29 December 2008

Affiliate Program Teenagers

Be Special Be Yourself for Teenagers Affiliate Program Earn up 40% commission per sale with this Affiliate program that promotes a collection of inspiring stories for teenagers. This is a high rate of commission and the site sells the material in both e-book and hard copy format. This affiliate program is probably best used with a site that focuses on family issues and teen age problems and issues. The primary market for this book would be the parents of teenagers.

Remember that there are a range of ways for promoting your affiliate program once you have signed up. You can put up banners, you can write a short article on the stories, you can even promote the material through friends and colleagues. The strongest affiliate recommendations often come through people who have used the product , service or book themselves and who are then able to recommend it with some conviction.

28 December 2008

Affiliate Program Beauty Shop

Beauty Shop Affiliate Program
The Beauty Shop Affiliate Program offers 10% per sale and a ninety day cookie. The Beauty Shop Website has a full range of skincare , haircare and cosmetics products and is very professionally presented. The website takes a full range of currencies and can be promoted in any market. This Affiliate program would be most suitable for matching with a women's or girls blog or a website aimed at women. To join the program just follow the link above.

Remember that the better you match the affiliate programs that you join to your website or blog then the more success you are likely to have with your affiliate marketing methods.

18 December 2008

Blogger Buzz: Your blog, your data

Blogger have just released a very useful feature which allows you to import and export your blog posts. You can do this either within the same blog like an archive system or to help you transfer posts from one blog to another. The import export feature is in the settings> basic page and is extremely easy to use. However as with all new features it is advisable to try it out on a test blog before you use it for real.

This should make it much easier to consolidate blogs and to move posts from dead blogs to live ones. The format for the export is the Atom XML format and it also exports and imports the blog comments so that you dont lose anything. An excellent feature.

06 December 2008

Sponsor and Advertising Disclosure

This blog operates in compliance with Federal Trade Commission rules.

As part of this compliance this is the disclosure policy of this blog.

  • I attempt to make as much money from this blog as possible - because I am a rational blogger who believes in Free Enterprise.
  • I try to make every post a paying post by attracting people to read my blog.
  • I want every link on this blog to be a paid link for me. If a link is not paying me then I will look for one that does.
  • I try to get the products that I write about on this blog for free. I will encourage you to do the same.
  • You should always assume I got a product that I reviewed for free. If I didn’t get it for free then that's my foolishness.
  • I dont Tweet much but if I did I would try to make them pay.
  • If you submit information to this site such as your email then it will only be used for the purpose given - usually to provide you with useful sponsorship information. I don't give away any information you submit to me.
  • If there is a legal and moral way to make money from this blog then hopefully I will be using it.
  • If I get paid to write about a product or I am advertsing something that does not mean I will positively endorse it - I may slate it. What you will find here is honest opinion.

10 November 2008

Is Adsense or Affiliate Marketing best for you

If you have a blog or website and you are wanting income from adverts to generate online income then which is best for you - AdSense or Affiliate marketing? The space on your pages is valuable and limited and so this is an important question.

AdSense is the most popular of the Pay Per Click advertising programs that are available. You will see AdSense ads on all sorts of Websites and blogs. There is a good reason for this - AdSense is easy to sign up for and easy to use and most importantly it is very easy to generate a steady stream of small scale income from AdSense.

To make a good income from AdSense though you really do need to get lots of people visiting your site. The amount that you get paid for each click is generally not very high and so you need lots of readers and lots of page views if you are aiming for a good income.

There are a number of ways of improving your performance with AdSense. One is to ensure that your site content is well focused and that the ads that AdSense is delivering are as high paying as possible for the niche within which you are operating.

At first sight it would seem that AdSense wins the AdSense versus Affiliate marketing competition hands down. But things are not that simple.

With Affiliate marketing you will get paid usually only when someone actually purchases the product that you are promoting. This is a much rarer occurrence than someone just clicking an advert out of curiosity.

On the plus side however you will find that the amounts that you are paid for a successful affiliate sale are much much higher than your standard payment per click through AdSense. If you target your site content very closely to your affiliate offers then you can considerably improve the percentage of people who come to your site looking for just the offers that you are promoting. It doesn't take many such sales for you to start making substantially more than you would with AdSense.

So is there a winner? Well not really. You must think carefully about how you match the advertising content of your site to the sites content. In many cases the best way to go is to use a combination of Pay Per Click advertising and Affiliate marketing. You may even be able to sell advertising space directly on your site.

Only careful monitoring and targeting of your content and the advertising on your site will produce good online income. AdSense and Affiliate programs therefore both have an important role to play in generating the maximum income from your website or blog.

25 October 2008

What is Niche Blogging?

What is niche blogging and why should you care anyway? Well, niche blogging is one of the ways to get your blog a focused stream of visitors and it is one of the ways that you can improve your income from blogging and income from ads on your blogs. It's simply about focusing your blogging onto a narrow subject range so that your blog does well in the search engine results.

Niche blogging is not right for every blog of course. Two of my other blogs for example are very wide in their scope. I blog about anything that takes my fancy on them. They get a good readership and I enjoy blogging on them. They even make me money.

Niche blogging though is about focusing the attention of a blog down to a narrower range of things. This blog for example is in the Internet marketing, publisher affiliate and advertising income niche. This blog is still fairly broad within that niche but it is still a niche blog.

Blogs can be focused even more narrowly on a niche of course. If I focused this blog solely on Affiliate programs for example this would be an even narrower niche. I could then go further and focus even more narrowly on one affiliate program.

The advantage of niche blogging is that you may stand a better chance of coming higher in the search engine results when someone searches for something to do with that particular niche. The visitors who come to your site will be very much the ones who are looking for information about that particular niche. This is of course helpful if your advertising inventory is also focused on that niche.

Personally I like narrowly focused niche blogs for their ability to get focused visitors. I do think they sometimes make it harder to get people interested in your blogging and involved in a "conversation". So. I use niche blogs but I also blog more widely on other blogs, including this one.

There is no doubt though that if you choose your niche carefully and match your niche with well selected Advertising inventory then niche blogging can be very rewarding.

This is why some people get obsessed with "high paying keywords" in their quest to maximise their income from adverts. If you know that keywords related to "insurance" for example pay a high rate per click in AdSense then it seems to make sense to make a niche blog about insurance.

The problem with this is that some niches are very crowded. Many people have thought of this before you have and even a narrow niche blog may struggle to get anywhere in the search results.

The secret, if you can really call it a secret, is to find a niche which is not crowded, and , very importantly one which you will enjoy writing about.

23 October 2008

Put AdSense code in a Blogspot Blog

This is basic but it is something that many newbies scratch their heads about when they first get a blog and an AdSense account so here is a walk through on how to put AdSense into your blogspot blog.

First things first. You must have already signed up for a blogspot blog and have some posts on it with some reasonable content. Then you will have signed and been approved for AdSense. In AdSense you will have generated some AdSense code and now you are ready to put it into your blog. OK?

Well first of all you don't actually need to get the code from your AdSense log in.

There is a gadget that you can use in blogger that makes all this very easy. Go to the layout tab in your blog editor. Then look for the "page elements tab". You now see the layout of your blog in graphic form.

Click Add gadget and then look in the list for the AdSense gadget. Click on the + sign and a page comes up as shown in the picture. Choose the format ( size ) of the add that you want and the colors. If you haven't already linked your AdSense account you will need to give your identifying information and thats it. You save the gadget and make sure you have dragged it to somewhere on the page layout where there is room for the ad size that you have selected.

If you want to generate the code in your actual adsense account then you can also do it another way. Simply get the code then add a HTML gadget on your page elements page. When the HTML gadget is open paste the code into it. Save the gadget and you ads will show.

Multiple Domain Unlimited Bandwidth Hosting

Back in August I posted briefly about signing up for a Multiple Domain Hosting Package with unlimited bandwidth. I thought it would be useful to give an update about this and reflect a little more on why Multiple domain hosting on one account is so useful for someone trying to develop income streams on the internet.

Trying to find the right web hosting package with all the services that you need at a good price is the Holy Grail really. I use three webhosting providers at the moment ( leaving aside the free web hosting packages that I use).

Currently I have packages with GoDaddy , Heart Internet and, most recently a multiple domain hosting package with HostMonster.com .

Heart Internet has been a very reliable hosting provider and they were the first paid webhosting service that I signed up for. I have stuck with them because they have been very reliable and their support is very responsive. they are not cheap though and I have been a bit frustrated by the fact that I cant host more than one domain on my account.

As for GoDaddy , I have very mixed views about them. I find that their navigation to control various aspects of your hosting account is not always the easiest to find you way around. Otherwise it's a pretty good and reasonably reliable service.

Both of these packages don't really make it easy though to host an unlimited number of domains on the one account and my Internet activities have reached the stage where I really need multiple site hosting on one account.

When you are running a number of affiliate promotions you will tend to need specific landing pages and sites relating to those promotions. It looks better for visitors and is more effective in terms of generating advertising and affiliate income. It's much easier if you are managing multiple sites like this if you can do it through the one hosting account. It's also important , depending on the kind of sites that you are running, that there shouldn't be too much restriction ( if any) on your Bandwidth usage.

I did a lot of looking about before I settled on HostMonster.com. The account comes with PHP 5+, CGI, MySql and a host of features together with cpanel. And it really does have no limit on the number of domains that can be hosted or the Bandwidth that you can use.

It's now been over two months since I signed up with them and I have been very pleased with my new account which is costing me $4.95 a month - excellent value. I have moved and set up five domains now on this account and I will be moving the majority of my domains over during the next few months. The process has been fairly straightforward but for those who are nervous about this I might post about the process of doing this in more detail in the future.

I am not often in the habit of giving glowing recommendations but I can give a hearty thumbs up to Host Monster.com - their multiple domain hosting package has really exceeded my expectations.

20 October 2008

Using Statcounter with blogspot blogger

Statcounter is an excellent free visitor tracker which is perfect for small to medium websites and blogs. It is particularly easy to install Statcounter on a blogspot blog and there are instructions on the Statcounter website. Sometimes it can be useful though to learn a little about such software before you sign up so that you know if it's worth while trying so here is a quick run down on using Statcounter to track page views on a blogger blog.

Once signed up with Statcounter you are able to create a project for each one of your blogs or websites where you want to track visitors. This is very simple and consists mainly of entering the website or blog address.

Stacounter then generates a short piece of Javascript which is what you put into your website or blog. In generating the code you will be able to decide if a visible website visitor counter will be shown. If you wish you can choose to make an invisible visitor counter.

On blogger the simplest way to put the code on your website is to use a HTM/Javascript widget. Then it is simply a case of pasting the Javascript code into the box. In a blog the code is pasted in as a section of script. If you are doing this I would recommend that you place the code in the footer area.

Once the code is in Statcounter will start to track each time someone visits your site. It will record their IP address and which pages they accessed. Statcounter poses no risk to your visitors because it stores no personal information about visitors. However for you as the blog or website owner the information it provides is invaluable.

You will know how many visitors you are getting and where they are coming from. You will learn what searches brought those visitors to your site. You will know which of your pages are popular and how people travel around your pages. This helps considerably if you are trying to target certain pages.

I have never hesitated to recommend Statcounter. There are more sophisticated visitor tracking systems available of course but for a completely free system which is easy to use it's hard to beat Statcounter.

Email posting to your blog

One of the great things about blogging platforms is that they often allow you to e-mail posts to your blog. This of course means that you don'thave to be actually logged in to your blogging software to be able to create a post.

In blogspot blogger blogs it is very simple to set this up. Go into your settings tab and look for the email tab. Thjis will let you set up the email address that you will email your posts to. Then just use this email address when you want to email to your blog.

When setting the email address up in blogger you will also be able to choose if yopur email posts should publish immediately or if they should be held for publishing when you log in to blogger. This ability to email posts can be very useful as a way of making it easier for you to keep your blog fresh and updated. if for example you have a mobile phone capable of semding emails then you can post to your blog wherever you are without having to acess a PC.

Keeping a regular posting schedule to your blog can help keep your blog higher in the search engines. So if you want to keep your blog live with fresh posts but don't want to be tied to a PC it is worth finding a way to use mobile e-mailing to your blog.

13 October 2008

Recession Adsense and Affiliate Marketing

As stock markets around the world show signs today of stabilising and emerging from the utter panic which appeared to have gripped them it is time to lift our eyes from the immediate crisis and look at the consequences of the financial crisis for Internet publishers and marketers and the potential impact on advertising income.

What now seems clear is that Western economies at least are likely to experience a year or two of recession. It is impossible that a reduction of economic activity of this scale will leave Internet businesses untouched.

Although steps are being taken to free up credit markets it is almost a certainty that credit will remain tight for some time. The impact this recession will have on Internet marketers, Publishers and others who rely on AdSense and affiliate income is worth exploring;

1. Reduced credit card availability and activity.
It seems a reasonable bet that banks and other financial institutions will tighten their qualifying criteria for issuing credit cards. It also seems highly likely that consumers, frightened by the credit crisis, will increasingly look to repay credit card debt rather than take out new debt. It is unlikely that these trends have peaked yet. For Internet marketers this means fewer people looking to make Internet purchases and probably fewer people with credit cards to fund such purchases.

2. Consumers looking for essentials.
In times when money is tight we can assume that people will look to maintain the essentials of life and will cut back primarily on inessentials and speculative purchases. Again this trend may not have peaked. Comments on forums would suggest that affiliates in the travel field have not yet seen any universal downtrend. This may not be long in coming though and it might be anticipated that there will be some impact on non-essential purchase niches over the coming months. Those who are marketing in niches for more essential items may be less impacted by a coming recession.

3. Consumers will be looking for value.
When money is easy then differentials in price for the same product may not be that critical sometimes. People may not spend a long time to save a dollar or two because their budgets are not squeezed. But move to a situation where money is tight and price becomes a very critical issue for a consumer. Marketing around value and price may in such a situation be a more critical strategy. When times are good people may pay a premium for Quality. When times are hard those same people may look to strike a firmer balance between quality and price. Internet marketers need to consider this in the way that they pitch their offers to potential consumers.

4. PPC will do well - at first
PPC programs like AdSense appear at first sight to offer a much more resilient source of income than Affiliate programs when money is tight. With PPC the publisher is rewarded simply for a visitor expressing interest in a product by clicking through. But the economic squeeze will impact on advertisers as much as it does consumers. Companies will face pressures in their advertising budgets and may begin to opt for Pay Per Action rather than Pay Per Click. This could reduce the demand for AdWords placements and suppress PPC rates. It will be interesting to see if this trend emerges or if advertisers see AdWords as an effective and cheap marketing tool in hard times.

5. Those who stick it out will eventually do well.
There will be casualties in the coming months. Internet businesses which have extended themselves and are making little or no profit may not survive for long. Those businesses which do survive are likely to be much leaner. fitter and focused though as we emerge from a coming recession. They will be well placed to take advantage of a future economic upturn.

The lesson in all this for Internet publishers, AdSense users and affiliate marketers is that you will not escape from a coming recession unscathed. there will be impacts on your business and some may have to re-think their business focus. It will become even more important to focus on what the customer needs and wants and to be aware that this may have changed. It will be important to be nimble and to be able to change what you offer and the way you offer it. This will mean focusing even more on creating a shared dialogue with consumers.

Above all else it will mean having the patience and determination to ride out a difficult time and see your business through to the other side.

12 October 2008

Ten tips for new Bloggers

Can anyone blog? Of course they can but that doesn't mean that all blogs or bloggers will be successful. There are plenty of blogs out there that probably deserve to be put out of their misery and never see the light of day again. There are badly written blogs, boring blogs and just plain pointless blogs. If you haven't been having much success blogging and you don't want your blog to languish in the backwaters of the Internet then here are ten tips for bloggers to think about;

  • 1. Don't just repeat what other bloggers are writing about. Its not easy but you need to try to develop original material for your blog. tell your audience what you think, don't just repeat what others have said. If you have a completely new take on a subject then your blog is much more likely to attract attention

  • 2. Don't be shy and bashful. Hey you are a blogger! people are going to read your stuff so tell them what you think. If you don't agree with the majority view on a subject then say so clearly and loudly. People are as often likely to read and comment on opinions that they don't agree with as those they do. It's better to be controversial than ignored.

  • 3. Link generating schemes. There are all sorts of link building schemes out there but some of them are useless and some can be right harmful. don't bother with free for all link farms. they don't add much weight to your blog and you wont get much useful traffic from them. If you can find a blogroll or link group which is relevant to your topic them this is often worth getting listed in.

  • 4. Don't spray spam comments over the blogosphere. Every blogger gets these spam comments and they are a bloody nuisance. "great blog" is usually the extent of the comment followed by the spammers blog address. Does this make me want to read the spammers blog. Nope. Will my readers want too read the spammers blog? Nope. Has the spam comment done any good for the spammer? Nope. Leaving comments on other blogs is a great way of getting noticed but juts like when yo write a post make sure what you are writing is interesting and worth reading.

  • 5. Don't rush to promote your blog. You want your blog to make a bang don't you? You want people to be impressed with your work. Yes? then don't expect to write two posts in sloppy English and then start asking everyone to read your blog. They will, briefly and then they will probably never return. Its hard to get readers. Its even harder to keep them. make sure there is something interesting and useful for them too read!

  • 6. Bloggers blog so focus your time on blogging. You do need to spend time on other peoples blogs making comments. You do need to spend time on forums and doing other interne things. But the bottom line is that it is the time that you spend creating your content that ultimately makes you and your blog successful.

  • 7. Don't use a shotgun when you need a sniper rifle. The really successful blogs tend to be focused on a particular subject and stick closely to it. The blog has a clear topic and Theme and all the content supports this. Of course there is no law that says that you cant run a blog which covers a wider range of topics. I actually run one of those myself and it is successful but even it tends to revolve around a limited number of themes and topics. if you want to make money from blogging them you need to be more focused and limited in your topics.

  • 8. Post regularly and post often. Many bloggers ( myself included on occasion) have flurries of posting and then we go quiet and don't post for a while. If you want a regular readership it is important that you have regular fresh and interesting content posted at a reasonably predictable rate. In blogspot and other blogging platforms there is usually some way that you can put a future date on a post and it will be held and published on that date. use this to space out your postings.

  • 9. Don't focus on making money. Focus on making a good blog. If you spend all your energies on trying to make money from your blog then you wont be spending time on what really matters -- the quality of your blog and its content. If your blog doesn't have good content then it wont make money. Making money follows from having a good blog. Focusing on making money wont make your blog better. Focusing on making your blog better will make you more money.

  • 10. Be patient. I see messages regularly from people who have slapped up a couple of posts , stuck up a few adsense ads and then moan a week later that they are not making any money. It may take a long time to build up a blog with good reputation and readership. It will be frustrating as you struggle for visitors. Many people give up after a few months. If you stick with it then rewards will follow. If you want to be a really successful blogger you will need a great deal of patience , persistence and determination.

26 September 2008

Loading new templates problem in blogspot blogs

Loading new templates in Blogger ( blogspot) blogs can be a bit of a problem if you haven't done it before. The "choose new template" page is generally very easy to use and causes few problems. It also doesn't usually disturb your existing widgets. People tend to have problems more often in the "Edit HTML" page when they try to upload a new template. Problems can also sometimes arise after you have saved a copy of your existing blog template, made some changes to your template and then tried to restore the saved version.

These tips should help you have a more problem free experience when uploading new blogger templates.

1. You will find that you will probably have fewer problems if you use Fire Fox rather than Internet Explorer when you're having trouble with a template. Why is this? Possibly because FireFox is more standards compliant - who knows?

2. Don't forget to backup the code in your existing gadgets or widgets. This is important if you want to ensure that you don't lose the way they are set up. You can use notepad for this. Just create a new text document and save the code for each widget in its own section.

3. Now remove all the widgets on your existing template using the template editor page. Yes remove them. This will stop you getting the "duplicate widgets name" error that so frequently happens and prevents you from saving the uploaded template. You can deal with duplicate widget names by going in and editing the HTML but this is messy and potentially can cause more problems of you don't do it right. Its much cleaner just to take your existing widgets off, load the new template and then put the widgets back on using the code you saved in the previous step.

4. I also prefer to save templates with the bare minimum of widgets as well. You don't have to do this, I just like to upload and save nice "clean" templates. It doesn't take me that long to put widgets back on.

5. Make sure "Expand Widgets" tickbox is unchecked before you upload and try to save the new template.

6. When you save (backup) a template from blogger it saves as an XML file. If the file you are trying to upload or restore is an XML file then upload it. Don't just try to open it with Word and then paste it into the HTML box. Word processors sometimes introduce characters or other entities which disturb the XML format. So if its XML upload properly using the browse and upload buttons.

7. Alternatively if your template is in a clean txt format then you can just copy and paste it into the HTML box. Notepad is generally fine for working with txt and xml files like this because it doesn't introduce new characters or entities into the code.

If you follow these steps you should have much less trouble dealing with the upload and saving of new templates in blogger / blogspot blogs.

25 September 2008

Tips for new adsense users

Its been a while since I covered AdSense issues and since AdSense is the first program most people use when they begin trying to make income from Ads i thought it was time to touch on the subject again.

Once you have got a reasonable amount of material on your website or blog and have applied and been approved for AdSense it is time to get that code up and start earning some income from your ads.

Often the first thing that happens at this stage is that the new AdSense user, who is not infrequently fairly new also to website management, finds that they can't figure out how to put the adsense code on their site. I have heard some strange ways that people have tried to do this in the past. This includes, believe it or not someone trying to make a screen shot of an AdSense ad and trying to paste this to their site. They were not likely to make much income from advertising that way (!!!!).

You MUST have a way of putting JavaScript code on your website or blog if you want to run AdSense. In Blogger this is quite easy. Look for the HTML/javascript gadget and put your code into that. If its to go into your sidebar then make sure the AdSense code that you are using is for something that will fit into your sidebar.

Other publishing platforms have different ways of putting the code in. Most Content Management Systems have a way to do this either through your "control panel" or by installing an additional module.

The last time I checked WordPress things were a little different. If you are using a blog hosted by WordPress itself then the last time I checked they didn't let you run AdSense or other javascript code as far as I remember. However you can also install WordPress and host it yourself - in which case you can use AdSense fairly easily.

If you have a website then you will often need to edit the code for the page(s) that you want AdSense to appear on. The code should go in the section of the page and you will need to find the correct place in the code so that it appears where you want it to.

Some other newbie tips are first to avoid any temptation to make income by clicking your own adsense ads. You will surely get banned from AdSense if you do this and there is no way back from a ban.

New users also often have problems with poor AdSense targeting their content and get ads that don't seem relevant and this impacts on their ad income. There is a way of telling AdSense which parts of your content you want it to treat as relevant. I covered this in a previous post some time ago.

Another issue for new users is that they often think they will make a fortune from AdSense from day one. Wrong. This is unlikely to happen. You need lots of traffic to make a good income and the average new user doesnt have such traffic. If you have lower levels of traffic then as long as the ads you are triggering pay a good amount per click then AdSense should work for you.

Finally, if you do get banned from AdSense then don't despair. It is not the end of the world. It is actually possible to earn as much or more using other income from advertising programmes although you will need to invest some time and effort like anything else that is worthwhile.

One of the programs I recommend is pepperjam which is excellent for niche marketing. If you are interested in this check out the sidebar.

23 September 2008

Check double check and take my own advice

A post over at Technology Evangelist reminded me of some good advice about emailing which is also relevant to putting up blog posts, sending out newsletters and making comments on other blogs. Its really very simple and it's about taking those extra few minutes when you think you have finished and are ready to press the send button just to wait and check ....

Check your spelling. Have you included everything you meant to include? If you were making an attachment have you actually attached it? Is there anything else that should usefully be included? Does your post or email actually say what you mean it to say?

When you are writing a lot of material and commenting on others blogs it's easy to be in a hurry and make slip ups. It is one of my failings. I have reminded myself, and others, in the past to slow down and check things before hitting the button and sending an email or submitting a post but then ... things get busy and it's easy to forget. So I am going to make myself a resolution to slow down and double check before I send my emails, or submit my blog posts or send of that newsletter copy. having said that I bet I submit this post and spot something wrong with it after I submit it. Isn't that always the way with things....

22 September 2008

Widgets for increasing blog and website traffic

There are many ways to increase your website traffic. One way is to develop useful or interesting widgets that people can use on their blogs. Now if you are an experienced web developer then this is not too difficult a task. But what if you are someone who is just learning web development and you don't have great skills yet in using HTML, XML, Javascript and so on?

Well there are ways that you can do this without having to learn any programming or web development and this is covered in the latest issue of the Income-from-ads newsletter. See top right side bar for information.

The method involves taking your existing affiliate optimised webpages and using a fairly simple method available from a free website selecting those parts of your website which you want to turn into a gadget or a feed or XML output. Normally you would need to actually program this yourself but in the newsletter I will show you how this can be done in a simple drag and drop method.

Once you have done this you can then either offer your gadget directly to people and/or register it with Google and then promote and try to get other people to use it. When people put your gadget on their blog or website this gives you an additional source of traffic. More details in the latest Income-from-ads newsletter. ( If you sign up you will receive a small number of the previous newsletter first before receiving the latest one so be patient please. )

20 September 2008

Using blog trackbacks for traffic

Getting as much relevant traffic to your blog is essential and it important that you use all the methods that are available to attract traffic. Using trackbacks on blogs is one method that can get your blog posts some good exposure and attract visitors who might not otherwise reach your posts.

I was trying to think of a really good way to explain what trackbacks are and thought that I would search to see what others had written on the subject of using trackbacks to for traffic. I came across a really good post on another blog which explains how trackbacks work so I decided that the obvious thing is for me to use their trackback link and actually demonstrate the process for you before I explain its benefits.

Trackbacks essentially allow you to link back to a post on another blog that you want to write about using a special trackback link. The difference between a trackback link and an ordinary hyperlink to the post you are linking to is that the trackback link is picked up by the post you have linked to and that blog then displays a link back to your post.

The trackback therefore provides a way of dropping a link on to someone elses blog if they have trackbacks enabled and this indicates that your blog post has referenced their blog post.

How does this benefit each of the parties? Well the blog that offered the trackback gets linked to from your blog and so stands to gain visitors from your blog who will check out the blog post you are commenting on. In that way the blog that offered the trackback gets some exposure that it might not otherwise have got.

Similarly the blog that you linked to using the trackback shows a link back to your post and you stand to gain additional visitors who will be interested to see how you have added to the discussion and what further information you might have provided.

Trackback is in this sense a win-win scenario. Both parties get visitors that they might not otherwise have got. Of course both blogs also have vistors leave their site to read the other one - but vistors always leave anyway so its not a real loss.

Ok so I was going to trackback to that other blog wasnt I? Its a post over at eukhost.com and this is the trackback link.

When you are looking for the trackback link check in the comments area at the end of the blogpost - the trackback link is usually at the end of the comments.

Note that blogger ( blogspot) doesn't use the term trackbacks but uses the term backlinks instead. If you are using blogger then make sure you have enabled backlinks ( go to setting>comments tab). You can also turn them on and of for individual posts using the post options link.

Article writing to improve website traffic

Writing articles and submitting them to article directories is one of the standard methods that webmasters use to improve their exposure to the search engines and drive more Internet visitor traffic to their sites. Writing a good article is something that most people can do but you must understand that there is an art to writing a good piece for submission if you want it to have as much impact as possible and drive traffic to your site. The same writing skills that you develop when writing an article for submission should used when you write something for your own website or blog.

Website content is what drives traffic to your website!

You will read lots of things about fancy techniques to improve the traffic to your site. Some of these do really work but if you haven't attended to the fundamentals then this will be like the icing on a non-existent cake! Your website MUST have good content if you want the search engines to rate it and send you visitors. You can get away with using a small amount of other peoples articles from article directories on your website but what you really need is your own original and unique content. That content should be related to the topic of your website and it should be written in a way which ensures that the search engines rank it well. This means attending to keywords and the way that you write.

Don't stuff your articles with Keywords

There was a time, before Search Engines such as Google got smart, when s called keyword stuffing was all the rage. You will still see some spammy sites that try to use this approach but it is no longer very effective. What you want is quality traffic and lots of it, including in most cases returning visitors. Nothing will put your visitors off more than articles which have simply been stuffed with keywords in the hope that the article will rank higher.

Write for your visitors not the search engines

Always think like a customer. If you were visiting your own site what would you be looking for? Give your visitors useful information in your writing and they will spend time on your site and are more likely to return. This applies also to the way that you write. Most people are looking for something that is easy to understand. Try to write in a relaxed informal way - almost as though you are speaking to your visitors. People find this much easier to read.

Use header tags in your articles

It is a good idea to break longer articles up and make them easier to read by using header tags. Not only does this benefit the reader but the search engines also use your header tags as they try to understand what your article is about and identify keywords. Header tags h1 to h3 have the most influence on how your article is interpreted by search engines. Don't feel you cant use other header tags if you need them for your readers sake, just don't expect them to have any influence with the search engines.

Write good English

You will come across some sites and blogs by people who don't have English as their first language and where the English in the articles is fairly poor. This can be a real problem and is likely to deter visitors. If English is not your first language and you want to have good quality articles in English on your site then you should think about either a) paying someone to write the article or b) writing the article yourself and then having someone who is good at English tidy it up for you. Option b) is likely to be the cheapest and you might even find a friendly blogger who is willing to do this fairly cheaply.

The benefits of writing for article Directories

You may feel that if you have put a lot of hard work into writing an article then it would be silly to give this hard work away for free by submitting it to an article directory. You would be right. You should think carefully about what you write for your own site and what you write for your an article submission service. Generally I would advise that you keep the longer and best constructed pieces for your own website. Then you can prepare a shorter more summarised version for the article directory. That way you get the best of both worlds.

But why submit to an article directory at all? Well the fact is that when you submit an article you leave a back link to your site or sites along with the article. This has a number of benefits. First because a lot of people visit the article directories you will get some traffic from those links when people read your article. Then if people use the article for their own site they are usually expected to also use your link with the article. This gives you further backlinks. When people read your article on their sites a proportion will follow your links and so you get another stream of visitors. This is why article writing or article marketing is such a popular method for improving traffic to your website.

15 September 2008

Inbound links tips for traffic and search

Get more inbound links!
You need to improve your rank in the search engines if you want to increase your natural traffic and your rank is greatly influenced by the number and type of inbound links to your site. The higher you rank in the search results the higher your traffic will be. So inbound links are critical to the success of your website or blog - whether you just want more visitors or you are looking to generate income from your site.

Inbound links are simply the hyperlinks that come from another site to your site.

Getting good quality inbound links takes time and hard work. There are companies that can generate inbound links for you - if you are prepared to pay.

You can run into problems with the search engines though if a lot of links are generated unnaturally from unrelated sites over a short time.

There are things that you can do though to increase your natural inbound links and this will also help to ensure that your site gets well indexed by the search engines.

Natural links develop when other people judge that your site is valuable to them and decide that linking from their site to yours would be valuable to them or their visitors.

1. You will hear the phrase "Content is King" and this is undoubtedly true when it comes to getting natural inbound links. If your web content is good and informative on whatever subject your are covering then over time people will link to your site.

2. Be unique. When you post on a Blog for example don't just repeat a post from another blog ( that's copyright theft anyway). Try to say something unique and with a unique slant. make sure your post has a unique title if possible but try to include relevant keywords in your post title.

3. Avoid irrelevant subjects if your blog is supposed to be a niche subject blog. If your blog is about dogs then a post on the presidential election isn't going to help. Unless one of the candidates has a dog perhaps and you comment on this!

4. Make sure that you can write! It's amazing how often I come across blogs that are written in English by people who seem unable to write clear understandable English. That must be your first priority. Once you are able to write in a clear understandable way then you can give it a bit of personality!

5. Think like a visitor. Why do people come to your site? What are they looking for? Identify this and then make sure you give it to them. If you do this consistently then people will keep coming back and to make this easier they will probably put a link to your site on their site. Hey presto - inbound links!

6. Article writing is another way of getting inbound links. You write articles and submit them to article directories where people looking for content for their site pick them up. When they post the article on their site your link is included.

7. Join forums with subjects relevant to your site. Often you will be able to include your website link in your forum signature. This gives an inbound link and forum users may also follow it to your site. Beware though - on such forums it is often frowned on if you start directly promoting your site. Be a good forum member - stick to the topics and let your web link do its own work.

8. Start your own Forum. A note of caution though - you will need to spend a lot of time moderating a forum ( until you have some regulars who may help with moderation). You could ask forum members to link back to your site from theirs.

9. Review products or sites. Sometimes if you do an interesting review of a product or site the owners may be pleased with it and decide to link back to it from their site. This can be a very powerful inbound link.

10. Commenting on other Blogs. First of all - don't be a plonker and just do "drive by" comments. They are a pain in the ass. No one likes them and you will just put people of your site. Leave useful and interesting comments. Be provocative if you want. Just don't leave one line "Nice post" comments.

12. Direct link exchange requests. Long long ago in the mists of time when the Internet was still an infant everyone did this. You just asked someone to link too you and you linked to them. Easy.

This still works sometimes but don't think that some big corporate website is going to agree to exchange links with you if you are a newbie blogger. Check out the sites you are going to ask for a link exchange. If they are similar to yours in the size then the chances of them agreeing are much greater. There are link exchange schemes out there. Some good. Some bad.

You will need to do lot of asking to get this kind of link exchange. Don't be disappointed if lots of people refuse or don't even reply. Its the way of the Internet world. Keep trying and you will find someone who wants an exchange.

There are other methods of getting inbound links and I will cover these in another post.

27 August 2008

Starting out as a webmaster

There is no doubt that the learning curve when you start out running your own website is a fairly steep one. there are lots of things to get your head around; deciding on a domain name, deciding what the focus of your site will be, making content for your site, deciding how to generate money from your website or blog and deciding who to sign up with. Then there is having to grapple with the basics of HTML, php, CGI and so on.

Fortunately these days many web hosting services make this task a little easier and there are nearly always automated scripts that help make your life easier.

Nevertheless it is still important that you understand the basics of being a webmaster and that you have a good grounding in some of the fundamental aspects of website management and Internet marketing.

There are lots of resources out there on the Internet to help you do this and in future posts I am going to review some of these. However for many of us while the Internet is a great place to find information there is nothing to beat having a good hardcopy reference book.

If you are just starting out I can recommend WebMastering for Dummies from the "for dummies" series. This is an excellent starter and will have you up and running on the basics in no time. If you are looking to make money on the internet you will probably want a PayPal account at some point and the same authors have a PayPal for Dummies book available. Check out current prices on these books.

Getting in a bit deeper you need to know something about HTML , CSS and ideally also learn something about PHP and MySQL. PHP is a very powerful way to code your website to do all sorts of things and you really will need to know some of the basics about this before too long. MySQL is a database system that is offered by many web hosting companies.

I have done a search for UK book suppliers offering the best books on these subjects so if you are needing a bit more hardcopy reference material these are excellent resources. I will post some more on this on another occasion and give US sources for this type of material. I can particularly recommend the SAMS books that you will find in this link.

HTML, CSS, PHP and Linux books

Best Web Host Package for Multiple Domains

Probably one of the most frustrating things as an affiliate is trying to find a web hosting provider who provides all the services that you need without charging you a fortune. Many web users who are looking to make money from the Internet need to run a number of websites using multiple domain names. It can be a problem trying to find a web host that provides this service at a reasonable cost.

I use a couple of different hosts at the moment but have been looking to try to consolidate my hosting and trying to find a Hosting provider that will allow me to host multiple domains on one hosting account without serious limits on bandwidth or disk usage. I also needed to be sure that the hosting provider would have pHP 5+, CGI etc etc.

Finally I found what looks to be probably the best hosting package I have yet come across.

Host Monster.com are, to put it bluntly, brilliant. Their package costs only $4.95 a month ( !!!!) at the moment and uses cpanel. Their web hosting package includes ... wait for it... wait for it...
Unlimited Hosting Space
Unlimited Bandwidth
and allows you to host Unlimited Domains.

In effect you can run as many web sites as you like from the one account.

The package also includes
Unlimited Pop/Imap Email Accounts
SSH Access (Secure Shell)
SSL, FTP, Stats
CGI, Ruby (RoR), Perl, PHP 5, MYSQL
Front Page Extensions
Free Domain Forever
Free Site Builder
Best Support in the Industry

I have signed up for a web hosting package with them and I am now in the process of moving my websites across to them. their support database is excellent and very helpful whether you are a novice webmaster or an old hand.

All in all I have to give Host Monster.com a full five stars for their web hosting package which has really solved my hosting problems.

If you are looking for something more than the very basic free web hosting accounts that are around but want something really reliable, full featured and a web hosting package that will let you run multiple websites then I strongly urge you to sign up for web hosting with Host Monster.com

08 August 2008

Promote your site dont forget traditional methods

Get 250 Free Business Cards At VistaPrint.com!Even if your business is going to be exclusively an online business you need to think about the various ways that you can promote your business. Obviously you will already be thinking about optimizing your website for search and making sure you have relevant fresh content. But don't forget that the traditional ways of promoting a business can also work wonders for an online business.

One firm I use regularly is Vistaprint. They are, to put it bluntly excellent ... and a bit mad. Why mad? because after I placed my first order with them I have been continually offered everything FREE - business cards, postcards, posters - you name it. If its printed then they do it - and often for FREE. I kid you not this is one fine company to deal with. You will pay for the delivery of course but their rates are the usual for that.

If you don't already have business cards to help you promote your business then what the hell are you waiting for? Inspiration? Dont worry they have hundreds of designs that you can pick from and each can be customised on site. they also do postcards and t-shirts and loads of other items.

If you are really serious about promoting your online business then you must consider using traditional printed promotional material to back up your online efforts. Give your business cards out wherever you go. Leave them places. Use your imagination. I came up with some really novel wayts of getting my printed promotional metrial out there to people and the results have been excellent. In short I can't recommend Vistaprint highly enough. try the, - you wont be disapointed.

VistaPrint.com Will Help You Get Started...Get Your FREE Business Card Today!

01 April 2008

Get paid for clicks update on ClixSense

I wrote previously about how my experiment with using ClixSense had been going very well and as it is a couple of months since I posted I thought it was time to give another update on my progress with this program.

For those who are unfamiliar with it the ClixSense program allows you as a basic member to earn small amounts of cash from simply viewing ads on the ClixSense system. As a basic member you have access to a limited range of ads to earn from but this number greatly expands if you join as a premium member. The real power of the system starts to kick in however once you have signed up and having earned some money from clicking ads you move on to the affiliate scheme. This allows you also to earn when you refer new members. The new members that you refer can themselves refer new members and you benefit from this also up to five levels deep.

When I first joined I promoted the scheme hard using an affiliate link but recently I have just been letting the program tick over itslef. this is possible because the intial members that I recruited have themseves been recruiting new members and I get a paid for each of their new referrals ( they do as well of course). My referrals are now starting to come in at four levels deep so the program is really beginning to move for me and I havnt been really promoting new members myself at all recently.

When I last reported I had fifty level one sign ups, ten at level two and four at level three and two at level four. My current figures are fifty five at level one, 15 at level two, four at level three and two at level four. Obviously deeper levels tend to move more slowly because not everyone who signs up bothers to recruit new members. ( Why they don't is beyond me !)

When I first signed up I must admit I was sceptical about this program but it actually has worked for me. Like I said before - I am not going to pay off my mortgage with this program but every little helps!

My advice to people would be - if you are going to join this program then make sure you earn money not only by clicking the ads but also by getting new sign ups as you will see your income grow much faster that way.

07 March 2008

Adwords Landing pages load times issue

A recent thread on webmaster world revealed that Google is planning to take into account landing page load times when calculating the Quality Score for Adwords campaigns. It appears that this information leaked out accidentally before Google had actually planned to release the information. What seems to have happened is that a change had been made to the Adwords FAQ for the planned change but then Google had decided to postpone the change but forgot to remove the FAQ change.

This could of course simply be Google "flying a kite" to see what the reaction in the Adwords community would be to this suggestion. Nevertheless for anyone using Google Adwords PPC program it now makes sense to assume that this change is inevitable and that it will happen sooner rather than later. So what are the implications?

Implications of Landing page load time
Where the landing page load time is slow then this will have the effect of reducing the Quality score for the campaign which is using this landing page. the consequence of this will l be that the Adwords user will require to set a higher bid price if they are to retain position so the campaign costs will rise.

Is Google being nasty?
In this case Google is arguably looking after the interests of web users because slow page loads are very frustrating for users. Arguably this change will also be of benefit to PPC users because it will make them realise the importance of this aspect of the user experience. having a slow landing page load time is in any case not good business because if you are paying good money for clicks through to a site then the last thing that you want is the potential customer leaving to do the shopping while waiting on your page loading!

What should Adwords Users and Affiliates do?
My first step was to start checking the load times for all my sites - including those that I am not currently running PPC on. Why include these sites? The prospect of this change made me realise that I need to go back again to my sites and look at them from a user point of view ( We should do this regularly anyway). So even where I am not using PPC I will benefit if I improve the user experience.

How do I check Load times?
I hunted for a good web based tool to check load times and one that finds issues and makes recommendations for improvement. At this point I would recommend WebSiteoptimization.com who have a speedy analyser which makes very clear recommendations geared to the analysis of your particular page. It shows various factors such as image load times, HTML load times etc etc.

Affiliate landing page load times
If you are doing PPC and are promoting a merchants product directly as the landing page then you should quality check the load times of the affiliates that you are using. if you find that you are promoting landing pages with long load times then factor in that you may be paying more in the future to promote these products through PPC. ideally the merchant will improve the load time if there is a problem. If they don't then you may have to re-evaluate the worth of this affiliate product to you.

19 February 2008

Auctions - Buying and selling ideas

If you are looking for online income then one way is to sell on auction sites , or even on your own site. I wrote previously about using dropshippers to obtain products that you can sell on sites like e-Bay but that's not the only way.

In most countries including the US there will be police and Government Auctions taking place on a regular basis. These auctions are often not well advertised and are often not widely known to the general public. Vehicles are obviously high value items and the margins on selling a vehicle can be excellent - provided that you can obtain them cheaply enough in the first place.

This is where you can cash in from Government Auctions. www.gov-auctions.org for example concentrate on information about auctions of vehicles, trucks and SUV's. the vehicles at such auctions frequently go for massively under what would be a normal retail price. This can be a real opportunity to do some lucrative business. It's obvioulsy mportant though if you are goiing down this route to make sure you take someone who knows something about cars.

The good thing about these auctions is that once you have the inside information about them then you have access to a potentially steady stream of cut proice vehicles which you can then sell and make significant profits.

14 February 2008

AdSense in India Fropper.com developments

India’s first social networking website Fropper.com will now be rewarding it's bloggers with AdSense revenue via a program called ezMoney. The ezMoney program will ensure that relevant AdSense ads are posted alongside the bloggers posts and the AdSense revenues generated from these adverts on the bloggers pages will then be shared with the Bloggers.

Joining the ezMoney program will simply involve creating a new a Google AdSense using a ‘Register’ with Google AdSense facility and then linking to the ezBlog. Existing AdSense users will be able to link an existing Google AdSense account to the ezMoney program.

Blogging has become popular among the 40 million internet users in India and increasing numbers are enjoying the chance to speak to others through the medium of a blog. Blogggers on Fropper.com will appreciate the ease of the new program and the chance to earn some income from blogging activity.

Fropper members have access to many pre-existing category templates for their blogging which makes the creation of blog posts on a range of different subjects very easy.

There has been increasing interest in Adsense in India and this development will do much to make income from AdSense further available to Indian internet users.

13 February 2008

Search Engine Strategies Conference 2008

The Search Engines Strategies Conference will be held this year from March 17th to March 20th in New York City. This promises to be a major event , in particular given the recent stirring of the waters following the bid by Microsoft for Yahoo! and the rejection of that bid.
Get Your Tickets Today!
Featured speakers at the event this year include Nick Carr, Gordon McLeod, Jason Calacanis, Andrew Tomkins and John Batelle.

This event covers all the significant information and developments in search engine marketing and is a must-attend for the serious search engine marketer and those involved in e-commerce. Registrations are now being taken.

Control your outgoings and look for bargains

Running an online business is about making money. But making money is not just about the money you have coming in its also about controlling and reducing the money that you have going out - reducing your overheads and getting the best bang for your buck.

When it comes to reducing overheads and getting the best bang for your buck you should be constantly on the look out for ways to get any consumables or other products that you need for your business as cheaply as possible. When you are searching to buy stuff online always watch out for the bargains because if you can save yourself some money then in the long run you are making more.

I am particularly fond of finding stores which are running promotions. Many online stores do this but they can sometimes be hard to track down. Finding a store that pulls all this together for you can save a lot of time and energy.

One of the things you might want to think about to give your business a more professional look for example is having properly printed and designed personal/business checks. Checks in the Mail do this and are one of the companies that are listed in Couponchief.com in their Office Supplies coupons and deals section. That site has a lot of stores advertised all of whom are offering coupon discounts on their products through the site with potentially substantial savings. It is probably also worth keeping an eye on the Computers and Software discounts part of that site because there are also some good savings on software there; for example on Dell computer products and HP products. Coupon offers are often time limited though, so don't expect the offer that you see one day to necessarily still be available the next day!

Making savings is not just about savings on purchases of course. You really need to think about all your overheads. When it comes to hosting for example there are a lot of things you can do initially if you find a decent Free Hosting service - and there are some decent ones about. You will outgrow such a service ( hopefully !) in time - but there is no point in spending more than you have to at the start.

Anyway just remember that running a successful business is not only about getting as much money coming in as possible but that it's also about being careful and looking for discounts when you are spending money.

03 February 2008

Pepperjam Affiliate network

The Pepperjam network is a relatively new affilliate marketing network that I have recently joined. They don't as yet have an extensive portfolio of advertisers for affiliate publishers to select from but the list is growing regularly.

One of the good things about PepperJam is that once you have appplied and been accepted as an affiliate by any of the participating advertisers you can then create a pepperjam ad block which will include whatever sub-selection of those accounts that you wich to promote.

You could for example join a number of the specialist clothing affilaite programs and then create an ad block which only shows those clothing ads. You will see an example of a pepperjam ad block in the right hand column of this blog. This one isnt highly optimsed yet but it shows you the type of ad black that you can create. I addition most of the advertisers in the network also supply a range of banners, buttons and text links and many allow deep linking.

Many of the advertisers in the network are selling very niche products but this can of course be a distinct advantage when affiliate marketing.

Affiliate Program

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AdSense allows use with other contextual Ads

This is a reminder for AdSense users who may not have noticed the change that Google has updated its competetive Ads policies. The policy was previously very explicit that ads from other contextual ads programs could not be displayed on pages which were displaying Google AdSense contextual advertising.

Its not clear what prompted this change but the policy has been amended and now allows contextual Ads from other programs to be displayed on the same pages as Google AdSense ads providing that the other ads are displayed in a way which ensures that they are visually distinct and diferent in look and feel from the AdSense ads.

This relaxation of the AdSense policies is a welcome change for AdSense publishers and means that they have more flexibility about the way they monetize their sites.

01 February 2008

Adsense results disappoint and publishers worry

In an earlier post I raised the question as to whether the recent turbulence in the stock markets might be a taste of trouble ahead for Adsense publishers. I also noted in my last post that some AdSense users had been reporting drops in AdSense income in recent months. These issues now seem to be coming together with clearer signs of a slowdown in growth at Google following disappointing profit reports for its most recent quarter ending December 2007.

Google's profits were up 17% to $1.21bn (£608m) for the final quarter of 2007 but analysts had been hoping for stronger profit growth and Googles shares fell sharply in after hours trading.

Google's shares have suffered a fall of more than 18% this year due to concerns that the slowing US economy will cause advertisers to cut back spending. The latest results show that Google is not immune to a US economic slowdown.

Google has so often reported very strong profit growth that investors have become used to this and so they are disappointed with the recent results. Google in this sense is a victim of it's own past success. Google's sales for the quarter for example were $3.39bn, a 52% rise - but this failed to impress.

Given the tightening of the economy in the US and worldwide seemeingly endless rising performance can only be squeezed further as advertisers make hard decisions about advertising budgets in a climate where consumer spending is likely to tighten.

Publishers are likely to feel the effects of all this and further reports of publishers finding that their AdSense income has reduced are likely.

31 January 2008

AdSense Issues Verification and Income

Time to catch up on some issues with AdSense. Those with accounts who haven't yet been through the verification process on their accounts will notice that Google has changed the trigger level for sending out PIN's.

Google has two ways to check that the physical address given for the AdSense account is correct. The first is that they send out a PIN in a postcard to the address which then has to be verified back into the account. The second is telephoning the phone number given in the account. Google used to send out the PIN once the AdSense account had accrued $50 but this has been dropped to $10 so new AdSense users will go through this verification process much sooner than previous sign ups did.

A more significant issue with AdSense is the fact that there appear to be many users reporting drops in their AdSense income over the last month or so. There is speculation that this may be due to Smartpricing which reduces the cost per click and is linked to the quality of clicks. Some AdSense users have experimented with reducing their AdSense exposure to try to deal with this.

Typically these were publishers who were deploying AdSense across a range of sites of varying quality. What they have been doing is removing the ADSense from the lower quality sites. Smartpricing is account wide not site targeted so increasing the average quality of clicks ( ie user actions ) should possibly counteract SmartPricing. Although these publishers may get fewer clicks as a result the payment per click should go up on the the quality sites that the AdSense is left on. This should more than compensate - or so the theory goes. I havent yet seen definitive evidence that this aproach works though.

Google bidding for 700mhz radio spot

It seems that Googles ambitions like the space time continuum are infinite and boundless. Not content with its Search Engine AdSense and Adwords empire the Google monster has been steadily devouring others and moving into other fields. Indeed there were accounts recently suggesting that Google was considering moving into paid reviews.

Googles latest bid for growth takes it into the auction of the 700 megahertz radio spectrum by the Federal Communications Commission. The likelihood is that whoever wins this auction will pay around $5 billion. The winner will be able one day to beam all kinds of signals, including voice, digital video, data.

At the recent World Economic Conference in Davos, Chief Executive Eric Schmidt said that mobile devices with location-based advertising could spark a "huge revolution," more interesting than the personal computer.

There are also reports that as well as its involvement in the 700 mhz auction Google is trying to get access to currently unlicensed and unused bands that lie in the spectrum between television channels.

These bands were thought to be too narrow to be worth auctioning. They were designed originally to ensure that broadcasts on adjoining channels didnt bleed across. But this is a choice part of the radio spectrum used for analog television. , Its also an area that could be used for data services.

The discussions about using this so called white space spectrum has been around for years butthere have been worries about TV signal interference. The powerful broadcast lobby.was non too happy about the suggestion of using these bands.

So how would Google use these radio bands? No one really knows - apart from Google. Is Google's zeal for white space a hedge against losing the auction? Speculation is that Googles real concern is to ensure that whoever wins the auction anyone can send data through the spectrum. Theior tactics seem designed to ensure this happens. In 2007, Google persuaded the FCC to adopt a provision that ensures that networks built in the newly sold spectrum would be open to all third-party devices. Butthis provision only kicks in if the auction goes over $4.6 billion. the speculation is that Google is bidding to make sure the final price exceeds $4.6 billion.

Googles interest will be based as it always is on expanding its advertising operations and its financial growth. Google and others may need to develop new technolgies to fully exploit these spectrums but Google is short neither of financial muscle or determination in its bid to reach customers through as many channels as possible.

So the Google cash Cow looks as if its going to be grazing on fresh pastures soon. It will be interesting to see what business models Google has in mind for generating cash from the airwaves.

28 January 2008

How to build a Niche Website a poker example

In previous posts I spoke about the importance of building a niche website. I thought it might be a good idea to give an example of a good niche website development and I want to talk about an example in the field of Poker websites.

Now there are thousands of poker websites out there in the internet so if you were wanting to build a poker website ( and maybe play some poker !) how could you develop a website in this crowded niche market? Now I like a bit of poker myself so I thought I would do a bit of digging around to find a good example.

An excellent example of a website which has found a niche within a seemingly crowded niche market is MacPokerOnline.com which provides the only online source of information about online Poker specifically for the Macintosh computer user. The site owners have clearly identified that Macintosh computer users have very specific needs and they have targeted this part of the poker audience very well. They have developed an attractive and informative site and are closely targetted on meeting the needs of the Macintosh using poker player. For example they have a page which gives ratings for online poker rooms and a page which gives information about online gambling bonuses. they have clearly thought carefully about the kind of information that their customers will be looking for.

So where will all those Macintosh users go who want to play online poker? There is a good chance that many of them will find their way to this specialist Macintosh poker site.

That's niche marketing for you. A niche may seem very crowded and difficult to break into but if you spend time and think what customers are needing there is a good chance that even within a seemingly crowded market like online poker you will be able to find a smaller niche that will turn out to be profitable.

26 January 2008

Blogger Buzz: Learn how to add an image to your blog's header

Someone asked me recently how to add an image to a blogspot blog header.

The basics of adding an image to your blogger blog header are really straightforward. You might use this to add a small logo to your Header for example or to add a background behind your blog Title and description. You could even replace the Title and description altogether and replace it with an Image. I wouldn't recommend this last approach though as it will reduce the ability of the search engines to find you and index you properly.

First - go into your Template tab and go to the Page Elements page. Click Edit on the Header element and you will see the option to add an image from your computer or the Internet. You can also choose to add the image behind the title and description or to replace the title and description. Make your selection save and that's it done. Simple.

Remember - if you are going to use a full image to go behind your Title and description - if your Title and description are in dark/black text then your image should be quite light in tone - otherwise your title text will not be readable.

There are some refinements that you can make to this process of adding an image to your header and when I get time I will update this post with some further information on this.

Blogger Buzz: Learn how to add an image to your blog's header

23 January 2008

Recent top domain name sales at Sedo

OK so if you are an average AdSense user or Affiliate marketer you are not going to be paying thousands for a domain name - but if you are in the market for domain names - either buying domains or selling them - then it does no harm to keep in touch with what is really selling for big bucks. This can help you when you are thinking about purchasing your own domain name - if you know the type of name that is going for big bucks then it can help you when you are searching for your own domain name. Single word domain names are hard to locate to they do command the best money as can be seen from this list of recent sales at SEDO.

Click.net 56,000 USD
Seatbelts.com 12,000 USD
Should.com 6,800 USD
New.mobi 4,350 USD
SayCheese.co.uk 2,700 EUR
MusicStar.net 2,500 EUR
Reject.net 2,400 USD
Tumors.net 2,200 USD
FindStudentLoans.com 2,000 USD
LiveFootball.net 1,945 USD

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Ozzie claims you can run your car on water

Here I am trying to find ways of making money from the internet and I read that some guy called Ozzie freedom claims to have a way to run a car on water. Hmm. Now I was very sceptical at first but I checked out a Wikepedia entry and there does actually seem to be something behind it. Rumours of there being a method of running a car on water have been around for some time - I wonder if someone has actually cracked it?

BidVertiser adds feeds plugins

On the back of the launch of BidVertiser Ads for Feeds, BidVertiser have now beefed this up with 3 unique solutions that will allow publishers to keep their current feed address (including FeedBurner!) when they run BidVertiser ads for Feeds. The Three solutions are;

1. A WordPress Plugin. This allows BidVertiser Ads to be embedded in your WordPress feeds.
2. A FeedBurner solution which allows for BidVertiser Ads to be embedded in a current FeedBurner address without disturbing the Subscribers Count.
3. A Solution for Blogger. BidVertiser Ads can now be embedded in the footer of blogger post feeds.

The facility to embedd ads into feeds is a really important one as Feeds have been one of the areas which has been problematic to monetize. These new solutions should considerably enhance the reach of those running BidVertiser Ads.

22 January 2008

Financing your internet marketing venture

In earlier posts I covered some of the basics of how to get yourself going with Internet marketing, PPC advertising and Affiliate marketing. Now while it's true that you can make an excellent start getting income from ads and affiliate marketing at relatively little direct cost if you want to really earn good money from the Internet at some stage you need to think about properly financing your venture.

There's an old saying that it takes money to make money and while its possible to earn income with very little outlay there is no doubt that your Internet marketing activities are going to be a lot more profitable if you invest some money in them.

Some of the things that will be costing you money already and that you may not have factored in include the cost of running your Internet connection and the cost of purchase/depreciation on your computer. Your aim should be to ensure that your online income from affiliate marketing and pay per click programs is going to outstrip these basic costs.

To get to this point you may need to consider investing some further capital, financed possibly by an online loan (usually an unsecured loan) or if you have it from savings. Some of the following things can be found cheaply or for free but, like most things in life, the quality often depends on what you are prepared to pay.
(For US residents only americaoneunsecured.com have an easy to use website that you can use to apply for an unsecured loan online. They offer unsecured personal and small business loans and an easy application process. No collateral is required and they don't look for financial statements, tax returns or business plans.)

Lets look at some of the core things that you might need to pay for;

Domain name registration - its important to have at least one and usually more of your own domains.
Web Hosting - many Free hosting services are very good but sooner or later you are going to need the extra facilities provided by a paid service.
Mailing list manager/autoresponder - again there are free ones but you get what you pay for!
and finally but by no means least;
Advertising Capital - you can do much to promote your affiliate products and pages by a range of link development schemes which will bring traffic to your site. However if you are really serious about your affiliate program then sooner or later you will need to take the plunge and fund a proper advertising campaign.

Writing articles brings Affiliate success

One of the best ways to support your affiliate marketing is by article promotion. This means learning how to write articles that really grab attention, with powerful article headlines, and content that makes the reader take immediate action, If you can produce articles which meet these test then you will see an increase in your sales.

Poor headlines and product descriptions can really drag down your affiliate web site marketing sales or any of results for the products or services you are trying to marketing online.

The bottom line for affiliate marketing is that you need to bring more traffic to your affiliate products and your website. One of the most powerful ways is by writing well targeted, informative and entertaining articles. These articles can then be distributed throughout the Internet using article directories.

Using affiliate web site marketing you can bring hundreds of new customers to your sites just by writing a few articles each week. Of course the articles must relate to the niches that you are marketing in.

Affiliates are always asking how to increase traffic to their sites and this is a surefire way to increase you affiliate exposure.

If you are going to write articles and use them to promote your affiliate programs them make sure to research the "long tail keywords" for your niche and craft your articles around these.

Ideally you should aim to be producing an article a day but why not set yourself a goal of two a week initially. The important thing is to set yourself a goal and then achieve it. After that you can make your goals more challenging.

remember the big secrets to affiliate marketing and making money online - persistence and determination. You will get nowhere with your Affiliate marketing or your dreams of making online money if you do not set goals and then set about achieving them with persistence and determination. So get writing those articles!

Using Structured Settlement cash to deal with Debt

In my last post I wrote about the current stock market turmoil and the probability that if this continues then web and blog owners may start to see falls in their advertising and affiliate income. Today the FED announced a very significant cut in interest rates. This cut is clearly designed to try to stop the slump in world markets but the jury is out at the moment on whether this will be successful.

All this got me thinking about the number of people in the US and elsewhere who are clearly having debt problems - much of it mortgage debt. In such a situation people will naturally look for ways to obtain cash to control their debt positions.

Aside from trying to generate online income there of course other ways to obtain lump sums to deal with debt. One way I came across recently applies to people who are in receipt of what are called "Structured settlements". ( More info Also check Wikipedia)

Structured settlements or periodic payments are financial arrangements, including periodic payments, that claimants accepts to resolve a personal injury, tort claim or which compromise a statutory periodic payment obligation. Structured settlements were first used in Canada and the United States during the 1970s as an alternative to lump sum settlements and they are now used in a number of countries.

There are companies which will assist people to convert these periodic payments into a lump sum (check this site for example). In a time when people may be pressed for cash sums to settle debt this can be an attractive option and turning a series of future cash flows into a present cash settlement sum may make a lot of sense. Of course the numbers of people who have such structured settlements is limited and it is by no means going to be the solution to everyones problem although the same companies will also turn annuities into cash sums. (Check here for quotes). For people that have this option this may be an excellent way to obtain a cash sum for debt settlement.

21 January 2008

Stock Market falls will impact on Internet marketing

Significant falls on world stock markets today may spell problems down the line for Internet marketers and publishers. Around the world stock markets have seen losses of around 5% of their value today and it seems likely that this will impact on the earnings of Internet affiliates and web publishers who monetise their blogs and sites using PPC advertising. Although the US stock market was closed today due to a public holiday it is anticipated that the US stock market when it re-opens tomorrow may show similar levels of falls. So how will this impact on online income generation?

The current stock market falls can be traced back to the problems in the US with the Sub Prime mortgage market and the recent announcements by some major banks of major write offs connected with these problems. The impact of these problems on stock market levels has been anticipated for some time and the crunch seems to have finally arrived.

If you are involved in Internet income activities you should be under no illusion - these stock market falls if sustained are likely to hit your bottom line. As the US hovers around a recession and the credit crunch continues there is likely to be much less money in the system to support online advertising and a percentage of potential Internet consumers will think more carefully about making those non-essential Internet purchases. Google Adwords users for example may be more reluctant to fund advertising campaigns in a climate where they perceive, rightly or wrongly, that the returns on such advertising campaigns may fall. In turn this will impact on website and blog publishers who rely significantly on PPC advertising income.

Changes in stock market levels are driven as much by psychology as they are by economic fundamentals so if you are involved in generating income through online activities you need to keep your fingers crossed that what is happening is a short term market correction rather than a longer term fundamental shift in the psychology of the market. If it turns out to be the latter then the hit on your bottom line could be significant and sustained.

16 January 2008

ClixSense affiliate program update

In previous posts I have written very positively about my experience with the Clixsense scheme. Just as a refresher here are the basics of the ClixSense program. As a basic member you earn small amounts of cash from simply viewing ads on the clixsense system. larger earnings become available once you sign up as a premium member. This costs a few dollars but this money is easily recouped. Clixsense have a five level affiliate scheme which you become part of as a premium member. This allows you also to earn when you refer new members and when they refer new members you also earn from them - up to five levels deep.

I said that I would give an update on my earnings so far - well I have decided not to reveal the actual amount at this time - largely because its now starting to be a very healthy sum of money and guess what? - its my business what I am earning. Suffice it to say that I now have fifty level one sign ups, ten at level two and four at level three and two at level four. best of all this shows no sign of slowing down. I don't see ClixSense as ever being a major source of my income but that was never my intention. What interests me is the possibility of converting the earnings into adverts on the clixsense system. This will be a great way of generating extra exposure for my other activities at no cost to myself.