Corn Sheller Site Update
First things first, so regarding the Corn Sheller Site. I continue to be a little surprised by the Corn Sheller Site. I was looking at the stats and it’s pretty amazing.
You’ll remember this started out as just a goofy set of keywords that Josh Spaulding gave me and said, “Hey, we have this new keyword tool. Would you like to promote it?” I said, “I don’t promote anything that I haven’t tried, you know that.” He said, “I know, that’s why I have these keywords for you here. Go build a site and see what you think.”
So I picked this anemic looking keyword that the tool spit out, “corn sheller.” I didn’t even know what a corn sheller was and I threw up this five page website, made a custom header, threw Thesis on there – we’ve been through all of that. That’s the case study that I’m using for the tutorial on the front page of Late Night IM. As I build that out I’m using the Corn Sheller Site as an example of affiliate marketing. More on that later.
I just built the thing and it started getting traffic. I did a little promotion in Fiverr, threw some backlinks at it, and so forth. It started getting something on the order of 200 to 300 views per day. Since that time it has been making $40 or $50 per month, which is kind of crazy because I don’t even think I spent $40 or $50 on it total. Maybe just a little more than that, I should go back and figure that out for you guys. It wasn’t very much more than that because I only had five articles written at $8 – $10 a piece, and that was about all the money that I spent on it. I did have my outsourcer do some work on it, but she’s sort of already paid for. If you count her time it’s maybe a $100 website at the most.
Anyway, that site has obviously paid for itself. The lifetime earnings, if you go back and look at it, are well over $200 – $300. In fact, I’m easily able to look at the last three months here in the eBay tool just by clicking a button and it has made $189 in the last three months. This month it has already made $40 and here we are on the 23rd, so I expect it will go over $50 again this month.
I like that, I think that’s pretty cool. When I look at the keywords it looks like there is some opportunity to add some pages and maybe do another round of link building. I’m kind of wondering if it’s possible to get this site up to $100 per month.
I’ve asked my virtual assistant to add some summaries of YouTube videos; to go find the five or six most popular corn sheller YouTube videos, summarize those videos with 100 or so words of text, and post those summaries and those videos as five additional pages. Then I’ll probably study the keywords and pick another three or four pages of content to refresh from original content about corn shellers. Then, as you know, I have other corn related articles on the site about corn farming and corn gardening – those are from ArticleBuilder.net, you can find that over at LateNightIM.com/ab. That’s fully automated content that I’ll add to the site. Then I may throw some more backlinks at the site. Although, I’m thinking about that, we’ll see whether or not I decide to do that.
In any case, it will be interesting to continue the case study and see if we can get this thing up to around $100 per month.
I will tell you, and this is one of the things that you should kind of pay attention to, the earnings are $50 per month, which is great. But, the earnings per click are only $0.09. So this month I’ve had something around 500 clicks, in the last three months 1,700 clicks. Now these are clicks into eBay from that website. That’s a heck of a lot of clicks through the website. That’s not visitors, that’s people who visited and then clicked through, they took the action that I wanted, and that over the last three months is converting $0.11 per click.
This is one of the challenges with eBay, sometimes it’s hard to get really good earnings per click. On other programs you might see something much better. It always depends on how well your traffic is targeted. So that’s a little bit of a concern for me and it makes me wonder if there’s something else I can do with traffic regarding antique corn shellers and I’m having a hard time imagining what that’s going to be. It might be worth trying Adsense on this site, for example. There’s other things that you can try and experiment with. I haven’t seen any other affiliate programs for selling antique corn shellers besides eBay, but I haven’t really looked so we’ll see about that.
That’s what’s going on with the Corn Sheller Site. Again, I plan to incorporate the whole story of the site into the new Late Night IM website. In fact, I’ve asked one of my virtual assistants, Lisa, to start work on a summary of some of the stuff that I’ve talked about in the podcast. We’ll start that off with 1,000 or 1,500 word post that will summarize the adventure that we’ve been on and then we’ll link down into the details and incorporate some of that into the tutorials and so forth and tie the whole thing up in a nice bow. We’ll work on that over the next couple of months.
WordPress Dashboard Stats Package
One thing that I wanted to tell you. I like Google Analytics, it’s fine. But, I also like, because of the way it looks and because of the way it’s in the WordPress Dashboard, the WordPress.com stats. They’re pretty lightweight compared to Google Analytics, but just to get an idea of the health of a site they’re pretty useful. I used Jetpack, which I think you pretty much have to use if you want to see WordPress stats in your Dashboard now.
One thing that I noticed around the end of the year last year is the WordPress.com site have significantly upgraded the stats that you can see for your blogs. If you’re tracking your stats on WordPress.com, you can see all your blogs and you have a nice little pop-down menu and you can look at the different blogs that you’ve created and registered with them. It shows you the search engine terms that people are hitting your site, your top posts and pages and so forth. Also now they’re showing page views and the number of visitors.
It’s interesting to me that for the Corn Sheller Site I averaged 200 to 300 views per day, but the number of visitors is between one-third and one-fifth of that. For example, on Monday January 14th I had 323 views coming from 60 visitors. That’s about five page views per visitor. That’s a pretty indication that people are cruising around on the site. They’re driving around on the site and the bounce rate is low coming out of Google. Most of the traffic is coming from Google and people are viewing four or five pages before they leave. That’s usually a really good signal back to Google that they’ve delivered a good result.
So that was kind of interesting. You can check that out on WordPress.com, check out Jetpack, get all that hooked up and you can see what I’m talking about there.
Using the Google Disavow Tool
That gets us to our next topic, which is the Google Disavow Tool. Back in October Google announced this Disavow Tool and a lot of webmasters were pretty excited about the tool because they felt like finally there was going to be an easy way for them to un-do bad link building that they had done. Basically the idea was if I had done some kind of bad link building (we’ll talk about what bad link building is) and I want to un-do that, now finally I have a way and I can use this tool. That on its face seems to be what the tool is intended for. I thought what I’d do is play you some audio from Matt Cutts where he describes the tool…
Matt Cutts: As Google has gotten better and better at assessing backlinks there are some people who more or less want to clean up their backlinks. Maybe you’ve been doing paid links or someone has on your behalf. You might have been doing blog spam, comment spam, forum spam, guestbook spam, you-name-it link spam. Maybe you paid somebody to write some low quality articles and syndicate those all over the place with some very keyword rich anchor text.
I had to break in here for a second; I’ve done each and every one of those things at some point. Back to Matt…
Maybe Google sent you a message that says, “We’ve seen unnatural links to your site,” or, “We’ve taken targeted action toward some unnatural links to your site.” As a result, you want to clean up those backlinks.
First and foremost, the main thing that we recommend is getting those links actually removed from the web. If a random person looks up links to your site, you don’t want to see a bunch of spammy links. It’s good to clean up for other purposes, you don’t want them to jump to conclusions.
I had to jump in one more time. That is the craziest thing I have ever heard Matt Cutts say. That makes absolutely no sense. What random person is going to know how to find backlinks to my site, know what a backlink is?
It’s like he thinks that some random viewer is going to judge the authority of my site by pulling a backlinks report and assessing the credibility of the backlinks. That part makes no sense to me. I think, clearly, Google doesn’t want to lose the momentum that they’ve gained where people are removing spammy links from the web – that’s good for them and good for the web – so Matt has made up this crazy excuse that makes absolutely no sense. Shame on you, Matt, that’s kind of silly.
It’s also good so that other search engines won’t see spammy links to your site as well. So we do recommend that you write to people to try to get the link taken down and basically get as many of those links as possible.
At the same time, we realize sometimes it’s not possible to get in contact with everybody. At the point where you have written to as many people as you can multiple times, you’ve really tried hard to get in touch, and you’ve only been able to get some certain fraction of those links down and there’s still a fraction of links left, that’s where you can use our new tool called The Disavow Links Tool.
So that’s enough from Matt. Basically what he’s saying is this tool is out there, but before you use the tool they really want you to go do the work to remove the links manually and then use this Disavow Links Tool. The way you use it is you log into your Google Webmaster Tools and you upload a file that lists all of the links you want to disavow, and you can also disavow complete domains.
He stresses several times in the video that most people won’t ever need this tool unless you’re doing some kind of really aggressive SEO and link building. Of course, that’s what internet marketers often do, so you may need this tool. If you need the tool, the indication would be that you’ve gotten a notification from Google in your Webmaster Tools that says, “We’ve detected unusual link behavior,” and you get that message and then you need to decide whether or not you want to go start tearing links down all over the internet.
There are people arguing back and forth about whether or not this tool is really going to be useful. Although, there are some case studies that I’ve seen now coming out where people who have had links that are penalized due to unusual link activity have recovered those sites after disavowing links. Those examples are typically sites that have been penalized by manual review. I’ve also seen some speculation that this would work after a Penguin update; when they re-run the Penguin algorithm if you’ve disavowed links that that will weigh in.
My advice to you is that if you think you have a site that’s been penalized due to spammy backlinks, go do the work to get those links removed and see if that helps your site. If that doesn’t help your site then you can consider using this disavow tool. It’s probably not that big of a deal for you, because if you’re in the situation then you have a site that’s not ranking anyway, so give it a try.
That’s pretty much all I have to say about the Google Disavow Tool. If you have further questions about that, please leave a comment in the show notes or send me some feedback and I can go track down whatever answers you’re looking for with regard to that tool.
Response to Session 53 of The Smart Passive Income Podcast with Pat Flynn
Hey, I’m on the highway again. I have some better audio settings, so I’m hopeful that this audio quality will be a little bit better than last time. I just finished listening to Pat Flynn’s Session 53 of the Smart Passive Income Podcast and in that podcast Pat talks about the things that he wished he had known when he first started business for himself. He goes through a lot of things that I think are just spot on about how you should outsource an accountant, he talks a little bit about health care, he talks about the crab bucket – if you don’t know about the crab bucket that’s certainly something that you want to go check out at The Smart Passive Income Podcast.
Pat is right on with this episode and it made me think of a couple of things that I wish that I had understood when I first started. Pat’s things are kind of focused on solo-entrepreneur stuff because that’s his perspective. I’ve got the perspective of a guy with a day job who is trying to get Pat’s level. I think there are three, four, or maybe five things that are so obvious to me now five years later that just weren’t obvious to me when I first got started, and I think they might help you. So while I’m driving down the road here stuck in massive traffic in Dallas I thought I’d share those with you.
Stuff I wish I had known five years ago…
The first one is it’s exactly what I just did; embrace the competition. Pat Flynn is the competition, sort of – that’s one way to look at it. He’s another internet marketer, in fact he’s a more popular podcaster, in fact in every way Pat is just awesome.
I would very much like to crush Pat from a stats-standpoint; I’d love to have more listeners, more readers, more engagement than Pat Flynn. He’s kind of the competition. But that’s totally the wrong way to look at Pat – and I know Pat would agree.
The best way that I can be successful in my business is to embrace the competition, to see how I can help Pat, to learn from Pat. Not just Pat, but the other guys in my niche. When I look at my friends in the internet marketing niche (Lynn Terry, Nicole Dean, Josh Spaulding, Jon Leger, all of these people that I’ve worked with over the years,) I can tell you hands down I’ve gotten way more out of my business by helping them be successful than I ever possibly could have gotten by having this scarcity mentality of competing with them and trying to beat them. It’s much better to try and help people, in general and in terms of your competition, than it is to try and beat people down.
I’m going to have Andrew Hansen on the podcast in a couple of weeks; he’s another example of somebody that I’ve wanted to promote and work with even though he is in my niche. I encourage you if you feel like you have a lot of competition in your niche, instead of viewing it that way, reach out to your competition, try and understand how you can help them. They’re facing the same problems that you are, they can probably help you.
So that’s the first thing that I think people need to understand is that sometimes your competition can be some of your biggest allies. The internet is huge, there is plenty of room for all of us in whatever niche you’re in, I absolutely guarantee you.
The second thing that I think is a great thing that I learned from Lynn Terry is you should work on things “from start to profit.” That’s a Lynn Terry phrase over at Clicknewz. What she says is rather than work on 50 websites at the same time that you never finish, you need to really finish the project you’re working on first.
Now, Lynn has me pegged in this. At one point I had 135 domain names and of those domain names maybe 10 of them were really awesome and the rest were just in some state of unfinished. I think Lynn has learned over the years, and she’s exactly right, that if you focus on something and drive it to profitability – “from start to profit” – you’ll be a lot more successful than if you’re juggling 57 balls at the same time.
I think this is particularly true if you’re a part-time internet marketer and you’re having a hard time getting that focus and really getting enough time to work on your business. If you divide your attention, you’ll fail. You need to really figure out what it is that you’re doing and focus on that.
The third thing that I think is just absolutely critical is something that I learned from my good friend Jimmy D. Brown. Jimmy is total greatness and Jimmy is the guy who taught me that the whole point of business in general, but internet business specifically, is to match offers with buyers. That’s really all any of us are doing, and that includes the brick and mortar folks as well. We’re just trying to take offers and match them up with buyers; that’s what business is.
The thing that Jimmy taught me about running an internet business, especially when you’re trying to start to build a business, is don’t buy anything that you’re not looking for. Those emails that are coming into your inbox, if you didn’t know you needed it, if you weren’t looking for it ahead of time you don’t need it. Put it in a file somewhere and look at it later. If the offer is going to expire tomorrow, but you didn’t know you needed it before tomorrow, you don’t need it. If you don’t have your website up yet, you don’t need a traffic course.
And that goes for information too. You don’t need to know all about how to do the backend of your sales offer if you don’t even have your offer yet. That’s something I learned from Jeremy and Jason over at Internet Business Mastery and it goes along with this thing from Jimmy. You need just in time learning and just in time purchasing.
One of the big mistakes that internet marketers make is they learn all this stuff then they don’t use any of it because all they ever do is read blogs and take courses. They buy all this stuff and they never really do anything. They spend all this money because they’re just jumping from this thing to that thing, to the next thing.
This is also a really good way to avoid shiny object syndrome where I’m working on this thing, I’m trying to do this thing and then, “Oh, look at this somebody has a new eBay course. I’m working on affiliate marketing but look how much money this guy is making as an eBay reseller. Oh, there’s a WSO on the Warrior Forum about mobile marketing, I think I’m going to try that.” Before you know it, you’ve been working for months, you’ve spent thousands of dollars, and you haven’t done a damn thing.
Am I talking to you, are you that person? I’ve got the cure for you. Stop buying stuff. Put your credit card away. Decide what it is that you’re working on and work on that. When you need something, and only when you need it because it’s the next thing to do, you go buy it. That’s a really key idea that I wish I had understood.
I think the last thing I’ll leave you with is if you’re a part-time internet entrepreneur and you have a day job and you’re trying to make progress with this thing, work on your business every day even if it’s only a little bit. It is absolutely critical that you do a little bit of something every day.
My buddy Cliff Ravenscraft is often quoting this quote from the book ReWork – if you haven’t read that, I highly recommend it – where he talks about the fact that what it takes is sustained effort to be successful. In ReWork it’s called “the myth of the overnight sensation.” The author says, “You will not be a big hit right away. You’ll not get rich quick. You are not so special that everyone else will instantly pay attention. No one cares about you, at least not yet. Get used to it.”
You know those overnight success stories you’ve learned about? It’s not the whole story. Dig deeper and you’ll usually find people who have busted their asses for years to get into a position where things could take off. On the rare occasion that instant success does occur and does come along, it usually doesn’t last because there’s no foundation there to support it.
Trade the dream of overnight success for slow measured growth.
It’s hard, but you have to be patient. You have to grind it out and you have to do it for a long time before the right people notice. That’s why the tagline of Late Night Internet Marketing is “building internet businesses one night at a time.” Work on your business every day, eat the elephant one bite at a time, take the journey of 1,000 steps by taking the first step and then the next step.
Suddenly after you’ve put in the work, after months and months, and maybe in some cases years and years of work, you too will be an overnight success like Pat Flynn. That’s the big joke; Pat has busted his butt to get to where he is. Was he in the right place at the right time? Absolutely. Is he the right guy for the job? Absolutely. Is he incredibly talented, bright, energetic, and better looking than most internet marketers? Absolutely. But, he busts his butt every day to get where he is – that’s why he’s an overnight success and that’s why you’re going to be an overnight success.
Just remember, get everything you want by getting other people what they want. Do it one day at a time. Keep it up, don’t quit, and you’ll really like the results.