On Day 30 of the 30 Day Challenge Dan presented a pdf of one of his niche sites and it's reach. I thought it was really neat how he mapped it out - and it's nice to have a visual representation of the kind of network that we're trying to build with a niche using a combination of free platforms and our own domains.
Two days ago I purchased a domain for the niche that I made my 30 day challenge sale ($18.78) in. I like the niche and think there's a lot of potential in it. I'm also finding a few more key phrases that fit the parameters that were looking for as far as competition and daily searches. One of the free platform sites that I put up is ranked fourth in google and is getting pretty good traffic.
Anyways - I thought I would take the next step by purchasing a domain and putting up a site - which is why I haven't posted the last couple of days, been busy putting that site together.
And tonight I made a map of my niche so far - I'd say about 10 percent completed compared to Dan's site. But it was fun to map out, and since I'm a pretty visual person, it really clarifies my direction with this niche for me.
Red - Search Engine Traffic
Blue - Targeted Key Phrases
Yellow - Content Sites - Free Platforms
Grey - Content Site - Domains I own
Purple - Affiliate Product
Obviously I still have a long ways to go - but it's a good start and I'm having fun putting this together.
Have you ever locked your kid in the bathroom and tried to make up for it by promising them a 24 inch LCD widescreen?
So have you ever locked your kid in the bathroom and forgotten about it? Ok - so I didn't really lock him in the bathroom.
We both crashed this morning for our mid-morning nap on the couch. Two hours Later - I was awakened by some muffled,distant crying. Apparently, Harper had woken up, crawled off the couch without waking me, went to the bathroom, and shut the door.
He's not tall enough to turn on the lights, and hasn't figured out the door knob yet. So the little man was sitting in the dark crying and waiting for somebody to either let him out, or turn on the lights so he could wreak havoc on the bathroom.
I'm not sure how long he was in there - I hope I woke up rather quickly, but we might not ever know. He's not telling.
Luckily - to Harper I'm probably the funniest person on the planet. I did a little arm waving and danced around a little bit and the tears turned to laughter. That joke always kills.
I don't know what I'm going to do when Harper's sense of humor changes from quick/sudden movements combined with dancing jigs because well, I don't have much else in the way of material. I've been watching Last Comic Standing hoping to pick up some new jokes to tell him - but really, most of their jokes consist of quick/sudden movements and dancing jigs.
So I thought I would make it up him. Bribe him if you will. I told him I'd enter him in a contest to win a nice 24 inch LG widescreen LCD.
It'd be good for watching the Wiggles - who are really good at quick/sudden movements and dancing jigs.
Not too hard. And check this out - if you enter before September 1st - you get put into an early bird drawing for a copy of the popular book "The 4-hour Workweek." That's like two contests in one! How can you pass that up?
See What Happens When You Don't Check Your Spam Folder For A Whole Week?
Now do you see the importance of setting up a throwaway email if you're going to do any 'Get Paid To' sites? Almost 4000 spam! Do not use your regular email! Duh.
Luckily this is an email account that I set up specifically for this purpose - I don't have it for any other reason than to collect spam. In fact - I'm thinking about going for the Guinness Book of World Records' Record for spam collection. Is there such a record? If there isn't it could be wide open for my taking. Though gmail does auto-delete spam after a month - so maybe my record will have to be for spam collected in a month.
I mean - collecting spam is ok right? It's not like any trees are dying in it's production. Maybe a few electrons here and there - what is the environmental impact of spam anyways? Is there any? Or is it a clean burning pollutant?
If you'd like your own spam collection email - set one up on gmail. Then sign up at some spam generator like CashCrate. We can race - first one to 20,000?
This Post Is Rather Long - And Rambles A Bit - But Blogger Doesn't Really Give You The Option Of Having An About Page - And That's What I Felt Like Writing
We're coming to the end of the Thirty Day Challenge. I have to say - the challenge has been by far one of the most informative lessons I've learned about making money online.
This blog has been in existence for a little over 2 months now. It started out on a whim - a challenge to myself to see if I could do something (i.e. make money online) - without any real experience. Could I use the internet as a resource to educate myself on how to make money online (without investing any), while at the same time making money online? It's sort of been like going to school and trying to get paid to do it.
Of course the need for this experiment was based on a real life need of providing for my family. Not that I don't provide for them - but I have a non-traditional occupation (i.e. poker player) in which there are no benefits, no retirement plan, and no real security. I've done that for four years and have always done well - but there's always the what if? I was o.k. with the what if? before Harper, because it's always just been me, but now I feel the need to create something that will always be there in case of a what if? That's where the idea of the internet and creating a passive income for my family that we'll always be able to count on came in.
I love to look at how things evolve, how learning different things will change your course, how one action will lead to one result while another action will lead to a different one.
When I started this project - I really had no idea how to get where I was going. I was starting as a clean slate. Since I've started I've seen a lot of other blogs done by people much more knowledgeable than myself - trying to go from not having an online income to creating one. But these guys have done there homework. They have relative experience and they have a plan - I had nothing more than a goal when I started.
I knew that you could make money online - but I wasn't exactly sure how. I knew there were bloggers that made money - but I really had no idea to go about that. I have another blog that I've had for about 2 years - and I had put some AdSense ads on it which I think made me about 10 bucks over a year. I had no idea about ad placement or how to really monetize that blog - but that wasn't my goal with that blog. It was more like "Oh wow, you can make money with ads on your blog? Ok, here's an ad." And then I forgot about it.
So when I decided to do this - I started with the 'Get Paid To' programs. All the ones in my sidebar. Do a search for "making money online" and you'll quickly be guided towards those programs. I didn't even start with this blog. The blog came about 2 weeks into the project when I thought it would be nice to have a central place to review and handle traffic for my 'Get Paid To' programs. This blog was started as a hub for that - but has since evolved into a little more than that - I hope. Yes - I still am using the GPT programs now, but they've kind of taken a back seat to Internet Marketing.
Internet Marketing - I don't even know how I came across it. I just began to see more examples of it as I tried to continue my self-education. I would stumble across a blog where somebody was talking about niches and read an article about that - not really understanding it. Then I would come across a 'niche' site, and suddenly recognize it for what it was. Before - I never really realized that I might be on some site talking about and selling 'herbal remedies' or anything for that matter, and the owner of that site might not be the 'expert' that I thought they were. Wow. You could do that?
So I'd look for more information which eventually led me to the 30 Day Challenge. What an experience. I now know how to research, build, and get traffic for a niche site. I've even made a sale on a product that I really knew nothing about until I started researching that market. How exciting is that? It's like I can put on a different hat everyday. One day I could work in my little shop selling barbecue equipment and the next day be a fitness expert talking about weight training (no, those are not the niches I'm working right now).
So where do I see this going? Well, I see myself trying to build some niche sites in the near future to work towards my goal. I love internet marketing - I was telling my mother about it because I was thinking it was almost a perfect combination of all of the different skills that I've acquired throughout my life. It's tough because I have this strange skill set, but it seems to work in this field.
I've never had a real career - being a poker pro is the closest thing I've had that could be called a career - and I don't think there are many people that would call it that. But here's the problem - I didn't go to business school or medical school - I went to graduate school and studied poetry. Poetry. When I was doing it I was telling myself that this was a life choice - that I wasn't interested in creating a career for myself, I just wanted to study the art. Of course - when I decided that I wasn't going to continue teaching (which is all you can really do as a poet - because I don't think there's a single poet that makes a living solely on their writing of poetry), I entered the work force without a degree for any type of 'regular' career. I have plenty of degrees, yes, but nothing that really gave me many options besides staying in school and working in academia (which is where most of my friends from grad school are). I had just decided that that wasn't for me.
Since I've left that world I've worked for a couple of graphic design firms (not as a designer - some copy writing, but mostly production and account management). I've sold cars - new and used. I've waited tables. I worked briefly as a financial planner (but grew tired of it as I learned it was so sales heavy (by this time I was burned out on sales)). And than I figured out I was better than most people at a game called poker and before I knew it - had been using poker as my sole income for more than four years. Plus, over the years I've tinkered with websites and stuff to know just enough to get by if I wanted to create a website.
So that's why I love the 30 Day Challenge. It's given me an opportunity to really believe that I might be able to create what I set out to create - a little stability in Harper's life. It's made me realize that I can be a 'jack of all trades / master of none' and still find success. Have I found that success? No, but I can taste it. I realize this is the beginning of a new journey. My quest that started with 'gpt' sites and not knowing a whole lot about making money online, is going to take a turn into Internet Marketing for the time being. And I'm excited to see where I go from here.
Because with internet marketing, I'm no expert. Yet.
Using Links In Your Posts Is Like Printing Your Own Money
New Schedule Harper's been running me ragged today. Today was the first day of our new schedule. Mom's starting a new job and is gone from about six in the morning till three. So now I got the kiddo all to myself all morning.
I'm not a morning person.
Well, ok, at least I'm not right now because I have been on a different schedule. I usually work through the night and mom would have him till about noon. Not anymore. Now I have to try to get to sleep earlier so that I can spend my morning putting the dvd's back on the shelf, the pots back in the cupboard, and well, change some not so fun diapers.
But it's fun. I just have to figure out how I'm going to get anything done now. I'll still have a few hours in the evening - and I hope that I can get some stuff done during the day. I'll just have to distract him at key moments with snacks. Those seem to work. Bright shiny objects aren't working so well anymore - guess he's past that stage.
If I can just work out 15 minutes here, and 15 minutes there I should be able to get a few little things done - a few quick articles hopefully. It's just so hard because I tend to want to pass out during those 15 minutes.
It was funny today because I couldn't get him to take a nap for the life of me. Eventually, finally, he simply spread out on the floor in the living room and feel asleep. So not wanting to pass up an opportunity for a nice nap, I passed out next to him on the floor.
Using links in your blog posts How's that for a transition? Really smooth, eh? (eh? I've been talking to a Canadian friend a lot lately and I love to use eh, eh? He claims there's about a hundred ways to use eh. I've only found about 36 so far).
I've been thinking a lot about how I use links in this blog. You ever think about that? I mean really, links are like money in the blog world. People have contests and do all sorts of things to procure valuable links. So if you have a blog - it's like being able to print money. Ok, not really. Because really, I guess you're links heading out of your blog are only as valuable as the links you have coming in.
Link to the big boys Why? I used to have some links to the big ones - you know, problogger, john chow, etc...I mean really, what's the point? You're readers probably know how to get there. In fact, they've probably been reading them just as long as you have. So really, what's the point of having that link - I used to tell myself that it was so I could just click on it when I wanted to read there stuff. Yeah, I have them in my bloglines - do I need a link too? No.
Link to your peers So if links are so valuable, who are they most valuable to? Blogs like your own. Blogs that are about the same size, slightly bigger, slightly smaller. That's where your real traffic is going to come from, and that's who is going to love seeing that you linked to them. Trust me. I know everybody that has a link to me. It's not hard - it's not a huge list yet. It's growing, but that's because I've been nurturing those relationships. Scratch my back and I'll scratch yours. That's the idea right?
I could link to John Chow, is he going to link back to me? Probably not. Yet. That's because everybody that has a blog links to John. He doesn't have to link back to me. But that's ok. It's not going to make me angry. I'm not losing any sleep over it.
But what's really nice is when you've written a post and linked to somebody and a few days later they link back to you in one of their's. That's what this all about. That's what you should strive for. Those are the links that are going to be the most valuable to you in the long run. It takes some time - you're not going to blow up over night, but if you grow a little every week, you'll get there in good time.
One of the things I like about fellow up and coming blogger Angel, is that he says what he thinks. He's not afraid to try something out and give his honest opinion on it. For example - he recently tried out CashCrate and Treasure Trooper using my referral links and gave his opinion on the program.
As you can see by the title of his article - he's not a big fan of the "get paid to" sites. But that's ok - like I've said before, it's not for everybody.
I do disagree a little though. I agree that sitting and clicking those ads isn't fun. It's boring and you might make more money if you went and got a job at McDonald's. But for about 15 minutes of my time a day, I could make a couple of bucks which at the end of the month might be 30 or 40 dollars. Yeah, not a good hourly rate, but I could watch a show on television everyday for 30 minutes and not have any cash at the end of the month for it.
But I don't spend 15 minutes a day on it.
I've written a few posts about it - made a few comments in a couple of forums with a link in my signature line. That's about all I've done with those - because I really think the power of these programs comes when you can build a large referral pool. I mean really - Amy of My Debt Free Goal makes $1500 bucks a month from a couple of weeks she spent getting referrals (she also wrote this great review that had a very high conversion rate). Now that's a nice passive income.
So, fill out the surveys yourself and you could make enough for a dinner at a not so fancy restaurant each month, or try to get a few referrals and you might be going out for sushi. A few times.
Anyways - thanks for trying it out Angel. At least Harper can thank you because the fifteen or thirty minutes you spent laboring over those surveys on the other side of the world bought Harper a cone at DQ here in hot Las Vegas. And ice cream is always a good thing.
Speaking of Angel - he's having a contest and this week I'm all about the contest so I guess things in the universe are just lining up. So. It's a pretty simple contest.
Just as I was about to hit 'publish' on the previous post about the 30DC Mass Hysteria taking place, Harper walked by with his tupperware helmet on. I thought it was appropriate.
Do you ever feel like you're the last person to hear about something? I mean, I feel like I stay current with most things - but I just found Pandora.com like 2 weeks ago. Where have I been?
I mean I love iTunes - but that's limited to my collection - extensive as it is it isn't everything I like to listen to.
I find new stuff on Pandora every day.
For anybody that hasn't tried it - check it out. You type in a song or band and it creates a station for you based on that selection. Then it plays stuff by that artist plus related stuff. Pretty neat - pretty organic in how it works.
Tumblr Tumbld Following the last few days of excitement as people dove into the 30 day challenge - things seem to have reversed. Panic and hysteria has set in as a majority of the 30 day challenge participants logged onto their computers today to find their tumblr sites had been erased from the internet.
Unfortunately, my 3 sites were erased as well - though all three of them are still ranked in the top 10 of their respective phrase match searches on google. Oh well.
It's funny - I finished working at about 5 this morning and when I logged back on this afternoon it was obvious something was wrong. The first thing I usually check is my BlogLines, and there were plenty of posts already talking about the carnage. I checked my sites and confirmed, yes, they were gone.
What can you do but move on. Something like this was bound to happen - and I think like Ed said in his response video today - it's time to make a choice.
So what's it going to be? If you've spent the day angry and upset and full of panic - then you might want to take a step back from the challenge.
I think making money online is equal parts determination and attitude. If you're going to let one site, ONE site get you this worked up - then trying to make money online is going to be a long tough road for you.
After seeing my tumblr blogs (hours of work) gone - I stepped away from the computer. It was frustrating sure, because I feel that I genuinely had some good content up on tumblr with one small link at the bottom of each blog, not spam in any way shape or form, but it's ok. So about a half hour later I was back, looking for a new platform to start again. Last night I had actually started work on a different platform from tumblr, so I finished that one up, and then immediately set out on another.
Tumblr was never meant to be the crowning achievement for you in your quest to make money in a niche market - it was one tool among many that we will be using. Some of them are going to work, some of them aren't. It's too bad that tumblr falls into the latter category. Especially since so many had experienced a little initial success from it.
My first $10 from the 30DC In fact - while working on a new platform, I logged into my clickbank account to get some links that I needed for my new pages - and what do you know, there was money in it.
$18.78. Apparently, before tumblr had been nuked - I had made a sale from it. I knew for sure that it was tumblr because it's tracking code showed up in the details of the sale.
So there. A little bit of success amongst the rubble. I was really excited to see the sale, but, I had already made up my mind to trek on - this was just a nice little extra.
So make that choice. Are you going to suck it up - because in the world of the internet, there are going to be plenty more bumps - some harder to take than this one.
I have a feeling that we're going to lose a lot of people this weekend - but that's a natural process in anything - not everybody is meant to do this. Throughout my life I've tried many different things, and I've learned what I'm good at and what I'm not - use it as a lesson, use it as motivation.
Ready, Set, GO! So the 30 Day Challenge is really starting to heat up. It's almost starting to feel like a race as thousands of challengers are now diving into tumblr to get their content up and begin fishing for traffic.
I just completed my first two tumblr sites - and feel like I'm bringing up the rear as I read the forums and all the people bragging about finding their sites on google already. Oh well. Also - both! of my umbrella phrases were already taken for url's in tumblr. I looked at both sites and their wasn't any content up yet, so I at least beat them to the punch there.
Another Contest Continuing my week long study of contests, I came across another contest via Contest Blogger today. It's for a contest on the blog Just Not Martha. All you have to do to enter this contest is write a post about pampering yourself or somebody else or something to that effect and link to the contest page like so, and you'll get an entry into the contest. The prize is a nice little "Pamper Me" package full of fruity tooty bath stuff that I'm sure my wife will love. And yes, if I win I'll be surprising her with the package to thank her for letting me spend so much time working on this blog and the 30 Day Challenge. Is that a fair trade? Soap for hours upon hours of sitting in front of the computer?
Well, maybe I'll keep the Whipped Body Creme for myself. It sounds like it could be fun.
Another thing that caught my eye about this contest is the nice little banners that they provide for it - how easy is that?
Doing things like providing your readers with tools to promote your contest or blog is only going to make it easier to get the word out. I can click and paste - shoot, I think Harper already knows how to click and paste. Plus, it just adds to your branding - a logo for a contest isn't all too common just yet - so make your contest stand out by providing some.
Mac's MapPin I talked with Paul today about Mac's MapPin - and he said Mac is so excited by the response he's been getting and can't wait for the postcards to start rolling in. I'd like to thank everybody who's taken the time to send one or promote it on their blog. If you don't know what I'm talking about - see the previous post.
When I was a kid we had pen pals. I thought it was so neat to get a letter from some kid on the other side of the country, or even in another country (I had a German pen pal named Daniella). The world was still largely unknown to me. I didn't talk to people in Thailand or Australia or even Hoboken on a daily basis. So each one of those connections with a pen pal was like a connection to another world for me that was only experienced as quickly as the postman could deliver my letter.
And then we got email. And chatrooms. The internet. MySpace, Facebook. Now it's a daily occurrence for me to talk to somebody and not even be sure where in the world they are typing from. How small is my world now that someone's location is such an afterthought these days.
So that's why when I got this email today from Mac and his father Paul Hughes (of Team Xtreme fame) that I smiled, that I took a moment to remember what it's like to reach out and connect with the world for the first time - how exciting it is to look at a map and know that you've talked to a friend thousands of miles away in a distant and unknown city.
I love the idea of this - the blending of 20th century link building and 21st century technology to spread the word.
It took me all of five minutes to find a postcard, write a quick note on it, and drop it in the mail. And at this moment, my postcard to Mac is traveling in a postal truck with all the speed of my first 2400 bps modem. In a day or two I hope Mac gets it and is able to add a pin to his map and feel a little more connected to his rapidly expanding world. If you have 5 minutes, try it out.
These days it seems that everybody is running a contest on their blog. It's an interesting tactic to market your site. Everyday, in my BlogLines it seems I read about 3 or 4 new contests from blogs I haven't seen. I imagine a properly done contest could boost a sites traffic and rss subscribers greatly if done right.
What do you need to run a successful contest? Well, blogging basics like good content and well, good content are important. Because let's face it - the purpose of a blog contest is not only to increase traffic and gain exposure for your blog by generating a lot of reviews/links/comments, but to maintain the traffic and readers after the contest is over. You want people to come back and the only way to do that is to simply provide them with information and ideas that they can use. It would suck to get a bunch of traffic during your contest period and then lose it all after the contest ends because you have nothing left to offer. If that were to happen you might need to bribe your readers some more with a new contest.
A nice prize doesn't hurt either. Different prizes are going to appeal to different people. Some blogs give away links or reviews, some give away iPods. There are books and dvd's to be had, sometimes even cash. Contest Blogger (the blog about you guessed it: contests) is even giving away an autographed copy of Virgin Comics trade paperpack "The Sadhu."
Take a few minutes and try one.
I haven't entered that many contests - but today I came across a contest with a prize that caught my interest. Ben Cook over at the Blogging Experiment is running a contest where you simply have to link to his site with the anchor text "make money blogging" or some variation of that and subscribe to his rss feed.
If, and only if, on September 1st, Feedburner reports that he has at least 150 subscribers to his blog (which on a side note - is similar to this blog in that he is trying to generate an income from his blog, though he gives himself one full year (which is probably a lot smarter and more realistic than 100 days (which I've come to realize might be a stretch, though I'm still determined, and hey, if it takes me 150 days, we still might call that a semi-success))) then he is going to award the winner of the contest the Complete Blogging Package. This package includes a 3 month subscription to the popular Blog Mastermind Mentoring program, a copy of Aaron Wall's $79 dollar SeoBook, and free reviews on Chrisg.com and the Authority Blogger Forum.
On top of that, Ben is throwing in some super bonuses for milestones of 250, 500, and 1000 (a $400 dollar review on Johnchow.com) rss subscribers. Pretty cool, eh? I think so, I like the twist and incentives added. I've got an iPod, you can build links and relationships - but most of these things that will help you in improving your blogging abilities are only going to be had by spending a little money. So why not try to win them for free? Plus, I like Ben's site and plan on following along in his journey and see if he can't help me out a bit in mine.
So maybe you're thinking about running a contest. Go for it. Just make sure you have the content to back it up. Make sure that people are going to want to participate by offering something of value to them. Make it stand out. It'd suck to run a contest and get two entrants. You might feel a little silly.
Over the next week I'm going to be looking at different contests being run, I might even enter a few. I'm going to look at what's working, and what isn't so that hopefully, by the end of the week I'll be able to launch a small little contest of my own and maybe, just maybe attract more than two entrants.
Both Harper and I took the weekend off of the computer. Well, I guess he didn't really take it off as he still likes to walk up to the computer desk and bang on the keyboard when I'm not looking. He's getting pretty good at doing things when I'm not looking. In fact, that's how most of our days are spent, looking for things to do when dad's not looking. Climbing on the chairs to get on top of the table, taking all of the pots out of the cabinet, putting dad's keys in the dog's water bowl...
Here's our first experience with watermelon. It's alright.
But enough with the swimming and watermelons and fun. It's back to work. Tomorrow, training resumes for the 30 Day Challenge after a nice weekend off.
I've been having some success with gaining referrals for CashCrate. I've been haunting a few different forums promoting it - one of the many doing this - but despite that, have gotten a few referrals. Not an avalanche of referrals, but a few - enough to keep me going.
I'm about to hit the minimum payout level for Hits4Pay. I have the most referrals on there out of the programs that I'm using - but I think I'm going to earn more on CashCrate as things pick up there. I'm still debating whether I am going to continue with Hits4Pay - it just takes a while to earn there and I'm not sure if it is worth the effort.
One thing I haven't tried yet on this blog is a blog contest. I've seen all sorts of different contests - on the big sites where the prizes can be pretty nice, to the smaller sites where you might win a review (and a coveted 'link') or a few bucks. I think I'll be running a contest sometime towards the end of the week, just have to work out the details. So be on the lookout!
That being the big news for me right now - here's some stuff I've been reading.
My Debt Free Goal. Amy's post talks about taking small steps to build up your passive income. Rather than worry about how you're going to make that next (first) million, think about how you can increase your passive income $10 a day - you'd be surprised where that will get you.
Let me admit right off that it was luck. I'd like to say that I researched the market, found a keyword phrase and targeted that phrase till I owned it.
Nope. The reason that I'm making almost $200 dollars a month on CafePress is pretty much dumb luck. But hey, there's no reason we can't duplicate that success and really put it to work for us.
Ok. So what did I do and how did I do it?
I opened a store on CafePress about a year and half ago, and within a few months I was making about $150 dollars a month pretty steadily. Here's a shot of my best selling products:
That goes on for 2 more pages - a bunch of products that I've sold a few of, but about 85% of the "I'm all in...Bitches!" design.
Is the design particularly great? No. But here's what happened. When I uploaded the design into CafePress, I made sure that I tagged it with descriptive keywords and I also wrote detailed descriptions of the design and products for every article of clothing that I offered in the store. And by descriptive I mean I didn't write "This is a poker shirt." I wrote descriptions like "This is a great shirt to wear at the poker table to show the other players you mean business and plan on taking all of their chips. I'm all in bitches!" Silly stuff like that. Soon the search engines picked it up.
Now doing a "gTrends" (google trends) search, you'll see that for the phrase "I'm all in bitches" I own the top spot, and 3 out of the top five spots. So it's likely that I'm catching almost all of the traffic for that phrase. It's not a lot - it's just a few per day, but apparently they're converting at a nice high rate.
A lot of people on Cafe Press forget that people don't search for things by images - and when they upload their designs, they don't describe them. How are the search engines ever going to find your beautiful design? They won't! You have to write about them.
I didn't know any of this stuff when I opened up my store, but because of a little dumb luck, I had some success. This success caused me to start looking at why it happened, and because of the things I'm learning in the 30 Day Challenge - everything is really becoming clear now.
Apply what you know about niche marketing to CafePress and you can turn some simple fun like designing t-shirts into a monthly paycheck.
It's always important to know where your readers are coming from. It's important to know what they're clicking on. It's also important that you don't spend too much time trying to figure it all out.
I'm really bad about this. I love watching my traffic stats. I like making a post someplace else and watching what kind of traffic it generates. In elementary school did you ever release groups of balloons with your class's information to see who would find the note attached to the balloon and contact you?
Or - when you were a kid did you ever send signals up into the night sky with a flashlight in case aliens might pick up your signal?
I'm still waiting for a response on that one.
I always wonder if I'm just waving a flashlight around in the sky when I'm blogging.
That's why when you look at your stats, you'll be able to see what is actually having an effect, and this is good because you can do more of that.
Make sure you know what activities are directing traffic to your site. Is it the comments you left on a fellow blogger's blog? Is it the link in the sidebar that you exchanged for? Is it an article you wrote that had a link back to you?
I also like to know which links are being clicked. Do you know which is your most popular? Out of every link I have, text or image, this is my most popular, it's one of my referral links - though lately I've had it linking to one of my reviews:
But it's only getting a lot of clicks when it's in a mostly text post and it's the only graphic.
Know these things. But learn to recognize the patterns without having to analyze every little detail. I mean - it's possible to see things about the browser people are using, the operating system, what they had for breakfast, what their dog's name is. These things are important, but if you spend too much time worrying about that, you'll spend valuable time that you could have been using to create the traffic in the first place.
A quick little blog upkeep post. Some odds and ends that I've been collecting to put into a single post.
I've had a few readers contact me in the last couple days with some questions. I'm always happy to get emails or comments from anybody with any questions for me. If I can I'll reply through email, or perhaps if it's something I can address on the blog itself - I'll do that.
And with my participation in the 30 Day Challenge there are all sorts of new ways that you can reach me.
Facebook Profile - Add me as a friend, I could use a few. Twitter - follow me and I'll do the same. or good old fashioned email - chewingglass(at)aol(dot)com
For everybody looking for my RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed, fret no more. Like a scavenger hunt or Easter Sunday I've taken the liberty of hiding a button on this page that will beam all this wonderful content directly to the feed reader of your choice. Look carefully and see if you can find it - it looks a little like this:
Good. On to the mailbag. Somebody asked me yesterday how I deal with all of the emails that I receive when I complete an offer on CashCrate. Simple. Gmail. I've set up a gmail account specifically for my CashCrate account. I use it whenever I complete an offer and all the emails get sent to my gmail where I can just select all and delete. And as far as a phone number - get a free one! privatephone.com will give you a free phone number with voicemail which you can check online and never have to worry about annoying sales calls.
For a blog with, oh, let's say a readership of eh - 36, and about 75 - 100 unique page views a day to get a stand alone link on a blog that had a readership of, oh, maybe twenty eight thousand and eight hundred and eighty four subscribed readers? Give or take a few.
Well, let's find out.
First, and everybody say "duh" together - you'll need to link to them. Like so. Make sure you make the link really visible, that's important.
Next - and please realize, this might not happen overnight, it could take you a really long, long time to ever get noticed by this guy that you want to notice you, whoever it may be, and shoot - it might never happen. But let's not think about that. Stay positive, move forward, implement a plan.
Third. Wait, sorry - I never finished Next. Next - try leaving a comment or two or one hundred on their blog.
Third. Again. Number Three. Write a review of that guy's blog. (flattery might work best - nobody wants to admit it, but we all like a little ass kissing when it comes down to it) or some kind of silly post that focuses on them and what they mean to you and how you look up to them and well, ok, let's be honest - you just think it would be cool to make it on his front page. It's kind of like being the guy who catches the home run ball. You're probably going to be on ESPN for at least, oh 2 seconds. Maybe longer if you fall down or something while doing it. People like spills.
Ok maybe catching the home run is a bad example because really that's simply an accident or just dumb luck. No, this takes planning. To accomplish this task you're really going to have to plan it out. Like this guy:
Fourth. And four is important. Ask for favors. But be prepared and willing to do a lot of back scratching in return. Who can you ask? Maybe your readers? Moo knows? I don't know - maybe one of the blogs that you read religiously and are a big silly fan of and plug every chance you get. Everybody click here please:
(don't ever 'blink' stuff on your site - it's sorta tacky)
Somehow you have to work your way up to the big one - and the problem with shooting for such a big one is that a guy like that just might not have the time to notice the big old link you put up just for him in bright lights:
He might be kind of busy.
If the people sitting a few rungs above you could give you a hand - it actually might be possible. Who knows. Promise them lots of future promotion. Promise them your first born, no, wait - don't do that. Promise them lots of good karma in the next life. Promise them you'll become a huge advocate to ban cow tipping.
I'd promise at least two (count em, two!) milk drinkers a day for the rest of my blogging life. Forget that - promises shromises. I guarantee, yes you heard it, guarantee. 2. Readers. Every. Single. Day. From my blog to yours.
Wow. Let's catch our breath and digest that for a minute.
Don't forget your readers. Promise your readers plenty of good content - you wouldn't want to waste any new found fame or whatever something like that brings you. 15 minutes maybe.
We've all heard the following: Lie. Cheat. Beg. Steal. Ok, not the first two. Yes on the third, no on the fourth.
Please Please Please!
It's ok because if it doesn't work, nobody's going to remember - hopefully.
I mean - you wouldn't want to be that guy would you? That one guy that tried to do that but then didn't and now everybody just kind of looks at you funny guy. No, not that guy.
I don't know. Maybe Darren likes cute dog pictures. It can't hurt right? I mean, a dog wearing a derby with a mustache smoking a pipe......?
It's worth a shot right? I mean what's the worst that could happen? You could lose your internet privileges. Perhaps.
You could also stop the Earth from being slowly pulled towards the sun which is causing all sorts of problems, including the shortening of the terrestrial year. I don't know exactly how that's a problem, but it is. Really.
So like I said - you have to do what you have to do to get your piece, your slice of well... at least let's try not to be cliche.
Does a tree falling in the...ok, sorry. Stay positive.
Remember to give one hundred and...Yes. I'm sure you get the picture.
Niche Markets - How to put the niche in the market
This is by far the most excellentest blog post / explanation of Niche Markets that I've seen since I began the 30 Day Challenge. I thought I understood niche markets - but after reading this post by Mike Mindel (co-founder of WordTracker) I now have to go back through and start over. But, I'm sure that's going to be a good thing. I wouldn't want to get to far into it before I realized a mistake and had to start over. And luckily I think I still have two hours before Harper wakes up. Oh. Crap.
So far I think I've been super focused on the niche and forgot about the second half - the market. Anyways, I believe that this blog is going to go hand in hand with the training videos and podcasts from this point on. Like a super, free Cliff's Notes this blog is. http://www.webventurer.com/blog/thirty-day-challenge-3/
It's easy to earn a hundred bucks in a month with a program like CashCrate. You'll spend a few hours on the computer completing the surveys and such - but in the end you'll have a nice check for $100 dollars American for your time.
I've spent time completing offers and blogging about that process on CashCrate as well as other programs like Treasure Trooper. They're easy money - if you have the time.
Now, I've got a few referrals and I've made a little bit from those referrals. Which got me to wondering exactly how powerful are those referrals? Are they worth the effort?
Yesterday I had a conversation with a fellow blogger who does nothing with those programs besides the referrals. Her first month with one program she made over $1500 bucks. Now, she has a ton of referrals, but I was surprised by how quickly she actually accumulated those referrals and how easily. Now, she just sits back and collects a check every month.
This made me rethink some strategies for gaining those referrals. My fellow blogger gave me a few tips which I'm going to try out. I started by writing a review of CashCrate to which I'll spare you the details. My next step is I'm going to start working some forums with the link to the review right in my sig line. Usually in a forum I'll just have the sig point to my blog, but I'm going to see if pointing it to the review will make a difference.
Seems like a lot of work for little return. If you have serious articles, why not submit them to magazines?
Yes - I agree with you. It probably is a lot of work for what you receive back monetarily. But, there are a lot of ways that you can use Associated Content that will benefit you in other ways and increase the return you receive.
For example (for all the 30 Day Challenge participants reading): use articles on Associated Content to help launch a niche site. How do you do that? Well, to use Ed's favorite example again - let's say you want to develop a site on sausage making.
We've been told that the narrower your topic is for your niche, the more likely you'll find success. This is true on Associated Content as well. If you establish yourself as an "expert" on a certain topic like sausage making by writing a lot of articles, you're going to have more of your articles published, as well as less competition for searches looking for that topic.
So you develop your site on sausage making.
As you develop it, you write 6 - 8 (or more!) articles on sausage making.
The History of Sausage in the New World
Sausage makers in San Antonio, Texas
How to make a Summer Sausage
Sausage and Cheese: A primer
I fell in love with a sausage maker
Annual Sausage making conference lands in Grand Forks, ND.
Sausage Making: Not a pretty picture
Important: Place a link to your site in your article. Duh!
Associated Content publishes the articles and you get 30 or 40 bucks deposited straight into paypal. Now, let's say you had some startup costs for your niche site on sausage making. A domain name, hosting, etc. The money from the articles more than covers that cost.
So - you get paid up front for the articles, plus you potentially drive more people that are interested in sausage making to your sausage making website where they purchase the Sausage Maker 2.0 Deluxe. In reality, your article that took 20 minutes to write has paid you on the back end as well.
I agree - if you're writing serious articles, why not submit to magazines. Well, like you said - serious is the key word. I spend 20 minutes on article. Not exactly what I consider serious.
I'm using Associated Content as one of many marketing tools and a way to make a few bucks on something that most places are not going to pay me for. Another way to use this tool - if you do want to submit to magazines - is as a sample portfolio. It's easy to point people to your Content Producer page (here's mine) so they can get an idea of your capabilities. It is in no way a complete portfolio for me, but it works if somebody wants something quick and easily accessible. They can always request to see more if it sparks their interest.
You can always use these articles as a springboard for larger projects. One thing about writing is that the more you do it - the easier it becomes. I try to make sure that everyday I post to my blog, I write a few articles for Associated Content, and I read as much as I can. If you keep up a routine it makes things like writer's block a problem you won't have much trouble with.
You can check out Angel's blog here. It's one of my regular reads - I try to read it everyday and he always has thoughtful and well written posts.
If you were wondering how Associated Content works - here's a few quick pics to show you how easy it is to make money there.
Notice - the top article is an article I submitted today. It generally takes anywhere from 1 to 5 days for them to make an offer to you.
The second two articles that say "pending/confirmed" are articles that I wrote yesterday and received offers for today. I accepted both offers and am happy as they are both slightly above my average of $4.75 per article.
The last articles that say "Published" in green are articles that have been published and I have received payment for. Here is a pic of my paypal account where they deposited the money - the great thing is there is no minimum payment. They pay you per article. So if you write one - you get paid for one. If you write one hundred, you get paid for 100!
You feel like you've just moved from the big city into a town of a couple thousand people. Everybody there has the same interests. The town has a general store to take care of the necessities. And you have first crack at setting up shop. If you do it right?
Well...let's just say all you have to do now, is figure out what it is that these people want.
Taking a Break from the 30 Day Challenge - for at least 10 minutes
If you're anything like me, when you start a new project you like to dive in head first. I go all out. I try to find out as much as I can about my new project. I immerse myself in it. That's been no different with this year's 30 Day Challenge. I'm at full speed ahead.
But now it's time to come up for a breath of air. My head is full of niche markets. Niche this, niche that. I need a few hours to regroup. That's ok though, because you'll find moments spent regrouping often lead to moments of clarity when you dive back in.
Today in my blog reader I noticed multiple posts across a few different blogs on the subject of writing a blog. My bovine friends over at John Cow had a rather a nice lengthy list of tips which included:
16. Write about many different topics while still remaining at least somewhat relevant to your industry. The more you talk about, the less likely your readers are to become bored with your blog.
I like that one. It's easy to get stuck writing about the same thing. Over and over. And over. Obviously try not to go from a post about Sausage Making to Underwater Kickboxing (examples Ed likes apparently), but try to vary things up a bit.
Try to think of your blog as your own personal magazine. You're the Editor in Chief - which means you can publish whatever you want, but remember, you still have to create interest in your readers. Change it up. Post a video about sausage making. Write an article about good Vermont Sausage. Make a list of the best sausage restaurants east of the Mississippi.
A lot of times I'll write a post and then become unsure of whether or not I want to post it. If you are overly critical of yourself, you might do this a lot. But remember, this can bring your blog to a grinding halt. Soon, nothing you write will be good enough to publish. When I'm not sure about a post, I'll save it as a draft. Then - I'll immediately write another post and post it. After one day, I'll come back to the saved post. If I've changed my mind and am ready to post it - I'll post it. If I've decided not to post it for whatever reason - I'll delete it. If I'm still unsure - I post it. Some of my most popular posts are posts that I wasn't sure of at first.
Another aspect of running a successful magazine is handling advertising space. We've all read posts about monetizing your blog and all that good stuff.
But don't forget this: the most important advertising space on your blog are the posts themselves. They are what drive traffic to your site, they are the things that are front and center - what people read first. If I write a number of posts in a day, I'll often find myself trying to space those posts out - because I want to give each post plenty of time at the top and center.
If you have a new blog - remember that controlling your front piece is super important, because a lot of readers are going to be seeing your blog for the first time. First impressions count, so make sure what you have up is what you want them to see when they first get there. On the other hand - I often find this is a great motivator to write more posts, because if I think that my current post is simply average, I want to replace it with something better - which forces me to constantly write to improve that center space.
Thirty Day Challenge Day 2: How to get Digged, Dugged, and Buried.
Yesterday I Digged (Dugged?) my blog page. I'd Digged/Dugg a few sites before, but I'd say I am rather new to Digg overall - I hadn't used it much or looked at it much before the 30 Day Challenge. Shortly after I dig/dugged my site I saw a spike in my traffic - in fact it quadrupled my traffic yesterday. Wow. Now I was excited.
Ok. So maybe I got a little overzealous, maybe I should have researched it a little more - but come on I just quadrupled traffic by a single Digg. It was like walking a kid into Toys R Us and handing him a hundred bucks. I went through and Digged and Dugged different pages on my site, as well as my other sites. If 1 Digg had that kind of effect - imagine the traffic I was going to get now - I started planning the upgrade for my hosting account to handle the massive amounts of traffic I was going to be swimming in.
This is a screenshot of what Digg looks like after you get banned:
And this is what a series of emails to Digg begging them for forgiveness might look like:
Hmm...They don't seem to be much into forgiveness.
So for all you 30 Day Challengers. Let this be a lesson to all of you on what not to do on Dig Dug. Punishment could include sending you back to traffic purgatory. Well, ok - I still have Stumble and Delicious and the 148 other social bookmarking sites...
The main problems I'm having with the 30 Day Challenge
I'm a procrastinator. If there were a Procrastinators Anonymous, you'd hear me in the front row, "Hi, my name is Patrick..." So I was reading one of the many excellent blogs that I've found because of the 30 Day Challenge, and Income Hero was talking about Increasing StumbleUpon Traffic. Cool, I'd like to do that. Here's something that caught my attention:
So the strategy that Jimmy suggested me to use, is really simple — as soon as you get Stumble account stumble as much as you can. If you see a site that you like at least just bit rate it “Thumbs up!” and write a short review of it. Make sure that you rate at least 60-80 pages that interest you.
Ok, let's try that. 3 hours later I think I may have Stumbled Upon virtual gold. Some of the sites I came across were simply incredible. Here's a gem. Or how about this artist turning movies into prints. What? You just have to see them. I looked at these user submitted transparent screens for a while and thought about doing my own until I forgot about it because I stumbled upon this how to guide. I mean really, doesn't that answer a lot of questions you've had?
I finally stopped after I spent 45 minutes on Pandora. I mean seriously - I think that might be replacing iTunes for awhile.
So now - it's about 2 and a half hours until the start of day two, and I still haven't done my homework for the 30 Day Challenge to generate a niche list. Luckily for me I had my google notebook open so I could take notes while I stumbled...let's see what we've got.
Name: HarpersDad Home: Las Vegas, NV About Me: I am a new dad (well, Harper is a year old) and I'm already worried about his college education. Mostly because I'm still paying mine off. My plan is simple - create multiple streams of online income so that the overall amount of all of them comes out to 100 dollars a day. So here it is: each step along the way about how to make $100 a day in 100 days... View blog top tags