Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Use The Find To Find Keyword Ideas That Shoppers Use

If you want to take a different look at what searches are looking for on shopping sites, you might want to take a look at The Find. Not only do they have top searches, you can search for an item and then scroll past the listing down to the bottom and view the related searches shoppers have used.

Lets take a look at the phrase Spider man for example. At the bottom you will see these related searches:

spider man action figure
spider man figure
spider man web
spider man animated musical lamp
spider man bust
spider man glove
spider man mask
spider man phone
spider man 3 costume
spider man alarm clock

You can then run those through the Google keyword tool and un-check Use synonyms and then sort by Exact. This will give you a huge selection of phrases to attack or drill down farther with either product pages or articles. Give it a try.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Front End Editor Wordpress Plugin

I came across a Wordpress plugin that lets you edit your post directly on the loaded page without having to go in through the admin. I make a ton of typos and will use the hell out of this. Maybe you will find it useful as well. To edit something, just double-click it. You can edit titles, content, tags, description and many more things on Wordpress post or pages. Great time saving plugin.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Pepperjam Ending Ebay Program

Just got the email from Mandy Foley at Pepperjam that is announcing that Pepperjam will be pausing their eBay program due to the new QCP structure. I highly suggest converting your sites back over to EPN as soon as possible. Below is the email.

I wanted to let you know the eBay program on Pepperjam Network will be paused as of October 1, 2009. eBay has decided to move forward with Quality Click Pricing, a new payout structure designed to further reward the affiliates who drive incremental transactions on eBay and who send valued buyers to their sites. At this time, Pepperjam Network can not support the CPC model. Since you are a valued eBay affiliate through Pepperjam Network, eBay would like the opportunity to work with you directly through their in house affiliate program, EPN. If you are not an affiliate of the EPN program, click here. Please include in your description that you are an active affiliate promoting eBay through PJN. Also, to help expedite this process, please email me the email address you used to sign up. I will pass this on to eBay.

Traffic & Earnings Are The Truest Measuring Sticks

I see a ton of people that get hung up on chasing what the little green Google bar has to say about their site and where they rank for certain keyword phrases. It is easy to use these and other factors as measuring sticks of a site. It is indeed easy to do as we all fall into the trap sooner or later. I judge my own sites by traffic and earnings. It is all that matters in the big picture. My traffic tells me what is working, where the surfer is coming from and where they are going. It tells me what they were looking for and if I had it. Traffic however is worthless if you are not earning from it though. I have sites that do well traffic wise, but the keyword focus and product selection was off. Thus the earnings are flat. I learn from this and re-vamp the sites to better earn from my traffic.

Is page rank important? Not as important as you think. A PR 0 site that is focused properly and full of good chewy content can produce organically on it's own. I have had PR 3 sites that earn less than some PR 1 sites. Now these PR 3 sites are from much earlier days, but once again the traffic was not earning as it could, thus these were re-vamped and are now pulling much better profits.

So do not get caught up in PR and other minor measuring sticks, measure by what matters. The bottom line.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Listen To Your Body

This is going to sound like a post from your mother, but I thought I would address listening to your body. To be productive, you have to be healthy and in a good state of mind. I just got myself over the flu bug and probably could of nipped it in the bud, if I would of listened to my body. You see, I am a workaholic. always have been. I work like I am being chased. It makes me super productive. By not listening to my body and ignoring the sick signs, I lost valuable time and put in poor work. Because of it, I have a ton of stuff to re-do. It is my own fault.

Now on the flip side, if I stopped production every time I had a headache or my neck hurt, I never would get anything done. The key is to know your body. If you are sick, take the day off and heal your body, mind and spirit. It is very important. Do not try to work through a flu bug or flu like symptoms. It is not worth it and will only cause you more work in the long run.

You will be happy to know I am all better now, but will indeed start listening to my body more often and forcing myself to shut it down next time.

Now where is the last bowl of that chicken noodle soup?

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Saturday Around The Web September 26th

My list is kind of short this week as I am slowly getting over the flu now. Thanks for all the get well emails. My production this week has been horrible and drove my wife crazy as well. OK on to some great stuff this week.

A top list of Top 10 Blogs for Writers is out. You will recognize Copyblogger is #1 as it is one of the blogs I regularly read.

Laura Roeder has a great video on How to Create Fans out Of Thin Air, worth the watch.

Sonia Simone from Copyblogger ask Is Branding Dead?

Jennita via SEOMoz has found Followed Links from Four Unexpected Sources.

Losing that link building creative spark? Digg up new ideas.

21 Must-Follow Tips For Optimizing Time Spent In Social Media

Friday, September 25, 2009

Rand Fishkin Interviews Bing Reps

Well, I have the flu and been on my back most of the day in and out of consciousness. So in lieu of a meaningful post I had planned, I give you the Whiteboard Friday from SEOMoz.

Rand Fishkin from SEOMoz has posted an interview with with Eric, Rajesh, and Alessandro from Bing at the Microsoft headquarters. Rand gets their insights on the search landscape and what we can expect from Bing going forward. Make sure to visit the link above as well to some neat tools Bing has as well.

SEOmoz Whiteboard Friday - Interview: The Bing Team from Scott Willoughby on Vimeo.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

50% Off 31 Days to Build a Better Blog


I received an email from Darren Rowse of ProBlogger overnight saying that for the next 24 hours he would be giving a 50% discount on the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog ebook to celebrate the 5th birthday of ProBlogger. I bought this when it first came out at full price and it was indeed worth it. It normally sales for $19.95, but if you use the special coupon code of "probloggeris5", you can get it for $9.97.

This email was about 12 hours ago, so that likely means that you have about 12 hours to take advantage of the deal. The email says, the code gives a discount until 8pm MST on 24th September.

The same Money-Back Guarantee also applies, not that you will need it. Buy it now!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

New Shopzilla WordPress Plugin

If you have been using the Wordpress Shopzilla plugin I mentioned a while ago, there is a new updated version and it is not as good. You can only use products that list the comparative prices. I am still trying to fool around with it and will post if I find an easier solution. Please check your sites that are using this plugin ASAP. If you want to use Shopzilla without a plugin on BANS sites, register here and use the Dynamic Assets.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

ShareASale Affilliate Tools - Make A Page & Make A Video

I do not think I mentioned it before, but ShareASale has some really great tools in the Make A Page and Make A Video tools.

The Make A Page feature will help you find products that are relevant to your audience, and create pages quickly based on those products. You can enter any (minimum of 1) number of search criteria, and you will be shown a list of relevant products for merchant programs that you are a part of. Your HTML will be provided, pre-coded with your affiliate link - all you have to do is copy and paste the code into your site.

The Make-A-Video allows you to take previously recorded video and convert it into a full video creative, able to be used on affiliate websites. You will be able to add "Cue Points" which will display relevant product information on the Sidebar of the video during playback. Each video can have multiple Cue Points triggered at whatever time you choose.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Buying Existing BANS Sites Is A Risky Bet

One thing is a constant on the BANS forum every month and it is the selling of existing BANS sites. People either quitting, just overwhelmed or one of many other reasons. If you are thinking about buying one, you are playing Russian roulette, especially with your EPN account. First, if the site is earning money, why is the person selling it? I have a few sites that earn as low as $12.00 a month. You think I am selling them? Hell no! That is $144.00 a year if I do not get back around to improving them. That is 16 domain renewals or so. All by just letting it sit.

With these sites, you just do not know where they have been and what unethical ways they might have been promoted. Purposely or un-purposely. You can do a search on the web archive to see somewhat of a history if archived, but it still does not tell the whole story. You can run it through Google and Yahoo site explorer to see indexed pages and backlinks, but once again not the full story. You can ask for traffic statistics, but even those can be doctored if you do not have personal access to them. On top of everything, if the site owner has been terminated from EPN and you now own the site and connect it to your account, you might get terminated as well.

So why would you buy one? Because you can't build one? That is the wrong answer. If you can build one, why buy it? You can likely build one better without the risk if that is the case. Now do not get me wrong, people buy and sell on Flippa all day long. There is however bad people looking for the ill informed there as well. Before you buy on Flippa, you better watch the questions the serious buyers ask. If it is high traffic, unique application and great design, it likely be more than you are wanting to spend.

Back to the reason of not being able to build, though. If this is the case, which with most on the BANS forum is the likeliest of reasons, you need to to bite the bullet and learn how. You will spend a ton of money buying your way to success in this business and if the platform breaks or Google throws a curve ball, the site you bought may be worthless unless you know how to fix it, but I suppose you could buy that service too. Do yourself a favor and buy the N1WAY guide and learn the right way.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

How I Plan My Day

A reader recently asked how I plan my day and the tools I use. Well, to start with I get up early every morning, I treat my business like a job and am usually at my computer by 7 am. Sometimes earlier, depending on my morning chore load. I start by checking my multiple email accounts and blog comments. Depending on the amount I have to reply to, it can take upwards to an hour and a half. Next, I move on to the forums such as BANS and PHPBay to see if anything is worth reading and help those I can help on the BANS forum. This usually takes another hour. Once all of that gets put to bed, I move on to my list. I hate to disappoint, but I have found good old pen and paper as my best tool. Now I do use Google calendar for very important time sensitive things such as domain renewals and such, but my day-to-day work is a list. It just works for me. I constantly add things to my list in 3 different categories. Very important, need to do and not important. The very important are things like errors on sites, 301's, platform updates and etc. The important is the largest, it includes the most of my daily work and what sites I might be planning or re-doing. Daily work like blog post and the sorts. The not important list includes the likes of new plugins to try, articles to read and etc. I try to keep my Very important list cleaned up daily, but of course not everyday am I able to do it. If it is super urgent, I do not go to bed until it is done. This could be a server problem or security problem.

Every hour, I will browse the BANS forum, smoke a cigarette and perhaps brew coffee. Like a 15 minute break per hour. There will be times, especially like when I write my own content, I can work 3 straight hours. Just depends what I am doing.

Now just because all of this works for me, does not mean it works for you. You have to come up with your own system and own set of priorities. I will tell you this though, I am a workaholic. I bad one. 15 hour days are not uncommon for me. I do take time on Friday's to thoroughly check stats and archive reports. Also we usually go out for a nice dinner on Friday and lunch and shopping on Saturday. My wife does not need me usually throughout the day. She usually runs errands or works on her stuff. She knows it needs to be important to interrupt me. Usually she just sends an email from the other office. We do break for dinner everyday at the same time, but usually fend for ourselves for lunch. Often times I do not even eat lunch.

I may or may not have the radio on while I work, depends what I am working on, but never the television.

In closing you need to have a schedule, a schedule for you. Just because I use pen and paper does not mean it will work for you.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Did Charity Work Today

I hate to disappoint, but no around the web today. I had an all day charity event today from the crack of dawn until 5 pm. I am now all cleaned up and going to eat and go to bed. We were able to raise around $5,000.00 today with our efforts, so even though I lost a day of work for myself, I did a ton of good by donating my time. Everything will be back to normal on Sunday. Good night!

Friday, September 18, 2009

I Am A Lucky Guy

Yes, I am working today, but today I also celebrate 16 years of marriage to my beautiful wife. We actually have been together for 23 years now as we lived together 7 years before we tied the knot. So I am taking it a bit easy as far as a work load today, very easy. I do not take many of these type days, but I do enjoy stopping and smelling the roses along the way every now and again. So excuse me that I do not have anything insightful or stupid for you today, as I am smelling roses, my wife's roses. I am a very lucky guy and very thankful for it.

EDITED TO ADD: I take it back, I have something both insightful and stupid for all of you today. I give you the People of Wal-Mart!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Pot Of Gold, Just $7.88

I like getting affiliate marketing spam for the most part, it amuses me. I see some of the promises and sales pitches and am floored that people buy this stuff. Knowing what I know for as long as I have been making money online, I could never push some of this stuff on people. Friends or not. A funny one I got last night was entitled, "Exploit Google!" I am sure the person will sell many copies of his ebook. The marketing was good, the format was good, the sales page was good, etc. etc. Do you really think you will be able to exploit Google? Maybe for a little while, maybe for a long while, but sooner or later it will come crashing down. Now I did not buy or read his methods, so he might actually have found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow or the fountain of youth, but if he truly did, would he really be selling it for $7.88? I kind of doubt it.

Western civilization has gotten lazy, we want everything right now and we do not want to have to work for it. On the flip side we get more and more gullible by the hour. We will buy anything? Especially if that anything promises us instant riches so we can buy more anythings. Now are there good methods and great ebooks out there? Absolutely. Do they have great sale pages to get you to buy? Sure, but the good ones will teach you methods and principles, not how to cheat something or get rich over night. The truth is everything is free and can be found all over the internet, the ones that sell the good info have merely organized it into digestible, on in one place ebooks.

I recently got an email from a person who said they are quitting after just 2 sites and about 100 days. They wanted to know if I wanted to buy the 2 sites. I looked at the sites and researched them and understood completely why the person was quitting. Now this is not a back hand at that person, but I asked why they did the things they did and they said they purchased an ebook and followed it and applied it to the two niche sites. Guess what the ebook was called? Yep, you guessed it, "Exploit Google!"


You want a fantastic ebook for $24.95? Buy this one!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Businesses On Facebook

Facebook is a social network platform that continues to be un-tapped by most niche site builders such as ourselves. While I do have a few sites hooked up with Facebook that I utilize, I do not use it as much as I should. The funny thing is, I see results from the little effort I put forth on it. I just need to do more of it. I am currently revamping some sites right now that have been long overdue, but as soon as that list is put to bed, I will be full steam ahead on some Facebook work.

My wife is a huge TV and internet shopper, a byproduct of that is that there is no shortage of catalogs that arrive in my mailbox everyday. One caught my eye this afternoon after checking the mail. It was from the Dressbarn. Emblazoned on the cover was a small Facebook logo with the URL to their page along with their main website URL. I decided to check out their Facebook page to see how they were utilizing it. Below i have links to a few high profile businesses including Dressbarn, so you can see how these companies are utilizing an under utilized platform.

Dressbarn Facebook
Pizza Hut Facebook
QVC Facebook
Sprint Facebook
The Gap Facebook
Peets Coffee Facebook
Staples Facebook

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Authoritative Sites Sometimes Call For Different Monetization

I have a handful of what I consider high authoritative niche sites. By authoritative I mean, great page rank, Google site links and heavy traffic from both regular readers and organic search results. The thing I have found with these type sites is that not all of them perform well in the new EPN QCP price structure. It is about 50/50 and depends on the niche of course.

The great thing about the high traffic of both regular and organic surfers is that they USUALLY can be defined by a set of demographics. This enables you to not only monetize with niche related affiliate sites, but you also can monetize with non-niche related programs that target certain demographics. Is it a science? Sure! Is it one I have mastered yet? Absolutely not, but I am getting a better feel for it, the more I delve into the sites demographics. The large flux of traffic allows me to test on short time frames to see what works the best. Sometimes it is a pay per click program, sometimes a pay by action program. The good news is there is no shortage of ads to show and test.

If you have high volume authoritative sites that are not performing well with QCP, you do not have to dump it altogether either. You can merely try to better target the organic surfer by in essence making those pages harder for a regular visitor to find, while showing them more ads related to the niche or targeted for their demographics outside of the niche.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Researching The Products You Sell

Before deciding on products I will sell in my niche stores, I thoroughly research EACH and EVERY one. I start with the Google Adsense tool for starters to see the demand and how I will attack it from an SEO perspective. Next I move on to Terapeak for the supply and sale through ratio of the product. Then I move on to Amazon, to search for the identical product, the reviews of the product and the average price. Lastly I search for the product on major niche retailers in the niche and also looking if the have affiliate programs as well I can take advantage of. I am notating prices along the way. When going through each product on all of these sites, I am looking for some features and benefits to include in the content for the product page. Some finished and live eBay auctions often have great product information that can extracted as well. By thoroughly researching the products in this method, you will also start to understand the niche as well if it is foreign to you.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Chitika Comes Alive


Not to be confused with Frampton Comes Alive, but the Chitika affiliate program has really been performing well as of late. i have used them in the past, but some niches just were not pulling well. It seems that the network has grown over the months though as there seems to be better matches. The best placement I have cross tested is above the content using one of the mega units.

Remember it is your search engine traffic that sees the ads, if you choose to, you can set it to show a different affiliate ad such as Adsense to your non SERP traffic. The CTR (click through ratio) has been extremely high on sites I reintroduced it to over the last 45 days. The income is very satisfactory as well. If you haven't used Chitika in a while or are thinking about trying it, I highly suggest it.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Saturday Around The Web September 12th

Hope everyone is doing well this week. I had an insanely busy week and just got caught up last night with the things I targeted to get done this past week. Couple that with constant stats studying and I just did not have that much time to get around the web this week. Below are some things I did bookmark however. Short list, but good reading and watching nonetheless.

A couple of things Adsense wise first. On the Google Adsense blog is a post on Getting the most revenue from every impression through AdSense.

Josh Dreller follows up on Search Engine Land with an AdSense Q&A on Why You Can’t Ignore The Google Content Network.

Rand Fishkin has been busy this week as well producing some very informative stuff. His Whiteboard Friday this week was great. It is entitled: Ignore the Long Tail at Your Own Peril!

If that was not enough, this superb post on 17 Ways Search Engines Judge the Value of a Link certainly is. Rand is one of the best in the business at breaking this stuff down.

EPN has another customer testimonial up from Steve Wilson related to the new Quality Click Pricing model.

EPN also has an Updated Quality Click Pricing - FAQs on the blog as well.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Surfer Intent Plays A Much Bigger Role In EPN

Sure kind of an obvious statement the deeper we all get into the new EPN QPC model. Before, we would just target the keyword phrases, try to rank and get our fair share of organic traffic and hope they ate the cookie. Now for straight BANS or primarily monetized EPN models, we need to pay more about the intent of the surfer.

Intent of the surfer is so vast and wide from niche to niche. To put one solid formula or stereo type on a surfer is impossible. For instance, a keyword phrase for "Joe Blow XYZ Review" might produce a surfer that is primarily intent on buying Joe Blow XYZ's. However in another niche "John Rubbles ABC Review" keyword phrase will produce surfers that are mostly tire kickers. If you have been around niche store building a while and have multiple sites, you have surely seen this or something close to the example.

Figuring out surfer intent is hard with any affiliate program, let alone EPN. The only data we can rely on is our server stats and any analytics programs like the Googles. You also have the EPN transaction reports that tell you click times and the items that sold. You really have to marry all of them together to know what keyword phrases or producing the surfers with buying intents. It ain't easy, I will tell you that. Most of my weeks now, I am playing with data. Not that I wasn't before, it is just more important to me now with the new EPN QPC structure. Not only that, it will make me a better marketer.

Lets face it, we all would like 9 out of 10 organic surfers to be intent on buying, that just is not going to happen, but the closer we can get to 9 out of 10, the more success we will have. Even if the magic number is one out of 10. It certainly will vary based on the organic traffic and the intent of the surfer.

If you are looking for a straight answer in this post, I hate to disappoint you. I do not have it, but the answer does lie in your stats or un-attacked keyword phrases and understanding/researching more about the niche. Sure it is like looking for a needle in a haystack, but if you never start digging through the hay, you have absolutely no chance at finding the needle. Surfer intent is something we constantly now need to pay attention to. As I mentioned before, it not only will help you with EPN, but will make you a better performer in other affiliate programs as well.

I would be remiss if I did not take time out on September 11th to say thank you to everyone that serves this country in the military and beyond. I will never forget that September day and the sacrifices you fine people make or have made for my country. Thank you!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Adwords As A Testing Ground

DISCLAIMER: Let me start this post by saying that if you have never used Google Adwords before, be careful. Many moons ago, my introduction was a hard lesson. I spent $1200.00 in a little over 24 hours and made back $76.00. You do not have to be a college graduate to know that will not fly.

Upon rebuilding or building a new BANS sites or niche site, I like to pick out a couple of the interior store pages and check their profitability. Most times it is a money loss investment wise, but a very small one. I will research some long tail keyword phrase in the Adwords tool, some with medium competition, some with little or no competition. Usually these entail 100-300 searches a month of the exact phrase. I usually can pick these up for about .03 to .05 cents a click. I set a daily budget for a $1.00 a day and let it rip. I use the exact match option by putting the phrase in brackets. example: [big harry widget 1234]

I will run these for 30 days and set up tracking in Google Analytics. After 30 days, I have a great idea how profitable that exact page will be, how well monetized the page is and if the keyword focus is on the money. I can then use that data to either change the focus or product or move on to a few more pages. Sometimes you will run into a few that are extremely profitable and worth the investment to continually run.

Once I am zeroed in, I know that when that page ranks naturally and garners its own free organic traffic, it will make money.

Do some research on setting up campaigns using Adwords. I never let the ads run on anything but Google, not network ads, just Google. This is because my good organic traffic will come straight from Google as well and I want as close to the same type surfer to test with.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Don't Switch Business Models Just To Switch

I posted a few of my thoughts on the new EPN QPC payout structure on BANS forum and was instantly hit up with a few messages from some readers. I think people took my thoughts as hating on the new structure. That could not be further from the truth. The truth is, some of my sites just do not match what the new QPC is looking for based on the traffic that goes through the site. The traffic is buying traffic, but much is of it is repeat buying traffic that EPN figures would go straight to eBay anyway. These sites have been heavily scrutinized by me stats wise and it is not a rash decision. It also will probably make me even more money by sending them to other retailers.

When judging your traffic, make sure you have traffic to judge and make a rational decision on. Anything below 30 uniques a day will be very hard to gauge, especially on a short length of time. Most of all, do not switch just to switch. If you are not converting using EPN, you might have several other problems site wise causing you not to convert. Too broad, wrong traffic sources, the list goes on. There really are no two sites alike. Each niche is different. Different traffic sources can deliver a vast variety of types of traffic as well.

Can all sites be made to fit the EPN QCP? I would guess to say no. How can they? Can most sites? Probably, but it starts at the launch. If you have developed traffic streams, you just do not want to turn it off. Good traffic is hard to get, you just need to match the monetization to it. A vast amount of my sites I can tell you no decision has been made on. They still require MUCH more data, but the majority will likely keep EPN as the PRIMARY focus. The ones I am switching models on however stick out like a sore thumb. Once again, this is based on hours of study.

In closing let me reiterate. Do not switch models, just to switch. Study your stats and give it time if they are slower sites. The sore thumbs will expose themselves and depending on the traffic, may or may not be able to be fixed to better fit the EPN QCP.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Overwhelmed? Try A Page A Day!

Many new niche site builders start off with all of the right intentions and gusto, but suddenly find themselves overwhelmed quite quickly. Do not feel alone as I hear this from readers all of the time. The biggest struggle is not seeing anything live as proof of your work. If you have at least mapped out your structure as the N1WAY Guide suggest, but lack ALL of the content and keyword research, put yourself on a daily schedule to build a page a day. You will not be penalized by the search engines because you can not have a complete site up in day, so concentrate on one page a day. Research your keywords and content and build a page a day. When the page is complete, add the link and summary to the corresponding landing page. It takes all of 5 minutes to do that. This way you will be on a schedule you can stick to and your site will build itself day by day. If your site is 30 pages, you should be done in 30-35 days without feeling overwhelmed. You will probably be surprised to see that the whole site will likely be indexed as well in that time frame as well. It is not a crime to have limited time to work on your site, just use your time efficiently and you will be able to see proof of your work daily.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Research, Research, Research

Everyone wants to get a new site up in running in the quickest time possible and start earning money. They want a push button cash machine in a matter of hours. Unfortunately in the online world of affiliate marketing it just does not work that way, especially if you want long term residual income. One of the biggest missed factors you see in the N1WAY BANS Guide is the research factor. Not only the research of keyword phrases, but product research, sell through research, advertiser research and competition research.

Sometimes you will find that a niche just might not be a match for EPN, but it does not mean you can not match it to another affiliate program. Have a good look at the competitors you will be competing against in the niche, have a look at the ones that not only rank well, but the ones that are advertising via Adsense and other PPC programs. Where are they sending their traffic? What kind of keyword focus do they have? What kind of onsite content?

You can never do too much research, take your time and examine EVERYTHING, before just diving right in on a whim. It will truly open your eyes.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Importance Of Staying Updated Platform Wise

Not enough is ever posted to remind site builders to keep their platfoms updated. If you use Worpress or Joomla for example, this even more important as the more popular the platform, the more likelihood it will be exploited. When a new version of Wordpress or Joomla is released, you can usually give it just a few weeks before upgrading so whatever bugs rise to the surface can get worked out. If you wait much longer, you are just asking for it. Hackers work night and day to exploit the larger platforms as their is a bigger payoff globally for them. This should not be limited to just the platforms, but the addons and plugins as well. If a new version of a plugin is available, you should be upgrading it. While plugins are very rarely the cause of an exploit, to say some can't be exploited would be foolish. Only use reputable plugins as well or plugins that have a long track record. This will go a long way in helping security wise.

As far as BANS goes, it appears pretty safe as of this post. It likely will be a long time if and when any upgrades are made to it. Might be never. As far as third party addons to BANS, I would be very cautious. There are only a small handful of people I know that I would be trusting any mods from. Very few at that. By using a third party mod and not knowing what to look for, you are setting yourself up to be tracked or worse exploited.

With any database driven website, it is always prudent to constantly be backing up your files and database on a regular basis and also changing your passwords. Security is an ongoing job all webmasters should be aware of.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Upgrade Wordpress Now, Security Alert

Instead of my weekly around the web Saturday post, I wanted to focus on Wordpress and security. This is very important. You MUST upgrade to the newest version of Wordpress, now as older versions are under attack. This great post by Lorelle VanFossen, tells you everything you need to know and clues that your WordPress site has been attacked. Stop reading this now and get moving. Have a great Saturday.

Friday, September 4, 2009

The Goal Remains The Same

I have been getting a few more emails from people perturbed and scared about how the new EPN QCP is progressing thus far. Many are asking if there are new strategies and other similar type questions. The one thing most are forgetting is the overall principle of what we ALL are trying to do. SELL A PRODUCT! Throw EPN out of the equation for a moment here. Pretend they expelled you. Would you give up? Why would you? The name of the game is to put a surfer that is looking to BUY a product in front of the matching product on YOUR site. It is that basic. Amazon, Popshops, Pepperjam, Linkshare, Commision Junction... it does not matter. You are trying to sell a product.

If the traffic coming to your site is not BUYING traffic, you need to take a hard look at where it is coming from, what it is doing on your site and where it is going when it leaves. Junk traffic is junk traffic. Now put EPN back in the equation. That junk traffic will now hurt you instead of you making money off of it. That same junk traffic would not likely earn you anything with the other programs I listed above as well. When was the last time you took a good look at your traffic over a good couple of months? Assuming you are building sites in the same or similar fashion that the BANS Guide suggest and your SEO is above par, take a good look at your traffic, it will tell you most everything you need to know about what is going on. Maybe you were not correctly keyword focused or in a niche that just does not sell through or you are just too broad. Your traffic will usually let you know. I have sites that are duds as well for these very reasons. It happens. Either fix it or move to the next niche. The goal of the whole niche site process has not changed though. Put buying customers in front of products they are looking to buy. Back everything else out from there. Now go make some damn money and quite over thinking this.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Under Appreciated Robots Wordpress Plugin

I have been very busy as of late revamping some sites that have long been needed to be revamped. The ones that I use 100% Wordpress on I just throw in the Yoast Robots Wordpress plugin. It is great for using with any Wordpress site, but has greater use for sites that are already live that need revamping.

I usually take my time with these site rebuilds and will have partial pages going throughout the site. In those cases I simply put a nofollow & noindex on pages that are incomplete or orphaned as the site comes back together. It really is an underrated Wordpress plugin and has multiple uses outside of what I mentioned. Watch the video below for all that you can accomplish with it. Make sure you have it in your arsenal.

How to use the Robots Meta Plugin from Joost de Valk on Vimeo.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Products & Ads Above The Fold

I was asked a question by email last night from a newer blog reader who wanted to know what "above the fold" meant. I thought I would address it to give some clarity on it and how it relates to your niche sites.

The fold refers to the section of a web page that is visible to the surfer without having to scroll. The fold will vary on a site depending on the resolution settings on a visitor's screen and the type layout or template you are using. When a surfer arrives to your site, you will want to try your best to have the most important ads or product listings visible to the surfer without them having to scroll down. This is pretty basic stuff from a web advertising point of you, but is also over looked quite a bit. Niche site builders have a tendency to become blind to the basic things, I do it myself on certain site characteristics myself.

If you have a page with a ton of unique content on the page, odds are it is pushing the product listings or ads below the fold. If need be, list your product listings in the middle of the content between heading changes or paragraphs. Make sure to check each page in both Explorer and Firefox and in different resolution settings on your home computer. You should be able to tweak everything to the point where most users will see the ads or products above the fold.

Below is a link to the statistics of most commonly used screen resolution settings of internet users.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Notes From The Tuesday September 1st EPN Webinar On QCP

Steve Hartman and Will Martin-Gill hosted the second webinar related to the EPN (eBay Partner Network) new QCP (Quality Click Pricing) Pay out structure for the affiliate program. While we really did not learn anything really new a few things were clarified so below are a few of the notes I took in case you missed it.

Questions to ask your sites:

1. Does my website provide a good, clean experience which could lead people to be interseted in making a purchase?

2. Is the website that I am putting ebay advertising on a good fit for eBay?

Below are some other items I notated:

It was mentioned that with the small range of dates thus far, you might not be seeing the long range value reflected into your ECP (earnings per click). Give it a while and a larger range of dates to make a complete analysis. Short and long range value are important to the EPC.

No rash decisions will be made in terminating affiliates with a low EPC. Early on it will be more on a case by case basis.

Impression pixels are not manditory, but should be considered in the future to provide better tracking.

The same metrics will still be made available in the transaction downloads.

BINS (buy it now items) and auctions are weighted differently in the QCP EPC.

EPN is still ramping up bot filtering and looking for new bots all the time.

The range of EPC for better affilites is between .07 & .21 cents.

Some new blog post mentioned:

Customer Testimonial - Harmjan Heeling

Beginner’s Guide to Germany

In closing, I think a better date range will give a better look statiscally of what your true EPC really is as the number could go higher if the value of the surfer fits what EPN is looking for. I highly suggest patying attention to the EPN forum and blogs on a daily basis to see more specific questions and answers.

All in all it remains you should be targeting your traffic with unique quality content and engaging them to look at eBay to buy the items you are focusing on. Stay upfront of where you are sending the surfer. The more targeted and engaged, the better chance you have at increasing your EPC.

Second EPN Webinar Today Concerning QPC

EPN is holding the their second QCP Webinar today and I highly suggest you tune in if possible. The second webinar will be more of a question and answer format. The start time is 8:30am Pacific Time/10:30am Central Time/11:30am Eastern Time. The last webinar was about an hour so I expect this one to be the same in length. Below is the connection info. I would suggest trying to get logged in about 10 minutes before, just in case you run into any problems. If you miss this webinar, it will likely be available to be listened to online in a few days or so in archive format.

Attendee Direct URL:

Alternate Web Login
Conference Site URL:
Meeting ID: Sep01
Attendee Entry Code: Attend
U.S. Attendee Phone: US/Canada Dial-in #: (877) 252-8217
Int’l/Local Dial-In #: (660) 422-4755
Conference ID: 26202103


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