Practice, Practice, Practice!

In a previous post about How To Succeed In Internet Marketing I suggested that rather than reading about how to market online, you just try to market something, and learn from the results.

Practice is truly the only way to build the skills you’ll need to survive long-term in online marketing. But, for many people, trying something and failing seems like, well, failure. Even though that’s the only way to learn what doesn’t work, a lot of people don’t see the benefit in not succeeding. And they may not be able to waste a lot of money in efforts that don’t succeed (although, they typically manage to waste a lot of money in programs that promise success, but never deliver).

So, as part of my ongoing efforts to help as many people as possible learn the Internet Marketing skills they’ll need to succeed, I’ve started advertising exercises over at The Advisory Panel. The basic idea is that I pick a product, and members brainstorm unique angles for targeting that product, and websites for advertising those angles.

I then pay for all the advertising, and split half of any profits with the people who made the suggestions, and the people who referred them to The Advisory Panel. The other half of the profits go back into a pool for the next advertising exercise.

I’m pretty excited about this. It gives people who cannot afford paid advertising to test out ideas. Totally unreasonable ideas won’t get funded, but we’ll talk about why they probably wouldn’t work. Reasonable ideas get funded, and if they don’t show a profit we’ll analyze why not.

If you’re interested in gaining some real Internet Marketing experience with my money, come on over to The Advisory Panel and join in.

Ucash.in Review

I’m not big into URL shortening services.

The URLs they shorten into are pretty ugly, and they often display the destination page in a frame that includes ads at the top or bottom. New Internet Marketers often use these services thinking that URL cloaking is important enough to put up with the disadvantages. Since you can do URL cloaking in far better ways for free, it doesn’t really make sense to use URL shortening services.

But if you want to use one, Ucash.in offers revenue sharing on the ads that display in the frame with your destination page. You can choose whether you want ads to display at the top of the frame, or whether you would prefer an intermediate page that’s an ad to display.

Here’s an example link that just brings you back to Online Opportunity.

For every 4,000 impressions your links give them on a top ad banner, you get $1. For every 2,000 intermediate page ads that display, you get $1. Clearly, to earn much money you would have to have a lot of impressions.

However, Ucash.in has taken the Yuwie approach to the whole deal, so you get 10 levels of referrals below you. And you earn a percentage of what those referrals earn. With a full 10 levels, that could amount to a substantial number of ad impressions as you have thousands of people using the URL shortening service.

While I still don’t think that URL shortening services are worth using, if you are going to use one, why not use one that earns you a little money? I’m sure that’s what a lot of new Internet Marketers will think, so this is a service they’ll likely continue to use even if they don’t make much money on it.

Click here for the Ucash.in site for more details.

Online Opportunity Nears One Year Old!

Okay, so it’s still about two months out, but I’m getting excited.

When I first started this blog, I committed to a daily posting schedule because of the enormous benefits that gives with Google. Google indexes your content far more quickly when you post daily, it treats you a bit better in search engine results positioning, etc. At first I struggled with daily posting, then I finally cut back to daily posting only on weekdays, and found a stride.

At any given moment, I’ll either be a couple weeks ahead in posts, or I’ll be down to the wire. Today I’m down to the wire, since I’ve been putting a lot of time and energy into The Advisory Panel, and due to my editorial duties over at Bella Online’s Role Playing Games site. I’ll get ahead again sometime this week.

Over the course of the almost-a-year the blog has been going, I’ve seen blogging friends drop off the face of the Internet, and others prosper. It’s seemed like everyone who wants to make money online starts a make money online blog. A mistake, in my opinion, since there are niches out there that have larger audiences and are less well filled. I’ll try to address this in an upcoming course on writing niche web sites.

I’m in the process of transitioning the blog from a typical blog of the niche into one that’s more of a mentoring model. Those people who’ve emailed me with questions know that I love to help. That’s part of the purpose behind The Advisory Panel. My hope is that I can help others get their first profitable blog/site up and running, helping them to learn the skills they’ll need to put others up.

The Advisory Panel itself is my first launch of a private forum, and it’s going well. Members can get free keyword research help, can participate in advertising exercises (and earn part of the profits from advertising I fund as part of the exercise), and generally interact with a great bunch of people looking to make money online.

So what’s ahead for the next year?

You’ve got me! Back in April, I wouldn’t have predicted how the blog has evolved.

I do know that I’ll continue to produce free, quality email courses on various Internet Marketing topics. Skill building is so critical to new marketers that it cannot be stressed enough. I’ll continue to build the The Advisory Panel into the place to go to network with other Internet Marketers.

By this time next year, I fully expect to be able to talk about the success stories that will come out of the Advisory Panel, people who formed group projects and created successful online sites or products.

It’s been a great year, and I’m excited about what’s to come!

Using URL Channels In Google Adsense

In Google’s Adsense, you can use channels to separate out the stats for different sources of ad clicks.

This is useful, for example, if you have two different niche sites and you want to know how much each makes. Without using different channels, the stats for each site would be lumped together.

Up until fairly recently, I’ve been using custom channels, where you’re given a bit of custom code to put in your web page. I understood how to use custom channels, and just stuck with them.

Another sort of channel you can use is a URL channel. With a URL channel, you put the standard Adsense code on multiple pages in a site, and then Adsense itself splits out any stats that come from the given URL. Useful if you have a lot of pages on a given site, and don’t care which page specifically gets the clicks.

But I still used custom channels, because you could do the same thing with them. Then I discovered a situation in which URL channels are the only possibility.

Sites like Hub Pages and Quassia are Adsense sharing sites. They allow you to input your Adsense id, and then they run ads using it so you get paid by Adsense directly.

But neither allows you to enter a custom channel id, so you cannot use custom channels to separate the stats for the sites. You can, however, enter URL channels for each and Adsense will separate out the stats for you.

Entering a URL channel is easy. You click on the link to add a new URL channel, and then enter the domain name of the site (e.g. quassia.com).

After that, the stats are properly separated automatically.

I hope this has been of use to anyone who, like me, wasn’t sure what URL channels were good for. While you can use either URL or custom channels for most things, in this particular situation URL channels are the only solution.

The Advisory Panel’s First Weekend

A program launch is a curious thing.

You work like mad for weeks and months ahead of the fact, trying to get everything working just right. If you’re smart, you invite a few friends in to test it, only to discover that you’ll need to rework the entire site. You frantically do that, because you want to launch the program and be done with it. The site ends up 1,000% better because of this, and you finally launch, only a week late.

You’ve advertised it in what you feel are the right places, you’ve asked friends who have related blogs to blog about it.

Then it’s out of your hands. You just have to wait and see if it’ll fly, or flop. I’m happy to report that the Advisory Panel seems to be flying. We don’t have 1,000 members yet, but the group we do have is interacting and seems to be learning from each other. We have a wide variety of experience levels from a wide variety of niches.

I’ve thrown down the challenge for members to form a group project, for which I’ll provide free web hosting until it shows a profit large enough to switch to paid web hosting. I see the Advisory Panel as growing into an online business incubator, with members grouping together to launch projects and sites.

If you’re not a member yet, come on over and join in!

Join The Advisory Panel And Get Rich!

Okay, maybe you won’t get rich overnight, but it’ll help.

The Advisory Panel is my creation, a supportive community of Internet Marketers. The intent is to create a space where you can network with other Internet Marketers of all ranges of experience.

Looking for a person to do some graphic design work for a sales web page you’re creating? Post at the Advisory Panel.

Looking for someone to rewrite your sales copy? Post at the Advisory Panel.

Have a great idea for a product, but need help working out the details. Post at the Advisory Panel.

Have a great product and want some JV partners to help you launch it? Post at the Advisory Panel.

Starting to see the potential? There’s such an atmosphere of competition between Internet Marketers that we sometimes forget we are all in the same boat, and by helping each other we can all build the skills and networks that we need to succeed. The gurus don’t do it all by themselves, and neither should you.

Now, of course, I don’t really expect anyone to join the Advisory Panel just based on me saying it’s a great place to network. You’ll discover that later, once you get there and start using it.

So I’m providing incentives.

Discounted web hosting

I do not have all the details on this worked out yet, as it’ll partly depend on how many people want to take advantage of it. Once you join the panel, post in the forum dedicated to the discount web hosting if you want it.

My tentative plan is to charge $20 for a year’s worth of web hosting plus a domain name. So for $20, you can have an entire year to try and profit from a small blog or niche site. And if you get to the point where your site is too big for the discount hosting, you should be making enough from it to upgrade to regular hosting.

Free Ebooks and Software

I’m making available my library of ebooks and software to all Advisory Panel members. Once you join you’ll be able to download to your heart’s content.

Note that I’m still in the process of weeding through my collection and identifying the ones I can legally give away as an incentive to join. So expect the library to grow over time.

Discounts On Your Favorite Products

With networking comes group buying power. As the Advisory Panel grows, I’ll be able to negotiate discounts on your favorite Internet Marketing related products. We’ll all get them for a lower price than we could individually.

Until the membership is large enough for me to negotiate discounts, I’ll refund part of your purchase price on my own as a discount anyway. Look in the benefits forum after you join for details on available discounts.

Sharing of Two-for-One Specials

Many services run two-for-one specials now and then throughout the year. Or maybe you get the second for half price. We often pass up these specials because we don’t think we need two of whatever it is.

Join with another Advisory Panel member who also wants the product, and you both pay half price. Another example of the power of cooperative networking.

A Free Support Forum For Your Group

Have a group of marketers and want to provide a support forum, but don’t want the hassle of setting it up on your own? I’ll give you a free forum at the Advisory Panel, make you moderator, and let you run it the way you like. You can make it private, or allow other Advisory Panel members to read, post, or whatever.

This benefit is only for people who have a specific group of people they want to provide support and networking for. As an example, if you sold an advertising service to Internet Marketers, you could get a support forum in the Advisory Panel for your customers. Your customers would also need to be members in order to get into the forum.

Networking, Networking, Networking

This is the real benefit for members. You simply cannot learn Internet Marketing as quickly in a vacuum as you can by interacting in a supportive environment with other people who are also at various stages in the learning curve.

So Join Already!

It’s free, and will always be free. I’ll email members about library updates, and when I’ve negotiated special deals, and that’s pretty much it. You won’t hear about the latest guru’s Internet Marketing launch from me (unless, of course, I’ve managed to secure a discount over and above what you can get elsewhere).

Click here to join. See you on the inside!

P.S. The first of the discounts in the Advisory Panel is for the Stealth Money Maker collection. If you already purchased it through my link, just join the panel and post a message in the appropriate forum, and I’ll see about your discount.

The Importance Of Being An Authentic Internet Marketer

One of the things we see a lot of these days, when it seems like everyone wants to make money online, is people “becoming” Internet Marketers.

They start out by doing what every other Internet Marketer they can see does.

They sign up for an affiliate program, and then make a blog post that is basically just the product’s sales copy. Or they send to a list about a great new product their “friend” is offering. The email they send out to the list is the email suggested by the affiliate program, right down to the claims of friendship. They use traffic exchanges to send people to a program’s affiliate page.

There are a couple of problems with this.

First, the techniques that 90% of Internet Marketers use do not work. Oh, if you were the only person using those techniques, you’d do quite well. But taken as a whole, across all the marketing we’re exposed to on a daily basis, it all adds up to spam.

Second, online marketing is not about “becoming” an Internet Marketer, it’s about learning skills. You don’t learn those skills by observing what the majority of people are doing.

As an analogy, let’s say you go to a beginning juggling class to learn juggling. You get there late, and you see a bunch of people around the room throwing balls into the air and dropping them. You don’t want to make a fuss, so you just grab some balls and start to do what everyone else is doing.

You aren’t learning to juggle, you’re learning how not to juggle. The people who really have the skills to make the kind of money you want to make online are not the ones who catch your attention. They know their business and they get about it and make money.

The ones to emulate are not the gurus, who make their money by taking advantage of the gullibility of newcomers, but the ones who successfully market to the 80% of the Internet population who are not trying to be Internet Marketers.

I think it’s critically important for newcomers to the field to be authentic. Don’t do what everyone else does just because everyone else is doing it. Understand the principles behind what you’re trying to accomplish, and at all times adhere to your own ethical standards.

You will not make millions overnight being authentic. But then you won’t make millions overnight copying everyone else, either (at least, you won’t make those millions for yourself).

By being authentic, though, you’ll build an understanding of what it takes to market online and won’t be discouraged when the techniques you see everyone else using just don’t work.

Using PLR Products To Create A Best Seller

If you’ve been around the Internet Marketing world for any length of time, you’ve probably had the chance to purchase products that came with Private Label Rights.

PLR products give you the right to edit the document to say that you are the author. They’re attractive because you have an instant product, just a bit of editing to give yourself the credit.

PLR articles are not all that useful as blog posts, for example, because of duplicate content issues. To use PLR products in blog posts, you have to edit them sufficiently to make them seem unique. That’s possible, but not really the sort of thing that excites me about Internet Marketing.

What you can do with PLR products that is exciting is to repackage them into a new product.

Pick half a dozen PLR articles on related topics, and package them into a complete ebook. Make enough edits so that the articles seem to flow together and support the main topic of the ebook. Put yourself down as the author.

Now you have a product to sell that is unique (at least, a unique combination of articles).

To make it a best seller, you have to come up with an angle. Some spin on the product that will make people want it. One way is to create a fictional author who is a bit of a character, and market the product as being by that person. Sal the Site Swiper is an example. The quirks of the fictional author can be played up in email marketing and JV partnerships, such as when various JV partners of Sal’s told their lists that Sal was going to “work them over” if they didn’t email about the product.

Creating that kind of interest in a product goes a long way to making sales. Any angle will work, as long as it catches people’s interests.

How To Outrank Program Pages In Google

I’ve noticed a trend lately with my program reviews, that I outrank the programs themselves in Google search results.

My review of the Big Dog Heavy Hitter’s Co-op Program, and my Stealth Money Maker Review are two good example.

Doing a search on “Big Dog Heavy Hitters” or “Stealth Money Maker” puts my reviews in the #1 spot, with the actual program page further down. And this is generally just a day after I write my review.

In one day, getting the #1 spot in Google for a new program.

I can’t claim to have any secret here, it’s something that anyone can do. Here are the key elements:

Your blog must have some age

In Internet terms, my blog, being about 10 months old, is nearly ancient! Most blogs die off much earlier than that. So Google sees my blog as more of an authority, because of the age.

Your blog must be SEO optimized

The meta keyword and meta description tags should be used, and contain the post title. The post title should be in an H1 heading. Have good keyword density, etc.

Many WordPress themes aren’t SEO optimized by default, in particular many do not put post titles in an H1 heading.

You should review programs that are newer than your blog

The difference in ages between the two sites is enough to give your site more authority in Google’s eyes, even though their site has the keywords in their domain name.

Post daily

Google loves frequently updated sites, so daily posting helps your posts to get indexed very quickly.

Use sitemaps

Use a plugin that creates sitemaps automatically and lets Google and Yahoo know about them. This helps Google determine the most recent content.

Follow all of the above, and you should be able to outrank the program pages themselves. For most programs, that isn’t a big deal, but if you hit one that becomes extremely popular all of a sudden your review is now seen as an authority and you’ll get a good share of the organic traffic from searches.

Inbox Dollars Changes Referral Bonuses

Inbox Dollars, a popular Get-Paid-To site, has changed its referral bonus scheme.

Previously, they paid you $5 when one of your referrals achieved their first payout ($30 minimum). This didn’t work out so well for a couple of reasons.

First, most people don’t bother to get to payout, even with step by step instructions. My How To Make Your First $30 At Inbox Dollars post has recruited me over 120 referrals. Only 3 of those managed to get their first payout.

Second, if you get a referral who is extremely active, and gets multiple payouts, you only got $5 for the first payout. Nothing for any other payouts.

The new referral bonus scheme is that you earn a straight 10% of what your referrals earn. So if they earn $20 but never get to a payout, you still get your $2. If they earn $200, you get $20. This is a huge improvement, and long overdue.

It still, however, falls short of what you can get at Treasure Trooper and Cash Crate. Both give you two levels of earnings, and Cash Crate gives you 20% of what your first level earns (plus a $3 bonus when they get their first $10 payout).

So this is good news for those of you with lots of referrals at Inbox Dollars (or people like me, who have a post about Inbox Dollars that still receives a lot of Google traffic). But if you’re picking a GPT program to promote, stick with Treasure Troopers or Cash Crate.