- Secrets to a pre launch – How I get 5000 members In 5 days.
- “Pre Launch Secrets”
Free Members Only Bonus Audio and Ebook $97 Value
- Product Reviews
- The 8 things you need to do to make your sites viral
- Fast Tips and resources
- Sneak Peek at My New Stuff…
Feedburner gives me a lot more options in feed types, making it a lot easier for others to syndicate my blogs. They also give you some nice tools such as the syndication icons you can see over in my sidebar, and another neat automatically generated graphic you can use in Forum posts.
Feedburner also pointed me in the direction of Pingomatic.com
Pingomatic provide a service allowing you to ping approx 20 RSS agregators in 1 go, just by clicking a bookmark they provide you with after the first use of their system.
Half of the sites even accepted my blog even though I hadn't signed up manually with them.
I still have to return to all the sites that didn't accept my blog update ping, but the Pingomatic service is a real timesaver, and very easy for a new blogger to use.
Using Feedburner it is also advisable to do some customisation to your template. You need to remove one automatic tag set by Blogger, and to manually endit some things. This gets a little technical.
Feedburner do have a very good forum, and I have posted my changes on the thread dealing with these modifications, so you can see what I did to make my template changes for "Exploring Niche Websites".
I only submitted my moles niche website to their crawler yesterday. I checked my email today and found a message that it is already listed.
ExactSeek only work on Metatags - This is unfortunate in some ways, because you can get penalties in other engines if you load up your metatags with too many similar words.
For example I had "Getting rid of ground moles" in my keywords, but not "Get rid of moles"
I did have "Get rid of moles" in my site frequently - ExactSeek doesn't see this though.
For the phrase "Getting Rid of Ground Moles" I actually have the only serch listing - yay!
Also, for the phrase "Getting rid of moles" I am the one and only listing
I am not currently listed at all for "Get rid of moles"
From some other tests they place a great deal more emphasis on keywords than the description.
So I have played with my keywords a little, and hopefully I won't get penalised by other engines too much.
ExactSeek even provide you with a button to request a re-crawl of your site, so maybe tomorrow I will already see the result.
Exactseek is becoming popular - it currently has an Alexa rating of 1797 (and that is improving daily)- it is not Yahoo, MSN or Google, but still very useful, and great for testing.
Friday, May 13, 2005
There has been plenty of cries about Green Zap possibly being a scam, and loads of contrary opinions and enlightening press releases. I am staying clear of that controversy.
Green Zap are trying to position themselves as the newest and best alternative to Paypal. Their free $25 bonus just for signing up, plus the matrix earning potential are obviously attractive.
There are however a number of missing details, and a gaping whole in there service offering that the free $25 tends to put in the shadow.
Credit Card Payment Gateway
Paypal is disliked by many merchants on the internet, but they continue to offer it. This isn't because of the 65M existing users. It is because of the credit card facilities, that don't require $15 to $30 per month in fixed charges, and anyone in their supported countries can use.
Paypal as far as I know has no real competition in this service. Every other company has gateway fees.
Paying by credit card does not force you to open a Paypal account - this is Paypal's advantage over every single one of the 20+ other payment processors on the internet. Those are just the established ones, new ones pop up every day.
Credit card transactions account for 90% of online business. Green Zap currently will only be competing for a share of the 10% of other transactions (though this percentage will probably grow), and they have a vast number of competitors for this small piece of the pie.
A large proportion of the business they claim Paypal makes per customer results directly from payments their customers receive by credit card. The merchants subsequently use Paypal for other transactions, maybe to their affiliates, or for personal items. A huge proportion of the money in circulation on Paypal accounts originated in credit card transactions to purchase goods, and not credit card deposits.
The Greenzap service is not the cheapest money transfer system offered on the internet.
Moneybookers for some time has offered cheaper - Only a 1% charge with a maximum charge of 0.50 Euro.
That means the minimum charge is 0.01 Euro compared to Greenzap $1, and the maximum is still less (I doubt we will see 1 Euro = $2 anytime soon).
Greenzap hasn't as yet posted any information regarding the charges to fund your Greenzap account. It is not safe to assume they will be zero for all transactions.
Moneybookers offers free deposits by bank transfer to your account. Deposits by credit card are charged at 3%
Withdrawing from account to a bank
Obviously at some time people want to use the money they have earned on the internet offline.
As a plus, Greenzap will be offering a Mastercard to their Gold subscribers, but currently there is no mention of the fees for using this, or for the fees associated with withdrawing to a bank account. It should be noted that people will be withdrawing funds to bank accounts worldwide.
Moneybookers as an example charge most counties 1.80 Euro to make a withdrawal to their bank account. It is a fixed fee and takes a couple of days normally. For some countries you have to withdraw by cheque with a 3.50 Euro processing fee.
Banks make a huge amount of money with foreign exchange transactions. The only way to have a real control over margins related to exchange rates, is to run a special bank account, most probably in US$. I don't do this with my Moneybookers account, because up until now I have found their rates to be extremely reasonable, and with the weakness of the dollar currently, I don't like holding money in a dollar based account.
Greenzap are aiming to be a truely worldwide service, absolutely no banned countries. Foreign exchange earnings will no doubt be a key issue for a large number of their future customers.
Summing it all up
Greenzap offer $25 free.
They are certainly not the cheapest payment processor online, and they haven't announced all their other fixed fees and variable charges.
Certainly Greenzap will be able to compete with Moneybookers and other processors, simply because of their $25 free offer.
They will get their $100 deposits for gold membership, mainly because a large percentage of their membership will get it all straight back in referral comissions.
Without the payment processing facilities that Paypal offers, Greenzap have almost no chance of capturing the active customer base that Paypal now boasts. Even if they manage to achieve 65M customers, those customers will still use Paypal more frequently. Paypal will always have large amounts of cash growing in their system due to credit card transactions, and that cash will stay in circulation.
Moneybookers could be ideal if they covered more counties, and offered a credit card gateway. They are slightly heavy on the regulations, which are often misunderstood
Paypal I can't use (I live in Poland) unless I lie about my current country of residense (my passport still shows my parents current address). Thus I have been using the internet actively for 10 years and do not have a Paypal account.
I am still waiting for the "killer" internet payment processor to come along.
Greenzap (or Green Zap)
Hosting: Atspace (part of Zettaspace.com)
I used Wordtracker.com
Nos KEI Analysis, Count, 24Hrs, Competing, Keyword
1, 512.000, 32, 6, 2, getting rid of ground moles
2, 361.000, 19, 4, 1, homemade mole traps
3, 261.592, 141, 26, 76, mole extermination
4, 98.609, 126, 24, 161, getting rid of moles
5, 64.144, 87, 16, 118, how to get rid of moles
Now the KEI analysis isn't exceptional, I have many niche sites I intend to create which achieved 10K+, and one is up to 90K
What I thought was important is that none of the sites in my searching gave a solution (well other than all the mole traps). Also I was researching for the products anyway, so I would have content for the site easily.
All the products on show have come from Clickbank
I actually have a genuine problem with moles. We renovated a 100 year old cottage last year, laid new footpaths, a new lawn etc.
By mid-summer, the lawn was a series of craters dug by my dachshund, and the footpaths were subsiding. Who knows, they might have dug under the house as well and we will have even larger problems (the foundations are only lumps of stone and not very deep).
I spend 3 days looking for an autoresponder service I was happy using. To be honest I am not happy with the one I chose.
Freeautobot.com would have been my choice, but didn't allow double opt-in, and didn't record things like the IP address. Most services if you are a free user will not allow you to broadcast an email to all your membership.
Many of them would only work with their own custom forms, and I wanted the ability to customise the way people would register. I wanted to be able to experiment.
I ended up using Getresponse.com
My reasons for doing it are partially based on confused logic. I had seen so many systems, it was becoming all merged into one. They are not my ideal service (for a free customer).
As a free customer you can't broadcast to your mailing list, and you don't have access to some of their very good automatic tools for geting more subscribers.
Their interface however still allows for email registration, supported by many 3rd party pop-up and op-in interface tools, so whilst I can't use their code, I can do just as well, or maybe better using someone elses.
Many of the services I might have chosen, some of which even allowed me to broadcast, fell down on this one major point, and as such failed my goals.
I am not worried about the occasional advert, that is something I can work around.
If you are a paid subscriber, Getresponse certainly has more features than any other service I looked at.
For me, their only serious competitor is a specialist host that provides an all inclusive service such as Sitesell with their Site Build It! service.
Another alternative is to buy autoresponder software and install on your ISP, or to use software from your own PC such as Mailloop. You do need to have your PC permanently online for that though if you want things to run in real-time. The advantage is total control, a real responsive interface and no monthly fees.
Anyway, I digress...
For my mailing list subscriptions I am using multiple methods of capture.
1. After entering the page, after 90 seconds a system requester pops-up asking if the person wants to join my mailing list. If they say yes, the script captures their Primary email address in their mail client, and asks for confirmation to send the subscribe request (they don't have to type anything!)
2. If they leave the page, the same pop-up appears. This does not affect the external links on the page which all open in new windows.
3. I have various subscription options on the page itself
- A button that opens the pop-up
- A traditional form
- RSS feed
The popups were created with a tool called Magic Subscriber - now I am not sure where I got it from, one of many 100s of mailing list subscriptions or membership sites. I do have resale rights for the product, so in theory I can give it away. Anyone who links to this site or to one of my niche sites can have it for free (I will just email it, it is just over 5MB)
Now the funny part - I have have very little to immediately do with these addresses. As I have promised my subscribers, they are only going to get emails if I get some serious results with my own "Get rid of ground moles" campaign.
Hopefully some subscribers will send me some success stories I can post to people.
Also the missing "Mail Blast" option with my free account with GetResponse is a major pain, but I am sure I can learn to live with it, there are always ways to work around enforced limitations.
My Getting Rid of Ground Moles site took me about 4 hours to create, and piecing together the technology probably took me more than 2 weeks. Hopefully we can speed things up and get some multiple streams of income working.
Thursday, May 12, 2005
- as a way of efficiently collecting notes
- of bouncing ideas off other people
- as a way to refine my own thought process
- to perhaps gain some exposure to search engines, and credible links
My initial adventure didn't work out quite the way I wanted it.
I had major problems with text formatting. I kept losing spaces justlikethis, and couldn't come up with a way of using the service providers web interface to combat the problem.
So I am giving Blogger a try, just a single blog for now, and we will see how things go.
As I am working with a single blog (for now), some of the subjects might get a little confusing.
I intend making lots of niche websites, and seeing if I can turn them into small revenue streams.
I am going to try doing this for minimum costs. Some of the sites will be hosted on free servers, and using totally free tools and services to create the content.
My articles will have affiliate links in them. Please use them as intended. Quite often I have spent 2 or 3 days researching to find the best solution, and if that research saves you a little time and money (or lots), then the small reward I might get from the recommendation is fair.