February in Review & March Goals

Entrepreneur 14 comments

Small Fish CartoonI probably say this in most of the monthly reviews I post, but it’s hard to believe that February is already over! (even with an extra day) February turned out to be a busy month for me in a number of ways both online and in my day to day life. In terms of this blog, it’s been a relatively successful month, though I there are places that I would like to improve upon. So without further ado here’s my month in review and goals for March.

Income
Income seems to be the thing that interests most people so I’ll start out with that. In my February goals post I posted saying how I’d like to reach $1000 income for February, but unfortunately I didn’t make it. A few setbacks in my eBay affiliate sites made it a slightly slower month than I had hoped, but it still turned out to be a decent one:

eBay Affiliate – $500.62
Tribal Fusion – $204.98
———————————
TOTAL: $705.60

As I said above, I had a few setbacks with my eBay stores and wasn’t able to create the 6 new stores I had planned for February. Unfortunately my eBay earnings have been trailing off at the end of the month. Even so, I was happy to hit the $500 plateau for my eBay earnings and already have a $490 check on the way from Commission Junction. For March I’d like to reach at least $600 in commissions from my eBay stores and launch 3 new stores by month’s end.

RSS Readers
February has been an up and down month in terms of readership and I can certainly understand why. As I discussed back in the middle of January, I’ve decided to reduce my posting schedule and only write when I have something meaningful to say or have the time to post. However, this method has led to only 4 posts last month. Ideally I’d like to see myself posting around twice a week or 8-10 posts per month right now.

With only 4 posts last month, my RSS feed count tended to rise with the new content and then dropped in between posts. In February I hit a high of 118 readers and for March I’d like to see my readership level off around 125 which is quite doable provided I write more content!

Personal
As I mentioned at the start of this post, February was a very busy month for me personally as well. At my job we launched a new version of our software which entailed a lot work from everyone on staff. That coupled with the fact that I had bronchitis for a good week made for a stressful few weeks. I’ve also found myself increasingly tired after work and need to figure out how to re-energize myself for the evening where I think I have the most potential to work on my internet ventures and where I have the most time to spend with those close to me.

Overall I’m happy with what February brought me, but not content with it. I know I can do better and produce more and that’s my overall goal for March. If you have a post reviewing your February or outlining your March goals feel free to leave a link as a comment on this post!

Good luck in March everyone!


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Contest: Win 600+ Entrecard Credits & Advertising

Entrepreneur 14 comments

Entrecard ContestI’ve been using Entrecard now for about a month and have raked in right around 600 credits as it stands right now. Instead of using them myself, I’d like to give them away as part of a contest! (how nice of me?)

So what do you have to do to enter? It’s quite simple! All you need to do is subscribe to my RSS feed and leave a comment on this posting saying you’ve done so. If you are already subscribed, please just leave a comment and I will still give you an entry! If you’d like a bonus entry, please subscribe to my feed via Email and I will give you an additional entry! Just leave a comment saying you’ve done so.

Now what is it that you win? Well obviously the winner will receive my 600 entrecard credits as well as any credits I accrue from now until the end of the contest. In addition to the credits I’ll be throwing in 1 month of advertising on my blog in the form of a 125×125 banner. I will also be linking to your blog in the post announcing the winner.

The contest will run until Friday, March 7th, 2008 at which point I will randomly select a winner, write up a post about the contest and contact the winner via email.

Good luck in the contest and thanks for reading!


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My First Plunge into PPC Marketing

Entrepreneur 24 comments

Target Demographic CartoonAs you’ve seen over the past month or two, the eBay affiliate program has been my major money maker. However, in keeping with the general consensus of the make money online community, I’m trying to diversify my money making techniques and not put “all of my eggs in one basket”. So with that being said I recently made my first plunge into the world of Pay-Per-Click (PPC) affiliate marketing and I thought I would share the experience with you.

Affiliate Offers
Not wanting to dump a lot of money into my first attempt at PPC marketing I decided I would set a small daily budget of $25 per day. My first step was to find an offer to promote and for that I need to join a few affiliate networks. I applied to several of them, but found the signup process easiest at RocketProfit and was accepted within a day. After logging into my account I found that they had a number of different offers and decided to focus on offers that require the least input from the user, zip code and email submission offers. These offers just require the user to input either their zip code or email for me to get paid and seemed like they would be easy to promote.

Keywords
So I found an offer that I liked that “awarded” the user a $250 gift card to a certain store if they provided their email. From here I went to a few of my favorite FREE keyword research tools including SEO Book’s Keyword Tool, Free Wordtracker and even Google’s Adword Keyword Tool. I used all of these services to create a keyword listing that I thought were highly targeted to the reward being given by my affiliate offer. The best part about the offer I was promoting was that there was one HIGHLY related keyword that had little to no competition and a good amount of searches per day and I focused my campaign around this.

Landing Pages
After deciding on some keywords I fired up Dreamweaver and coded myself a landing page and supporting pages. I made sure to code them in valid table-less XHTML transitional code, making sure to put my keywords in H1 and H2 tags. By doing this I trying to make my landing page and supporting pages as dense as possible for the keywords I was targeting which I later found out was very important.

Major things to incorporate into your landing page and supporting pages:

  • Put Keywords in H1 & H2 Tags
  • Provide unique content
  • Link to Outside Related Sources
  • Provide a Contact, Privacy Policy and Terms page
  • Make use of the Alt and Title tags

I think the one of the biggest things I learned from this first plunge into PPC marketing was that the creation of a solid landing page is important. If you plan to use Google Adwords for your PPC marketing you need to provide not only a simple landing page, but also a lot of related data and content to achieve a good Quality Score. I ended up re-working my landing page 5 to 6 times before I was able to have Google give me an “OK” quality score. It was hardly an easy task, but in the end it allowed me to get $0.10 to $0.15 cost per click prices.

Adwords
After designing my landing pages and uploading them to my webhost I moved on to setting up my campaign in Adwords. I entered all of my keywords, my $25 daily budget and max Cost-Per-Click (CPC) of $0.15. I also setup 4 different versions of my advertisements. I wanted to test out which call to action and text in my ad would produce the best Click-Through-Rate (CTR). After that I let it start up and meticulously watched the numbers come in.

Adwords Screenshot

As you can see from my above screenshot, I ended up spending $24.36 on my campaign in 1 day with a CTR that is less than desirable. In my estimation those who were searching for my keyword weren’t necessarily interested in the offer I was promoting, but I also think the campaign need a lot more tweaking and the landing page needed to push them into the offer more.

Results
As I said above I ended up spending a little over $24 on my PPC campaign in the first day and logging into my RocketProfit account I found that I earned almost $30.

Rocket Profit Earnings

So doing some quick math is would seem as though I earned just about $6.00. Now this is hardly worth all of the time I put in to pick keywords, create a landing page and do all of the testing, but it was a good learning experience. Looking at the data in RocketProfit would also suggest that those making it to my landing page only went all the way through to the actual offer 30% of the time while only 30% of those people actually completed the offer. To me it’s clear that my landing page needed to make them WANT to complete the offer more.

Conclusion
As I said above, this was a good learning experience, but the question is would I do it again or will I continue learning about the world of PPC marketing? I’m honestly not sure. I’m not sure I have what it takes to be an effective PPC marketer, but I do know that I will continue to read up on PPC marketing techniques and when I have the extra time I could see myself trying this all again. Until then I have several projects to focus on as well as my eBay affiliate stores.

Please consider sharing your PPC stories by leaving a comment and feel free to ask any questions you may have and I will do my best to answer them.


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January in Review & February Goals

Entrepreneur 16 comments

Busy Desk CartoonIt’s been an interesting month for me and my blog. Personally I’ve found myself swamped with work to do and it seems like I’ve had little time to sit down and relax. In terms of this blog, I once again found myself taking an extended break from blogging and came to terms with my blogging failures. With all of this behind me I’ve started posting again, albeit inconsistently, and I’m happy to see my RSS count climbing. It’s sitting at an even 100 readers today which finally achieves my goal I initially set back in November. Below I’ll review January in more detail and give you my goals for the coming month.

Income
January was a pretty good month for income for me. I’ve started to get into the eBay affiliate program using the phpBayPro plugin and I’ve continued to gain money from CPM ads on JustPressPlay. Here’s a breakdown of my income for January:

eBay Affiliate – $461.64
Tribal Fusion – $211.34
RocketProfit – $4.23
———————————
TOTAL: $677.21

Be aware that although a majority of this is profit there was probably around $130 used to cover server costs and domain registrations for the month. As for what I would like to accomplish in February, I would like to increase my eBay affiliate earnings. Currently I have 4 niche sites started, but I’d like to build it out to around 10 stores by the end of the month and I think this could get me close to $1000 profit for February if I keep up with it all. Overall I’d love to hit the $1000/mo mark for February and I think it’s a very attainable goal.

RSS Readers
As I mentioned above, today my feedcount finally says 100 and by doing so it crosses that goal of my list. Now my obvious goal is to build upon that and by the end of February I really like to see it in the neighborhood of 150-175. Will it happen? I’m not positive. Promoting this blog has never been my #1 goal. I enjoy writing here and I enjoy it even more when people comment on and read what I have to say, but my main goal is to start projects that will earn me money consistently. So for February I am going to push for at least 150 subscribers and do what I can to make it happen.

Posting
Posting is obviously a sore subject for me. As I wrote in my blogging failure post, I don’t want to give up on this blog but realize that I can’t focus all of my attention here either. I enjoy writing here and it’s a great way to open up and share my experience, but I don’t have the time to post every day. So from now on I am going to be posting when I have something to share or say. I know that doesn’t follow the conventional wisdom of “post consistently”, but I’m going to try it out and see how it works.

Personal
On a personal note I know that I’ve outlined a lot of things to accomplish for myself in regards to my website projects and I’ve also said how busy work is, but one thing I would like to do is take some time out to relax and enjoy the “fruits of my labor”. By that I mean taking some time and doing things I enjoy and spending time with the people in my life. As of late it just seems like it’s been one busy day after another with the weekends offering little relief.

So there is my January in a nutshell and my goals for the upcoming month. I have high hopes for what I can accomplish in the coming month and I look forward to sharing it with everyone.


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SEO is Important!

Entrepreneur 32 comments

Search Engine LibrarianYesterday I was browsing the net and stumbled across an article and video blog on 45n5 entitled “The Best SEO Advice You Will Ever Hear” Mark, owner of 45n5, talks about how SEO isn’t worth your time and it’s the “Lazy person’s game”. Immediately, I felt this was kind of a BS argument. Being able to rank your website in the top 10 for any semi-competitive keyword is NOT a task the lazy. It’s hard work to do link building, on-page SEO and all the research necessary to target the right keywords.

Mark went on to compare SEO to the lottery by saying “Round up all of the people that win $100,000 per year via the lottery and all the people that make more than $100,000 via SEO and my bet is there will be more lottery winners.” Honestly this is a poor comparison as the lottery is just a game of luck while SEO is more of a skill or job. Simply buying lottery ticket after lottery ticket until you hit win $100,000 doesn’t require any skill. The people that do succeed at SEO are the people who know what they are doing, they aren’t lucky; they are good at what they do!

SEO and the result of it (organic traffic) is a great thing and the higher you rank in the SERPs the more traffic you are going to get and the more users you can convert into paying customers. Relying on organic traffic is not taking the easy way out nor is it a bad business practice. In fact, I think it’s a rather good business practice. I would rather users find me versus hunting them down through PPC or any other method.

All that being said, I’ll can agree to a point with Mark and say that SEO shouldn’t be your only concern when building a website. You need to produce quality content, you need to be giving value to your visitors and you need to focus on all of the other things that influence your SEO as well. Focus on exchanging links, creating linkable content, and promoting yourself through social networking and forums. All of these things in combination will undoubtedly influence your SERPs ranking. From there take a look at what you can do on-page to make your SERPs ranking even better.

When it comes down to it, creating and managing a site is a complicated task with a lot of different aspects to it. The overall moral of this story is to give everything attention and don’t over-analyzing any ONE aspect of your website.

Good Luck!


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