Sunday, January 30, 2005

Off the hook, finally!

Whew! It took a working weekend, but I finally got caught up and it is SUCH a relief :)

Now I can kick back and work on my own site(s), read my latest issue of Business 2.0 and finish reviewing the Underachiever Mastery Course. I still have my usual workload, but not the overflow I've had the last few weeks, which will be super-nice. Back to MY schedule!

One of the things on my plate this month has been closing out 2004 and preparing to have my taxes done. What a job. Of course, had I entered things in as I went, it would have been a different story. But nooo - I had to wait and do it ALL at year end :p

Dont procrastinate. It sucks. Not only do you stress over it the whole time you're not doing it (because you know you should be)... but then you get stuck working in a rush, or working with a mess. Seriously - let's dont do this again! Deal?

One nice thing about tax time, though, is that it allows you to review your year at a glance. I knew I had met my goals for '04, but it was real nice to see it in black and white. I more than tripled my income from the previous year... and earned almost 5 times more with Affiliate Marketing than I did with my service-based business.

That's a huge turnaround from previous years, as the services have been my 'bread and butter' and Affiliate income was just "extra cash on the side". Changing my business model to produce more passive income (meaning I work less, but make more) was one of the smartest moves I've made yet!

Speaking of which, I'm doing a Teleseminar on the topic (Passive Income) with Lois Carter Fay next month - February 9th, to be exact. I'm also planning to join That Crazy Web Guy (Gary Knuckles) on a live call on February 15th.

I think Gary and I are going to talk about how various Internet Marketing strategies can work together - to produce the best possible results. It should make for an interesting topic, and it's something that's been on my mind a lot lately... so I'm looking forward to the interview.

You've got copywriting, pay-per-click, search engine optimization, web design, email marketing, networking, upsell techniques, backend sales, yada yada yada. But any one of these things wont necessarily make your ebiz successful on its own. They really do need to work together in a complimentary fashion (smoothly, seamlessly) to achieve that desired end result.

I think it's really easy to get sidetracked and distracted, and to never really finish a project so that it tops out in profit potential. And too, they are often given up on before given a fair chance. I've been guilty of both, myself - and let some really great projects go stale.

But if everything that you are working on is part of the cycle that leads up to the ultimate goal, then you are in a better position to stay focused and to continue to improve on the process. Traffic, traffic, traffic - yeah. But once you get it there, you have to guide it through in the right direction and capture the valuable visitors into your "funnel". Once you do, they're yours for life! Unless you drop the ball and never follow up with them ;)

Anyway, that's what I'm looking forward to in February, and I'll keep you posted on the details as they get penciled in. For now, I'm off to play with my new Flash Ad Creator (hoping to get some examples up on the site this week), and maybe catch a good movie ;)

Friday, January 28, 2005

Affiliate Programs for Valentines Day

I absolutely love this affiliate program! I think the products are awesome, the site is great, and the commission is a rich 20%:

Obviously it would do very well during Mother's Day, Graduation and other gift-giving holidays and events. If you have a site that would do well with this type of product, check out their affiliate program... and get those campaigns running!

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Is It Friday Yet??

Things have been really fast-paced lately. Reviewing new products, reading books, managing my Adwords campaigns, client work, finishing up on paperwork for taxes, lots of email - you name it. I've had to resort back to my handy dandy timer for the last week or so, just to stay on track!

Nothing major, and I'm not whining (really) - and besides, I'm finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel here ;)

Not to mention most of the things that have been keeping me busy have been fun or interesting (or both!). I've been looking over Frank Kern's latest project - The Underachiever Mastery Course - for example. This thing is HUGE (you can see a pic of it here).

It's very well laid out, and serves as a step-by-step plan for pursuing highly targeted niche markets. Impressive, to say the least... and I have barely scratched the surface on reviewing it!

I've always gone for larger, more competitive markets myself - but I'm ready to sit down and really give this a once-over and see what it's all about. I am sure there is a lot of potential, and I am looking forward to reading Frank's insight on the topic.

If there's one thing I love, it's learning new things. And hearing new perspectives. I think Frank has a good thing here. And I liked what John Reese said about turning "Underachievers" into "Overachievers" (right up my alley *wink*).

Speaking of larger, more competitive markets - that's the target on my new affiliate site (How much longer can I call it "new"? LOL - Anyway...). The project is going very well, from Link Strategy to Rankings, but a couple of my affiliate programs fell through. One of them pulled the program, the other I didnt get approved for.

This is just "one of those things" in Affiliate Marketing, and something we have to be prepared for. Still, replacing the one affiliate program is going to be a pain and I'm having to set aside some time to research replacement programs and then take the time to add them into the site.

*Blah*. But I have to admit that it has motivated me to seek out more programs, and I've found several with great products and good commission structure. It should turn out to be a positive in the end, though I'm not looking forward to the "work" right here and now.

Am I spoiled, or what? :p

For the Moms...

While I was in San Diego a couple of years ago, I had the opportunity to meet Michelle Cadwell and Traci Foster. They host The Mom Show on World Talk Radio, which is best known for their weekly feature with The Fly Lady.

I've had the opportunity to join them on the show a couple of times, which is always a lot of fun! If you have a good "mom topic", I would definitely recommend that you get in touch with them to see if it would be a good fit for their show ;)

They will be airing live today at 11am PST (2pm EST) and they are announcing their new website:! Check it out when you get a chance, and tune in today to listen in live. I'm not sure what they have lined up, but it's usually always a great laugh and a good listen.

They have a brand new forum as well. The site & forum should be a lot of fun and a great addition to their live show. I hope you'll join me in supporting Traci & Michelle as they take this leap and go live with the website they've worked so hard on!

I know that this has been 'in the works' for quite some time, and something they've both put a lot of work and energy into. And yes, I had a bit of a hand in it and must say that I've really enjoyed working with them. It will be fun to watch their progress with the site and show throughout the year - I have a feeling it's going to be a big hit ;)

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Go With Your Gut

Most of you that have known me for awhile remember that I worked closely with Mary Goulet while she was the host of the Entrepreneur Radio Home Biz Show, and also The Mary Goulet Show. She is now hosting MomsTown Talk Radio with Heather Reider at World Talk Radio.

A couple of years ago I flew to San Diego and spent the weekend brainstorming with Mary on the direction of her show, and mapping out a strategic online marketing plan. That was the first of two trips to the west coast, and an intense year of working very closely together.

Mary left, Lynn center, Antoinette Kuritz right

Last week I got a small package in the mail from Mary unexpectedly. I opened it and pulled out a very colorful little book with a 'hip' cover, titled "Go With Your Gut!". I was thrilled to see it in print, as I had reviewed the manuscript for the book quite some time ago. It's always exciting to see something go from idea to creation... and a beautiful creation it was!

If you could ever truly "hold an idea in your hand", this was it. I felt the same way when I first got my hands on The Secrets of Wealth by Fabio Marciano. Someone I knew personally that put a lot of energy, and worked very hard, into sharing a message... turning one tiny idea into something that would touch thousands of lives. I really admire Mary and Fabio, and all authors, who pour themselves out onto paper and manage to capture their passion for a topic in print.

In Go With Your Gut!, Mary talks about the difference between your Head, Heart & Gut when it comes to decision making. Big decisions, small decisions - every decision. Do you follow your passion, go with logic, or listen to gut instinct? Mary shares what each of those three mean, and how to know the right answer in every decision you are faced with.

She takes what experts tell us - that making decisions are a critical part of our growth and success - and goes a step further... to tell us how we can make good decisions with complete confidence, and truly begin to live up to our full potential.

Just making a decision isnt good enough. We really do have to make the right decisions.

This was a great read, and an unexpected surprise. Mary - if you're reading this - congrats to you! You did an exceptional job putting this together and I enjoyed every page of it!!

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Google's Aging Delay for New Sites

A great article came in today from Search Engine Watch:

Google's Aging Delay for New Sites

(do these publishers read my mind, or what?)

Also, Robert mentioned that the MSN Beta has gone live, so I went to have a look for myself. Great news! My sswt site is ranked #1 for "learn internet marketing" on MSN!

Which reminds me, I have to get back to that content ;)

Sales Are Back to Norm!

After a slow spell there between mid-December and the first week or so of January (2-3 weeks, total), sales seem to be getting back to normal... which is NICE. I'm referring to my new 'affiliate site' which was just launched in November '04.

Here's the scoop:

Google now has 245 pages indexed, and Yahoo is showing 122. We are working on obtaining high quality Inbound Links every single day - consistently. Sometimes focusing on the main page of the site, other times on a particular category or product page. It takes time to get those links up, of course - while many of them are automated (using scripts), others are adding them manually. And then it takes time for the search engines to notice and count them, of course.

Well worth the wait, so we just keep working at it diligently. Adding the directory (LMA) has been a huge help, and a real time saver. Google has already indexed the directory, so once it begins to rank, much of the 'link exchange' process will be automated (as webmasters will approach us, instead of the other way around). With the automation of LMA, and it's reciprocal link checker, that will be a real plus.

The stats are looking good - traffic is way up from December. Showing 2,000 visitors during the entire month, versus almost 3,000 already for January (and it's only the 19th). Sales are decent - just about to pass the total from last month, and with almost 2 weeks to go. It would be nice to double sales from last month by the 31st.

Looking at my stats, there were 20 visitors this past week that came in through the same search term. A quick look shows that my product page is #1 on Google for that term (didnt find it in the top 40 on Yahoo). WordTracker doesnt show ANY daily searches for the term... but there must be a reason this particular product is popular all of a sudden. Very nice :)

In addition to continuing on with my SEO strategy, I also purchased a small add on a very popular site. I placed the ad specficially for one of the product pages - not the main site. It was inexpensive - $15 for the month, I believe - and a very high traffic site. Keeping my fingers crossed that brings good results ;)

I also decided to start an Adwords campaign for another product category. These items are higher priced, so the campaign should pay off nicely. They keywords are very competitive, but once the affiliate links begin dropping out (due to Google's new Affiliate Policy), my ads should move way up and get a lot more exposure. I'll keep a close eye on this one - it certainly seems to have a lot of potential.

All in all, things are moving along quite well. I've been looking at templates, but havent really decided on one that suits me. The site is very plain as it is, but is definitely 'clean' and easy to navigate. I'm up in the air on that decision, but considering a more 'fancy' look.

I'm also in the process of adding a mailing list, so that I can collect opt-ins. I'm going to set this up through my Aweber account this week, and hopefully add it to the site by the weekend. Originally I decided I didnt want to commit myself to managing a list for the site, but I'm reconsidering.

The problem is that a general 'newsletter' would be... well, too general. There are many categories and sub-categories, and most of them completely unrelated. The key to success with email marketing would be to set up a specific list for each category - and then perhaps send out updates or additions once a month.

Having 20 or 30 small (focused) lists would be much more profitable than one main list with a wide variety of interests. Seems like a lot of work, doesnt it? Of course, I wouldnt have to send out a "full newsletter" - perhaps just periodic updates.

So that's what's on the table at the moment, in a nutshell. Small steps, one day at a time, towards growing the site and the traffic - and the profit potential ;)

Working Now to Achieve More Later

I certainly didnt mean for so much time to pass before I posted again - that's pretty rare for me. As you can imagine, things have been busy on this end and have kept my attention elsewhere.

Over the weekend I took the kids for a little drive and pointed out the log home, as well as a few others. They were both more interested in living in town - near friends, near the Civic Center, etc. Understandable, as we lived in a lakeside cabin for a couple of years prior to moving here to be with Grandma... during which time they were homeschooled. They've really enjoyed being in town, and being back in school - right in the thick of things.

I have to admit it's been easier on me, too. So I've been re-thinking the "dream home" and weighing out all of the options. I dont have to move. In fact, I can't move anytime soon because I have Grandmother to consider. And we really do have a nice place here all together.

Even though I'm in no hurry, I am still interested in buying a home. After all of the mortgage shopping and home guides and such, I've decided it may be best to buy something here in town that offers a lot of room and is in a nice location. Somewhere the kids can enjoy - a neighborhood with other children, places they can go within walking distance, etc.

My thinking is that I can invest in a home now, one we can live in for 3-5 years, and then sell and move to a "dream home" then. I really want a home out in the country, with water running through the lot (even if it's just a small spring or creek). And when the kids are a bit older, they would appreciate something like that a lot more I think. Not to mention they will grow up and begin their own lives shortly after... Gosh, that's a sad thought.

I'm waiting to hear back from the bank, but once I get pre-approved, it will just be a matter of finding the perfect place. Since I plan to sell in 3-5 years, I want it to be a good investment - so am putting a lot of consideration into location.

On top of having all of that on my mind, work has been busier than usual this last week or so. I kicked things back into high gear in order to put some money back for closing costs and/or a downpayment. So far, so good - but I am feeling a bit stretched. Not stressed by any means, but spoiled I guess (LOL) and getting a stiff reminder of what it's like to *work* :p

The time I am putting in now will pay off long-term, and that's the goal. To set up new sources of passive income or recurring income. Mike Litman, who always seems to be "in my head", put out a terrific newsletter yesterday along these lines titled Do You Make This Success Mistake?

I particularly liked this line:

Take the time to plant the seeds, water them, and be patient for your harvest.

If you're not subscribed to Mike's newsletter or blog - you should be. I find his articles incredibly motivating and inspiring! There's nothing like a little 'confirmation' (or kick in the a$$) to keep you moving in the right direction ;)

Thursday, January 13, 2005

SEO Training Module

We are kicking off the Live SEO Training Module at Turning Ideas Into Dollars! this week.

During this Live Training Module, we are going to discuss:

- Keyword Research
- Competition Analysis
- Search Engine Optimization
- Link Strategy

We will take an existing website which currently has only a couple of inbound links, a TBPR (tool bar page rank) of "0", and has made no sales in the year that it has been online.

If you follow along, you will be able to take this information and use the exact same steps with your own website(s) to achieve higher rankings, more traffic and more sales!

TIID Membership is currently $12.97 - so this would be a great time to join in. Check it out: Turning Ideas Into Dollars! . Let me know if you have any questions ;)

The Call

I had planned to phone the real estate agent in the morning to check in with her on this house... but she beat me to it and called me this evening.

There are some minor repairs to be done on the house - obviously the swimming pool needs a new liner, and the lattice in front needs to be replaced... along with some minor painting (mainly the stairway up to the main floor and the laundry room). Anyway, I had asked for a price on the house "as is" - and originally that meant without fixing the pool, but they were still going to go ahead with the lattice & painting.

She phoned to let me know that they got approval for the repairs to begin tomorrow, and wanted to give me an opportunity to submit an offer AS IS - meaning with nothing done to the place at all. (These 'repairs' would only cost me around 100 bucks to do myself, so its definitely worth it. Not including the pool of course, which I can get done at cost.)

I submitted my offer (very comfortable pricing for me), and she gave me the number to get pre-qualified. I'm to call in the morning. I'm shooting for a 5.25% interest rate (first time home buyers rate at the moment). Apparently this house already has financing available, and the number she gave me was to qualify for that... and she also said that they agreed to pay closing costs.

I have no idea what to expect, or what I'm getting myself into... this is my first experience with real estate. Everything sounds good so far, and seems to be working in my favor.

There is a lot of interest in the house, obviously. All of the potential buyers are waiting for the repairs to be completed, though... which, she said, gives me a definite advantage.

Positive thoughts pointed in my direction over your morning coffee tomorrow would be much appreciated ;) Things are moving quicker than expected, and I'm aiming to keep up with it all and put myself in a position to make this deal happen.

All smiles on this end! :)

Wednesday, January 12, 2005


Dreams and Goals

Thoughts of this house are consuming me. I find myself working harder, and brainstorming every minute of every day. I've cleaned off my desk and created a master task list - and then prioritized it. It's sitting here in front of me now.

My plan is to move strategically through that list, and to work consistently towards my goals. I am putting everything else out of my mind at the moment - just focusing on what I have to accomplish NOW.

There's no lack of work, or opportunity. Having been in this field for years (8 now, to be exact) I know what it takes to step it up a notch. And that's exactly what I plan to do.

It's been dreary lately, but the first pretty day we have I'll try to get out there and take some pictures of the property. I'd love to share it with you so that you can see why I am so taken with it :)

The closet in the master bedroom alone is bigger than bedrooms I've had. Shelved in, right down to shoe racks. Private bath with jacuzzi tub and double sinks... and a small deck overlooking the wooded property. That, and an office loft, make up the top floor of this 3-story home.

The main floor has a modern and very organized kitchen. You can look out through the bay window there in the dining room to see the pool, surrounded by a privacy fence. Gas fireplace, wood floors and high ceilings in the living room - and a full bath and 2 bedrooms.

The light fixtures are magnificent. Paint is fresh. Floors are gorgeous. The porch wraps around from the front of the house to the dining room - perfect for rocking chairs. Security system, garage... and two more rooms on the bottom floor. One of which is lined in bookcases and also has a gas fireplace, which would make a very nice office.

Four acres and a nice area out in the country, this 3-story log home is a dream come true! I fell in love with it the very first time I saw it...

Monday, January 10, 2005

Getting More Inbound Links

Take a look at the Links4Trade Directory:

Excellent resource! This is a great place to gain even more Inbound Links for your site(s)!

Enjoy ;)

Edit: I thought I should come back and add that you dont have to pay/join in order to take advantage of this directory. Instead of clicking the "Request Trade" link, which will take you to a sign-up option, click on the actual website link (left column). Once there, navigate to their links page, and click "submit your site" (or however it is worded on each site) - which will take you to a direct submission form. Reciprocal link required, of course.

Hope that helps!

A Steady Pace

I got up early this morning and went straight to work - eager to get started on the week. I have so many projects going at the moment. I've been enjoying them all, honestly - the work is easy and fun, and it's exciting to see results.

I could wish for things to move at a faster pace, though. I say that, knowing it's not possible - or not the way things are meant to go. Of course there are always plenty of things to work on while I am waiting for this or waiting for that... but I'm ready for things to really kick in full speed!

My Google Adwords Campaign, for example - it's doing really well, converting at around 2%. I'm keeping a close eye on it, and adding to it a little at a time. New keywords or new Ad Groups, etc. I would love to see this one move at a faster pace - more click through's, more sales, more frequently :) But common sense tells me to take it slow and tweak it carefully.

I'm anxious to see what kind of impact this week's 'policy changes' will have. I believe that will take effect on Wednesday (1/12) - just a couple of days away. Could definitely be a big help, in that it will likely cut out a large piece of the competition!

SEO - another good example. You put everything into place and then wait. With my new affiliate site, it feels like a long wait. I'm used to being able to get a page indexed and ranked fairly quick - but that's on sites that have been up for a couple of years already. Brand new domains are a different story, altogether.

In the meantime, we've continued working on the Link Strategy. This is actually a lot of "work" compared to everything else that I do - and requires patience and consistency. My goal is for every single page of the affiliate site to achieve a top ten ranking for it's keyword phrase.

I took Paul Short's advice and installed LMA (Link Management Assistant). It's free to download and super-easy to set up. It is also very search engine friendly, and easy to modify. Basically, it will allow you to add a niche-specific directory to your website. A directory that others will seek out and submit their links to, providing a reciprocal link to you in return.

This is a good idea for two reasons:

First, because you can obviously have potential link partners come to you versus seeking them out. The entire process is automated - so they find you, link to you, and submit their link. This not only helps you to gain inbound links, but it also increases the size of your website exponentially... so if you are using Adsense on content pages, this can be a very good thing ;)

It checks for the reciprocal link, and sends all of the emails. It doesnt get much easier than that!

But the second, really cool thing about LMA is this: You can import category-specific DMOZ listings into your directory - which even creates it's own directory structure, complete with sub-directories and all of their listings. This is nice because you dont have to start out with an 'empty' directory (which may be a turn-off to potential link partners).

But also - it's a huge list of potential link partners in itself! Since YOU are already linked to THEM, you can simply visit their site and fill in their link submission form (or email them) - and use the link from your directory as the required reciprocal link. This beats the pants off of going back and forth, and adding links as you go!

Last night while I was looking for potential link partners, and following links from site to site, I came across a huge Yahoo group focused on the same topic as one of the sub-categories on my affiliate site. A quick look showed that there are TONS of groups on my general topic, and plenty on most of the specific categories. I created a new Yahoo profile to represent my affiliate site, and plan to check a few of these groups out.

While participating regularly in the actual discussions can be very time consuming, and result in an overwhelming amount of email, most of them do offer a free directory and allow you to set up a member profile. In addition, those that display their archives online are a great source for Inbound Links ;)

This is just one more reason why a 'competitive market' can be a good thing!

Still, it is a process, and just has to be 'worked' one day at a time. While I am anxious to see (more) results, a steady pace is a good thing - and in the end is what will make this site a success. I've never had a site become an "overnight success" - - but those that I have worked on consistently have done very well.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Links & Linking

I woke up motivated this morning! Usually I like to 'take it easy' on Saturday's - maybe work on my own site, research something interesting or catch up on a few emails. But today I'm in the mood to tackle some of the things on my task list, and make some serious progress!

At the same time, my mind is going in a million different directions - no focus whatsoever. So I started out checking stats, checking email, looking over the forums, updating my Product Feed, etc. I just grabbed a notepad, and started jotting down things as they came to mind while I was going through those things.

Then I came here to write a bit, as that always helps me to get focused. Something about blogging really helps me to clear the slate and get moving in a good direction for the day. At the moment, while I'm writing, I have files uploading in the background - a site wide update that was one of the things I jotted down on my notepad.

Basically I was just cloaking my affiliate links on the affiliate site. So that when visitors hold their mouse over a link or a product picture, it says "click here for details" in the status bar instead of a long ugly affiliate link.

This is pretty easy in dreamweaver. You just go to Edit > Find and Replace, and then use the drop down box at the top to switch from "current document" to the entire folder (so that you can update all of the web pages within a specific folder, or directory).

In the "Search For" box, put:

a href

In the "Replace With" box, put:

a onMouseOver="window.status='click for details'; return true" onMouseOut="window.status=''" href

This would actually put "click for details" in the status bar for ALL of the links on your pages, which you may not want to do. If you only want to cloak affiliate links, and all of those links start the same (CJ links for example) - you could do it like this:

In the "Search For" box, put:

a href="http://www.qksrv

In the "Replace With" box, put:

a onMouseOver="window.status='click for details'; return true" onMouseOut="window.status=''" href="http://www.qksrv

This will cloak all of those affiliate links on your site, and then you simply upload them. Doing something like this manually would be a huge task - and take forever. If you have very many products listed on your pages, that is. This particular site is over 200 pages, some pages listing over 100 products.

Speaking of 'saving time' - Albert was asking me if there wasn't an easier way to get Inbound Links. He has been working on the Link Strategy for the affiliate site for several days now - submitting and exchanging links with hundreds of sites.

He looked up this morning and said, "We're going to be doing this for months!"


Now that's one I dont have an easy solution for. There are options for automating or speeding up this process, but most SEO's will warn you that it's not good practice - and can get you banned or penalized by the major search engines.

Here are a few topics where that was discussed, specifically:

Zeus Robot?

Some Food For Thought Before Participating In "Legitimate" Link Exchange Programs

Back to the grindstone, right? Yup.

There is one site that is relatively new, and looks "clean". Check this one out:

Willing link partners in your
niche, delivered to your inbox.

This could be a big help in staying on top of new linking opportunities ;)

I better get back to work... I still have 6 tasks on my notepad, and would like to get done in plenty of time to catch a good movie and take it easy this evening ;)

Have a good weekend!

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Google Changes Affiliate Policy

So the rumors are true... The latest from the Google Adwords Team:

In January 2005, Google will incorporate a new affiliate advertising policy that is designed to provide a better user and advertiser experience.

What is changing:

With this new affiliate policy, we'll only display one ad per search query for affiliates and parent companies sharing the same URL. This way, users will have a more diverse sampling of advertisements to choose from. As always, your ad will be displayed based on its Ad Rank for given searches, which is determined by a combination of your ad's maximum cost-per-click (price) and clickthrough rate (performance).

For instance, if a user searches for books on or anywhere on the Google search and content networks, Google will take an inventory of ads running for the keyword books. If we find that two or more ads compete under the same URL, we'll display the ad with the highest Ad Rank.

How this will affect you:

If you're an affiliate, this means that you no longer need to identify yourself as an affiliate in your ad text. However, your current ad text will continue to display your affiliate status until you change it.

Affiliates or advertisers using unique URLs in their ads will not be affected by this change. Please note that your Display URL must match the URL of your landing page, and you may not simply frame another site.

What you should do:

We recommend that you continue to monitor your ads' performance and optimize your ads as needed to ensure they're bringing you the best results. Please visit our Optimization Tips page for more information.

By improving our ad relevancy, we believe that users will have a better search experience, which will help you reach more potential clients in the future. We'll continue to make improvements to AdWords over time to further improve the user experience and help increase the performance of your ads.

We look forward to continue providing you with the most effective advertising available.

The Google AdWords Team


This should make things interesting! :-)

Here's the bottom line:
Create Landing Pages!

I just noticed that Paul Schlegel has already posted this at the forum, so meet us over there if you have questions or comments:

See you there ;)

Thursday Night at Lynn's

It's Thursday night, and quiet - the kids have already gone up to bed. We all went out earlier to do a bit of shopping and have dinner, which was nice. While we were at the mall, Albert ran into the man that originally owned the house I've been looking at. We found out what the lot, and construction of the house, costed - why they sold, and more about the 2nd owners. The house is a GOOD deal at the price they're asking (159,900) - so I'll be very pleased if they accept a lower offer (which she said was very possible).

All of this has, of course, been a huge motivator to me business-wise. I'm planning to double my income this year, and putting a lot of thought into my marketing strategy and short-term goals. One thing that I decided from the beginning was that I did not want to change. Meaning, I dont want to become a pushy sales-person, or one of those newsletter publishers that sends nothing but promos for "the next best thing" that I can make a buck on.

I want to continue to offer the best content possible - on my site, in my newsletter and through my forum - and also continue to offer the free phone consultations. In fact, in 2005, I plan to go above and beyond in ALL of those areas.

With that decision made, I'm going to focus on my other sources of income. Specifically on the new affiliate site and my Google Adwords campaigns. My latest promotion on Google is still moving very slow, but very profitable - which is fine by me. I'm keeping a very close eye on it.

As for the affiliate site, we're still working on it daily. It is very plain, and I have considered 'dressing it up' with a nicer template - but for the moment have decided not to. While it is plain, it is also very straight forward, easy to navigate and the focus is on the products. I am planning to use this site as a Case Study later this year within the Turning Ideas Into Dollars portal, and want to make the point that you dont need extensive web design knowledge or experience to put together a successful affiliate site.

We've stopped adding pages and products for the moment, and are focusing on the Link Strategy. Albert is working on that now, actually - he is submitting links that he can do easily, and compiling a report of all that require payment or a reciprocal link so that I can review those later.

He asked, "How many inbound links do you want me to get for each page?"

I said, "As many as it takes to get to #1" :-)

It's the same strategy that I've discussed three recent issues of SSWT:

12/15: Creating Affiliate-Based Websites

12/21: Creating Affiliate Sites, Part Two

12/28: Using Competition To Your Advantage & "Link Strategy"

What we are doing is gaining Inbound Links to each and every page of the affiliate site. Not just to the site itself (as in, the main page), but to each category or page. There are currently over 200 pages to this site, and I'd like for every one of them to rank in the top 3 on Google & Yahoo for their keyword phrase.

Some of them require 10 or so inbound links, some of them 100 or more. This is a process, so we're just working on it one day at a time - obviously focusing on the more profitable areas of the site first.

Albert being totally green to all of this 'internet marketing stuff', it's cool to see him doing so well with the various parts of this project. With 15 minutes of explanation and details, he's off on his own for hours. I cant even begin to tell you how great this is for me - as it free's me up to focus on the other things I want and need to be doing.

Too, it's really nice to know that anybody can do this type of work from home, with just a little instruction. The people that I work with one-on-one all seem to be making great progress, and that makes it all worth it! I think I enjoy that more than any other aspect of my business - the personal mentoring, phone consultations, and of course my weekly newsletter.

I plan to do more audio this year, and also offer detailed video tutorials - both of which should be available over the next couple of months. I would really love to get this kind of information to more people - to help them grasp the concepts, and get their own profitable ventures up and running.

There's nothing like it. This is the BEST type of business to be in. Truly the "American Dream" for our generation... but not just limited to Americans. Anyone, anywhere, can do very well in e-business - with just a bit of help and guidance.

All it takes is an Idea, or the desire. Everything else can be acquired or learned ;)

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Stick With What Works!

I'm feeling particularly good today. Just woke up on the right side of the bed, I guess ;) Too, it's nice to be back on schedule. My son started back to school this week, so we're back to the early mornings and the usual routine. (Ann Marie attends a year-round school, so she doesnt start back until next week.)

Holidays are nice, and I really enjoyed the break... but there's nothing like a good, solid routine to keep things rolling smooth!

Albert is back to work right along with me, and together we are making incredible progress on both of the sites. He is continuously updating the affiliate site, while researching his own site ideas on the side (using what he's learned both through my newsletters, and the hands-on experience). I am working on the SSWT site - writing all new content there, and updating everything else as I go.

Now that the holidays have passed, sales have picked back up on the affiliate site. There was a lull there just after the "too late to ship" date until around New Years - but traffic and sales are getting back to normal now. More pages indexed in the search engines, more traffic, more sales & Adsense click-through's... so it's all going great :)

As for the SSWT site, which is the one I'm working on now, it's a complete mess :p

I really wanted to be able to upload it all by New Years, but I just didnt have it ready. So... I decided to upload it anyway. Crazy, I know - but it puts the pressure on to get it done, and really motivated me to work hard on it. Adds that "sense of urgency" element ;) LOL

Even with the site not ready, and many blank pages, I'm seeing results already. A dramatic increase in subscribers was the first thing that I noticed - from day one! I think I'm going to enjoy this site much more than ever with all of these changes... and I'm really looking forward to the year ahead with SSWT!

About that new PPC Campaign that I started... going great so far! I think I've spent around 6 bucks, and so far my earnings are at $130.00 . This is the one that I started out slow, and I'm just tweaking it a bit and adding to it just a little each day. Very competitive, but I think I've selected a good set of keywords to start with. Most of my bids are at the minimum (5 cents), but I do have one Ad Group where I am bidding 16 cents per click. So far, it's been worth it.

When I think back over 2004... everything that I read, everything that I learned, everything that I tried... It's nice to know that it has all paid off.

It was the year I read The Super Affiliate Handbook, Google Cash, The Definitive Guide to Google Adwords and Google Adwords 123. That's a couple hundred bucks in material, and plenty of time studying. Worth it? YES! I would go back and do it all again in a heartbeat!

It was the year I took an interest in Copywriting and a more serious interest in SEO. A powerful combination! All of the books I read, swipe files I reviewed... and the time I spent testing and tweaking. Worth it? YES!

It was also the year I put on 20 lbs. but I'll take care of that later :p For now, I am focusing on putting all the pieces in place. Everything that I've learned over the years. Everything that I've started, or Idea that I've had. 2005 will be the year that it ALL falls into place.

I have Mike Litman's Power of Concentration Success System set aside to help me kick off this incredible year ahead of me. His material - his book, newsletter, CD's - was a huge source of inspiration and motivation for me in 2004. I plan to stick with what works ;)