Archive for January, 2011


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Ah, the lure of internet marketing. From the first “Make Money Online” advertisement that you see to the multiple get rich quick schemes that litter the information super-highway.  Every where you turn you are exposed to that siren song.  Some people are more sales resistant than others, but even they are subject to investing in at least one fleecing project to learn that there are a number of people out there who will be glad to take your money while producing little or no value in return.  But; “Oh the packaging was so pretty.”

Whether it is eBay or some other affiliate program, it does not take to long to figure out that any endeavor you wish to attempt is going to require a fair amount of knowledge and a lot of work.  The challenge  is to find the sources to teach you the fundamentals  and then to apply those into a system of operation that will earn you a steady income.  There are so many mentor’s who claim to have the best system for getting you into the high dollar category provided of course that you pay them a hefty fee up front.

There are so many things that you need to know in so many aspects.  Website design, graphics, hosting, ftp, backend code, data-bases, blog formats or static html sites are just a few of the mechanics.  The you will want a sales model and of course a product to promote.  Throw in “niche” and keyword research, search engine optimization, pay per click advertising or bum marketing and you have a formula for a lot of study and learning.

This can and unfortunately does lead to what is called “analysis paralysis.”    Running around trying to learn everything that has to be learned, spending hours a day pursuing multiple projects and having nothing in terms of progress to show for it at the end of the day.  To some degree this has affected a number of people who are beginning their marketing careers.  I count myself among that crowd, it is so easy to spend a day checking my email or stats for my blogs, bantering on Twitter or Facebook, write half an article, stop and do some keyword research, spend an hour on a forum, and call the whole day “STUDY”

It took a while to find it, but I have recently come across an eBook which will cure that condition.  Dennis Becker wrote a book a few years back that hits the nail square on the head.   This book will not tell you how to do any of the mechanical parts of your business.  It will not tell you which niche markets to investigate for maximum profit.  It makes no recommendation of one product delivery system over another.  It will show you how to take your current internet business ideas and apply them for maximum profitability.

Dennis shows you how he applied the strategies he developed in his book 5 Bucks A Day to move from a few cents a day to a consistent income of several hundred a day.  The book lead to the formation of the best private membership forum Earn1KaDay Insiders Club on the internet where you get an opportunity to learn from the most savvy marketers on the internet.  Many of the current members have used this same strategy to duplicate his efforts and have marketing days of over a $1000 themselves.

You can easily read this book in one sitting, and when you do you will have a strategy that will last you a lifetime.   Dennis has recently re-packaged the book  with two great webinar teaching videos. He is also including some innovative productivity software which will help you to apply the lessons you learn even more effectively.

If you feel like you are spinning your wheels to earn more or even some money through your internet business, you owe it to yourself to look at this package. Dennis is practically giving it away with its current price, but I am sure it will not be that low for long.  I bought it; I am applying it, I can confidently say it will get you where you want to go.    5-Bucks-a-day-System

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It Is Where and How Often You Say It

article marketing

500 Megabite Hard Drive (1957?)

PS3 HDD Upgrade - Swapping Disks

500 Megabite Drive (2007)

Seagate´s world´s thinnest (9 mm) portable hard drive. Coming first half of this year.

Portable 500 Gigabite Hard Drive (2011)

(Insert Clever Article Here)

Oops, we are live, I was getting all excited playing with the graphics and I forgot that the camera was rolling, I hope you don’t mind.  Let’s see,  where were we?  Ah yes we were talking about Article marketing.  One of the best ways to let Google and the other search engines know where you are is through the use of article marketing.

You tell your story on your website, and maybe it is indexed by the search engines as their spiders (computer robots) find it.  To get the message to a broader audience you tell the story again in another (or the same) article which you submit to an article warehouse like Ezine Articles, Go Articles or any of the thousands of others out there.

Everything that gets said anywhere on the internet is indexed, such that if you say it exactly the same way some service like Copyscape will know if it is originally said by you or by someone else.  (How is that for a confusing sentence?) Here is what I mean.

You write an article and put it on your blog.  You then submit that article to Ezine Articles.  They will accept only original articles, so they run your article through Copyscape to verify that your article has not been published anywhere else.  For site popularity sake this earns  a back-link to your site from a high page rank site (PR6).  With a catchy title and great content it will also earn traffic back to your site from readers who want to know more.

Now, if you want more than one back-link to your site so you need to submit that information to other sites for more popularity, and greater readership.  Do you use the same article?  Well you can (and many do!) but the general advise is to re-write the article using different words and submit different versions to the other article directories.

To do this you may manually re-write the article or you may be tempted to use a synonym spinner and produce many copies of the same article with varied adjectives and nouns which convey the same meaning without saying it in the same words.  Some of the “spun” versions of articles are pretty good, as long as the tense and nuance of the sentence is preserved.  On the other hand we have both encountered examples of spun content where that is not the case.  Do you use them?  Your call; my attempts at spinning took as much time as writing a whole new article so I’d rather do re-writes.

The bottom line is that the amount of raw information on the internet is increasing dramatically.  A lot of this information is subtle re-writes of an original idea repeated in slightly different words.  On the SEO side of the equation you may write an article for your article marketing efforts, submit it to a directory.  Then social bookmark it in 40 places, then put it on feeder sites and web 2.o properties (Blogger, WordPress.com, Squidoo, Hub-Pages, Wiki-spaces, Zimbio etc.).  Then make a video about it, or two or three.

All the while you are hoping that the article will be good enough to go viral and be picked up and repeated by other blogs and news sources.  I will have more to say about this in my next post where I explore a new program for expanding your article influence called “The Traffic Dashboard”.

The pictures illustrate the information explosion and our need to capture it.  I have come a long way from my small stack of 5.25″ floppy disks to a nearly full 500 gigabite hard drive.  Most of what is there is not new, it is just said in different ways, many, many times over.  Bet yours is too!

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Affiliate toolsA carpenter would be lost without his tool box; an affiliate marketer needs affiliate marketing tools too, just like a carpenter.  What are they and how do they help? In this article I will raise many more questions than I answer. Over the next several months all of these topics will be explored and clarified I hope you find the answers useful.

Is it more than simply a matter of signing up to a program, putting up a website that shows the products and waiting for the sales to come rolling in.  What do you need in order for that to happen?  How many areas of the internet should you have some expertise? What kind of expertise do you need?

Beyond the obvious, you will of course, need a website. It has to look appealing to your potential clients so you need to have a nice header, are you going to do the graphics?  Adobe Photo-shop is not cheap.  Should you use html and build a full fledged site or is it better to use a blog format.  Before you decide on the header you will need to know what you intend to sell.

Are you going to specialize in a niche on weight loss, if so are you prepared to compete with some of the bigger players who have deep pockets?  Have you done your keyword homework? Are there keywords that you can pursue and get your pages to the first page in the search engines? Will those keywords bring you traffic that will actually buy? Have you found some long-tailed keywords that will attract a buying client? Do you have keyword software to make that job easier?

Now you need a website with that keyword name, how do you find one when they are already taken?  Who are you going to use for hosting and how much traffic do you need to plan for?  What about graphics for your site, free themes don’t really get the job done.  What model of sales are you going to pursue?  Storefront style?  Blog Style? Review Site style? Email Marketing? PPC Marketing?  Now, how do you actually setup and use the software to get the job done.  Word press is a popular blog software and fairly easy to learn, but consider that there is still a learning curve and this is really only the front end of the engine built on php which requires code to change the header or put up a single column sales page with-out a sidebar for a name capture page. Or you can buy an Html editor and build it yourself, by the way you will need one to do anything significant with your blog as well.

Now you have a product or product line picked out.  You now know what keywords you are going to target and have enough of them that you will meet a goal of at least 100 visitors each day. You need at least a hundred each day to make sense out of the fact that your sales will average less than 3-5% of your total traffic, which is the statistic touted for an average web sites’ sales.  As you go along with your traffic plans you will need to familiarize yourself with analytics so you can test different approaches, wording, colors and everything else that may have a bearing on converting your visitors to buyers.

When the site is up amongst the other 8 billion sites out there with 12-15 more sites being added each minute.  How are you going to find visitors? Here is a partial list of the more important parts.  Directory Listings, RSS Feeds, Aggregators, Ping services, Forums, Social Networks, Twitter, Web 2.0 sites,  Facebook. Don’t forget article submission websites and back linking strategies, along  with blog commenting.  Each of these is a study in itself and each can suck up enormous amounts of time, but they are all necessary to a degree to gain recognition for your website.   I haven’t even mentioned SEO (search engine optimization), both on-site and off-site.

Now it is time to add some content to your site.  This has to be done on a fairly regular basis for the first 6 months to a year until your traffic builds up to a decent level.  Who is going to assemble that content, or video. How well is it presented, as a side study you should be exposing yourself to copy writing knowledge so you can write convincing articles and interesting content.

Speaking of interesting content, I neglected to mention an auto-responder. It is generally expected that you will give something away on your site that is valuable to your reader to “ethically” bribe them into giving you their email address so that you can continue the sales process if they are not convinced on their first visit. You will have to write that special report or newsletter. When they sign up for your list you need to communicate with them on a regular basis with more free content and an occasional pitch to look at your products.

Now, some or all of these things can be outsourced for a price, a few can be ignored, some of the software and programs are cheap or free, but it is going to cost somewhere in time or money regardless of who you pay.  To all of the marketers out there who have successfully navigated the straits and found the promised success.  Congratulations on a job well done! Schraubenschlüssel in groß To the other 95% who are still struggling with one aspect or another…There is no Silver Bullet you are going to have to go through the minefields. When you have answered most of these questions you will begin to see some success. If someone ever told you that affiliate marketing was easy and “free”…they lied! You need to fill your toolbox with affiliate marketing tools and learn how to use them.

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Are You Using PAWS In your Marketing Efforts?

Article marketing or “Bum Marketing” as it is sometimes called, is the mainstay of affiliate marketing.  It is the source of most of the linking that you will bring to your website.  By submitting  quality articles to EzineArticles and the myriad of other article sites you can easily build links and traffic.  Of course there are other methods of establishing back-links, but article marketing is one the easiest ways.  If they are good they may be picked up and syndicated on other blogs. Unlike bookmarking, once articles are published they will continue to be read and draw traffic for years to come.

As a marketer of course your job is write persuasively on your topic without hitting your readers over the head with a nerf bat.  This is a form of writing that is not taught in your standard high school or even college English class.  In fact most of us have never been exposed to it until we setup our blog/site and start to write.  Why is it so radically different?

People are searching the internet for information, your job is to give it to them.  You are aided in this process by Google and the other search engines.

How?

The engines look at your content and categorize by the keywords it contains.  Combined with  other elements of SEO your article  will rank well and gain readers depending on where it gets placed in the rankings.  Your job is to build your article around the keywords that people are searching.  Okay, so that is the boring science part, now what about the art?

There is a writer on one of the forums that I frequent, who has a little phrase in her signature; “writes many things that snap, crackle and pop…”  That play on words from the old Rice Krispies commercial is a great description.   This is the part where most beginning internet authors fall down.  I admit to being one of them, it is not always easy to write in a manner that is both convincing and not overtly salesy.  The art of copy writing takes lots of practice and many hours of reading to begin to find your own style.

“The number one rule of advertising, or selling something to
someone is to figure out how to join the conversation the prospect is already
having in their own head.”
David Bocock (Persuasive Article Writing Secrets)

Your task as a marketer is to find a way to enter that conversation and offer a solution to whatever problem your reader might be facing.  There are two things that you need to show in your writing that will help you to accomplish this.  The first is knowledge of your product, the second is authenticity.

“People do not care how much you know, until they  know how much you care.”

Demonstrating how your solution will answer the universal question of “What is in it for me?” is of course the critical part.

The style you use can be as simple as stating the problem in the title and using bullet points to solve it.  You can tell a story to get the reader involved in the emotions of the narrator.

Using trigger phrases like “what if” and “how to” can get the readers attention. Curiosity can be developed by asking a rhetorical question and finishing the article with the answer.  The benefits of your solution should always be clearly stated.  ” Sell the sizzle and not the steak.” Long lists of features are boring so avoid them.

In all cases you should insure that your article delivers on the promises you make in the title.  P.A.W.S. is short for Persuasive Article Writing Secrets. It is a narrated story of a young man who is taught the illusive art of copy writing.  In story form this book describes all the methods you need to take your writing to the next level.

Whether it is reviewing, reporting, critiquing or telling a narrative story, this book covers them thoroughly.  If your style of learning is by hearing, the 174 page book comes with a complete set of .mp3′s and an easy reference guide that re-states all the critical points.  I like to use my commute time for that; to reinforce my reading.

Words; spoken or written can be incredibly powerful. Here is  a quote from short report that I read just last night. It was written by Blair Warren in 2005 as an introduction to his $2000 writing course.

“People will do anything for those who encourage their dreams, justify their failures, allay their fears, confirm their suspicions and help them throw rocks at their enemies.”

Whether you agree with the statement or not, you will see these powerful memes being used in sales letters, name capture pages and articles in one form or another all over the internet.  Learning how to craft your words with article marketing to promote your site or your product is the most important skill you can put in your arsenal.  Check out David’s book.

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Let’s take this from the ground up!  I put up my first website over 15 years ago after buying a book on html, an html editing program and a lot of goofy mistakes.  Back then the search engines were not very sophisticated and the amount of available teaching on SEO was limited. Meta-Tags were just beginning to be used and most of us newbies had no clue as to why and what for.

One of the cool features of the first browser (Mosaic) was the ability to see the code of the page you were visiting.  It has been this way ever since.  So to build your site you would look at the source code of a cool looking page and try to copy the language  on your page to get the same look and feel. Like everything else it did not take long for the commercial elements to get involved and begin trying to improve the visibility of their pages.  Meta-tags were born to describe what the page contained.

For a brief period the search engines used this data to grade your rankings… until some people figured out that adding some reference to “sex” in your tags would increase the traffic to your site.  Needless to say, meta-tags lost their importance in a hurry!

Today, the tags are not given a lot of significance (who knows), but according to a few of the people I have listened to, they still play a role in helping the search engines to know what your site is all about.   The spiders look at everything you put on your site so you can’t fool the system by saying something that is not true.

Most of us are not coders and the modern blogging platforms are based on editing your content on the server.  WordPress and other blog formats make it super easy to simply put up pictures and descriptions  with out having to get in and mess with the code.  With a basic html page you can add your descriptions directly, in the blog formats the only way to do this (without editing code) is to use plug-in’s like All in One SEO (AI1SEO) or other plug-in’s.

There are really only three tags that are important.  Meta-title, meta-description, and meta-keywords.  If you have AI1SEO this is simple to do.  At the bottom of your posts page, those three fields are available for you to describe your product or service to the world.  When you finish putting in your post, you simply scroll to the bottom of the page and insert:

  1. Title: Your (Catchy, Fascinating, Controversial) introduction to your post that the world will see in the search engines.
  2. Description: Google will use (Maybe) 160 characters of this in the actual search listings ( I find that it is most often a combination of both title and description)
  3. Keywords: These are the words that people will be using to search for your post, and here you are telling Google which keyword/keywords most accurately describes the information you want to get out.  Important to note is that you should have used these words in your post 3or4 times to reinforce the significance of what you are saying.

As far as Site SEO goes this is all that you really have to do. Now it is time to get busy and do the other hundred things you have to do to get your site noticed.

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What Is In Your Affiliate Tool-box? (Part 3)


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RSS feeds, Aggregators, Only Wire, Link Cloaking: (Part 3)

In today’s installment of Affiliate Tool-box tools we are looking at the realm of social book-marking.  Just like RSS feeds and directory listings the social marking sites  play an important part in site ranking.  You need to be registered at each of them and be submitting your content (articles, pictures,etc.) on a regular basis.  The sites will have a different requirements, most will offer to copy your in-box and share it with the world.  The first time that happened to me, I went screaming away as fast as I could. (note you do not have to share)

Social bookmarking sites are important for two reasons, they give your content a nice boost in traffic and they have have high page rank which provides a nice back-link.  Some articles have the possibility of going viral and getting notoriety which can get a flood of traffic to your site.  Most of the time it is simply another link to enhance your search engine rankings.  There are literally 100′s of such services world-wide and your could spend literally 100′s of hours registering at them. (who said computers are supposed to save you time? And if you add every bookmarking toolbar to your browser window you can quickly get down to 50% of your viewing real estate occupied by toolbars )

Social Book-marking

The alternative is to employ a service which will automate the process.  Social Marker is one of the often recommended services. They have a frame overlay that will take you from service to service and enable you to add your bookmarks to each individual site.  This assumes  that you have pre-registered at all of the sites on their listings.  It is great for adding your book marks a few at a time over the course of several days to make your links appear natural.

It is also a time consuming process.  You will need to get your log-in and password set up for each site you wish to use, and as you add sites that you wish to promote,  you should probably get different user accounts (names and passwords) for the different niches you are promoting.  What ever you decide, start with and Excel spread sheet and record every service with all of the necessary information so that you don’t have to search your email for each log-in every time you need it.

Your headings would be:

Link–>Log-in Address–>Password–>Page Rank–>Effective–>Love–>Affiliate Link

With this information you are now ready to set up an account with OnlyWire .  This service is totally automated with access to 42 of the best social bookmarking sites, all have high PR.  Once you have your accounts set up in their online software, you simply log-in to your account and make the submission one time with an address and brief description, add your keywords and hit submit.  It may come back and ask for a few “captchas” over the next few minutes, but that is all you need to do.  Set up takes a few hours if you are not already registered at all of the sites, but once that is done the actual submission is a 2 minute process.

Onlywire is free for 300 links a month and then has a sliding scale plan for larger linking services.  Check out their page for pricing, it seems reasonable to me and it certainly is a time saver. (NO those are not Affiliate Links) Happy link-building!

Comments? Have you used either one? What do you think?

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What Is In Your Affiliate Tool-box? (Part 2)


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RSS feeds, Aggregators, Only Wire, Link Cloaking: (Part 2)

You already know that you should cloak your affiliate links for a number of reasons.  In the first place they are just plain ugly, and secondly they are frowned up on by the big G.  Your clients are not as inclined to click on a link that clearly says “hop” or is obviously an affiliate link.  Lastly there is the whole notion of link theft where an un-scrupulous marketer would substitute his link and steal your commissions.

There are a number of solutions to this problem which work to varying degrees.  Most of them are paid solutions which means you need to fork over a $100 bill or more to a software company and in a lot of those cases your links are being hosted off of your server.  These usually allow you to track your clicks though not all of them will tell you the source of your clicks.  The simple ones to avoid are the typical “URL” shorteners a few months back one of those went belly up thanks to the big G and suddenly many affiliates were left with no clicks at all.

The new full disclosure rules are also a factor in this regard.  For a while I used “Pretty Link” which offered cloaking as a free part of the plug-in one day I got and update and suddenly the free version was no longer functional.  It seems that WordPress.com laid down the law which prohibits cloaked links on any of their free blogs (probably to satisfy the new rulings) at the same time several other “link-cloaking” plug-in’s disappeared from the word press.org website.  Go figure.

Left with out an alternative I began to search for a suitable replacement for my sites.  The best one that I found is called Linktrackr. As with many others they host your links off site.  The offer their services on a monthly basis with tracking and a semi decent looking link.  The free account will allow you 10 free links that you can spread across your accounts.  You then download a plug-in and set it up on each individual blog.  You also have to go off site to configure and set up the link itself.  The price is reasonable and they offer a sliding payment scale so you don’t have to pay for more links than you need at any given time.  If you are looking for an inexpensive or free way to cloak up to 10 links this is probably the way to go.

Finally found what I have been looking for…UltimateAutoResponder a free link cloaking solution that I host for myself with no limit on the number of links that I can put up.  The software is free with a sign-up to their list and it takes less than thirty minutes to set up.  This is not an affiliate link, I don’t know these guys yet but I am looking forward to getting acquainted.  Simply download the PDF and carefully follow instructions.  Can you spell Cat’s Meow!  I’ll have more on linking and back-links tomorrow.

Update: The free has been replaced by a “pro version” for a lot of money… you know what they say. No Fr.ee lunches

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What is In Your Affiliate Tool Box?


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RSS feeds, Aggregators, Only Wire, Link Cloaking: (Part 1)

Lets talk about mechanics today, these are the things that I see listed on pages of “internet tips” that are supposed to help you in your quest for more back-links.   Here are a few more things that should be in your affiliate tool-box.  As an affiliate marketer you are always on the lookout for more back-links so you think yeah that sounds easy enough and off you go to sign up with 20 different aggregator’s.  So here is my question; of all the services out there and all the lists floating around, does anyone ever go through the  lists and actually sign up to them all?  Have you tried it?

One of the first lists that I encountered was the “free directories list” made available by Brad Callen.  I though whoa this is great! 300 directory services who will list my site and all for free.  Yippee, NOT!  What I found was a great way to waste my time, my eye-balls (figuring out Captcha’s) and toast an email account or two as it fills up with the spam they begin sending.  Most of the “free” ones never send or list your site, others will require a reciprocal link with your site meaning you need to paste some code with advertising for them.  Even when I did that, their engines would respond that they could not find the code on my site and fail to proceed.  On top of that, the list of sites was compiled a long time ago and has not been updated so easily 50% of them no longer exist.

The same is true for a number of RSS feed lists.  Several of the lists floating around are full of defunct services.  So, I have settled instead for a handful of the good ones.

http://www.blogdigger.com/add.jsp (PR7)
http://www.feedage.com (PR6)
http://www.plazoo.com/en/addrss.asp (PR6)
http://www.feedbite.com (PR5)
http://www.feedagg.com/add_feed.php (PR6)

All of these are simple to join and will list your feeds with very little work involved, and you will not wind up on a spam list in the process. I know there are many others, but for my time and sanity sake these are the best I have found.

Two things I discovered recently that excite me about feeds are a couple of mixing sites that enable you to combine feeds from many sources.  This is highly useful for campaigns when you want to take all of the information about your various web properties and articles, video’s or anything that can be made into a feed and combine it.

http://www.rssmix.com and http://pipes.yahoo.com/pipes/

For rssmix you need to find or make feeds of all your relevant sites  and then combine them on their mixing page.  This is a free service. I do have two caveats however:

  1. make sure that your feeds contain exactly what you want (for instance your HubPages feed will list every hub you have under that name which might be different topics)
  2. Make  sure that your submission site will accept combined links. (some do not)

The second one Yahoo Pipes is a newcomer which does the same thing in a much more sophisticated manner.  With “Pipes” you can filter and build your rss into some very sophisticated feeds which will then be listed on a (pr 7) page in Yahoo.  It is kind of fun to use as you drag your connectoids around the GUI.  Check out the video below for more information.


Leave me a comment, have you tried the Pipes?

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