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Archive for September, 2005

Maximise Your Commissions From Affiliate Programs.

Friday, September 30th, 2005

Choose your affiliate programs with care.

The most critical thing you need to do is choose your associations with care. If you do this wrong, you limit your ability to earn good commissions before you even start.

The programs you choose must fit with the product or service range that you are offering. It is important that they are natural add ons to what you are selling. Alternatively, they must complement the theme of your site. For example, if you offer web design services, a natural add on could be an affiliate program for web hosting.

If you do not offer your own products or services, then your web site needs to convey useful information on a topic of your interest. Affiliate programs relating to this topic of interest would be good add ons for your site. For example, if you have a poetry site, useful affiliate programs could be poetry books, greeting cards, or flowers.

Limit your choice of affiliate programs initially so you can concentrate your efforts on learning how to market them effectively. Having too many programs will dilute your focus and make it harder to learn what works best. Once you are successfully selling and making reasonable commissions from your initial choices, you are then in a better position to choose new programs to add to your site.

Don’t choose based on what pays the highest commission. Instead, put yourself in the shoes of your customer and choose what would best serve their needs. When you do this, you will choose programs that will sell very well and make you more commission in the long run.

Personal recommendations.

Once you have settled on a small list of programs you think are suitable, buy the product or service yourself before making your final choice. This will enable you to test the service delivery and product quality to ensure that it is totally suitable for you to recommend to your customers and visitors.

Your credibility with your customers will be damaged if your refer them to another merchant who does not provide them with good service or product quality. Therefore, always test the product or service before you give a personal recommendation.

Most marketing experts say that the best way to sell products through an affiliate association is by personal recommendation. Once you have used the product, you are then able to write a review that tells your customers or visitors what you liked about it and how it helped you. A personal recommendation will sell more than any advertisement.

Opt In Lists v. Web Sites

Your advertising message will produce a stronger response from people that already know and trust you. Therefore, your own opt in list or ezine is going to be more effective than your web site at generating commissions. If you don’t have a means of staying in contact with your customers or visitors, you are severely limiting your income producing potential.

Banner links on web sites are less effective than text links. More people will click on a text link than a banner. With text links, you are able to pre-qualify people before they visit your affiliate partner’s site, and you will find that more convert to sales.

Advertising

To supplement your promotional activities, consider advertising that gets people to visit the details of the affiliate program on your site, or alternatively, sends them direct to the affiliate site using your affiliate link. Paid ads in ezines can be relatively cheap and can provide you with highly targeted prospects for your promoted product or service.

Many ezines accept paid advertising. Check out List Resources.com http://list-resources.com/ who has a directory of sites that list newsletters and ezines. Another option to consider for low cost ezine advertising is the “2 Bucks an Ad Program” http://www.ksinclair.com/2bucks.htm

Free classified ads are another option but are less effective than targeted ezine advertising. Yahoo Classifieds (http://classifieds.yahoo.com/) is the first choice for free ads. Ensure that you update or change your ads every couple of days to keep them near the top of the listings. Also, check out The Grandfather Of All Links FREE Advertising Directory which has over 10,000 + places to advertise for free. http://www.ecki.com/links

Track Your Results

Always test and track the results of the ads and promotions you run. Use the information gained to fine tune your efforts. If you don’t track your results, you will not know what is or is not working for you. The best decisions are made based on good information.

A good service I use to help me track my advertising and promotion results is provided by ROIbot http://www.roibot.com/w.cgi?R379_ROIbot . A free trial is available so that you can test their services with your next adverting or promotion campaign.

Conclusion

You can maximise your commissions from affiliate programs. You need to carefully choose the programs you will participate in based on what would best suit your customers or visitors. A personal recommendation is the most effective selling tool especially if it appears in your own ezine or opt-in list. Other advertising tools should also be used to enhance your earning potential. Always test and track your results so that you can maximise what works best for you.

Maximize your eBay Selling Potential

Thursday, September 29th, 2005

Many people believe that to be successful on eBay, all you have to do is login and put up a few auctions. They believe that their products will naturally sell because they’re on ebay. This is definitely not the truth. If you want to have maximum success then you have to work at it, improve your business and most importantly, promote your auctions. In this article I will tell you of a few things that you can do to sell more items on ebay.

Promote your auctions with every listing. When you put up an advert for an item you should always include a link to your other auctions as in most cases the reader will click on it. When you make a listing simply add a link saying “Click here to check out my other auctions” or something similar. You then have the chance to show readers all your auctions and not just the one that they originally viewed.

Write informative articles. If you can write a good quality article and submit it to directories with a link back to your auctions, then hopefully readers will be interested in seeing what you sell. You should make your articles relevant to the products you sell on ebay and try to make it as helpful as possible. Any articles you write should also be submitted to ebay’s guides and reports section as this will result in more exposure.

Make it easy for your buyers. When you sell an item you should make it as easy as possible for your buyer. Accept Paypal as most people use them to pay for items on the internet, give every detail of your item in your listing so that readers do not have to ask you questions and they understand everything about what they are purchasing and deliver your item as fast as possible. If you sell digital products then you should definitely make delivery of your item automatic for instant download and if you sell physical products then get to the post office as soon as you receive payment. Doing these things will also keep your customers very happy and they may consider buying from you again.

When someone purchases an item from you, always send them an email thanking them for their purchase and include a link to your auctions in it. Hopefully the recipient will visit your auctions and make another purchase. This will also show professionalism and will let your customers know that you value their business.

Mazu E-currency Exchange Program Review

Wednesday, September 28th, 2005

Mazu’s e-currency exchange program hit on a neglected niche and has created an advanced guide on how to trade e-currencies. Recent research has shown that 90% of Mazu’s customers are satisfied with the electronic e-currency program. It is obvious that in any market there will always be unsatisfied customers; however this goes to say that there is always room for improvement.

The e-currency exchange program is easy to follow with guided tutorials, videos and CD’s that help users getting started. Not only do users get detailed resources, but access to chat rooms and forums that are filled with people educated in e-currency trading. The most powerful resource within Matt Gagnon’s e-currency exchange program is by far the chat room that is constantly filled with experts on the subject matter.

In a recent phone conversation with Matt Gagnon he explained that the Mazu e-currency exchange program will make $900,000 this year alone. Matt explained his success has been due to the expertise and the wealth of knowledge Mazu has in the e-currency trade business. After reviewing Matt Gagnon’s currency exchange program it turned out to be a very legitimate program offering valuable resources for e-currency trading.

For more information please feel free to contact us via e-mail or phone
http://www.mazumoney.net
e-mail: [email protected]

Money From Forums

Monday, September 26th, 2005

Search “forum” plus the topic of your site on Google or Alta Vista. For my first site, I searched “backpacking + forum” and in the pages of results I found several good forums. I also searched related topics like “hiking” too. You can also check about.com, and other sites that have forums on many topics.

Registration is usually giving your email address and choosing a password. Some forums allow guests to post without registering. Once registered, browse the forum topics, and post a response to anything, just to “learn the ropes”.

Income From Discussion Forums

The point of posting in forums is to get readers to come to your web site. Sure it’s fun to give advice and discuss things of interest to you, but that’s secondary. With that in mind, do the following:

1. Always link to your site. If they don’t allow any links, find another forum.

2. Don’t “spam.” Sales pitches will be removed. Offer honest advice, or express an opinion, then sign off with your name and the link to your site.

3. Ask for help from others. This is an effective and acceptable way to “advertise.” Enter a topic like “Can I get some advice?” and post something like, “I just started a meditation site. If some of you would visit and tell me what you think, I’d really appreciate it.” Have a link to the site. People love to help, and to give opinions, and they’ll click on those ads while they’re at your site.

4. Look at total “views.” Many forums show the total times each “thread” has been viewed. When you see some with many more than others, get in on those, or start a new thread on the same topic. Go where the traffic is, and get some of it.

I didn’t like the idea of forums until I made a few posts, and saw my traffic and revenue climb for days afterwards. That convinced me. Just be polite, offer some value to others, and always have a link to your site. Many other secrets of using forums are covered in my newsletter, but this should be get you started. Talk and make money today.

More Link Building Resources :: Prase

Saturday, September 24th, 2005

There’s a cool new tool available to help you build links.  It is called PRASE and in this article I will explain why it’s good at helping find sites.

Further I’ll look at some of the other features to see if there are other uses for this tool, such as competitive intelligence gathering and deep linking opportunities.

Really, this new tool offers so much more when you begin to look at what it can do.  And that’s what I’m writing about today.

 
So as I was scanning through my ever expanding list of feeds on the industry I came across a post that caught my eye.  It was about this new “link building tool” called PRASE.  PRASE stands for “Page Rank Assisted Search Engine” and while it is limited to some basic queries now, the people that put it together hope to turn it into a full fledged engine as time goes on.

This tool has the ability to search Google, Yahoo! And MSN together, remove duplicate results and then sort them by Page Rank.

Further, you have some options you can chose before you launch your query.  For example, you can specify a Page Rank range you want to search for. Only want to find PageRank 7 to 9 sites?  Sure, you can do that.  What about finding some of those jewels in the rough.  Those sites with High PageRank but are buried in the lower results?  Yup you can do that too.

You can tell it to start at result 50 and return listings from there.  That way you can maybe find those sites which may be a little easier to get links from.

For example, a “regular” search for just about any term, with the PR range of 0 to 9 will obviously sort by PageRank.  And as we all know, it is almost impossible to get a link from anyone above PR6.  They just don’t hand out links like that unless they are really willing.

But, if you limit the scope of your search to either lower PageRank sites and/or deeper results who knows what you’ll find.

So, let’s take a look at what PRASE isn’t.

Well, it isn’t a full fledged engine, which means it doesn’t give you the breadth of results you’d see at Google or Yahoo!  But don’t let that stop you from bookmarking it and using it on a regular basis (I know it’s already been added to my own MyWeb page).

Now that that is out of the way let’s look at what this gem can really do.

For link building it’s a no brainer.  What could be better than searching for site to request links from then having them sorted for you by Page Rank after duplicated have been removed?  I was playing with it quite a bit this morning and it’s a very handy tool for doing this.

The reason I like it is, no matter how many people tell you that Page Rank is dead, I’m here to tell you it isn’t.  Sure it’s been devalued, but I’m here to say that a link from a PR 8 site will always be worth more than a PR 4 site, especially if the sites are similarly related to yours.

So, that being said, why wouldn’t you want a list, sorted by Page Rank to work off of?

But wait that’s not all.  This also shows you the current rank on the engine the listing came from.  This is handy to perhaps help determine why one engine felt it was more relevant than the others.  You could, with some work, start to figure out why the engines consider some sites important.

In addition, you could use this tool in combination with one like Yahoo Site Explorer to begin to develop a deeper understanding of what goes into some of those links.

For example, let’s say you perform a query and find a high PageRank site that seems to offer little in terms of quality.  Using Site Explorer you could then explore this URL to see what its made of.  Why does it have that high PageRank?  Perhaps it has a few quality links from universities or government site, for example.  In any case using a variety of tools one can begin to develop a pretty comprehensive list of links to request in a short time.

This engine accepts the same types of queries as you’d use on other engines:  “Link:” “site:” and so on, so don’t be afraid to experiment with it.

I know as time goes on I’ll be using it more and more for so many things from link building, to deep link building to competitive intelligence gathering.  Provided this tool stays free, it will be one of many in my regularly used arsenal of tools.

My Mistakes as a Web Design Newbie

Friday, September 23rd, 2005

Approaching retirement age I was made redundant last year and decided to create my first web site, initially knowing little about it. I hope that, by reading about my experiences, I may save you both time and money if you ever find yourself in the position of wanting to build a site with little initial knowledge.

eBooks
I bought five or six ebooks on how to make my web fortune from the one-page web-sites that you see on the web. The prices ranged from $9.95 to $29.95. It would be unfair of me to say that they were of no use, as you can always pick up the odd pointer, or contact. However, with the benefit of hindsight I would not have purchased any of them. Instead there are free, better written books which give you at least the same pointers, and often have more substance. You can download from my web site, for free, two excellent books by Ken Evoy, which will provide you with a good basic knowledge to move forward. Don’t get carried away with the sales hype contained in some of these “get rich quick” single page sales letters that offer huge free bonuses and an imminent price increase.

Universities and colleges
There are various colleges and universities on the web which promise you the ultimate in web creation, site marketing, search engine optimization and much more, “all under one roof” They usually have libraries of “how to” books and membership is by monthly subscription with some offering a lower fee for the first month. Have a look, by all means, I looked at three and claimed my refund within the stated period. I found that I could obtain similar information offered for free with a little searching, and that what they really offered was convenience.

Web Design software
I initially purchased a web site building package for $69.95 and was soon disappointed by its lack of functionality. I then looked over the shoulder of a friend whilst they showed me the workings of a top-end product costing nearly $400.00 but I found it to be too complicated with too steep a learning curve too be quickly productive. I posted a request for help on the Warriors forum and there were more recommends for a particular product than any other. So I decided that my first web site would be a review of that product, which I would create as a trial, before I went on to build a site that would aim at generating income.

What should the web site be about?
Several of the books that I read suggested that the subject matter should be about something that you enjoy doing and therefore you will create your site with more passion and enthusiasm. Whilst this is sound advice I found that the need to create a trial site, which would force me to learn the basics, was more than a sufficient driving force.

Domain name & Web hosting
Go for a dot com registration and pay no more than $10 per annum. Don’t go for free hosting, you get what you pay for. I looked at hosting sites that offered complete package with hosting, autoresponders, SEO and linking software and much more. Whilst everything was conveniently in one place they failed to convince me that each product would stack up well if they were competing in each niche market. I therefore opted for the best of breed approach and a little less convenience.

Search Engine Optimization
This was probably the subject that I was most worried about as I new that it referred to making a web site as easy as possible for the search engines to find, but I had no clue as to how to go about it. I have a free ebook that you can download entitled “Search Engine Optimization Made Easy” which will give you the basics to carry out this process. The book is really a plug by the author of SEO software for his excellent product. I was fortunate in that the web design software I selected also, somewhat unusually, held my hand through this process, carefully pointing out page, by page, what I needed to do.

Article Distribution
I was aware that, in order to succeed, I should submit articles to the numerous Article Directories present on the Internet. There are two ways to do this. By purchasing one of the two major pieces of software to assist me in doing it myself, or to use a company to do it for me. I looked at each way and found that, whilst both software solutions cut out some of the tedious manuals tasks of submitting to over 150 directories, it was still time consuming. Having examined the market place carefully, discounting any company who charged for a fixed number of submissions, I opted for one who for a fixed quarterly fee would submit any number of articles.

Link software
Again, so that I would get more site traffic, I new that I should get other sites to link to mine and that I would have to manage those links and the emails back and forth etc. I initially started to design an Excel spreadsheet linked to Microsoft Word but decided that I would still have to create the links pages by hand. My advice is to obtain software which houses all your links in a searchable database, handles all of the emails, including template housing, and that automatically creates the HTML link pages for you.

Need A Website Built? 6 Major Web Design Tips to Protect You

Thursday, September 22nd, 2005

1} Customer Service: This is the most important step. Make sure you can always talk to a real person. If you have to keep using a web support form and phone messages. Then move on. Web design needs real people to create it, and if you cannot talk anytime you want, then your doing business with the wrong company.

2} Domain Registration: Make sure the company you pick can buy and maintain your domain. Make sure they know how to set it up correctly for your new website and they make sure it gets renewed every year.

3} Web Hosting: Every website needs to be hosted. Does your design company have their own servers? Many do not. Its always nice to only call or contact one company to handle your web design needs and your hosting and Email needs.

4} Web Design: Websites do not need to cost you a second mortgage. Most of the time, a simple site is all you need. But many designers build sites as they see it. They normally do not think about how the site needs to perform for the search engines and clients with slow internet connections. A good designer will use basic technology and will be aware of the search engine needs.

5} Web Maintenance and Updates: This can be a killer. Make sure your design company includes updates and changes in their package, or you can be nickeled and dimed to death at 40 to 80 dollars an hour. Look out for gimmicks and games. Find a company that truly wants to be your full website provider, including changes.

6} Web Marketing: This is just as important as customer service. You can pay as much as you like for a website, but it is useless without traffic. Make sure your design company builds a good marketable website for you and provide you the services you need to get your site submitted to the search engines. They may also have programs to help with web pay advertising.

You need to ask every web design company about the 6 items above and how much they cost. A truly good web design company will have all 6 items to their package. If not, you will be facing a web design nightmare.

For any questions about the services above, feel free to visit http://www.necustomwebs.com or http://www.nwcustommarketing.com . Or email [email protected] at 541-390-8128.

Network Monitoring for Serious eCommerce

Wednesday, September 21st, 2005

On the Internet, companies come in every size, too, from a stand-alone ebook sales page with webmaster and owner all in one, to 300 pound gorilla like Amazon, with over a million pages, who requires the entire population of a small country to serve as webmaster.

If your site is a single page, it is its own network. But if your site is any bigger, and you have plans to grow, it is a network or is fast becoming one. You need network monitoring.

Most ecommerce webmasters are at least somewhat familiar with website monitoring. Many use a website monitoring service or software to keep track of “uptime” and “downtime”.

At your local shopping mall, serious business requires more than just knowing when the front doors are open and when they are closed. Serious ecommerce needs to know more than just when the site is accessible. That is what network monitoring is all about.

What Network Monitoring Monitors

Chances are, your e-business owns one of the following, or uses one of the following remotely:

DNS servers: These are used to translate your site name, like www.URL.com, to the numbers called “IP addresses” that computers understand. If DNS servers are not working properly, end-users will not be able to find your site and will get an error. Usually only an external or remote monitoring service will detect such a problem.

An FTP server: File Transfer Protocol servers are used to help you
exchange files with remote users. If you use FTP, a monitoring
service can make sure it is always up and running.

POP3 and SMTP servers: These are used for exchanging emails. If you are using email, chances are you are using SMTP and POP3. If your SMTP server is down, everyone who sends you email will receive an error, stating that your mail server is down and cannot accept incoming email. To say that the impression this leaves your customers is bad would be an understatement. If your POP3 server is down, you will be unable to retrieve email from your mailbox. Once again, only external monitoring will prevent such a problem.

Firewalls: Many businesses use firewalls to protect their internal network from un-authorized traffic, such as spyware, viruses and sabotage by competitors. Furthermore, a firewall is your first line of defense. If your firewall goes down, your whole network may actually become inaccessible from outside. In other words, if you host your own web site and mail servers, those will become
inaccessible to the outside world if your firewall goes down. Once again, remote network monitoring is required to detect that a problem exists and quickly get it repaired.

Internet connections: Users come to your network from multiple backbones, depending on the company they use to connect to the Internet and their location. It is important to insure that your connection performs well for each user. A remote monitoring service can ping your networks from multiple locations around the world, thus testing most major routes to your web server or network. Before hiring a network monitoring service, check to see that they have both your customer geography and the Internet backbone layout covered.

Very few websites of any size and functionality are anything less than a complete network, and many networks rely on servers in different parts of the world.

A good network monitoring service can ensure, as a base, that all servers are properly functioning, that data can be sent to and received from each server, and that each function sharing the server responds as required. An advanced network monitoring service can even remotely monitor the temperature of your servers.

What you need to monitor depends on how extensive your network is. A network monitoring expert can help you determine what needs monitoring. If you own the servers, or are remotely hosted on dedicated servers, you most likely need everything monitored. If your site is hosted on shared servers, you might need fewer functions monitored.

Network Your Business Online

Tuesday, September 20th, 2005

You’ll gain many benefits from networking online. You’ll learn business information that you didn’t know before. You can get advice on how to solve a current business problem. It can lead to new business projects. Negotiate joint ventures and cross promotion deals. Learn important skills that you didn’t have before. Get constructive criticism that can improve your business. Brainstorm with others to come up with new business and marketing ideas.

Before you go out and communicate with other business professionals there are a few things you should know ahead of time. Know what kind of business information you are seeking. Figure out which professionals could give you this information. Know what questions you want to ask them.

New features in Google Sitemaps

Monday, September 19th, 2005

The Google Sitemap program has become very popular because it made the task of submitting web pages to Google so much easier. A web developer or designer does not even have to worry about making frequent changes to the web pages because it is more easily known by Google. By presenting a constantly fresh index of web pages for your web site you are assured that what is presented in Google is the latest pages that you are maintaining.

The very high popularity of Google Sitemap has encouraged Google’s team of engineers to develop and add more features to the program. These additions seek to make Google Sitemaps more intuitive and effective in its functions.

Google recently announced that it has again added a bevy of new features for the Google Sitemap program that just made certain aspects of the program so much easier to understand and maintain.

Here are the latest new features of the Google Sitemap program:

Query Stats. Knowing the top position of your website is important. With Google’s Query Stats, you will now know the top search queries where the results included your website as well as those that Google searchers actually clicked on. The position given is the average statistic posted over the last three weeks.

Top mobile search queries. Google acknowledges that there is a growing number of people who use mobile devices for browsing the internet and also consider it as a separate “demographic”. For this reason, the top mobile search queries feature shows web designers and developers the top search queries made from mobile devices in which the results showed their website. Web designers and web developers will see both the mobile searches of all web sites as well as the mobile searches of mobile-specific web sites. The results given by this feature will only appear if it is available in your web site. At this point of the development of this feature, Google only shows the top search queries and not the clicks made for those queries.

Downloading Sitemap details, statistics, and errors. Your Sitemap account now also contain additional information. You can now download information in the form of a comma separated value file. This type of file can be opened by using any text editor or spreadsheet program. You can decide to download the information on a per table basis, or you can opt to download Sitemap details, errors or statistics for all of the web sites in your Google Sitemaps account in one convenient file.



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