31
Dec

Business Goals For The New Year 2009

Another year passes us by and new opportunity is always around the corner so it’s time to set some goals for 2009. Unfortunately the year ended on the downside income wise with not even being able to get close to the $10,000 earnings goal I had set for December. Thanks to what’s going to be a less than stellar month from eBay and Google completely shutting me down on the content network for the last 2 weeks (more about that in a post later) income is way off from what I had projected. If you haven’t figured it out by now, that’s just the way it goes with affiliate marketing and the only thing you can do is continue to press on.

With the volatile nature of affiliate marketing I’ve decided to make some some significant changes in the way I’m going to do business this year. The things that have generated a steady income for me over the years will be where I’ll be spending a majority of my time in 2009. Gone will be much of the experimental things I’ve been doing with PPC and many of the weight loss, diet type offers I’ve been toying around with. I don’t believe green tea and acai berry pills and potions are a legitimate way to lose weight and stay healthy, so what the heck am I trying to sell that garbage for?

On the plus side I’ve found a few CPA offers that seem to work very well and are good solid, legitimate products and I’ll continue to work with those and look for more like them. But PPC is not where I’ll be spending the bulk of my time. The three main areas of business I’ll be working on in 2009 are as follows:

Travel Sites– This is where the bulk of my Adsense income has come from for the last 4 years and it’s time to seriously expand this part of my business. Right now I have 1 travel site and 1 travel blog that brings in 85% of my roughly $1,200 to $1,500 per month Adsense income. My initial goal is to double the Adsense income or bring it to a steady $3,000 per month and increase TripAdvisor income to $1,000 per month.

This will be accomplished by adding a blog to my travel site (which I’ve already done) and outsourcing content for both article marketing and adding new pages to these sites. I’ve outsourced content writing before, but this will be on a much larger scale and plan to pay for some 20 to 30 articles a month and possibly double that when I get a good system going. There also may be another travel site going online depending on how quickly I cab increase Adsense income.

Healthy Eating Sites and Blogs – This is really the core of our belief in what’s going to make a difference in your health and I need to be putting much more time into writing content and blogging about what were doing around our home and yard to make this a reality. We’re transforming our yard into a mini farm and I’ve hardly written about this at all. And with the the way the economy is going, I can see a lot of people heading in this direction.

My initial goal in this area is to do 2 to 3 blog posts a week about nutrition and add 2 pages of content a week to our healthy diet site.

Attitude Adjustment– I’ve had to ask myself if I really have the mind of an internet entrepreneur and have come to the conclusion I need a new attitude for a new year. I spend way too much time fretting about Google, losing money with pay per click marketing, dwindling revenue, CPA offers not converting, checking stats and on, and on. I also tend to be way to negative and that attitude just has to go.

Things are going to be way different in 2009 with the way the economy is going it will require extraordinary thinking and innovation. There is always opportunity regardless of what happens and it just takes a little more thinking outside of the normal way of doing things to be creative and to find out what works and what doesn’t. Time to stop sweating the small stuff and see a much bigger picture.

So, my initial goal is to bring Adsense income to a steady $3,000 per month, get TripAdvisor to $1,000 per month and earn $1,000 from all other sources including eBay, through PPC and all other sources giving me a solid $5,000 per month. When that goal is realized hopefully in 6 to 9 months, I’ll start working on doubling it.

Are you ready for 2009? What are your goals?

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22
Dec

Blog Blazers Book Review

Blog BlazersIt’s always great to read interviews of bloggers who have gained fame, fortune, notoriety or notice to find out exactly what they’re doing and their influences, but it’s an even better thing to be able to read the interviews of 40 personalities in the field of blogging all at once. Stephane Grenier has put together such a read in his book Blog Blazers that covers the gamut in the world of online discussion.

Blogging goes far and wide on the internet and Blog Blazers touches on everything from SEO, to small business, to parenting, to business opportunities, to Google Maps, to coding and beyond, way beyond. Stephane secured interviews from such personalities as Aaron Wall, Dane Carlson, Erik Sink, Anita Campbell, Neil Patel, Seth Godin (nice one Stephane) and many more, picking their brains to find out just what has made them successful and keeps them going in their work.

The book is packed full of resources because Stephane asked all the bloggers he interviewed 3 important questions about their influences. The questions were:

Which 5 blogs do you read regularly?
Which websites would you recommend for new bloggers? and…
What is your most successful blog post ever?

Lots of great info here, but by far you can get a wealth of information by just scanning through Blog Blazers and looking up the most successful posts ever by these writers. After all, these posts have already been chosen by the readers of these blogs as noteworthy and the best of what each blogger does, so you know they’re worth checking out. It’s also interesting to note the number of bloggers that mention Darren Rowse at Problogger.net as one of the biggest influences and inspirations in their work. It would have been nice to see an interview from Darren himself to see what his biggest influences are and who he reads on a daily basis.

If you want to power up your blogging regardless of what niche you’re writing for, then Blog Blazers is definitely worth the time to read. The only thing I’d change about the book would be not to ask the exact same questions of every blogger interviewed. It would have been nice to mix up he questions a bit, but don’t let that stop you from a great read.

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10
Dec

Try Selling Cheeseburgers In China

Cheeseburger In ChinaHonestly, sometimes when I see what other people have to overcome to be successful in their businesses I feel like a total wimp. I love to complain about Google, Facebook ad editors, article editors at EzineArticles.com and just about anything that doesn’t suit me well. But some people are on a mission and regardless of the obstacles they just keep plugging away doing business.

Case in point – Yesterday Jean and I were trying to decide what to have for lunch so we got out the menu from one of our local Chinese take out restaurants and phoned in our order. During the process we quickly figured out that we didn’t have the updated menu from the restaurant and the numbers and prices of the 497 items on the menu didn’t quite line up. As you might guess there was quite a large language barrier going on here and it took a little while to get the guy on the phone to understand what I wanted.

After running my mouth for awhile I just stuck with the names of the old items on the menu such as, “bean curd, Szechuan style”, and everything was fine. Once I got to the restaurant to pick up lunch, the hilarity continued as I tried carry on a conversation with the guy at the counter. “Were you the person I talked to on the phone?” was met with a smile and a nod. “I guess we had the numbers mixed up” was again met with a smile and a nod, but when I used the word menu in conjunction with the fact that we had an old one, he knew exactly what I was talking about and nodded vigorously.

At that point I figured out we could have a conversation as long as I stuck with keywords like order, bean curd (or any ingredient on the menu), credit card, thank you and a few others. It was also interesting to note that the guys running the restaurant were all talking to each other in their native language and it wasn’t English.

And that’s when it hit me…

I thought of the incredible barrier language is, yet these guys don’t let that stop them, they have a booming business and they keep plugging along despite the fact that they can hardly communicate with their customers, except for when it comes to food. And it’s not just Great Wall Chinese Food in Palm Bay Florida, if you haven’t noticed there’s probably a Chinese take out restaurant within walking distance your home. In fact, a quick mental check brings up 7 of these restaurants within about a 10 minute drive of our home. And yes, 2 of those are withing walking distance.

Many families run these restaurants and they have become incredibly adaptable to the American way of life. Even though their English may not be the best, they may not know the customs of our land all that well and they probably had limited start-up capital to get their businesses going, they have succeeded and keep pumping out Kung-Pow chicken and broccoli with garlic sauce as fast as we can eat it.

Compared to these food service entrepreneurs we affiliate marketers have it easy. The next time you think you have it difficult in your online business and are ticked off at Google for one of their slaps or some such thing, think about how difficult it would be for us Americans to start a family business and sell cheeseburgers in China.

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4
Dec

November 2008 Affiliate Earnings Report

It’s time for another affiliate income report and earnings for November were down by roughly $2,000, but I still managed to pull in over $3,000 last month so I don’t really have anything to complain about. The two biggest factors contributing to the decrease in earnings were eBay income from my BANS niche stores was down significantly by over $600.

I had 5 days last month where I earned exactly $0.00 from eBay which is probably a record since I’ve been using BANS. It’s probably been 3 or 4 months since there’s been a single day of zero earnings from eBay. Also, my two biggest PPC campaigns have lost most of their momentum. That’s the life of an affiliate marketer and you just have to ride out the ups and down and keep moving forward.

Even though income from paid search was also down there’s always something to learn from every turn of events in your business if you look hard enough. What I’ve discovered in the last 3 to 4 months or so while digging into the world of pay-per-click-marketing has been invaluable and all the keyword research in the world and figuring out what you think are the best ads means nothing until you see exactly what happens to your keywords in your campaigns and how they end up converting. Every cool technique around will never stand up to looking at your campaigns and conversions and having that “Bingo” moment for yourself when you finally understand what works and why it does.

Anyway, back to the regularly scheduled income report…

Revenue for November was $5,557.50 and was down $3,000 from last month’s income report, but since expenses were also down by about $1,000 total earnings were at $3,324.31. Everything for the month breaks down as follows:

Google Adsense – $1,314.09
Commission Junction – $54.31
EPN – eBay – $393.06
Meal Planner Ebook – $153.00
TripAdvisor – $121.03
Clickbank – $44.36
Private Advertising – $190.00
AzoogleAds – $485.45
Pepperjam – $31.50
Neverblue – $2,598.20
Other Affiliate Programs – $172.50

Total Revenue – $5,557.50
 
Total expenses – $2,233.19
 
Total Income – $3,324.31

I still have a goal of earning $10,000 this month and of course December is the best month of the year for that to happen, but things will have to change quite a bit from what’s going on so far because most of my PPC campaigns are sucking big time in the earnings department. However, I have gained a pretty significant insight this past week that cost about $300 so far, so hopefully that insight can be turned into some positive cash flow in the next week.

In all your quest for cash this month don’t forget what Christmas is all about. I have to keep reminding myself of that on a regular basis.

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1
Dec

Long Term Thinking In Your Affiliate Business

While earning money through PPC marketing is great, as an affiliate you also want to be thinking long term. When you get the hang of it, PPC is great for the quick buck, but you have to be constantly churning out new ideas and campaigns because old ones lose momentum and when you shut off your traffic, or lose it, there goes your cash-flow.

Yes, it is nice to make those fast dollars, but maybe you might not want to keep chasing the ever changing Google Adwords carrot or keep putting in the constant work that it takes to maintain your income. Are you setting up your affiliate business now for long term payoffs months or even years into the future?

Just the other day I put up a page on one of my BANS sites and will put up 2 or 3 more pages this week for a very desirable collectible with a fairly high price, but I don’t really expect to cash in on this work until probably the end of 2009 and long after that. This collectible is in a very narrow niche and won’t be released to the public until the spring of next year. For some time it probably won’t show up on eBay, but even when it does later in the year it won’t be at a premium price because these items will still be available from the manufacturer.

However, at the end of 2009 these collectibles will cease to be made and will only be available from aftermarket dealers and yes, you guessed it, from eBay as well. That’s when I expect to start earning nice commissions for these items because of increased prices and limited availability. And what’s a bonus is that these products will be sought after for years to come by the people in this particular market. If all goes as planned, and of course there are no guarantees, the pages I’m putting up now will have been indexed for more than a year and have high rankings for keywords related to these items. And while PPC traffic can be good if you find the right keywords to buy, nothing beats free organic traffic.

I learned about these items only by reading blogs in this niche and trying to stay somewhat current on what’s happening in this field. It’s not something I have tons of time to devote to, but it is an area of interest that I’m somewhat familiar with and along with reading blogs online I pick up magazines at Barnes & Noble every 3 weeks to a month just so that nothing really interesting or important passes me by.

There are a lot of things I read about such as this that I try to add to my network of sites on an ongoing basis because I want to be earning money way down the road without having to put in the effort again and again. Not many items are as suited to bring future ongoing profits as these collectibles will be, but this served as a great example of what you should be looking for to build a stable business and have an income many months and years down the road.

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