Underachieving Your Way To Greatness

I’m starting to love Frank Kern’s twisted sense of humor. He actually wins my ‘best line in a sales letter’ award this year for this gem:

…my results aren’t typical. I ain’t promising anyone a damn thing. I’m just showing you what’s working for me.

and, this one comes in a close second bitcoin exchange:

Here’s my vision of retirement. I’m on a beach someplace warm and sunny. A nubile young nymph brings me a drink.

I should mention, both of these sentences are taken out of context, but they’re just as funny in context.

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Buried Under The Hype

I checked my inbox yesterday evening and saw what seemed like a newsletter from Joe Vitale (and being as neurotic as I am, I glean his words with a fine toothed comb to see if I can discover any wonderful copywriting tips or nuances in his word selection).

I didn’t think it was an absolute literary masterpiece, but it was certainly well written. That’s when I got another newsletter, and one paragraph stuck out like a sore thumb:

But what you may not know is that he’s getting
married. Not only that, but he and his bride-to-be
have a lot more in common than most couples.

I thought to myself…hmmm…that looks extremely familiar, come to find out it was the same newsletter that Joe had sent out — verbatim.

This morning, again I find myself receiving the same damn sales letter from yet another marketer…at least thing one included his own introductory paragraph which made it a little more difficult to spot.

I have but one thing left to say about all the hype that’s floating around: it sucks. Chances are this program they’re all promoting is no better than the programs you already have collecting dust on your bookshelf.

It’s very apparent that the only reason most gurus even run a newsletter anymore is just so they can shove “the next best thing, end all, be all, you’re nothing if you don’t have it” product in their subscribers’ faces. It really is sickening.

While I respect Joe and the other newsletters I subscribe to, if they can’t even write up their own personal endorsement for the product, I don’t see myself purchasing it and I really don’t see any reason to continue as a subscriber.

So, before you go throwing money at someone because the guru in your inbox told you so…stop…take a deep breath and investigate whether it’s a true product endorsement or if they’re just trying to earn a commission off of you.

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Free Stuff Is Great

Well, because I’m cheap, but I love to learn new stuff, the offer was irresistable: A free copy of the Google Profits ebook if I can convince the ‘fine folks’ at ebooktastic to get me one. So here goes…

After reading eBooktastic’s Google Profits review, I believe that the fine folks at eBooktastic should give me a free copy because I’m cheap and like to get free stuff.

Okay, no really, I believe that I should get a free copy of Google Profits because I love to learn and try new methods of marketing online. I’ve been using getting my own sites ready and establishing myself online. Because of all that work I put into my business I now have the room to experiment and try new things.

I’ll also promise to try out the book and report back to you guys (and of course, those who read my blog) with my progress and how I’m doing with it: a real world battle test. What can be better than that?

If anyone would like a free copy of Google Profits, then I’d suggest getting your entry in early - the contest runs through the first week of December and they are going to give a free ebook to the 3 best entries they receive.

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New To You, But Not Really So Overlooked SEO Technique

Okay, yes, it’s been months. This blog has fallen to the wayside and I apologize. I haven’t left the internet or the blogosphere, I’ve just been working on building up my online business (which has been going smashingly, if I do say so myself).

To get things back in motion here, I was reading an entry over at Workboxers written by Jamsi called “The Overlooked SEO Technique“, here’s a taste for you:

I noticed that the keyword �Funny vids� (which I had used) was very popular, however I entered the keyword �funnyvids� and saw that it was being searched for A LOT LESS than �Funny vids� BUT still enough traffic to pursue.

I decided to start easy and aim for a top 3 spot using the keyword �Funnyvids� .. and it worked. On the 3 major search engines (Google, Yahoo and MSN) I achieved a rank in the top 3. My website statistics quadripled [sic] and whilst nothing to rave about, I was relatively pleased. 90% of my traffic was now coming from search engines. (1.2% from the US Military. Should I be worried?!?)

My initial thought was - that’s not an overlooked technique. I really was expecting some wonderfully juicy tidbit, but the entry just didn’t deliver.

I have some news - this isn’t a new SEO technique, actually it’s been around for a while - it’s called niche marketing and there are a lot of websites dedicated to it (eh hem, nicheology comes to mind). There are even sites dedicated to providing you with the content for your niche site, heck, there are sites that do the keyword research for you!

Because I’m half geek and half internet marketer, I’ve been watching this bad habit of blogging inside the box. It’s as if a lot of bloggers don’t realize that the potential to earn money from their blogs and gain recognition extends far beyond what’s discussed in the proverbial blogosphere or on traditional blogs.

There are a lot more ways to make money through blogging than plastering your blog with AdSense or blogads, and there are a lot more ways to drive traffic to a blog than pinging the update servers or praying one of the A-list bloggers take notice.

Even the “discovery” of using niche keywords is kind of interesting to watch. If most bloggers actually took the time to hang out in some internet marketing forums (SSWT and the Warrior Forum come to mind), I’m sure there would be a lot more bloggers talking about how much they earn (in a good way).

If you want to “discover” more “overlooked” techniques (overlooked by bloggers) - start expanding your horizons, the sites that you visit to include more than just “blogging”, “gadget”, and other tech related blogs, you may just be surprised at the jewels you find.

Now, if it seems like I’ve brought the hammer down on Jamsi, I haven’t. I’m making an observation.

I’m glad he figured it out on his own, but it would be nice to see some bloggers expanding their horizons and visiting sites that don’t specifically deal with “traditional blogging methods.”

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Less than $10 For An Entire Year of Webhosting

Well, it seems Dreamhost is offering a gift to all new hosting subscribers, you can get an entire year of hosting for only $9.24 (this plan normally costs $119.40 per year).

If you’ve been looking for some incentive to try out Dreamhost, then this is definitely it - where else can you get:

  • 2400 MB Storage (that’s 2.4 GB)
  • 120 GB Transfer ($1/GB extra) - that’s a whooole lot of data transfer
  • 3 Domains Hosted
  • 15 Sub-Domains Hosted
  • 600 Mailboxes
  • 75 Shell Users
  • One FREE .com/.net/.org/.info domain (test out that new niche site idea)
  • CGI/FrontPage 2002 Extensions
  • PHP4, perl, python, C, C++
  • Unlimited MySQL Databases
  • IMAP, POP3, and Web-Based email access
  • Unlimited email aliases, auto-responders, announcement lists, discussion lists, media streaming, and more

Not to mention extremely reliable hosting and super awesome support for less than $10 for the entire year?!

In order to get this special price, you need to follow some basic instructions though:
1. Visit Dreamhost
2. Click on the “7.95 Managed Webhosting Plan” button and select the “Crazy Domain Insane
3. Make sure you sign up for the 1 year package (this is important) and when it asks for a promo code, use promo code 777

That’s it, enjoy!

P.S. Yes I host with Dreamhost and while the control panel takes some getting used to if you use cPanel, it’s more than worth the money.

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It Seems Like Ages Since I Last Updated

Well, it’s been quite a long time since I’ve last updated this blog, but I’ve been busy (which is a good thing). I’ve actually done quite a few things lately:

- I purchased the SEO WSB software which I’ve been using to build up a couple larger content sites
- I’ve been using an great bit of software to help me write my articles (I can’t disclose too much about it…yet)
- I’ve actually altered my game plan a little bit as I actually started to develop my websites

This has paid off for me in more ways than just finances, but I’ll start with the finances first. The new site I just set up steadily brings in $2 per day in Adsense revenue alone (which is definitely a great accomplishment for its short life on the web so far), and my affiliate commissions are steadily increasing.

I haven’t met my challenge’s $100 per day goal as yet, but my sites are well on their way.

I mentioned that this project was about more than just money for me. In this short period of time, I’ve learned to look at the extended picture - i.e. the big picture. The sites that I’m starting today will ultimately end up paying for my retirement in a few years - yes, you heard me right…”few” years.

The more care and dedication you put into something, the more you will get out of it in the long run. Because of this, I’ve decided to put a great deal of care and dedication to each of the sites that I’m putting up on the web and all the content will be originally written by myself. I don’t mind spending the extra time now and delaying my gratification.

I remember a question that Aaron Wall asked a while back on his blog -I can’t remember his exact wording, but it was along the lines of - if you had to show your site to a Google representative, would you be embarrassed? That got me thinking, and to be quite honest - I want to be proud of every single site I put onto the web. I do that same courtesy for each of my clients, why wouldn’t I do the same for myself.

And just because your site is thought out and well crafted doesn’t mean it can’t be monetized ;) . That’s it for the quick update, now it’s back to work for a few more hours before I hit the sack. I’ll definitely try and keep everyone in the loop a little more often.

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Progress Report

It’s been a while since I actually updated you all on the progress of my $100 per day challenge and I apologize - things have been crazy busy for me.

So far, this is what I have done:

  • I came up with an idea (you need to be registered and logged in to view)
  • registered a brand new domain to test it out
  • I’ve created the template (about 3 hours)
  • created the About/Disclaimer/TOS pages (yes, they were necessary - 2 hours)
  • written 10 highly targeted articles
  • Submitted my link to 5 niche directories (no general directories for me)

I’ve actually broken a couple cardinal rules with this website:

  1. I registered a .info name instead of .com (it was cheaper, and since this was only a test site, I didn’t want to waste too much money if it bombed)
  2. It’s easy to remember, however, it’s longer than I would have liked
  3. It’s a super competitive niche - no little puny keywords for me LOL

My traffic is still pretty low, but I’m making some progress with it - In 7 days I’ve already earned:

  • $1.50 from AdSense
  • $15 from affiliate sales (I’ve only made one sale so far - but I foresee a whole lot more in the future)

Not too shabby if I do say so myself, I’ve already recouped the cost of domain registration ($2.88) and now I can work on turning this into a very profitable website.

And as for traffic generation, I know I said I’d tell you the moment I decided on something, so here’s the update. I found a program called Stealth Traffic Secrets and I took the plunge.

What was so convincing about this program which prompted me to sign up? It only cost $1 for the first month (hey, I said I was cheap) and I figure 30 days would be plenty of time for me to go through all the offerings on the website and see if it’s really worth the $7 per month thereafter.

I’m planning a full write up on Stealth Traffic Secrets once I’ve had a chance to go through it all and utilize some of the techniques to drive targeted traffic to my site.

So that’s it for me so far - I’ll update on my previous site plans later - I’m dead tired right now, so I apologize now if my post seems a little incoherent, I promise I’ll do better after I catch a nap.

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I’ve Been Sandboxed

I always thought of the sandbox as something that “happened to other people” and not me, until today.

My affiliate site appears to have been sandboxed by Google and it’s very disconcerting to say the least. I now know and understand what those web masters go through when they check to see if their site’s been indexed in Google only to find it hasn’t. Then scamper to check in Yahoo! and MSN only to find that it has. After that, a web master doesn’t really know what else to think.

I decided to do a little bit of research on the domain name I purchased (on a whim and it simply seemed like a good choice at the time) and turns out it was previously owned. The big clue should have been when a good chunk of my referrals were coming from the yellow pages website.

Google bot loves crawling my site, but it seems like I’ll have to wait in Google limbo until it’s all fixed up. I’m not sure whether I should contact Google and ask them if there’s something particularly wrong with this website - it’s no different structurally than any of my other websites (which were all crawled and indexed in under a week), so other than the domain name being previously owned.

It is still a little odd to me that Google would sandbox my affiliate site because of being previously owned - it’s been more than 2 years as far I can tell. And this website (www.astepcloser.com) was previously owned too, but it’s still indexed and doing well in Google. Guess this is a wait and see game.

The good news is, I’m getting a TON of traffic from Yahoo! and some trickles from MSN. Yahoo! is now my new best friend :D .

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I feel proud of myself today - I got stuff done

I didn’t focus on the $100 per day project today. Instead focused on my long neglected affiliate based website. I gave my clients the boot for the day and decided that I was going to do something for myself since I was hinging on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

I signed up with a new affiliate program over the weekend (my last one discontinued their affiliate programs), added 32 new pages of content, and made a few tweaks to the template and layout.

I’m feeling a renewed vigor for this particular affiliate website because I got the approval notice from the new affiliate - yay. And this affiliate allows me to create links directly to individual products (aka smart links).

I was totally starting to feel bummed for a minute because I hadn’t heard anything for so long from the previous affiliate program I applied to (they didn’t even bother to contact me and let me know they discontinued their program, I had to contact them).

Aside from that, I’ve become an Adsense tracking fiend. I’ve broken the tracking down as follows:

  1. Week
  2. Channel name (i.e. the website)
  3. CTR (click through rate)
  4. Page Impressions (Total/Average)
  5. Clicks (Total/Average)
  6. Earnings (Total/Average)
  7. Notes

I track the results weekly and note the ad format I’m using or changes I made. This way, I am able to see at a glance where I am with my Adsense earnings and quickly see what’s working on what sites and what’s not. So far, my most recent change has yielded a 2.7% increase in my click through rate - yay.

When I’m not so lazy, I may turn my spreadsheet into a PDF for download with a few more notes.

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Time To Apply What You’ve Learned

Earlier, I talked about the importance of getting yourself educated. Now that I’ve finished reading (or well, semi-finished), it’s time to actually apply what I’ve learned to some real world examples.

Personally, this can be the scariest part because it will mark whether or not you experience success. But some times you just have to buck up and dive in feet first without questioning it. If you start questioning everything, you may run into analysis paralysis and we all know how dangerous that can be.

I’ve not had much time to work on my $100 per day project due to some prior obligations and some other issues, but I have managed to do something (and that’s always the biggest hurdle). I finished setting up one of my 3 pre-researched mini content sites.

I toyed with the idea of using WordPress as the content management system as Nadav suggested (a good suggestion by the way), however, I decided for what I wanted to accomplish - WordPress proved to have too steep a time requirement. What I wanted to accomplish was very simple and it was a wise decision, for me, to develop the website locally using a Dreamweaver template.

1. I have complete control of the layout. I know you can customize WP, but it would take more time to figure out the ins and outs of getting WP to look the way you want while still being fully functional - at least without learning PHP or hiring someone to do it for you. Remember, I’m cheap.

2. I have static pages. For this particular project, I’d rather have the static pages than having the pages generated on the fly.

Best advice: look closely at your project’s needs, then look at the tools at your disposal and then decide which would best fit your needs.

So, I know you’re all pretty anxious for some results so, here goes. Since my first project will be Adsense powered, I used some of the techniques found in the Adsense Secrets Revealed guide.

The site has been up for 2 days. I just checked my Adsense account this morning and boy was I blown away at what I saw! I have an average click through rate of 5.4% and I’m well on my way to earning back the domain registration fee of that website in less than a month :D .

The traffic came solely from the 3 link exchanges I did (I haven’t actually started marketing the site yet). I will be applying a few more changes to the site over the next week and I want to add at least 25 more pages of content and then I’ll start my traffic campaign (I haven’t found a book or program yet, but I’m hoping I will find one by then).

Total marketing cost so far: $0

A good education pays.

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