Transcript continued from the Episode 019 Show notes

Revealing the Niche Site URL

Last episode I spent some time talking about this farm tool site and you’ll recall that the deal was I was testing out Keyword Canine – you can check that out at KeywordCanine.net, that’s my review site for the product. Anyway, I challenged the owner of the product and said, “Give me a keyword out of this thing, I’ll build a site and let’s see what happens.” I talked all about how I built the site and what happened.

Well, I’m prepared to reveal the URL to you. The site is about a farm implement called a corn sheller, so it’s CornSheller.net. I guess, surprisingly cornsheller.com was taken.

Usually when I’m building these kind of exact match keyword sites I’ll take a domain name that exactly matches the keyword as long as it’s a .net, .com, or .org. I strongly prefer the .com. I won’t consider any of the other types of domains like .info, but some people have success with those kind of domains. I just don’t mess with that.

I put up the site and I outsourced the creation of some of the content. I had my virtual assistant in the Philippines create the header and put the site up. I did some light promotion of that with Jonathan Leger’s product 1WayLinks. Lo and behold I started getting traffic.

I showed some traffic from that last week and that traffic continues. The site has made well over $10.00 this month. I’m not going to retire on that, but it’s pretty cool to have an affiliate type site up and running in a few days and making pennies and dollars in just a few days.

Now, I’m not probably going to get very serious about this corn sheller site, I don’t think. But you can check it out at CornSheller.net, I’ll have a link in the show notes. That backlink from my PR3 blog will certainly help the rankings of that site and therefore invalidate my experiment. That’s one of the reasons that I was waiting to tell you what the URL was, because I wanted to see what the traffic did.

But, a peak day, I’ve had a couple of days where the traffic was up near 100. On February 25th there were 95 unique views to the blog. On February 18th there were 89 unique views. What you’ll find if you look at this traffic – this is kind of important to understand – those peaks happen on Saturdays.

So I expect what’s happening is that these people are interested in these corn shellers, which are typically now antique farm tools, they’re hobbyists that have time to look at this stuff on Saturday and they’re shopping around for corn sheller parts and trying to sell their corn shellers, and buy corn shellers, and they’re doing all that on Saturday.

So an affiliate marketer what that tells me is that if I’m going to email a list of people with corn shellers based on this traffic pattern I probably want to email them late Friday night or early Saturday morning, because obviously they’re thinking about this website on Saturday, so I want to hit them when they’ve got corn sheller on the brain. I don’t want to email them on Wednesday because by the time they get around to working on this on the weekend they will have forgotten about my email.

So that’s my story on corn shellers. Go check out CornSheller.net and be sure and come back to the show notes for the episode and ask me any questions you’d like about the site. I’m happy to describe to you how I got the content outsourced, how I got the header created, talk to you about the website theme, talk to you about the monetization with eBay, whatever it is that you’d like to know about just drop me a line and I’ll be happy to answer your questions.

Looking at Goals and Motivations

So that gets us to our next topic and that’s the fact that it’s end of February. I am interested in always trying to create a little motivational piece in this podcast because I think one of the hardest parts of part time internet marketing is staying motivated. So it’s the end of February and at the end of each month I try and look at my goals and I’m doing against what I said I was going to do at the beginning of the year. It’s a little bit frightening.

There’s some really good news for me compared to what I said I was going to do. If you go and look at the post that I created about my 2012 internet marketing goals you’ll find that I said my brand is about talking about affiliate marketing, teaching affiliate marketing, and doing affiliate marketing, and so I have goals for the year that have to do with talking about affiliate marketing. Now that’s both on the podcast and on the blog.

As far as the podcast is concerned, I think I’ve done a pretty decent job of getting the podcast back healthy again. I’m on a weekly schedule, I’ve joined the Podcast Mastermind, Cliff Ravenscraft’s outfit over at the ThePodcastMastermind.com, and I’m trying to get the show to the next level as a result of that. What that means is I’m doing a good job of talking about affiliate marketing, at least on the podcast.

On the blog, not so much. I had planned that I was going to have a number of posts by the end of the year, I’m not doing a very good job and I’m not meeting my posting schedule. That’s because I’ve been busy with the second part of the project, one of the major goals, which is teaching affiliate marketing.

So I’ve decided to go ahead with the product that I have been messing around with in my mind and on paper for a couple of years now. The product is an affiliate marketing from start to finish course – a very affordable one – that really is a complete sort of everything you need course to build affiliate website like the CornSheller.net site and better, much more extensive.

It teaches everything from how to pick a niche, how to do keyword research, how to build the site, how to get traffic to the site, how to create content, how to build a list, what to do with the list, and so forth.

So that product is going to be at LateNightAffiliate.com. You can go over there and check it out. There’s just a squeeze page there right now. The first thing that I’ll do is release a free video that’s an overview of affiliate marketing. You can opt-in over there if you want to hear about that and understand what’s going on over there.

I will tell you I’m going to be needing 10 or 20 free beta testers for that when it goes live. It’s going to be two or three months from now before I get it done. My plan for the site right now has 60 videos or more and lots of bonus content and stuff like that inside the site. So I’ve got a ton of work to do, but that’s one of the reasons that I haven’t made as much progress as I’d like to make on the blog and making blog posts because I have been so busy trying to get Late Night Affiliate up and off the ground.

So major progress. I secured some internet marketing coaching to help me get that product going and that’s been very effective. I secured some podcast coaching to get this show up and running again, and trying to get it to the next level over this next year and I feel like that’s working. You can give me some feedback if you think that’s working or not working.

But, I haven’t done as good of a job on the blog content. Now, I have been working on the blog and I actually got an SEO and site usability analysis from Yoast. You may have heard of him or know of his plugins, he’s a really cool guy who does this kind of work. I’ll be sharing the results of that with you. That’s something similar to what Pat Flynn did about a year ago, in fact that’s what inspired me to do it. I got some really good input from Yoast on how I can improve the site, so I’ll be doing that over this year as well.

The third leg of my stool, doing affiliate marketing. I’ve been doing a little bit of stuff. Particularly I’m going to be getting back to the Niche Site Duel site and the Open Niche Project sites. The goals that I have scoped out for 2012 are really aggressive, I’m going to have to get a lot smarter about that if I’m going to make that work.

So my evaluation on the year so far, in February I give it maybe a B- at best. I’ve got a lot more work I need to be doing and I need to get busy. To that end, I’m going to start trying to publish on the blog a monthly score card with some things that I can actually measure, like number of posts and things like that. Hopefully in the next four or five days I will actually get that done.

I talked about doing that back in January, I know that’s a best practice for getting your goals accomplished and I just haven’t gotten that done either, so I’m going to try and get that done by the end of next week. So maybe by the next podcast we can talk about that a little bit and I can put some numbers again these goals of mine.

Newsreader Tidbit: Cool Flurry

The next thing I wanted to talk to you about in my newsreader, I always like to tell what I see that’s cool. This is not so much internet marketing related as it is marketing related. I encourage you if you’re an internet marketing not to just be a student of internet marketing, but also to be a student of marketing in general. Marketing is the biggest part of internet marketing, the internet part really is kind of a detail. You really can be a better internet marketer if you understand more about marketing in general.

I saw this article today and I was just blown away by this kind of thing and it can help you understand the value of tracking. Like I was just talking about, tracking your stats and understanding when your traffic is hitting your blog, understanding how your traffic is coming to you.

The guys over at Flurry, I don’t know if you know about Flurry but they’re kind of a smartphone app advertising and stat tracking company. They put on this massive effort to track the use of smartphones during the Super Bowl. This is interesting because it turns out they’re serving ads inside of smartphone apps so they’re able to detect when people are using their smartphones and when people are not using their smartphones.

Traditional media advertisers are concerned about this because if you’re using your smartphone during the Super Bowl that is a measure of how engaged you are in the programming. If you’re really watching what’s going and paying attention then you’re not using your smartphone.

And we’re talking about millions of people they’re looking at. If the average use of smartphones goes up during a program that can be an indication that you are not paying attention to their programming, so broadcasters are very interested in this.

If you go to this Flurry article, I’ll post it in the show notes, you can see it’s amazing. They can track smartphone usage to the coin toss, smartphone usage went down just during the coin toss and at kick off. Smartphone usage went up right after commercial breaks, because of course people were watching the commercials during the Super Bowl.

But, the most shocking thing if you look at this graph is that people essentially shut down their smartphones during the Half Time Show with Madonna.

Now, I’m in the demographic for Madonna – Madonna was my Lada GaGa, she was hot when I was in high school, I was a 17 year old boy and she was just pushing the boundaries on everything that was reasonable in music when I was a 17 year old kid in high school. So, I love Madonna. In fact, she’s coming to Texas here soon and I’ve got tickets. So I was watching the Madonna show, I certainly wasn’t looking at my cell phone and neither were a bunch of people. You’ve got to check out this graph, it’s really shocking.

The lesson here is you need to understand what the behavior is of your viewers so you know kind of what’s going on with them. There’s a lot of data that can be had for you. I encourage you to up your game with regard to analytics by installing the Yoast Google Analytics plugin. It’s free and it helps you squeeze an amazing amount of data out of the free Google Analytics tool. It will blow your mind how much better use you can get out of Google Analytics by using the Yoast Google Analytics plugin. I will include a link to the Yoast plugin in the show notes, you’re going to love that and you need to check that out.

Adsense Account Disabled and Suspended

So my next topic is a little bit of a sad one. When I was starting out in internet marketing I got the impression that all of these guys with successful internet marketing blogs and podcasts that everything went right for them all the time, they were super double gurus, they didn’t put their pants on one leg at a time, and they were just amazing.

I hope there’s not one listener out there that feels that way about me. First of all, I’m not a guru, I’m just a guy with a microphone. Second of all, stuff does not go right for me all the time. As a matter of fact, this is just so frustrating.

If you follow my blog you know that not too long ago my Google Adwords account got banned because of a weight loss offer that I promoted back in 2007 when I was first looking to learn about internet marketing. It was a crummy offer, I shouldn’t have promoted it. I linked directly to the offer website, which is a big no-no for lots of reasons.

They looked at and they’re looking to dump guys that do that out of their program and so they dumped me. I tried to appeal it and it didn’t help. So it was kind of a raw deal.

So I’m logging into my Adsense account the other day and I find out that my Adsense account has been banned as well. Now that is really frustrating. I wasn’t making any money on Adwords, but I was making money on Adsense. So I login to my account and I get this message from Google. They’re so lovely, I just love these people at the big G.

It says, “This message is to inform you that we’ve detected fraudulent activity on your account.” I’m paraphrasing here, “Your account has been suspended and all funds owed to you will be kept by Google.”

Of course, the terms of service that you sign up for when you sign up for Google Adsense basically say that Google do anything they want for any reason at any time. And they know that a lot of the people that they’re doing this kind of thing to are small people that aren’t going to spend the $200,000,000 in legal fees that it would take to bring a class action lawsuit against Google. Although for this kind of behavior that doesn’t sound like a terribly bad idea to form a brotherhood and try to get these guys to change their policies.

So I appealed this decision and they said, “No, we detected fraudulent activity on your account,” and by that they mean bad clicks, “We’ve suspended it and no further appeal is possible.” They won’t tell you which website, they won’t tell you where the clicks came from.

I’ve had friends that this has happened to before and a lot of times what happens is people who want to do things to frustrate will go after your website and click your ads on purpose in an effort to cause this to happen. I don’t know if that happened in this case.

There is another issue with me and that is that I used to sell a niche website theme for Adsense and it’s possible that people were able to detect my Adsense code from that and accidentally or on purpose generate invalid clicks that were posted to my account, and Google saw that and cancelled it.

Either way, I’m without an Adsense account so I’ve got to decide what I’m going to do with my Adsense sites now. I have several sites that were making money every day and they are no longer making money every day.

So there are a couple of things to learn from my lesson…

One is these guys that you think have it all figured out with regard to internet marketing, in general they don’t. They’re struggling through their own funny business every day and they’re not really that much different than you. That’s certainly true for me, I’m not any different than you.

The second thing is you need to be really sensitive to the Adsense terms and conditions and do everything you possibly can to comply with the Adsense terms and conditions because they are unforgiving when it comes to banning accounts. From my point of view they’re completely unfair and unreasonable. I think that while it certainly is their right, given the terms of service that they set out, to behave like jerks – I don’t think it’s good business. But, that’s just me.

Matt Cutts, if you’re listening feel free to give me a call.

In any case I think it’s unfortunate that they choose to behave in what I consider to be a really unprofessional manner. So pay attention to Google’s terms of service.

The third thing I would say is don’t ever get yourself in a situation where you’ve only got one revenue stream and it depends on somebody else. I’ve talked about this before in the context of affiliate marketing and link redirection, but it’s also true in Adsense. You don’t want to be in a situation where your primary monetization strategy is Adsense and then wake up one day and find out for a reason that you completely can’t explain that Adsense is no longer interested in your business.

I’m not bitter, I think it’s bad business by Google, but it’s their business. They’ve got great products and I love most of their products and I’m sad to no longer be a participant in the Adsense program. But, hey, thems the brakes.

Tool Tip: Using Fiverr for Outsourcing

So the last thing I have for you is a new idea for a segment that I want to throw in, I want to start talking about internet marketing tools and things that you can use.

One thing I want to talk to you about is Fiverr. I know you’ve heard about Fiverr and I’ll put a link to it in the show notes, but certainly you’ve been over to Fiverr.com and checked out all the cool stuff you can do. For $5.00 you can have someone write your name on their forehead and sing Happy Birthday, all this kind of crazy stuff.

One way to use Fiverr is for inexpensive outsourcing of tiny projects, like micro outsourcing. I’ll give you an example. I’m working on LateNightAffiliate.com, as I mentioned earlier, and I need some simple ad graphics, like the 300×300 squares that you see in these ad banners on blogs. I need those for some stuff I’m working on with regards to the site.

Now, when I really get further down the road with the product I’ll order a $300 to $500 full graphics package for the site and that will include a professional website header, these affiliate banners that affiliates can use, and lots of other things, a footer and all kinds of stuff like that. But, until I do that I’m kind of without some graphics and I need that for various things.

So what you can do is you can pop over to Fiverr and for $5.00 you can have somebody gen up a graphic. Since it’s only $5.00 you don’t really have to worry about it. In fact, what I do is I’ll take the three or four top gigs over there and I’ll send them each an order and I’ll end up with four different graphics. Two of them may be total junk, but one of them might be really good.

That’s the sort of thing that I’ll do with Fiverr, I’ll use it for micro outsourcing. Sometimes I’ll use it if I need some kind of social media, Twitter or Facebook, promotion. That’s where the Arnold Schwarzenegger voiceover came from at the beginning of the show.

So Fiverr.com for micro outsourcing. If you’re afraid of outsourcing, your business is busy but you’re really not sure about outsourcing and it just seems scary to you, Fiverr is a great place to go and do your very first outsourcing so you can kind of get your feet wet with having somebody else do a little bit of work for you. You can run those kind of experiments and do those kind of trials and get that kind of experience for just $5.00. How can you beat that?

That’s going to wrap up the show for us, we’re right at 30 minutes today. I really appreciate you hanging with me on episode 19 here. We’ve got lots of things planned for the month of March and it’s going to be really cool.

I’ve got lost tapes from when I interviewed Cliff Ravenscraft where he talks about adding value by giving stuff away and a bunch of other stuff. I’m going to sneak that in here on an episode coming up.

We’re going to start talking about keyword research. In the motivational segment I want to tell you about some stuff that I know that I’ve learned from Zig Ziglar and Michael Jordan. We’ve got all kinds of stuff coming up and I’m really looking forward to talking to you. I’ll see you in a week.

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