Saturday, December 31, 2005


I have been very busy 'closing out 2005' this past week - organizing my desk, updating my contact database, tweaking each of my sites, going over my Action Plan for 2006... it's been a lot of fun, and I am really psyched about the New Year!

2005 was a year that a lot of people got their first real taste of success online. It was a year that a lot of people saw a dramatic increase to their income. And it was also a year that motivated a lot of people to join in and create an eBiz themselves.

2005 was a good year for me. I dont have any complaints. I launched a couple of new niche sites, completely revamped the affiliate site that I launched late in 2004, and set up a few new blogs and lists as well. I met some really great people, too - and really enjoyed working with and alongside them throughout the year.

But to be honest, my main goals for 2005 were personal ones. While I did set business goals, and reach those, they were not the "all out, go big!" challenges that I usually set. I did that intentionally - toned things down a bit for myself - so that I could focus on family matters and personal goals.

At the beginning of 2005, I was exhausted from 'round the clock care for my Grandmother. In the Spring I moved and took some time to settle into my new home with the kids. Over the summer we visited Grandmother, and also just took some time off to have fun and catch up on lost time with each other. In the Fall, Grandmother passed away... and I took a couple of months off from my usual busy schedule just to think.

I thought about where I'd been. Where I was headed. What I had learned from this woman. What I wanted for myself, and what I wanted for my children. I thought about changes I would like to make... and things that I wanted to make sure never changed.

Through most of this year, I havent really been myself. I've been a granddaughter, a mother, a daughter and a sister... more than I've been anything else.

Through it all my passive income continued to flow - and steadily increased - just as it was set up to do. I was grateful for that, and for the time off and peace of mind that it afforded me during this year. I cant imagine how I would have made it through 2005 otherwise. I needed that time, and looking back now I can say that it was very (very) good for me.

These past 8 weeks have gotten me back on track, though, and I have been moving forward at light speed. It feels great to be back in action - not just in motion, but really back into the swing of things mind, body and soul.

The timing couldnt be better. The New Year is a wonderful time to change direction and set new goals for yourself. And also to be at peace with the past, content with the present, and to set all sights forward - on the future.

That is exactly where I am.

I'll share more with you about my plans for 2006, what you can expect from me, and the two things that have my attention over everything else going into this New Year... in the next few blog posts. You won't want to miss these ;)

Be sure you are signed up to receive an email when my blog is updated! You can subscribe using the form in the right hand column of this page - or send a blank email to .

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

SSWT Archives Updated

I took some time this week to update the SSWT Archives. You'll find a year's worth of tutorials that are chock full of valuable tips and information:


I decided to make some changes to the archives page, thanks to a tip from Rosalind Gardner (author of The Super Affiliate Handbook). She now has a Blog and Forum on her website. If you aren't "in" yet, go here and subscribe to her blog and register for her forum:


Once you register at the NPT forum, be sure to introduce yourself there. You can interact directly with Rosalind, who is a *true* Super Affiliate (and a super-friendly lady to boot!). I'm a successful Affiliate myself, but I still learn something new from Rosalind every time I visit her site!

I'd love to hear what you think of the new layout on the SSWT Archives page. Rosalind's tip (which came directly from her at her discussion forum) was to include a short description with each archive link. She suggested that this would increase the "click through rate" and encourage more visitors to read your back issues.


If you are publishing an online newsletter, this tip may be helpful for you too! And if you're not... you really should be ;)

I know it seems like a lot of work. Trust me, I have quite a few niche websites myself! But you are truly leaving money on the table if you don't have newsletters and/or autoresponders set up for each of your sites.

(I mentioned a great free report in last week's issue of
SSWT on that topic, which you can still get here:

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

XSitePro Contest Winners

Paul Smithson has just announced the winners of the
XSitePro "Website of the Year" Contest:

In third place was Codrut Turcanu from Romania with his
site promoting AdSense Confessions. The url for his entry is:

In second place was Bonnie Lowe with her tasty site about
cookies. The url for her entry is:

And the winner is …
Robert Hawthorne and the url for his winning web site is:


There are some great threads on the SSWT Forum about XSitePro right now. If you'd like to ask questions there you are certainly welcome to! Here are a couple of those discussions:

Click here to view the "7 Reasons Why You Should Consider XSitePro!" Video

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 23, 2005

Last Minute Gift Idea

If you still have a gift to send this holiday season, your choices are getting very limited. It's too late to ship a package, and too late to order most things to be shipped direct... So what do you do?

An Gift Certificate is the perfect solution! Amazon offers so much more than just books - you can get boxed DVD sets, electronics, toys, shoes, appliances... you name it! Best of all you can send the gift certificate via email with a customized e-card.

Besides, it's always fun to go shopping for yourself and pick out just what you want ;) Who wouldnt love a little online shopping spree?!

Ten minutes from now you can mark those last few names off of your shopping list, and then relax and enjoy the holidays! Thank you, Amazon!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

The Yahoo Special Continues...

Yahoo has extended this special offer on domain names yet again - now available until the end of February 2006!

Yahoo! has a special running where you can register domain names for only $2.99 ea!

Here are the details:

  • The most popular domain name extensions
    (.com, .net, .org, .biz, .info, .us)
  • 24-hour toll-free customer support
  • Domain name registration terms from 1-5 years
  • Easy-to-use control panel with DNS management
  • Domain forwarding so you can point to an existing site
  • Email forwarding to a free Yahoo! email address
  • Bonus starter web page to post online until you are ready for a web site
  • Domain locking helps prevent unauthorized transfers
  • Private Domain Registration helps protect you from spam by blocking your contact information from the public WHOIS (+$9.00/year at signup)

Click here to search for available domain names

I'm off to register EVEN MORE dot-com's *grin*

Leads for Copywriters

I just got this email from Rick Raddatz, and thought I would pass it on:


I have a ton of small-business clients who need copywriters. But most of the copywriters I know are booked for months... But I'm sure there are a lot of hungry "up-and-coming" copywriters that are available *right now* and could probably offer my clients an even better price-to-performance ratio in some cases.

So here's the deal -- if you're a copywriter, and you would like me to send some leads your way, please send an email to with the subject line: "Copywriter" and include the following info:

1) Name, Phone, Email, & Mailing address
2) A link to a photo of you (customers like photos)
3) Your general experience
4) How available are you for new gigs (e.g. how far out are you typically booked)
5) Approximately what would you typically charge for:
a) sales-letter written from scratch
b) sales-letter re-write
c) opt-in page re-do
d) ten-pack of custom headlines

(I know question #5 will be hard for some of you because "It depends"... well, of course it depends, but if you can't put a *general* price on your services, I can't refer you.)

Remember to send that info to

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Thank you, Google!

I got up this morning and was doing my usual rounds online... checking this, checking that - basically just looking at stats, rankings and such. I typed the URL for my dart site into Google yet again, with absolutely no expectation whatsoever.

I've never had a problem getting a new site or a new web page indexed and ranking in Google, but this one just seemed to get ignored from the get go. I chalked it up to my mistake for linking to it from other established sites I had on the same host. Lesson learned, oh well. Besides Yahoo and MSN were sending good buying traffic every day - and I was using Adwords to drive traffic to the site from Google.

Much to my surprise, though, it was listed in the Google results this morning! Yay!! And you would have thought my favorite team just won a big game the way I stood up and yelled "YES!" haha :p

And then, almost too coincidentally, Fed Ex knocked on my front door and handed me a small gift box from Google. I opened it up, and inside was a beautiful burgundy zippered case, sporting the Google logo on the front cover:

Inside there are lots of neat little geek toys:
  • a mini wireless optical mouse
  • a 128 meg usb thing-a-ma-jig
  • a connector to connect the usb thing-a-ma-jig to a usb port
  • an itty bitty 4-port usb hub
  • a cute little usb notebook light
  • two aa batteries
  • some kind of a magic trick bag (wait, that might be a soft carrying case for one of the other items)
  • a string and a keychain for true geeks that want to wear some of these things
  • some kind of an earphone thingy

Alice Seba received a gift from Google as well, I see. How very nice of them! All of this stuff is really cool, I must admit, and I'll have tons of fun playing with these little geek gadgets... but I am even more tickled to see them acknowledge my dart site :)

*cheers* to Google!

Monday, December 19, 2005

Christmas Memories

This last week or so has been crazy. Some good, some bad, but mostly just busy - everyday ups and downs (and then some). For starters, we had a drenching rain last week and I woke up to three leaks in the living room. I missed a Teleconference on Thursday night that I really wanted to listen in to because I totally forgot that I had promised to take my daughter shopping. My forum mailer quit working. I woke up late one morning and had to rush everyone. I could go on and on... It was hectic.

At the same time, I got a great new CD that I've really been enjoying... on Wednesday evening I went to church with my daughter and stayed with her in her class (fun!), and I went out shopping one night and found the most perfect Christmas card for my very best friend.

It's just life... and every day seems to present its good and its bad. But this time of year it can get especially hectic with so much to do, so many places to be, so many things to remember...

And then I called my mother on Friday afternoon. She shared the most touching Christmas story with me - a true story, that is... one about me when I was maybe my daughter's age or a little younger.

It completely changed my perspective, and for the rest of the weekend I just slowed myself down (way down) and did some thinking. I know that in a big way I have been 'busying myself' lately to keep from feeling sad about what is missing in my life this holiday season. But over the weekend I had a chance to just unwind, and change my thinking.

I wish I could find all of my pictures right at the moment, but I will share with you some from Christmas before last - 2003. That was the first year I was back home, and staying with my Grandmother full time. I cooked a big dinner in her homey kitchen... and served it in her formal dining room.

That isnt the most flattering picture of me... but when I look at it, all I see is Grandma's kitchen. It's the kitchen where I spent time with her on weekends and during summer visits. Where she made my birthday cakes when I was a girl. I used to sit on a stool beside that stove and "help her cook" (laugh). I've sat on that table, under that table, and at that table...

There's our Christmas tree... all decorated and standing proud there by the fireplace. Ann Marie was 7 that year and did most of the tree decorating (LOL). She used ribbons and bows that Grandmother had saved from the year before, some of our decorations and some of this and some of that. I thought it turned out mighty nice :)

There she is! That would be Ann Marie - but she'll scowl if you call her that nowadays... she has "changed her name" to Annie ;) She has really grown since then - 9 years old, and she doesnt have those cute little baby teeth in the front anymore. (Aint she a cutie??)

This would be my son, Zack. I got a real laugh when I found these pictures of him. He looks so young and cute there! Let's see... he would have been 12 in this picture. He's camera shy (unlike "Annie") so you wont find many shots of him - but he's a handsome fella. Of course he doesnt look like this anymore. Nope - now he is 14 and super cool ;)

Here's Grandma :) The picture didnt come out very well, but this one makes me smile. She had opened several gifts right before this was taken - an outfit, a few other things - and she seemed real pleased with it all. But when she opened this box of Whitmans... she set everything else down on the floor beside her and got into that box of chocolates. **smile** that was a nice Christmas...

I do miss her. Very much. I am so glad that my children had a chance to know her. But my mother was right - Christmas is a time for happy memories and good times. My plans for this week have changed from "getting everything done that I possibly can in 4 days or less..." to "take a deep breath and enjoy every day leading up to Christmas".

I'll be doing some baking this week, a little more decorating, some gift wrapping of course... and just basically slowing down to enjoy this holiday. I hope you are doing the same :)

Happy Holidays!

Saturday, December 17, 2005

No Blog Spam, Please!

I want you to take a quick look at this recent blog post by Andre Chaperon:

Blog Spam Goes Mainstream

... and then come back here and tell me what YOU think. My question to you is this (assuming you have a blog of your own):

Would you mind the users of this program "blasting" your blog??

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Making Sales with

This question was recently posted in the Affiliate Marketing section of the SSWT Forum:

Q: Can anyone give any tips on how they get sales with Amazon?

I have had Amazon affiliate links up for years and don't seem to get sales from my links. I read where some people make a substantial income from Amazon. Any tips???

Posted by Stefani Partin

A: I can relate. In fact, up until this year (2005) I rarely ever made a sale through Amazon's associate program. However, this year I have consistently doubled my commisson each quarter... and it is still rising!

It is not my best performing program, by any means, but I have added products from to one of my product-based affiliate sites where I couldnt find those products anywhere else (or an affiliate program for them, at least).

Instead of recommending books on say, a marketing site - instead I am recommending actual products. Things like electronics and toys, etc. As I mentioned, this is on a product site - and so that works out very well.

I actually order quite a bit from Amazon, myself. I like their site structure, I trust them (when it comes to laying down my Mastercard)... and they have good deal. Not to mention it's easy, and they put everything right there in front of you (options: new or used, related items, etc). It's where I go for books, of course, but I find myself comparing prices there on things like electronics, electric blankets, etc before I purchase elsewhere as well.

About their links:

I really dont like the "product links" that they offer. These are the little iFrame boxes - I assume you know what I am referring to. Often if you put that code on your site, it will show up as a generic orange Amazon box instead - unless you refresh the page a couple of times. If you've had this happen on your own site, or seen it on others, it's just tacky (in my opinion).

I like the "recommended product links" section better - this is where you can put in a keyword and have "blocks" created... much like the sizes and layouts of Adsense blocks. In fact, I replaced Adsense on most of my pages with "Amazon ad blocks" of a similar size just recently.

Also, I like to use text links and actual images - which takes a little "manual work" - but the result is much nicer when displaying specific products or putting images & links with specific reviews.

So instead of using the little iFrame code they offer, I would copy my affiliate link from that... and then go to the landing page and grab the URL to the actual product image.

For example, on a Black Eyed Peas CD, I would click through and get the actual picture URL:

And link to that with my affiliate link:

(that's not actually my affiliate link - just a direct link - but you get the point, I am sure)

p.s. I have sold 70 items just in the last 2 weeks through Amazon!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Holiday Sticky Notes

Tim Brechbill has set up a special offer to all SSWT Subscribers on his new Holiday Sticky Notes. These are pretty neat!

Please see: for the special offer he has put together for you. You can download the trial version and test these out for yourself through that link.

The "Feed Broadcaster"

Aweber never ceases to amaze me. If you don’t know who they are, they are the industry leader in email marketing - which basically means that they are THE company to sign up with if you are publishing a newsletter or setting up an autoresponder series of any kind.

You can check them out, and even sign up for a free trial, here:

The latest and greatest is what they are calling the Feed Broadcaster. Basically it lets you turn your blog into an HTML Formatted Email Newsletter with the click of a button! This is a great (and easy) way to set up email notifications for your blog readers.

In fact, if you look over to the right you will see an example -->

The Feed Broadcaster is not limited to just RSS content on blogs, any content created thru an RSS or XML data source can be used to automatically create email newsletters.

Let's think about the possibilities for a minute... I dont know about you, but lightbulbs are going off in my mind about the various ways you could put this to use!

Obviously, you can add Email Notification as a feature to your current blog(s). A great service to offer your readers, and a great way to encourage repeat visits!

You could set up an HTML Formatted Newsletter for any or all of your Niche websites, and use Bloggers easy interface to publish it via email. Obviously the added benefit is that you also have a Blog that serves as an online archive of each issue, brings in search engine traffic... and that can be used to promote your newsletter through all of the Blog & RSS directories!

If you have a website created through WordPress (very popular for creating niche sites lately!), this is a super simple way to set up a Newsletter or Email Notification option for your visitors. Actually, any website that is RSS or XML based would work!

FYI - Here is some documentation directly from Aweber:

How do I create a Feed Broadcast?

To start a newsletter based on RSS/XML content follow these steps:

Login to the Customer Control Panel from the top of the main AWeber page using your login name and password. This will bring up a page titled "Online Customer Control Panel."

Select which list you would like to create your newsletter for. In the upper right-hand corner of the page a drop-down box titled "Select List." Choose the name of the list you want to edit, and click the "Go" button. The page will reload.

Click on the "Messages" tab. This will bring up a page titled "Message Manager".

Click on the "Feed Broadcaster" link in the blue bar at the top of the page. This will bring up a page titled "Feed Broadcaster".

Click "Create New Feed" to start a new email newsletter broadcast template.

Enter the URL link for your RSS/XML content at the top of the page where it says "RSS Feed URL".

If you wish to send broadcasts created from RSS automatically check the box titled "Send Automatically". Leaving this unchecked will create the broadcast but place it in "Review" status that can be sent manually after reviewing.

If you would like to place more than one RSS story item in each broadcast use the "Items in Each Broadcast" drop down to specify this.

Select a template to import a pre-designed text and HTML message for placing RSS content automatically. These templates include pre formatted personalization tags that allow for modification by you or a qualified web designer.

Once modification of the template is complete click on "Save".

What RSS formats are supported?

Feed Broadcaster is compatible with:

RSS 0.9 through RSS 1.0
RSS 1.0's modules
RSS 2.0

Are templates available?

Yes, pre-designed HTML and text templates are available for Feed Broadcasts. These templates come in many different psychological designs and color schemes and are easily loaded with the click of a single button.

How are new story items detected?

The item link URL is used uniquely determine a new story. If a previously published story has its URL changed on your publishing side it may potentially cause the story to be sent out again as a broadcast. Be careful in editing previously published stories if you do not intend for them to be re-broadcast.

What order are multiple story items published in the email?

Publishing multiple stories in a single feed broadcast will appear in oldest to newest order with the oldest story appearing at the top of the email.

How frequently do we check for new story items?

Currently all RSS/XML feeds are checked for updates hourly starting around 15 past the hour. This is subject to change as usage of this feature increases.

When are emails sent with new stories?

Emails are sent to the subscribers that requested that information when the appropriate number of story items are detected. If the "Send Automatically" option is selected then the broadcast is sent immediately. If left unchecked, you will need to login and manually queue the message for sending after you approve it.


If you already have an Aweber account, log in and check this out. I'd love to hear what you think! If not, you can get more information on Aweber, or even sign up for a free trial, by clicking here: .

Monday, December 12, 2005

Get Paid to Play

Project Entropia
"The Entertainment of the Future"

My son introduced me to Project Entropia just last week... and I found this absolutely fascinating! It is the first RPG that I have ever seen that actually gives you the opportunity to earn money while playing!

You can click the image above to watch the video presentation and learn more about the game itself, and how it works. Basically, the 'virtual universe' has it's own economy... and the exchange rate (PED to USD) is ten to one.

For every $10.00 that you deposit into your PED account, you have $100.00 to spend on Calypso (and your PED goes further than you might think). The twist that really blew me away is this: you can transfer funds earned on Calypso back into US Dollars!

This is a must-see for any RPG fan: . Had you heard of Project Entropia already? Are you playing?? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

This one gets a big thumbs-up from my 14 year old son. And me? I'm all for it. I've purchased computer games for him, paid for subscription-based online games, bought X-Box and all of those gaming systems over the years... but Project Entropia has the potential to pay back ;)

Not only that, but the structure of the game itself certainly teaches some interesting concepts. I would imagine, too, that most of the other players within Project Entropia (who have achieved any minimum level or status) are more serious about their part in this game than they might be in other games available online... simply because they have a monetary investment in it - and the opportunity to earn it back, and then some.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

This week at the SSWT Forum

Below you'll find a quick list of this week's newest and most popular topics. Drop in for a few minutes at your convenience and leave a post of your own :-)

----------- H o t T o p i c s -----------

Podcasts, MP3's and IPods oh my...

$50 per month for your time/skills

Henrik Flensborg is back!

3 way links and SEO

Need Feedback on my Website

Looking for a pre-designed Affiliate website

Looking for a car tuning affiliate program

Affiliate Marketing: How to choose a product category?

Sales difference between Merchant and Tracking Software

Brand New to this. How can I get advertised?

Need help or ideas on directing traffic to rest of site

Just started blogging, How, What, and Why?

Looking for places I can submit my eBooks for download

See you at the forum!

Monday, December 05, 2005

Thank you, Paypal :-)

I dont usually pay attention to all of their little adverts. It seems they are always putting something in front of me to get in the way of logging in, or to entice me to click on something while I am trying to move my funds around.

But the other day, one of their ads actually got my attention. It was a small block - 125x125 I believe - and it was a coupon code to use at The offer was this: If you use PayPal to pay for your order at, you can save $20 on your order with the coupon code they provided.

I just happened to be shopping online at in my other browser! Coincidence, I know - but a good one ;)

To tell you the truth, I was on the fence about my order. That's why I left the window open, opened a new browser window, and went on about my business for the day. I thought I'd think it over for a bit at least.

Now twenty bucks is nothing to be on the fence about, really... but that sealed the deal for me right then and there. I copied the coupon code, clicked back over to Dell and completed my order - using PayPal as my payment option. The thing is... I had just enough money in my PayPal account to pay for the order without having to transfer funds from any other account. But barely - and only with that $20 coupon ;)

You can check out some of their current promo's (exlusive deals for PayPal users) here:

Happy shopping! ;)

Friday, December 02, 2005

Video Weblog - Black Eyed Peas

The Black Eyed Peas are just pure entertainment, in my opinion. I havent heard a song yet, or seen them on tv, that I didnt laugh -- or just want to get up and move! Havent heard their music? Check out: Dont Phunk With My Heart or My Humps (LOL this second one cracks me up!!).

I first saw them when they performed live during the Grammy Awards in 2004. Some of their music I love, some I could just take it or leave it. But they are certainly popular... and obviously know how to keep their fans happy!

Most interesting to me (and what I thought even non-fans would find interesting!) is this recent news:

"On December 1st The Black Eyed Peas will be the first band in the world to have their own video weblog that is powered by 3G (3rd generation) mobile..." -->

If you click on the link and take a look around their website, you will find it to be a very interactive (and very active!) environment. I love the concept!

"While on tour in Europe, the Peas are each equipped with 3G, video call enabled phones. This allows them to "call to the site" at any moment, giving you a peak at what's going on behind the scenes."

They also feature headlines and articles of interest to their fans, you can send e-cards from their site, comment on their videos and other entries, access their downloads, and even shop "The Official Black Eyed Peas Online Store".

What I love most is that they are embracing technology, and using it to reach out and connect with their fans. It's a brilliant marketing strategy. Some seem more concerned with theft and piracy issues than they are with making positive strides... this is one terrific example of "making it work for you" instead of "fearing it will work against you".

Check it out - let me know what you think ;-)

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Affiliate Merchants That Dont Pay

What action should I take on affiliate merchants that dont pay commissions owed? I currently have two merchants that are past due with their payments for my promotions... and "past due" would be a gross understatement.

One merchant owes me $602. The payout is supposed to be sent monthly (assuming minimum is met, which it has been consistently)... yet I havent received a check from this merchant since the end of March 2005 (in 8+ months). That payment was my very first commission check, and was $175. I have earned a total of $777 in commission from this merchant - leaving an outstanding balance of $602.

I corresponded with the owner/manager several times in August, September and October 2005 - both by email and by phone. Each time he assured me he was going to handle it personally ("walk the check out the door"). I got an apology and an explanation that they were transferring to a new service to manage their program, etc - and assurance it would be taken care of.

December 1st - I call the toll free number I usually reach this affiliate manager at... and the number is "no longer in service". I sent an email... but at this point, I am not sure what course of action to take next?

I do have one other merchant that owes me several hundred. I am sure whatever advice you can offer me on the 1st one will apply to the second one as well.

For me, it's the principle of the matter. These guys owe me a chunk of money, and I intend to make sure they own up to their end of the agreement. In addition, I have advertising expenses and time put into those promotions - so I'd like to see that money back, of course.

A thousands bucks is a thousand bucks. Your thoughts?