Transcript continued from the Episode 020 Show notes

Brent & Mark's Q&A Session

Mark: I’m very excited to be on the phone with Brent Giesler. This is just really neat. I’ll tell you what happened…I’ve been talking about the Corn Sheller over at CornSheller.net and I’ve gotten a lot of feedback, both on the blog and on Facebook.

I got one email in particular from Brent and he said he had a lot of questions. I remembered many years ago, maybe back around 2007, I was the guy with many questions and I thought, “If Brent has these questions about this sort of fundamental straightforward affiliate marketing site and sort of the kind of thing that people should be doing to get started, then I bet a lot of other listeners have those questions too.”

So I invited Brent onto the podcast and he is here with me tonight. Of course, it’s Late Night Internet Marketing, so we’re talking late at night. It’s almost 11:00 here in Dallas and I’ve got Brent on the phone.

Brent, how are you doing? Are you still awake for me over there?

Brent: I am, Mark. It’s nice to hear you coming from the other side of Dallas here.

Mark: Yeah, Brent is local and not too far away from my home here in Dallas, so that’s really neat too. Brent was nice enough to send me this list of questions. I looked over what you sent, Brent, and it’s just perfect for the show. I was hoping you’d help me out and we can run through these questions about the site and maybe chit-chat about it a little bit. I thought that might help the listeners out.

Brent: That would be awesome.

Mark: All right. So we have this corn sheller site and I talked about the process. The niche was given to me, I did some keyword research and identified the keywords that I was going to go after, I built a website, registered a domain name, built the site. I installed WordPress, got a customer header created, got some articles generated, and optimized those articles for the search engines so that I could try to rank for the keywords and I started using some of the tools that I have to drip fresh content to the site. And then I created some backlinks using some of the automated backlink tools that I use. And you had some questions about all that, so lay them on me.

Brent: All right. It’s funny, when I was listening to that podcast and driving down the road I had this perception prior to that podcast of what affiliate marketing involved and one of the stumbling points that I had was I might have to sit and take hours and hours and write lots of articles, how is that going to work? Not that I don’t want to write articles, but that was a time commitment that I thought I better carve out a bunch of time.

And then lo and behold you said you ordered some articles off of Odesk and you said you got a high quality 800 word article that was a pillar article for your front page and I thought, “Wow, I never even thought of that as a possibility.” And then I think you said you paid like, I don’t remember, $30 or $40 for that.

Mark: That’s exactly right, it was in the range of $30 for that kind of quality.

Brent: That was just totally astounding, because I thought I could hire somebody to do it but that probably would cost thousands of dollars to hire a professional writer. So I guess the first question I had was related to that. How do you find a good writer off somewhere like Odesk, how do you judge that person as a writer?

Mark: Well, I’ll be completely honest with you. It helps if you’re lucky. Here’s the deal with writers – and let me back up a little bit and say that anything that you need to do in affiliate marketing that doesn’t involve direct influence of your brand can be outsourced.

So for example the Late Night Internet Marketing Podcast could not be outsourced, that’s Mark Mason and I can’t outsource that. But, everything else pretty much can be. You want to put a website? No problem, you can hire somebody to do that. Want to write? No problem. Write an ebook? No problem. Graphics? Easy.

Usually for outsourcing there are two barriers that people face. One is the barrier that you faced, they just don’t know about it, they don’t really understand what’s available and what’s out there and how easy it is. But, now you understand that so that barrier is gone for you.

The second barrier is a lot of times when people are starting with internet marketing they don’t want to make an investment in outsourcing. They’re not really sure what they’re doing, they’re doing this on a shoestring budget. And I totally get that.

So my recommendation for outsourcing when people are getting started is to start small. Last week I even mentioned starting with something like Fiverr, which is really cool. At Fiverr.com you can find stuff to outsource.

For this particular thing the way I found a good writer was kind of lucky. I went over to Odesk and I wrote a job request for eight articles, I wanted eight 300 word articles. I got various bids and a lot of the bids come from overseas, the Philippines, India, and other places like that.

I’m pretty sensitive to grammar, although you might not know it from reading my blog. But, I’m pretty sensitive to grammar and particularly issues with non-U.S. grammar, misplacement of adjectives, there’s a lot of typical things that you’ll see when you get some Filipino and some Indian writers. So usually I just reject those out of hand. If I can clearly tell that this person is not a native U.S. speaker I’ll reject it, unless the content is something where I don’t care about the quality. But, for something like a blog where you’re going to own the blog and it’s the property that you’re trying to develop you want good quality content.

So I looked for a person who had a degree in English, at least they claimed that was their qualification when they responded to the post, and they had a University degree in English, and it appeared to me that they were probably a native English speaker judging from the response that they gave me.

Now, one thing you need to worry about on a place like Odesk is some of these writers are smart enough to used canned or heavily edited responses that have been patched up by someone else. So it’s always good to get in a little conversation with someone on Odesk before you actually hire them.

Of course, the other thing you’re always looking for on something like Odesk is good feedback. Just as an aside, the feedback on Odesk is kind of like on eBay. If the worker has delivered lots of good results they’ll have lots of positive feedback and you can tell from that if you’re on the right track.

But, I got lucky because the Odesk guys for writing have developed a relationship with a company that I had actually never heard of before, and in fact I had so never heard of it that I’m going to have trouble remembering it right now. I’ll have to go back and find that and put it in the show notes. But, they forwarded me over to this company that they only do writing and they focus on quality and they have a standard template operation, which is the way they allow you to do that. It’s called Media Piston.

So I looked at the stuff that Media Piston had available and I was really very impressed with the way you order articles, the integration that they have with the Odesk pay system, they basically operate as an Odesk contractor, but they’re a subcontractor in the Odesk system. The quality of the article I got, you can read it for yourself on CornSheller.net. I paid $30 for that. For me, it was worth that $30.

I’ll tell you why it was especially worth $30. You go try and research corn shellers yourself and tell me. There’s just not that much information out there on corn shellers, so this person did a really good job and that’s how I did it. I got lucky.

Brent: That’s a perfect way to go. That brought up a second part of that question, which was once you get this article, if this is a niche that you’re not necessarily well versed in how do you judge the quality of that article that you’re getting back? Couldn’t they tell you anything and you’d have to accept it as truth?

Mark: You do need to be a little bit careful with regard to fact checking. In this particular case, Media Piston author provided source citations. So you can ask for those and that’s the best way to make sure what you’ve got is legitimate. Usually the kind of niches that you’re working in, if you’re in the medical niche or something I suppose you’d need to be very careful or a legal niche, for example.

But, most things you’re working in A) it’s not going to be that critical, B) you can do fact checking through asking the writer to provide references, and C) very quickly if you work in the niche very long you’re going to become pretty knowledgeable in the niche and that won’t be as big of a gap as you think it might be.

Brent: Gotcha. The next thing that you spoke about was you had five more articles in addition to that primary article that were for, I’m going to call them derivative keywords, or long tail keywords, or related keywords. I thought is that the same writer that did all of that and was the charge approximately the same or how did that all transpire?

Mark: These articles were much cheaper, they were part of the original order. I said I had put in an original order at Odesk for eight articles, but I guess it was five. Once that order was submitted then Media Piston contacted me directly and said, “Hey, we have this service and we’re tied into Odesk if you ever need us let us know.” And then I ordered the pillar article.

So no, the other five articles are not the same quality. You can see that also over on the blog. Those I want to say I paid $6.00 a piece for those articles and they were on the order of 400 words a piece, something like that. So considerably cheaper than the 800 word article and you can tell. That gives you a really good idea that you get what you pay for in writing usually.

Brent: Gotcha. I’m just kind of winging down through here, I’m going kind of in chronological order of what I thought of when I heard the podcast.

Mark: That’s perfect. No problem at all.

Brent: You said that you added some lightweight content to your front page and I was curious what you meant by lightweight content.

Mark: The way I have the blog set up is I have this sort of really good, at least the best article I’ve ever seen on corn shellers, I have that as the home page on the blog because that’s really what I’m trying to rank in Google. If someone hits corn shellers in Google they’re going to get a really good article about corn shellers. If it’s a kid in some high school somewhere researching the history of corn shellers they’re going to be thrilled.

And then I’ve got these additional articles about corn shellers that are also linked from the home page that are good, they’re acceptable content, but they’re not great. No Pulitzer Prize is coming from that content.

And then this lightweight content is content that I had available using Article Builder. I mentioned that later as private label rights, and we’ll get into that. But, I had access to articles on corn farming or gardening and corn cooking, recipes with corn and so forth. So to get some additional content on the blog that was at least loosely related to the topic I went ahead and added some of that kind of content.

I did that because I want the site to be more substantial, particularly for Google but I suspect it is true that people that are generally interested in corn shelling are also interested in what to do with the corn, so I think it’s okay in this case.

Brent: That makes perfect sense. You also mentioned that when you were getting off into some of the technical details – I guess I could stop for a second and comment on the fact that I haven’t been out to CornSheller.net because I wanted to have the same sense of wonder when I was asking these questions to you that I did the day that I heard them all. So that’s why I sound a little bit ignorant about what’s out there on the site.

Mark: That’s perfect because you’re right, that does preserve the integrity of your original questions and it gives you something to look forward to because there’s nothing more exciting than a website about corn shellers, so that will be good for you.

Brent: You had mentioned that you ordered a custom header from your VA using iStock photo. I thought first why a custom header, what did you mean by a custom header?

Mark: When you visit a blog you kind of want the header to have something to do with what the website is about, it suggests that the website is trustworthy and professional. And quite frankly, based on the Google review documents that have been leaked on the web, custom site design is one of the things that Google is looking for when they do human reviews of these sites.

These human reviews are the reviews that are related to the Panda update where they’re basically trying to build an artificial intelligence algorithm that can tell a good site from a bad site by incorporating human feedback in addition to some other signals.

One of the things that suggests that you’re actually not just creating a big bunch of spammy junk and you’ve actually got a real site is that you’ve got a header that matches what your site is talking about. So for me that usually means images that are related to the site, in this case there’s actually a picture of a corn sheller and some corn on the header, and the site name is done in graphics instead of in text. So it just looks like a site that was really done by somebody who cares deeply about corn shellers.

Brent: When I have kind of this mental perception of a graphic for a header I’m thinking like a logo, maybe the name of your site, and then some kind of background image or some kind of image that takes it over rather than just something that’s slapped in there when you load the default WordPress install.

Mark: That’s exactly what I’m talking about. And it makes a huge difference. Years ago I did some tests on bounce rate and actually it was for sites that I was wanting a high bounce rate, but that’s a whole other podcast. Custom headers dramatically impact bounce rate.

Brent: Okay. You also mentioned iStock Photo. Are these free photos, do you pay for iStock Photo, how does that work?

Mark: iStock Photo is not free, definitely not free. There are some free resources out there for photos, I think Stock Exchange might be free. If you Google free stock photos and sift through all of the affiliate marketing and ad nonsense that you’ve got to get through you can find a few sites that have free stock photos.

You can also use photos from Flickrr for free if the author of the photo, the photographer, has attributed Creative Commons rights to those photos. You can use them in some cases because one of the options for Creative Commons is to allow use with attribution. So if they’ve chosen that option then that’s a good source for photos.

I used to mess with all that and to be honest with you it’s so much faster just to go to iStock Photo, find a photo, and usually they cost $2.00 or $3.00. Well, the ones that I use cost $2.00 or $3.00, you can pay a lot more for a photo over there and I usually don’t choose those unless it’s a very special product.

My virtual assistant is really good at these headers. You’ll see she did that Corn Sheller header. I don’t know how long it actually took her, but it was up on the website the next day so it took her a few hours I suspect. And it’s plenty good enough. She is not a full blown for real graphic artist, but she’s really good at doing these headers and making these websites look nice.

Brent: That’s awesome. I guess when you hear the word free and you start thinking $2.00 to $3.00 is closer to free than $100 a photo, so that certainly seems reasonable – especially if you’re trying to leverage your time and not spend hours looking around the web trying to find photos and graphics.

Your VA that you mentioned, let’s talk about that for a second.

Mark: Sure.

Brent: How do you find them, what’s a good source for them, what kind of pay can you expect?

Mark: Well, I use several VAs for different tasks. At the moment I have one full time VA and she’s in the Philippines, she’s awesome and she has been with me a couple years.

She’s just great at doing “stuff.” I usually don’t ask her to do writing, again because I’m a little sensitive to grammar and stuff like that. But she certainly writes great email messages to me about what she’s doing, she certainly speaks English well, but I usually don’t ask her to do writing. I ask her to do article marketing and website building, graphic design, fix this and fix that.

I use a task management system kind of like Basecamp, but the one I use is called 5PM Web. I use that to keep track of the things that I assign her because a lot of times I’ll just throw something into that system, “Please change this to look like this,” and there will be a stack of these things and she’ll just work on them as she gets to them.

So that’s one kind of VA you can have is a full time VA. You can hire a VA from a company where you go through a company and they assign you a VA. Usually you specify the kind of skills that you want in that case and those kinds of VAs can work out really well.

You can become aware of really good VAs, like I have one virtual assistant that does the transcripts for this podcast. I’m sure she’s smiling right now because she’s typing as she listens to this. (she is ?) She’s awesome and she primarily does transcription for me, but she’ll do other things too. She’s so talented that we’ve talked about and currently have a couple of joint projects of our own together.

Then I have another VA that does other kinds of work for me like that. She doesn’t do transcription, but she does some writing for me and some other tasks, like building Squidoo lenses and other things that take kind of a nice combination of artistic stuff. That last VA even was the one who got this podcast onto Stitcher for me. Stitcher contacted me and wanted me to apply, I didn’t have time to I threw that to the VA and said, “Hey, can you contact the stitcher guys and figure out what I need to do to apply to get into Stitcher.”

So VAs can do a lot for you. Prices for VAs can range from $20 an hour, I guess you could pay a little more than that even depending on exactly what they were doing for you, all the way down to offshore VAs which can cost you on the order of $200 a month. All of my VAs are sort of in between that range.

Brent: Okay. For a guy like me that’s just getting started, what’s a good starting point to get going with VAs?

Mark: That’s a tough question. For new people I usually recommend that they start with outsourcing. Once they get to the point where they’re tired of going to Odesk or to Script Lance or wherever they’re going to write orders and they have enough of one type of task or similar types of tasks where they feel like they could find a person to do that, then it’s time to outsource.

If you’re doing a lot of programming you’re not going to find someone probably that can do PHP and write good articles and is willing to do mind numbing backlink building. It’s just like the real world, you’re not going to find that person. So one of the issues is you’re going to have to have enough work for this person to do.

I’ve struggled with that a little bit in the past. You need to be careful that you structure your arrangements with your VAs where they’re not expecting you to assign them more work than you actually have.

Brent: Okay.

Mark: Another good strategy is if you’ve got a buddy is who is also interested in this or you meet someone online in your internet marketing travels I’ve heard of people sharing VAs, and that can be really good. A lot VAs work part time.

My transcriptionist, she probably has 100 clients by now. She is a virtual assistant, but that’s more of a job order kind of thing. I’m just submitting a work piece to her and she’s returning it.

So there are all kinds of different relationships and it’s just whatever you’re comfortable with and whatever your budget will allow. But, I’d definitely start with something like Odesk to get your feet wet, get used to working with people, and so forth.

I can also make another recommendation to you with regard to VAs. There is a podcast that Cliff Ravenscraft did about 50 episodes, The Virtual Assistant Podcast. I would listen to that start to finish and you will learn all about hiring VAs in the states, sort of the high end of the VA business. Cliff doesn’t talk as much, at least to my recollection, about this task of hiring VAs in the Philippines, which is where I recommend that you go, India is another option but I like to hire from the Philippines.

There’s a guy named John Jonas, and I’ll give a link in the show notes to John’s website. John is where I learned about hiring in the Philippines and he taught me what I know about how to hire and he’s got some resources that you can look at to learn how to do that.

Brent: Okay, awesome. All good resources. Shifting gears for a second onto the technical side. You had mentioned that you’re using Thesis as the theme for this website. I wondered why Thesis. Of all the themes that exist in the world for Worpress, why Thesis?

Mark: Because Thesis rocks. Thesis is just really good stuff. The main reason that I use Thesis is that it’s stable, secure, there are a zillion people using it that are very high profile. It’s written correctly for SEO and performance and it’s just the most popular mainstream framework.

Now, Thesis is a framework. As I recall, your background is programming, Brent, so you’ll understand. The way Thesis is architected is really nice. There are standard functions in Thesis and those functions can be unhooked and you can hook in your own functions to replace them, that’s the architecture.

This hook architecture is really nice. You can do all kinds of amazing programming things. But, if you’re just a normal person and you’re not going to be writing function calls in Thesis that’s okay too, because you can have virtual assistants do that for you or you can just use it as it comes out of the box and know that it’s strong and reliable, well tested and robust. That’s why I use it.

When I did that and I switched from my old theme, which was hand coded by actually a very capable guy, but it was done a long time ago for a much older version of WordPress, when I switched I saw an improvement in both performance and SEO results. So using Thesis has paid off for me, it’s just really strong and I like it.

There are some other good options. The Genesis framework I understand is really good. There’s kind of a religious war between the Genesis believers and the Thesis believers, but they’re both really good options. Woo Themes makes some great themes. So there are some good options out there.

I love premium themes because real programmers in general are working on those and I tend to see better results. When I look under the hood and see how the thing is coded a lot of times it looks a lot nicer when you go ahead and pay for something like that.

Brent: So is that a standard for a lot of the sites you have online, that you’re using Thesis?

Mark: Yes, I use Thesis.

Brent: All right. Let’s talk for a second about Article Builder. You had mentioned that you were dripping articles into the site and I believe you talked about PLR. I think I know what PLR is, but let’s play like I don’t.

Mark: Sure, no problem. Private Label Rights content (PLR) is content that you typically buy. Sometimes you might get some for free, but typically you would buy private label rights content. And you would have the right to use it in almost any way that you want. It depends on the exact license that you get with the PLR.

You typically would have a license to use that any way you want, including editing it and putting it on your blog or putting it on your blog as is or using it in a newsletter, reading it in a podcast, or whatever you wanted to do. You have the right to use it for your own private use, you use it publicly but you’re the one that gets to use it.

That’s as opposed to having resale rights, which would mean that you could resell it as PLR. Usually with PLR you don’t have resale rights. You have the right to use it on your blog, but you don’t have the right to resell the articles for other people to use on their blogs, if that makes sense.

Brent: That makes sense.

Mark: There’s another thing you might run into, which is Master Resale Rights (MRR) and that would be the right for you to sell the rights to sell it. So that’s one more level removed. You see this on the internet all the time, somebody puts together a product and they offer master resale rights, which means you can sell it yourself and you can sell the resale rights so that that person can sell it and so forth.

With PLR you don’t have any of that, you just have the right to use the content.

ArticleBuilder.net is sort of a unique website product by Jon Leger over at JonathanLeger.net. Jon is a friend of mine and he also lives in the Dallas area, he’s a brilliant software guy. He wanted to employ a bunch of people, he’s kind of altruistic. There’s a train museum in Plano, he put together a big internet marketing sale to save the train museum. He’s really a neat guy.

So he decided he wanted to create something that would cause a lot of people to have to work and get paid for that work, so he built this network using his spinning technology of spun PLR. So you put in a topic and a keyword in some cases and it goes into a database of content on that topic and keyword and generates a semi-unique private label rights article from that giant database.

That’s a pretty neat product and you can read all about it. There’s a cool video over at ArticleBuilder.net. The product is limited, the number of people that can buy it any one time is limited to 250 or 500 or something like that. It is currently sold out, but the sales page is still up and you can read about it and as soon as Jon gets some more content in there he’ll open it back up again. It’s really cool.

Brent: Awesome. When I heard about PLR and my perception of it I thought, “Well, why isn’t this stuff duplicated 8,000,000 places all over the web?”

Mark: Well, it can be. You will find if you run PLR through Copyscape, even Jon’s stuff that is fancy and super spun and all that you’ll find it’s not completely unique. There’s a lot of raging debate about whether or not that’s important on the internet and how Google is able to tell the difference between that and an AP article that’s on the internet 500,000 times. There’s a lot of debate about what duplicate content is and what it means and so forth.

The best practice for PLR is to take it and use it as a starting point and rewrite it in your own voice, add to it. A lot of times I’ll be writing an article and I’ll take some PLR and use it for two sections and I’ll rewrite those on top of that. So it won’t be the whole article, but it will be a paragraph or two that I like out of the PLR. Or I’ll take PLR and I’ll use it in a newsletter or something else where SEO is not an issue, things like that.

There’s lots of good uses for PLR and good quality PLR is a little bit hard to find. I can offer you three of my favorite resources for great quality PLR.
Brent: Okay.

Mark: Nicole Dean at NicoleontheNet.com, she has multiple PLR sites and she rocks. She’s a great friend of mine and I love her. I love her PLR and I love her, she’s just really awesome.

Alice Seba has been online longer than me, much longer I think, she is one of the first places I ever found PLR from. You can Google Alice Seba. I’ll put a link in the show notes. She is absolutely awesome.

And then the last one is Melissa Ingold. She creates really quality PLR as well. So those three ladies all have very serious PLR businesses that generate very high quality content that you would not hesitate to give directly to any customer that you have, their stuff is really good.

Brent: Awesome, all right. You also talked about 1WayLinks to create backlinks. I just wondered why did you choose that method and how does that get effected by Panda?

Mark: Well, that second question is a good question and we can talk about Panda, but let me talk about 1WayLinks.

There are a lot of blog networks out there where someone has put together hundreds or thousands of blogs and you can create content with links back to your site and that content will spread across the blog network generating backlinks into your sites. Google doesn’t like this, so these guys that are doing this go to great lengths not to be detected. I’m sure if Google ever decides to care they’ll detect them. But anyway these things are out there and they work.

1WayLinks is one of my favorites because it is highly automated. This is another Jonathan Leger product. The reason I used it on the corn sheller site is because basically what I was doing here is I was testing Jonathan Leger’s Keyword Canine and I used some his article PLR product and then I used his backlink product, which is also highly automated.

I mean, this site is not a keeper for me, I don’t think. I don’t really have much interest in corn shellers, so it’s okay with me if this site doesn’t take over the entire internet and displace Google and Adobe as the most visited sites on the web. So it’s okay if it’s not great.

But, it turns out that 1WayLinks is very effective. I think you’re seeing that, the site is starting to rank and it had 90 visitors last Saturday or something like that from organic traffic. So that’s pretty cool.
Brent: Awesome.

Mark: So let me address Panda for a minute. It’s important to keep in mind what Panda is. Like I mentioned earlier, Panda is this attempt by Google to create an artificial intelligence algorithm that uses the programmable signals they have, whatever data they have about the site that they can get by data mining, and then they infuse data and train the algorithm with human reviews.

So they take this algorithm and they say, “Algorithm, go look at these sites and now compare your results to the human reviews and adjust your algorithm so that you match the human reviews. Once you can predict what the humans did on these known sites, now go look at unknown sites and evaluate those that no humans have looked at, but you know what they’re looking for because you learned on these other sites.”

That’s what Panda is. And it’s called Panda because the engineer that came up with the algorithm at Google his last name is Panda – that’s my understanding.

So the way this Panda algorithm could affect me is if the algorithm was able to detect sites in the 1WayLinks and de-rate them in some way, if they say “this is a blog farm site, we recognize this, human review has detected this and therefore we’re going to mark this site down,” and then give the backlinks from that site less authority or zero authority as a result of being identified in that way. Then Panda would affect my corn sheller site.

Panda doesn’t have anything to do with, as far as I know, analyzing the backlinks to my site. What it has to do with is evaluating sites to see whether or not they’re good. My corn sheller site is good, I think it meets all the things that Panda would be looking for. So the question then becomes do the sites where the backlinks are coming from, are they affected by Panda and would they therefore pass less rank juice? And that’s hard to say.

I haven’t seen any conclusive data that shows that Panda is directly effecting backlinking. It makes sense that it would, but I haven’t seen good data that shows for sure that it will.

Brent: The last question that I had was about traffic stats, so however you want to address that. Where do you find them? You said that you’re ranking in Google and I hear people talk about that all the time, “my page rank,” or “my Google rank.” How do you know what all that stuff is, what are you using?

Mark: To find the traffic stats the convenient thing that I use inside of WordPress is this WordPress.com driven stats engine, I guess it’s a plugin now. They used to call it WP-stats, but now I think it’s called Jet Pack or Jet Stats or something like that, it’s Jet something. That just shows you your blog traffic. It counts unique visits to your blog and it’s smart enough to take away your own visits so if you’re logged into the site it doesn’t count you, which is nice.

If you want different kind of stats you have two other really good choices. One is on most lamp stack installations running cPanel, that was computer geek for if you’ve got a Unix based host and you’re running cPanel, which is the backend system where you install your wesbites, the control panel for your server – usually cPanel is bundled with a program called AWstats.

AWstats is a cool product that actually tells you what’s hitting Apache. AWstats, as far as I know, reads the Apache server logs directly and rolls all that up into some visual neat graphs and you can tell where people are visiting from and all this kind of cool stuff.

And then the third thing, the best thing I think in a lot of ways, is Google Analytics. What I would do and what I do on my websites is I use the Yoast Google Analytics plugin and I use that in combination with Google Analytics, which is free. You get really good data inside of Google’s Analytics tool that tells you what is going on with your site.

So that’s the traffic stats. As far as Google Ranking, I’ve been using for awhile now Market Samurai, it has a rank tracking engine. That works really well. They recently had some trouble with it because of some changed made by Google, but the boys over at Market Samurai have recovered amazingly well and they’ve got their ranking engine working again.

So that’s what I use for traffic and Google rankings.

Brent: Perfect. As I would expect, you cut right through all those questions just like I would hope and gave me a ton of action steps to get going and start moving on my niche site.

Mark: Let me give you one more resource before I let you go, Brent. Just today, this afternoon when I got off of work, I published a new blog post on MasonWorld.com that is all of the steps as I see them, not in a huge amount of great detail, but the steps as I see them for how to create a niche website.

You’ve got to find a niche, do a little keyword research, register a domain. Then you need to set up WordPress, create a website with content, find some offers that you want to promote, and promote those offers. I’ve even included the steps that I think are very important, which is capture leads, capture people’s email, and follow up with those people and drive traffic.

Of course, it’s one blog post. It could be 10,000 pages, but it’s not, it’s only 1,000 words. But, it’s the 10,000 foot view of what you have to do. And if you have more questions that would be a great place to put them because I’m going to collect up all the input I can over there and build that blog post out so that whenever somebody says to me, “Hey Mark, how do I get started on affiliate marketing?” I can say, “Go to this blog post, read it, it tells you everything you need to know to get started.”

Brent: Mark, you’re an amazing resource. That’s why I enjoy riding around listening to you all the time.

Mark: Well, thanks. Keep your eyes on the road and be safe out there, don’t be switching podcasts while you’re driving.

Brent: You got it. I appreciate all the help.

Mark: Brent, thank you very much. You’ve really helped me out a great deal and I really appreciate it. I wish you all the best and I know we’ll be talking in the future. Thank you and have a great evening.

All right, that will about do it for the Mason World Late Night Internet Marketing Podcast today. Thanks for joining us. We’ll be back next week with episode 21!

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