30 July 2007

Using Drop shippers for online retailing

Many website owners and bloggers who are looking to monetize their sites only use AdSense. I think this is very dangerous and shortsighted. While AdSense is a good program Google has a habit of discontinuing accounts without notice and little explanation. If you read Googles own help forums on AdSense you will soon realise that if this happens to you you will have very little chance of persuading them that they have acted in error in terminating your AdSense account. So its a very dangerous strategy to rely solely on income from AdSense as a way of monetizing your site.

Selling products online

In previous posts I covered a number of different alternatives to AdSense. In this post I want to talk about a specific strategy - selling products yourself directly online. Now the first objection to this ( it was my own) will be - I don't have any products to sell so how can I sell products online?

One of the fascinating things about the internet is how it has created new business niches and markets or diversified traditional ones.

Retail and wholesale
Think for a minute about a traditional retailer. He buys wholesale and takes the goods to his shop then sells them at a retail price and keeps the difference.

Now think about purchasing goods by post. You buy from a retailer and the goods are posted to you. You are not even aware of their wholesale origin. Now imagine that you purchased those same goods by post and that they arrive but unknown to you it was actually the wholesaler who posted them directly to you on behalf of the retailer. Imagine that they did this in a way so that as far as you were concerned you were receiving your goods from the retailer. This is basically how dropshipping works.

How dropshipping works
With drop-shipping you, the retailer, advertise goods/products for sale. But you keep no stock of these products. When an order is made that order is passed to the drop-shipper who arranges delivery of the product. So you can act as a retailer but without needing to carry any stock.

I use this model very successfully on places like e-bay where I have an eBay shop. I make my sales on e-bay, classified sites and through a number of my own web-sites ( using free and cheap hosting)- but all the delivery and ordering problems are handled by the drop shipper. If you are interested in expanding your online portfolio from just AdSense enabled sites to direct selling and bigger bucks then this can be a very lucrative way to operate.

I mostly use dropship-business.com as they are reputable and have a large range of very high quality products at wholesale prices. Their start up packages are also very reasonable. As I have become more experienced I have added a couple of other drop-shippers for particular items.

This method of starting a real online business is certainly much less risky and much less hassle than trying to handle orders and shipping yourself and having to get things like a merchant account. Personally I have found that it works best when you market strong well known brand names and supplement these with more specialist items - but of course that depends what products you want to focus on.

21 July 2007

Being innovative but listening to Google.

One of the interesting things about the Internet is that it provides endless opportunities for people to spot potential niches which others have not yet thought of. Sometimes these ideas will help you to be a more effective publisher and in turn will support your goals for earning income from AdSense. This desire to find different ways of doing things is of course not what drives everyone. Many AdSense publishers are content with developing a blog or two and sticking to that.

Personally I have always enjoyed trying to think out of the box and trying new things so I am always thinking of new ways to use the wonderful tools that the Internet has given us. Now I am not claiming to be some super dooper innovator or anything like that. I do like to experiment though and I would encourage most people to push the boat out a little that way.

One of the things though that you must be clear about if you are going to experiment with different ways of using blogs ( or websites) and seeing how this improves your AdSense income is that not every idea you have will be a gem. Sometimes what seemed like a good idea just won't come off. You shouldn't view this negatively though. You can learn even from ideas that don't work out.

I had this experience recently. I thought of an interesting way to use a blog which was innovative ( innovative for me - others may have had the same idea) and had some propect of both being useful for a visitor and being a good vehicle for AdSense. So I set up a blog to implement my idea. All seemed to be going well for a couple of weeks but then the blog ( a blogspot blog) got flagged by Googles spam filter.

Now this hadn't been my intention. I could have tried to get the flag removed of course but I realised that the way I had implemented the idea would always run the risk of the blog getting flagged as spam. So what did I do? Well I have reworked the idea and essentially put that blog on ice until I can think how to do it without it just being spam. This may not be possible - in which case I will just delete it.

So was all this a waste of time? Of course not. I have learned a lot from trying to implement my idea and who knows - maybe some time in the future it will emerge in another more usable form.

The lesson from all this is that it is good to challenge yourself to think of new ideas and try to implement them. But don't hang on to these experiments as though they were your children - if an idea doesn't work out learn from it and move on.

15 July 2007

Competetive Ad filtering

One of the issues that confronts the website or blog publisher with AdSense on their site is the issue of ads appearing for competitive products or sites.

Now this can be both a blessing and a curse. If you have a blog about a particular niche then your visitors will be coming to your site hopefully with the subject of that niche in their minds. If your traffic is coming from the right sources they will be coming primed to find out just the information or product that you are going to present to them. ( You came here to find information about improving your AdSense performance I assume?)

So you will quite legitimately have written your posts with an eye to this and with the aim in mind of meeting your keyword objectives. Hopefully you will also be imparting some useful information or service to you visitors.

Those same keywords that are in your mind as you post are the same keywords though that trigger the ads on your page. And guess what? A proportion of the advertisers who are bidding on your site will also be attempting to meet the same niche needs as you are.

So your visitor comes to your site and they are primed not only for your content but also for the messages that your advertisers are giving. Of course if this results in the visitor simply leaving your site straight away by clicking one of the ads then this may or may not be a problem for you.

Why do I say may or may not be a problem?

Well it depends on the nature of your site.

There are in general three types of AdSense publishers.

The first are those that are giving you a tangible product for example selling you things.
The second are those who are providing you with useful information or opinion. ( This blog falls into that category)
The third are generally useless and have little real content and are simply a place to hang adverts.

So which type of site has a problem with competitive adverts?

Product sites in my view have the most to worry about in relation to competitive ads because once the visitor has gone then a potentially lucrative sale has in all probability been lost.

Information and opinion sites have a little less of a problem. They were not trying to sell you something in he first place ( except themselves) and when the visitor leaves they get a small payment for the click. But wait - its not that simple. Most information or opinion blogs want more visitors and repeat visitors. So if someone arrives and simply sees an attractive competitor ad and leaves straight away you may be losing a repeat visitor. You may be losing someone who would have read your material and bookmarked you, or emailed your link to a friend, or written a post about your site.

So you need to think carefully about the impact of competitor ads and the use of the competitor ad feature in your Google account. Strike the right balance between excluding direct competitors who will suck your traffic away - but don't go overboard and lose potential AdSense income.

09 July 2007

Adsense blog, website - or both?

Sometimes beginners who are trying to earn income with AdSense find the whole thing a bit confusing to start with. This can be a particular problem for people who are not really familiar with how websites are constructed, what the AdSense code is and how it should fit within their
page. In this post I want to cover some of these basic AdSense issues. Apologies to those of you who are already familiar with all this.

First of all be clear - you cannot be an AdSense publisher unless you are using a platform or a hosting service that will allow you to place the AdSense Javascript code on your page.

So, for example, if you are signed up to a blogging platform like Wordpress . com then I am sorry you wont be able to use AdSense - not unless you sign up for a different platform. (or use Wordpress on your own hosted site)

Perhaps the easiest way to start out on the path to earning income from AdSense is to sign up with Blogger. This is very easy to do if you already have a Google account. If you haven't already done this then do it now!

With a blogspot blog putting AdSense on your page couldn't be easier. You just use the AdSense widget on the page elements Template page.

More sophisticated AdSense users know that a better way to run your AdSense is to have more than one site. You can create more than one blog and put your AdSense on these other blogs - but make sure you have good content on them. Don't just put up MFA sites.

Even better results from AdSense can be achieved if you have content on different domains. This allows you to do some constructive cross linking and to develop a number of niches. Using different domains will increase your search engine exposure. A great way to start is with a FREE web hosting package.
I recommend the following FREE web hosting supplier ( they are offering great introductory packages and FREE hosting).

08 July 2007

Getting targeted Ads for "negative review" posts

Reading a recent post got me thinking about how you can ensure that you get the right Ads served to you if you are writing posts which are negatively reviewing a product or service.

The Negative post Problem
Now articles which negatively review a product may be of great interest to your readers. It may serve to warn them about the pitfalls of a product or service or tell them that its a scam or advise them of things that can go wrong and that they should be careful about. The problem is that the Adsense bot will look for keywords and won't understand the negative context of the post/article.

The result is that you will end up seeing Ads that are triggered by the keywords relating to the product and so your page will be filled with Ads for the very products that you are negatively reviewing. The problem of course is that this may reduce your potential income from Adsense.

The Negative Post solution
The solution is to use a combination of techniques.
First - make sure that within your post you include a section where you make some positive comments or discussion about some alternative products or services.
Second - use section targeting to highlight those sections so that Adsense targeting gives more weight to those parts of your post. (remember that section targeting needs a reasonable amount of content to work so your positive section needs to be of reasonable length.
Third - if section targeting alone doesn't work then you can use the competitive filter to weed out those ads that persist.
Fourth - don't sweat it too much. Some visitors will click the negatively reviewed products anyway just to see what the fuss is about!

07 July 2007

Adsense CPM is it important?

New Adsense users seem to get very worried about the eCPM figure varying for their sites or blogs. Usually all this worry about effective Cost per Thousand page impressions ( which is what eCPM is) is completely unnecessary and pointless - in particular when you are just starting out with your blog or website with Adsense on it.

Let see what eCPM actually is. eCPM is basically just a statistical tool that shows you what your effective earnings are per 1000 impressions. It does this based on your current rate of earning and assumes that this is typical. The result of this is that eCPM can vary quite a lot over time.

Also when the numbers of page impressions and the numbers of clicks and amount of earnings are relatively small these fluctuations tend to be wilder - this is just a consequence of the way this statistic works and is not something you should waste time worrying about.

Lets imagine that you have achieved 100 page impressions. You have earned 10 cents for these 100 impressions. This gives earnings per 1000 impressions (eCPM) of $1. eCPM =(earnings *100)/1000 (If you had 200 page impressions with 10c earnings then eCPM would be 50c.)

Note: That equation works if you are quoting earnings in cents ie 10c etc. If you are using earnings in dollars then its simply earnings/1000.

So each page impression that shows up new in your AdSense report is going to change your eCPM figure - the figure will fluctuate as page impressions and clicks come in at a varying rate over time. So short term variation to eCPM is not something to go grey haired about.

Over longer periods of time it can be worth thinking about the eCPM figure because it is more stable and reliable and is then telling you something about the effective earning capacity of those pages in relation to the amount of traffic that they get.

If you are still unclear then leave a comment below and I will try to help.

04 July 2007

Increase Adsense Income with Article submissions

One of the really great strategies to increase you website or blog exposure is using an article submission strategy. Article submissions are a great way to bring more links and visitors to your website and should be an integral part of any web site or blog promotion strategy. So just what do we mean by Article Submission and how exactly can writing articles which you give away for free boost your income from AdSense?

One of the unchanging facts about the Internet is that website and blog owners are always the looking for new, fresh and quality content. To expand your Internet presence as a website or blog owner you need contents that are regularly updated and that keep your visitors wanting to come back for more. Fresh content also helps to keep you up there in the search engine rankings. This in turn translates to more visitors to your site and in turn this should improve your Adsense income.

You will be thinking about fresh content for your site- but so are all those other site and blog owners. This is where article submission comes in as part of your promotion strategy.

There are many article submission sites on the Internet which will accept articles that you write and make them available to others, nearly always for free, to use on their sites.

Whoa there! I hear you say. Why should I give my efforts away to other sites like that? It's my stuff and I am keeping it!

Think for a moment though about the benefits that you get.

First you will be writing articles that fit well with the niche that your site or blog is about. There will be links in your article back to your site. So you are going to write useful and informative articles that wet peoples appetite for your site. (Repeat after me ....yes I will write articles that entice people to my site)

So when people who are searching for articles see that yours are relevant and meet their needs two things can happen ( hopefully both).

First there is a good chance that the person looking for the content will themselves follow the links back to your site ( and by definition your site is probably also well targeted to what they are interested in.)

Second there is also a good chance that they will want to take your article and reproduce it on their site. Now , when they do this these publishers are required to reprint your articles together with your links in them. They are required to respect your author rights and publish the article with the links intact.

This of course benefits both you and the person who publishes your article. They get good quality free content that is well targeted to their needs and you get another backlink out there that promotes your site.

Best of all the hard work of finding publishers who will take your material and publish it is handled by the article submission site.

If you have an online business and you are too busy to write such articles yourself it is possible to hire copywriters who will prepare such material for you - for a fee. Many site owners make use of such services but it is also entirely possible to do this yourself. Article preparation and submission can of course be very time consuming as can the process of making sure that you have found the best article submission sites and that you are meeting their guidelines. If you feel that your time would be more productively spent on other aspects of your online business or that you don't yourself have good article writing skills then don't be afraid to outsource.

Web Stats, Adsense Income and time factors

In a previous post I explained something about page impressions and CTR ( Click through rate) and explained something about how these numbers can fluctuate. In this post we will consider some other reasons for variations in your income from Adsense. If you don't understand what page impressions and CTR are then I suggest that you might wish to read the earlier post on these first.

How time and seasonal factors influence income from AdSense.
Let us imagine for a moment that you are running a website that is focused on selling travel insurance. Now you may not know much about travel insurance ( and I don't pretend to know about it in detail either - but that's not critical to my point.) Now take a guess - Over the course of a year do you think that your earnings from Adsense would be the same every month of the year? Would that be a reasonable expectation?

Do you see my point? We would expect that a travel insurance site might have its busiest months in the lead up to and during vacation periods. Equally we might expect that visitors. page impressions and Adsense income might be lower for other periods. Maybe you can think of better examples?

The point is that for some topics there will be a seasonal or time influence on the pattern of your visitors and their activity. You would not expect a site selling specialist ice -cream to do its best business during the winter would you?

So when thinking about your site statistics and your Adsense income think about whether there may be such time factors at play in the niche within which you are operating. These factors can come into play for the most surprising topics. Also such variations may be not only on a month by month but a day by day or hour by hour basis. Let me give you another ( made up) example to illustrate this. Lets say I have a site which provides somewhere for people who go to a particular evening class to post topics and read each others posts. When would I not expect to get many of them visiting such a site? When the night class is on!

So think about time factors when you are examining your stats.

03 July 2007

Internet Money making opportunities

When you are running a website or a blog it makes sense to think about other money making opportunities that can run in parallel with your income from Adsense. Why is this important? Well one reason is that there is always the possibility that you will fall foul of Google's terms of Service in some way and you may find your Adsense account terminated or suspended. This will be an unpleasant experience for you if you have put all your eggs in the Adsense basket.

I have previously posted on a number of Adsense alternatives. Most of these were advertising programs of one form or another.

In this post I want to have a look at a couple of other things I have come across recently.

The Ultimate Wealth Package is a turnkey type package which was featured in Entrepeneur magazine. It sets you up for selling other companies products and earning 75% commission on the sales and provides you with an online automated business.

Project Black Mask is different - it provides information about gaming search engines for thousands of FREE clicks in a completely automated way. Black Mask aims to show you how to milk a loophole in the Google algorithm. This is about increasing your sites exposure and visitors and would be of benefit wether you are using Adsense or alternatives to Adsense.

Finally there's Blogging to the Bank which gives you information about how to massively increase you earnings from blogging by creating blogs which draw in thousands of targetted visitors. I havnt tried this one myself so I cant recommend it one way or another.

And then of course theres that old standby parked domains. Here's an example of an adult parked domain with Sedo http://www.ursxy.com/