Friday, June 30, 2006

Setting Up Autoresponders

This week I've been setting up a series of autoresponders for my new infoproduct that I am beginning to market. I set up eight autoresponders for my product - 2 sales letters that link to a course, and then 6 emails detailing the contents of the course. On top of that I plan to send out a newsletter once every two weeks.

Also, since Aweber lets you have UNLIMITED autoresponders, I decided to set up autoresponer-newsletters for several of my content sites. I'm going to keep working on these over the weekend and hope to have set up at least a year's worth of bi-monthly newsletters for three of my content sites.

The thought of sending out numerous newsletters each week doesn't appeal to me, so this way, the newsletters will be loaded and ready to shoot. Why not take full advantage of each visit?

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Getting close to 50 fast!

Whew, in the last week I've been spending a lot of time at Wordtracker getting ideas for new sites for the 50 site challenge. I figured since domains are now $2.95 at IPower, now would be the best time to do it. That coupled with the fact that I've got a HostGator hosting account that's $9.95 for unlimited domains (thanks for the recommendation, BJ), having a lot of sites is pretty cheap!

So in the past week I've bought 28 domain names (making a total of 34 since the challenge has started) and researched the keywords for them - buying all of these is really starting to seem pretty crazy! But it's also been a lot of fun. I figure this week I'll try to buy and research the rest - maybe even more than 50 total - and then next week comes the tough part - writing articles. Yes, my measly Elance budget is not going to be enough to get this beast going, I'm going back to my goal of 5 articles/day for a while starting next week, how long is yet to be known.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Six Ways to Prep for a DMOZ Submission (and improve your site)

Now that I have a couple of sites in DMOZ, I thought I'd take note of what similarities and qualities they had upon getting in and summarize it in a nice little list. (I actually posted something similar in my old blog that was DELETED by Blogger, and thought it was worth reposting).

Why? Because it is worth something to get into DMOZ, it improves your trust rank with Google, counts as a good backlink with other engines, and sends you extra traffic. And might I add that the only sites of mine that are getting regular Google traffic are the ones in DMOZ.

Memo to myself: Work on these sites.

1. Make your site UNIQUE!
This is something the editors look for, so browse other sites in your category and ask yourself, "what can I do to make my site unique?" You might even want to announce the fact with a declaration like "Welcome to For the Birds - the only backyard birding site with a forum and photo gallery that also tells you how to attract different kinds of birds." (And yes, this is the topic of one of my DMOZ sites).

2. Don't just make it unique, also make it look unique.
Having a cookie-cutter affiliate site probably won't help you much, remember, many of these editors browse lots of affiliate sites, and seeing the same template over and over might just make them dismiss them immediately. I know that some have recommended that you don't add images to your affiliate sites, but my sites that made it into this picky directory were filled with a good amount of images. People like to see a good amount of graphics anyway - I'm not talking gaudy - just attractive. Now if you're worried about people not clicking on your ads because they're distracted with pictures, then just add some to your home page and not your content pages. Although I like to add nice graphics to as many of my pages as possible.

3. Affiliate what??
The sites of mine that got in are the most hobby-ish sites I have. One looks that way because it is a pure hobby site, and was created before I had even heard the term "affiliate marketing," and the other looks that way because I decided to have fun with it when I started it. With my second site, I created my own simple design for the site, added some background color to the menu, even added a little border. I was going for an innocent, even - dare I say - countrified look. Instead of making a site that looks like it was made by a savvy internet entrepreneur, you may want to make it look a little more like it was created by Old Man Jenkins. Have fun with it, but always remember - never get too gaudy, we don't want to scare away our visitors.

4. Minimize those ads
We all know that DMOZ, and Google for that matter, doesn't like sites that are too affiliate-esque. So minimize those ads, especially on the home page, you may even want to take all of the ads off your home page before submitting.

5. Personalize
I like to sprinkle little notes from the editor here and there, or feature little "editor's tip" boxes in the sidebars of some of my sites. This will make your site a bit more unique and also add a little value for the visitor. Maybe even consider putting your own picture up.

6. Quality, quality, quality.
Has this been pounded into your head enough? We all know it, but knowing and doing are two different things. So when you're writing articles, don't just give the same information that your competitor's site is giving, give a little more, then personalize it with your own opinion, it will likely be much more captivating for the reader this way as well.

Remember, human volunteers select which sites will get in, most are good, but from browsing different categories, it's obvious that some are there just to serve his or her own purposes. There are also some that take their sweet time about checking your site... and in some categories, it will seem like your site will never be reviewed. So if you don't get in right away, don't sweat it too much, there are many other ways to get some nice backlinks... but that's another post.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Cheap Domains & PPC Campaigns

I went to buy domains this weekend for the 50 site challenge and realized that iPower is having a sale - $2.95 domains.

So this week I've been doing keyword research for some new potential sites.

I've also started 2 PPC campaigns for 2 of my new digital products - I'm starting at $1/day for each - not many sign-ups for my newsletters yet, though. I really can't afford much right now - so I hope this is enough to get me started!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Odd Earnings

My adsense earnings continue to plummet, however, I've had a couple of pretty interesting days this week.

Sunday morning I found that I had sold one of my new digital products and made about $22.50 off of that - the strange thing was that I haven't even started promoting it - it's not linked to from the site I put it on, I wasn't running any ads, I had just placed it in the ClickBank Marketplace and voila! - someone found it! So that was pretty exciting and motivating for me to continue on with selling my own products.

Then yesterday was my biggest earning day yet - I made $76.60 off of one jewelry sale at CJ!

So maybe my total earnings for June won't be so terrible... They just confirm my suspicions that taking some new directions is probably a good idea.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results

So for the sake of my sanity, I am venturing out.

Up until now, I steered clear of words like "autoresponder," and "PPC," but after putting so much into my natural search sites and watching their earnings fall each month, I decided it's time to try something new.

I finally decided to try selling my own product, and was inspired by Burke's progress. So I am working on putting together a sales page for the product I'm going to try to sell, then I'm going to sign up for some autoresponder service and also get a newsletter going for it, then do some PPC advertising. It's all going to be new for me, but it's about time I learned the ins and outs of these things.

I am still working on the 50 sites challenge, too.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Who do you want to win?

Okay, I know several of us in this blogroll watch The Apprentice - so who do you want to win?

Personally, I'm rooting for the British guy, the other one (I'm terrible, I've watched every show and forgot their names) is just a wee too flighty, though he has been sensible in the past about a few things.

And for the love of Pete - what is up with him choosing such a lame team - hahaha, that's too funny...

To tie it all in - have you learned anything, business-wise, from the show? I've learned that amazingly, it IS possible to make $1000 profit from one seriously focused, hard day of work... if only I could just get the discipline to do that online...

Friday, June 02, 2006

This plane is definitely crashing - May Earnings

$468.66

Not to be too dismal... but these earnings are really getting me down. That doesn't mean I'm going to stop... things are just getting really frustrating.

I may look into other online avenues as well as do content sites... I've been considering doing something with ebooks, still not exactly sure how, though.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

The Increasing Need for Quality

Quality, quality, quality - it's all you hear these days, from people selling ebooks about it to Google's increasing 'quality' algorithms.

So we all know to put some useful information on our pages, we all know to try to add something extra... beyond that, what can an internet publisher do? I mean, if About.com can be the mammoth site they are with fairly small articles and pages with links, then why should I worry?

Exactly, so I'm not going to worry so much, I've got informative articles, I've got extras on a lot of my sites, and other than cutting down on link exchanges, there's not a whole lot else I can do to appease the Google gods.

Of course, I will always try to better my sites, but the last few months have been so nervewracking, earnings-wise, that I just decided enough with worrying so much. Instead, I'm just gonna work as much as I can.

Which brings me to my 50 site challenge update:

I started one on Celtic Culture, and hired someone for the articles, so far: Celtic art, Celtic music, and Celtic jewelry.

I decided against doing subdomains on my big sites, so I may do 50 actual sites after all - that's one site every three days - wow, I have some catching up to do!