17
May

The Next Internet Gold Rush

The Next Internet Gold RushMay we be poised for the next internet gold rush? Many of us remember the good old days when you really could put together a quick landing page, just a landing page, and throw tons of cheap Google clicks at it and make a small fortune, or dynamically insert just the right computer error keyword on a direct link and sell a ton of Clickbank registry cleaners. While it will probably look a little different this time around, those days may be upon us in the affiliate marketing world again soon.

I’m referring rumblings of a Facebook Content advertising platform, network, whatever you want to call it, that may in fact be in beta testing as we speak. The information seems to be a little sketchy right at the present time as I can only find a few articles on the subject but, it only seems inevitable that this is what Facebook would want to do with its plans of world domination that may even exceed those of my affiliate manager over at C2M.

Being that Facebook has all kinds of widgets that allow you to Share, Like, comment and even log into certain sites with your Facebook account, it would be easy for developers (if they haven’t already done so) to make an advertising widget  which shows some sort of FB ads. I imagine FB will want to show text as well as image ads. While the standard format of the ads we currently see on FB will probably be available, they have to come out with customizable ad sizes just as Adsense allows its users to utilize its platform fit the content of their sites.

This will be a gold rush both for advertisers and publishers as FB’s reach is some 500 million members and may be the most recognizable presence on the web today, even exceeding that of Google. Hundreds of thousands of its members either are publishers or advertisers or would be if the process were a little easier. With this user base, the process of rolling out the content platform to those interested in making money with their content and those interested in additional advertising opportunities could be accomplished in a matter of months.

Google should be concerned, very concerned, because we could literally have a new and dominating ad platform to take over the net within 3 months when FB decides to hit the start button. Obviously Google is smart and this wouldn’t be a complete surprise to them, but thinking about and preparing for it may be nothing until they actually see it in action and suddenly feel the presence of tens of thousands of Adsense and Adwords users jumping ship or at least spending much more of their advertising dollars with someone else. The days of Google’s $500 to $600+ per share stock price may be coming to an end and they may even beg the 200,000 or so Adwords users they kicked out of their program a year and a half ago to please come back.

To be certain, there are still hurdles for FB to overcome so as to make a new ad platform a dominating force to be a real competition to Google. Facebook hasn’t quite got the ad approval process consistent just yet. It is confusing, biased, maddening, inconsistent and down right absurd in most cases. They have lost thousands of advertisers because of the sheer stupidity of the way they approve ads. To make any inroad into a widely used and competitive force against Google they simply must nail this down to a consistent, unbiased and understandable process for their users. An automated system such as Adcenter or Adwords uses is essential for a smooth flow into giving Google a run for their money. The hit and miss crap shoot for advertisers trying to get their ads approved must end. Their lame excuse that they want to protect their users experience on the Facebook platform won’t translate meaningfully to a content platform.

For publishers there is also plenty of gold to be mined in a new content network, but it will not be an easy thing to get into you can be sure. It will not be like the early days of Adsense where you could throw together a spammy site and slap Adsense on it and boom, you be makin’ teh monies. Facebook will not let that happen. You can bet they will scrutinize every site you put their ads on. Start shining up your content now so it will look appealing and spiffy to those you are seeking to reach and your approval process should be much easier.

When it hits it could be a game changer again for all advertisers and that would include us in the affiliate marketing space. This will definitely be a platform you will want to jump on as soon as you can, figure out how to make it work and not sit back and wonder what just passed you by. Get ready.

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16
Mar

What To Do With Your Outsourced Content

Outsource Your ContentA few weeks ago I wrote about outsourcing your content writing to help you build your affiliate business. So far this year I’ve received 210 articles from SEO Article Writing Pros covering a variety of niches. So, what are you supposed to do with all those articles?

You can do several things with your outsourced content such as article marketing, trading articles with other sites in your niche, submitting your articles to authority sites in your niche and of course, simply adding the content to your own sites. Having massive amounts of content however doesn’t mean that you just put up everything all at once. You’ll want to selectively release your work so as to give the search engines the impression that your sites and incoming linking process are an ongoing work.

Several years ago I outsourced about 80 articles to get incoming links through article marketing and it ended up backfiring because of the process I used. One of my vacation sites and our healthy diet site was deindexed by Google and Yahoo shortly after these efforts and in the case of the vacation site there was probably another reason for the deindexing, which I’ll cover later, that the article marketing efforts identified.

In getting incoming links, you want to to get a natural trickle of links pointing to your site over time, not all at once. You also want to vary the anchor text pointing to pages on your site as well. The mistake I made was posting the same article, sometimes 2 or 3 at a time, that had the same anchor text to 10 or 15 different article directories every day for a month. We never know exactly what Google wants, but apparently they don’t like seeing links coming into your site at the rate of 600 a month if it doesn’t look natural. Had these links come from different sites or blogs at this rate they would have at least had different anchoring text and different content in each post or article.

Now while you may be thinking this is a duplicate content penalty, that’s not what it is. Duplicate content only means posting the same article to your own site that is found somewhere else on the net. My belief is that this is an unnatural linking process that looked to Google as though I was trying to do nothing but get tons of links into my sites. I believe the other reason my vacation site bit the dust (it has since recovered)  was that all the incoming links helped Google see that there were way to many affiliate links on the site. I’ve also since removed over 300 of these links from that site.

So what’s the proper way to do article marketing?

When submitting to article directories, I never submit more than 1 article per day with links pointing to the same site and never use the same article twice. In other words you want to simply use each article one time and let the natural process of other people picking up your articles bring you additional links.

It’s probably not as critical when using your outsourced articles for adding additional pages to your site, but I would recommend a slow process in this area as well. It is believed that Google likes to see fairly consistent changes being done to a site so it stands to reason if you put up 75 to 100 pages on a site in a couple of afternoons Google will notice your site less. For this reason I will add no more than 5 pages a day to any one of my sites, but most of the time its 2 to 3 pages every couple of days. This way if you have 100 articles, your site will be constantly changing over a 3 month or so period.

I just want to offer a little disclaimer here because much of what I’m saying about Google is pure speculation and only what I’ve been experiencing in my own business. We all know Google is a fickle beast to figure out, so you have to keep poking it with a stick until you see life in your niche. However, I can tell you that slow, steady consistent work never hurt anyone.

Use this as an example and find the content outsourcing and article marketing process that works best for you and your business.

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9
Feb

Don’t Give Up On Generating More Adsense Revenue

Don't Surrender On AdsenseI get lots of people who comment on the blog here about my meager Adsense earnings of $1,300 or so every month thinking they could never earn that much because they only bring in a few pennies every 30 days or so. I’m saying $1,300 per month is meager because there’s just a lot more potential available in that revenue stream and if you’re struggling to even make a $12.37 payday every month, keep reading because there is hope.

If you are new to the Adsense game there’s no need to go over the basics because they’ve been done a million times so check out my three tutorials on how to earn more from Google before moving on. Part 1 is here, Part 2 is here and Part 3 is here.

Okay, now that you have the basics let’s talk about what makes a good Adsense site and how to make your ads more appealing to your visitors. You never want to trick your visitors into clicking on your ads, but you can do a lot to make the ads more interesting and to give them more exposure. The longer your visitors see your ads, and they look appealing, the better chance you have to earn some revenue.

Starting out let’s look at what kills Adsense revenue. The first thing is hideous placement or color schemes that are a huge turn-off. I can’t tell you how many Adsense blocks I’ve seen that are outside the margin of the column they’re placed in, covering text on the page or are of such bizarre color schemes you can see how desperate they really are, which is an automatic no click in my book.

People are so much less likely to click on an ad if it’s obvious the webmaster doesn’t know what they’re doing or if it’s equally obvious that they desperately want you to click on their ads. Vivid purple background Adsense units with contrasting yellow ad headlines to click on are tantamount to those screaming automobile dealership tv and radio ads. Really, how much time do you spend listening to those dinosaur modes of advertising any longer?

Another thing that kills Adsense revenue is placing your ads way outside the main body of your content. Let’s say you have a 4 column template running on your site and you have your 160 x 600 Adsense tower in the far right column, 350 pixels away from your content, you probably won’t get more than a trickle of revenue every month from those ads. People don’t come to your site to click on ads, they come to your site to read content and to gather information, they will only click on ads if they are of interest to them and if they are convenient to click on.

Secondly, what makes for a good Adsense earning site is, as I have mentioned before in the Adsense tutorials, the niche. But, it is the niche and the placement that is the winning combination. Both are huge factors and don’t really work one without the other. I don’t know why some niches work and why some don’t. I was extremely fortunate to stumble upon a winning niche in travel when I placed my first Adsense units. The second full month running Adsense back almost 4 years ago earnings were at $930. It would be nice if everything I’ve tried worked out so easy, but it’s only been this one thing that, I guess you could say, clicked right from the start.

What you’re looking for in a niche is where people shop and are looking for information before they buy. You don’t want buyers or people who have made up their mind, you want shoppers. Shoppers are clickers. The more people shop, the more they will click on ads and the more choices you give them in your info, the more revenue you stand to earn.

You would think that people interested in American Idol would be the ultimate consumers and click ads like they’re going out of style. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen, at least in my experience. Maybe American Idolers are too young, too tight with their money, maybe they don’t click ads, whatever, after a season of writing on AI and trying every placement trick in the book, it just didn’t work out for me on this one. No biggie, on to something else, which brings me to point number 3…

Don’t work one niche with Adsense and give up because it didn’t work out. It doesn’t matter if you have a site that gets 10,000 people per day, if it’s not the right niche, it’s just not right. I have a Christian website that used to get 400 to 500 people a day, but Adsense was only paying about 5 to 10 cents per click tops for that niche so I removed it from the site. It just wasn’t worth it to run ads on that particular site.

I just checked my Adsense earnings for today at the time of writing this post (Sunday evening 2-08) and it’s over $50 at 10:15 pm EST and the stats show that 8 individual niches are generating revenue. If you aren’t trying Adsense in at least 4 or 5 different niches, you aren’t trying hard enough. It’s not always about the niche that you think will generate the most revenue because advertisers are paying outrageous click prices, it’s about the niche that does generate the most for you. If you only have one Adsense niche, you will never know if another could have done 10 times better.

In closing, here are a few top niches that either work for me now, have in the past or probably will in the future.

Travel– Killer earnings with a minimum of traffic. I average 12 cents in earnings for every visitor that goes to my top travel site. I run both Adsense and TripAdvisor to monetize this site.

Air Purification– A niche where people love to shop before they buy. That’s what your looking for in Adsense revenue generation, shoppers.

Nutrition – requires a moderate amount of traffic on the order of at least 1,000 visitors a day to make it worth your while.

Precious Metals – The economy is bad and people with money are trying to preserve their wealth. I’m just starting to see some decent Adsense earnings here and expect it to get much better.

Now put on your thinking cap and figure out where the shoppers are before you raise the white flag and give up on generating Adsense revenue.

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4
Feb

Give It Away For Free And Earn Big Bucks

Get your Free InformationI recently read an article in Inc Magazine  about PlentyOfFish.com owner Markus Frind who is the undisputed king of Adsense, raking in an astonishing $27,000 per day in advertising revenue of which more than $10,000 per day comes from Google Adsense. PlentyOfFish.com brings in total revenue of $10 million per year of which more than 50% of that is profit. Dude, that’s more than $5 million profit per year from 1 free dating web site. Thinking about that kind of revenue just makes my head explode.

Did you notice the word free there? That’s where the magic is today, in free. Give away something for free, get tons of users enjoying the free stuff, information, reviews, whatever you have and then monetize your site with Adense and sell other advertising to those that want to capitalize on your traffic. While Plenty Of Fish generates 1.6 billion page views per month to bring in that $27,000 per day in advertising revenue, most of us can live on a whole lot less than that. Point being, there is a huge revenue stream available on the net and all you need to do is figure out how to get into the stream.

Remember the word free? Free is one of the ways to put your boat into the stream. Master marketer Seth Godin talks about giving stuff away for free in many of his books because people flock to free. You can then sell your premium product to those people after they enjoy the free stuff. The concept is the same when it comes to advertising. Plenty Of Fish’s premium product though is advertising space that the owner sells through Google Adsense and to other companies through private deals. Why charge $15 for a premium membership on a dating site like Match.com when you can earn way more from advertising by giving away free memberships?

That’s the same concept behind what earns me a regular $1,200 to $1,500 per month from Google Adsense. While that Adsense revenue is a far cry from what Markus Frind earns, the basics are the same. What I’m giving away is free information in the form of what to look for when you visit some vacation destination, free recipes and info on nutrition, free info on affiliate marketing here on this blog and so on. That’s also why I’ve decided to get more focused on the Adsense earnings and why I’m shelling out $800 per month for someone else to write content for me.

The great part is, you can do exactly the same thing. Instead of writing a blog to tell people how to make money, when you haven’t made any yourself, concentrate on giving away some great information for free and see how much traffic you get, and then capitalize on the traffic.

To be more specific, as I’ve mentioned on the blog here before, travel is really the perfect revenue generating niche for Adsense simply because people do a lot of shopping and clicking before they decide on a vacation destination, or place to stay, car to rent, flight to take, attractions to see, and on and on. So what do you do to get into the Adsense stream? Start with your favorite vacation destination and write a page or blog post about every shop, restaurant, coffee shop, vacation rental, attraction and fun thing to do in that area. Even better, put all that info in a directory format and let people comment and give their opinions about the best ice cream shop in Death Valley or family safe attractions in Las Vegas or whatever.

This is exactly what TripAdvisor.com has done on a huge scale. They’ve written a page for just about every single vacation destination, restaurant and attraction in the world, people get to comment on all that and they sell advertising on every single page of their site. I’d like to know how much advertising revenue they bring in every month.

Just like Plenty Of Fish, you don’t need to start that big when going into travel, just start with your fav destination. People will search Google for anything and everything in that destination. Believe me I know. You should see some of the keywords that show up in Analytics for my travel sites, they’re always good for getting ideas for new pages. Again, that’s why I’m outsourcing so much content now, because I can’t possibly keep up with writing that much myself and it’s time to focus on what’s been my best sources of income.

Even if you can’t afford to outsource your content to the tune of $800 per month, start with 10 articles at $100 per month, or you can write 1 to 3 pages of content a day yourself and start building a site for whatever niche you’re interested in. Just think of the opportunities. Are you a handyman? Build a site on power tools and write about every kind of tool needed for building a house. AskTheBuilder.com makes $40,000 per month with Adsense. Go to Google trends and write a page about every hot electronic gadget that shows up on the top 100 most searched terms list if electronics are your thing. Do computer reviews. Do digital camera reviews. Write guitar reviews. Personally I’d stick with something travel related, but there are thousands of niches where people want that free info and you can take advantage of by using Adsense and other advertising opportunities.

Yes, this is pretty basic stuff, but have you seen PlentyOfFish.com (sorry he has enough links, type it in)? Pretty basic free dating site Markus has there and it makes $10 million a year. Maybe basic is the way to go. Now get busy and give something away for free.

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27
Jan

Can’t Get Into The eBay Affiliate Program, Try This

Can't get Into EPN?It seems like the powers that be at eBay are making it more and more difficult to get into the eBay Partner Network as of late. Even those that have substantial web sites are having their applications rejected. While it may certainly seem unfair to those just getting into affiliate marketing, since eBay can make you quite a bit of money, eBay is just trying to protect themselves and the quality of the traffic going to their auction sites.

Gone are the days when a new affiliate can join EPN, put up a few links on their blog or site and start making money from eBay. In the offline world when you want to buy a franchise, having the money to do so isn’t going to guarantee you get the MacDonald’s you’ve been wanting. Franchisers want their name, image and complete system protected because that’s what makes that particular system work. So why should you expect eBay or any other large online company to be any different?

With Google not looking favorably on thin affiliate sites, article directories such as EzineArticles.com not letting you link to BANS type site pages with auctions on them and other factors, it is evident that the affiliate game is changing. It has been some time coming, but a few years ago the search engines were clogged with sites that featured every affiliate banner imaginable, Adsense arbitrage sites and so much garbage it took some time to find the results you wanted.

The point is, eBay is obviously one of the players demanding affiliates clean up their act. You saw it several months ago when they let several affiliates go who were sending them junky traffic and you see it now in the way they are selectively letting new affiliates into their program. So what’s a new and potential eBay affiliate to do who wants to join up? I’ll list a few things below, but they won’t be quick and they won’t be easy, because that’s not what eBay wants any longer.

These tips are all speculative as I don’t have a hot-line to the head honchos at eBay, but some should be pretty obvious they would help you get into the program.

1. Join eBay as a seller first and sell something – I would be willing to bet that eBay sellers will have a much easier time getting into eBay’s affiliate program than will non sellers. If you have been through the motions of selling through the auction format, you obviously understand the process and that can only translate into a better affiliate business for yourself. If you own a restaurant and want a MacDonald’s franchise, you have a better chance of getting one than if you run a lawn maintenance business or something else unrelated to burgers and fries.

I probably sold 50 things on eBay before joining as an affiliate and I’ve only had 1 item that didn’t sell the whole time while being a member. I was pretty familiar with what people wanted and how the business of eBay worked before the first affiliate sale was made.

2. Join eBay as a seller in your country of origin – As an addition to point number one, it’s probably a good idea to already be an eBay seller and have sold things on the site in your nation.

3. You should own the website you submit to eBay – this should be a no brainer, but people do submit really nice sites to eBay that they don’t own hoping that this great site will better their chances of getting in. If you don’t think eBay can figure this out, you probably don’t deserve to be one of their affiliates.

4. Don’t submit a BANS site as your only url – If you think you’re going to get into eBay with a BANS site and nothing else, it isn’t going to happen. Build a substantial niche site first selling other products from merchants besides eBay and once you get accepted you can add a BANS store to your existing site.

5. Build Your BANS site with content before you submit it – you can always use BANS as your content management system and build a substantial site before you put a single auction page on it. If your niche is cell phones for example, why not put up 40 or 50 pages of info about different phones, review and accessories available before you set up the site with auctions? You can always use Adsense and other affiliate programs to monetize your site even if you never get accepted to eBay.

6. If you have a make money site and that’s your niche, forget it! – Make money online sites and blogs are done, the niche is saturated and the party is over. If your only reason for building a site is to make money by telling people how to make money, do something else. eBay doesn’t want people selling scammy ebooks any longer (they got rid of those categories) on their site and if your an affiliate thinking there’s an EPN business there, there isn’t. Really, build something else, it’s done.

7. Make sure your niche is product related – I doubt very seriously eBay will let you in their affiliate program if your business is all about service even if you get a million visitors a day. eBay is a product driven business and they want affiliates that understand that. You stand a much better chance of being accepted into the EPN program if you have that cell phone site mentioned earlier than you do if your specialty is teaching people to speak in public or doing teleseminars.

The bottom line is that whoever is approving new eBay Partners now is going to want to be impressed by what they see you’re doing. They obviously want affiliates that understand the business of eBay, not people who are going to give it a try and see what happens.

Yes, doing the things listed above will take a substantial amount of time for you as an affiliate if you aren’t already somewhere along in the game. If you have some of these things in place just adjust and tweak where necessary and resubmit your application at a later date. Even if you never get accepted to be an eBay Partner your business will still benefit. eBay isn’t the only deal in town, it should just be an addition and another stream of income in the whole scheme of things.

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