Becoming A Qualified Google Advertising Professional

Okay, I’ll admit it…I suck at pay-per-click (PPC) advertising.

I originally got into Internet Marketing via the Google Cash ebook way back when, and gave Adwords marketing of affiliate products a try. I had about twenty campaigns, and only one of them made any money. I think it made about $5 a month. Sure, if I could have banged out another fifty of those campaigns, I’d have been in good shape, but I never managed another.

In fact, the click through rate of my existing campaigns was so bad, it started affecting new campaigns I’d start, increasing the amount I’d need to bid to rank highly for a keyword.

Yeah, I’m a PPC moron. So what am I doing writing a post about becoming a Qualified Google Advertising Professional?

For anyone who doesn’t know the details, the Qualified Google Advertising Professional certification means that you’ve spent $1,000 in Adwords over a three month period, and passed an exam. To help you succeed at the exam, and at Adwords in general, Google provides quite a bit of training material.

I wanted to see if this training could help even a PPC moron like myself become successful with Adwords. Further, I’m in no position to simply spend $1,000 to get the certification, since we just moved and our old house hasn’t sold (and isn’t likely to until February, because of the holidays).

So I wanted to see if it was possible to not only complete the training and pass the exam if you knew nothing about PPC marketing (or worse, had bad habits to unlearn), but also if it was possible to do on a limited budget. Remember, you have to spend $1,000 on Adwords ads over a three month period…if you make more than that using those ads, you’re not permanently out any money at all.

So, this is a bit of a personal challenge for myself. A sort of “learn Adwords or bust” sort of challenge.

I’m writing this as I have just completed the registration for the program, and viewed the first training video (the “What is Google and what is Adwords” video). I have no idea whether I’ll succeed or fail, but for anyone else who wants to get into PPC but isn’t sure how to begin, I’ll give it my best shot and you can follow my progress as I go.

Wish me luck!

November’s Neglected Niche Site Progress

Anyone who subscribed recently might not remember the post I made about the first months of a neglected niche site.

Here’s the recap, if you don’t want to read the original post. In the summer, I put up a quick made-for-Adsense niche site on a keyword with okay traffic and low competition. I submitted it to some directories, and then promptly forgot about it.

In September, traffic started to arrive in dribs and drabs. Total Adsense earnings for the month was $0.12. In October traffic continued to grow, and earnings were $1.63.

For November, earnings were a bit over $11. That included one $4 day when the site hit the bottom of page 1 in Google for its keyword.

This was without any promotion beyond submitting to a few directories.

Since then, the site has dropped to the bottom of page 2 and the top of page 3 for the keyword. I’ve added a couple of articles to the site to boost the word count, and to make it look at if some work is going into the site. And submitted to a few more directories.

Ultimately, though, without some concerted effort at putting original material onto the site, I think the bottom of page 2 is where it’s going to stay. I expect Adsense earnings for the site to level out or drop in December.

To continue this experiment, I created another niche site I plan to neglect (this is also as part of my ongoing evaluation of SBI!). I’ll let you know how it does.

12 Days of Marketing Christmas Update

The giveaways started this week at the 12 Days of Christmas site.

So far, I haven’t been too impressed with most of the giveaways, but one in particular is quite good. Ian Traynor donated Web Protect Pro and Webmastery Magic. Both are software tools that provide useful utilities if you’re selling anything online.

Web Protect Pro provides a tool for generating cloaked links that live on your server. You don’t really need that if you’ve read my DIY Link Cloaking post, but the tool makes it a bit easier than editing your own PHP files. Web Protect Pro also includes a utility for putting your email on a page but keeping spammers from getting it, and a way to protect the folders that contain your product files (the ones people are supposed to pay for before they get).

Webmastery Magic is a utility that allows you to generate fancy navbars and other navigational aids for websites you create, without knowing much HTML. You don’t need this if you’re using something like WordPress to create your sites, but if you’re creating standalone sites this could help.

I’m a sucker for software, especially free software, so I’m pretty pleased with this package. The rest of the giveaways so far are the normal run of ebooks on Internet Marketing. If you feel like you need ebooks to learn Internet Marketing, click here to get some for free instead of paying for them.

I’ll keep you all posted on other gems that show up during the giveaway.

How To Succeed In Internet Marketing

You’ll see a lot written about how to learn and succeed as an Internet Marketer.

At the most basic level, there are skills you need to learn as an Internet Marketer to be successful. Some technical skills, some social skills, some marketing skills. The trick is learning those skills before you give up in disgust, having spent more money than you can afford.

Here’s my guide to learning Internet Marketing.

1) Stop buying ebooks! Ebooks provide information, and information is useful. But not all information in ebooks is reliable. Some are just plain wrong, some are outdated, some are just trying to get you to spend money, and some are great, but you have to wade through a lot of ebooks to figure out which is which. You can get the same mix of reliable and unreliable information for free by reading the various Internet Marketing blogs.

There’s an underlying assumption behind buying ebooks that an ebook can teach you skills. It cannot. An ebook can provide information that you must interpret based on your current skill set. An ebook could lay out the best marketing tactic in the world, and if your skill set isn’t there yet you won’t understand what it’s trying to tell you.

Plus, the average person who wants to make money online spends between two and five thousand dollars each year on products designed to help them, until they finally decide that they can’t make money online after all. Spending that sort of money when you aren’t making anything yet is not sound business.

2) Stop joining systems! Systems are designed to make money for the founder, plain and simple. Ethical founders will try to work systems so they’re at least not too bad for the members, but systems generally work by funding early joiners from the fees of late joiners.

Joining a system shows an assumption that someone else can do the work for you so you don’t have to build skills. But you usually need the skills to get referrals to the system.

If you can’t make money online without a system, you won’t be able to do much of it with a system.

3) Experiment! If you’ve spent money on an ebook or read an interesting technique on a blog, try it. It doesn’t matter if you’re not entirely sure how it’s supposed to work. Let’s say you read about creating a Squidoo page to drive traffic to an affiliate link. You’re not too sure about Squidoo, or how it gets traffic in the first place. Just create a Squidoo page!

Stop trying to understand the complete roadmap of how things are going to unfold from start to finish. The process of doing and then analyzing the results will teach you far more than any ebook or system.

4) Find a mentor. If you want to spend money to accelerate building your Internet Marketing skills, find a mentor. Mentors will provide advice tailored to your level of skills and your interests. They won’t do the work for you, but they’ll give you direction and motivation. You’ll do the work, trying their advice, seeing what works and what doesn’t.

5) Create products, don’t buy products. Product creation is how you make serious money online. If you’re not sure what sort of product to create, work with your mentor. Everyone knows enough about at least one topic to create their first product on that topic, and after that the process of product creation gets easier.

6) Network! This is the true secret of Internet Marketing success, the one that most people avoid like the plague. After all, if we’re doing business online doesn’t that mean that we don’t need to interact with each other? If I can become an affiliate at the push of a button, why do I need to network?

Networking is where the real deals are made between Internet Marketers. So called “joint venture” partners give each other far higher commissions on product sales than they do to affiliates. A good JV partner will promote your product in exchange for you promoting theirs. You might collaborate on creating products.

Building a good set of JV partners is critical. The gurus are gurus largely because they all support one another’s products.

Patience is a virtue when learning any skill set, and Internet Marketing is no exception. Be prepared to put in the time to learn what you need to learn by experimenting, and you will eventually succeed.