Google Calendar Plugin

I’ve been a bit sidetracked from my IM efforts lately, because of the need to build a web site listing local organic food resources in my area.

As part of that site creation, I needed to display a list of dates in the sidebar. I run an organic food co-op, and members need to know when to order, when to expect delivery, etc. I wanted a solution that did not require any manual updating on my part.

What I found was the Google Calendar WordPress Plugin.

This was really ideal for my needs. I could set up in Google Calendar repeating appointments specifying ordering and delivery dates, so that my only manual updating would be around holidays when the dates shifted slightly. The plugin would then automatically display the next 5 (or however many you specify) dates from the calendar, so that co-op members could hop onto the web site and check the upcoming dates just by looking at the sidebar.

I also embedded the full view of the calendar inside the pages dealing with ordering and delivery, but the sidebar view was far more convenient for members doing a quick check of dates.

If you deal with anything involving displaying recurring appointments, Google Calendar plus the plugin will make it a hands free affair.

Choosing Affiliate Programs – The key to success

Also as part of Phase Three, I’ll continue to run guest posts to give other people’s writing exposure. Here’s a post with great advice from Daniel Kane on choosing affiliate programs.

There are essential elements required to become a successful online affiliate marketer. The first is the ability to attract a reasonable number of visitors to your website(s). The second is making the correct choices about which affiliate program(s) you choose to promote.

The first question you have to address is demographics. Who visits your website(s)? Men, women, or both? How old are they? What are their interests, needs, and consumer habits?

These questions, and the answers to them, are nothing less than critical. You’ll need to spend a lot of time thinking about which products and services are most likely to be attractive to your audience. Even more important than determining what they buy is identifying what they are willing to buy online. And, be prepared to make changes in what you offer them if your initial attempts are unsuccessful. A bit of trial and error can often be effective.

When considering affiliate programs, you might also want to give extra consideration to those that pay you for leads rather than actual sales. Some programs pay more than $70 for a qualified sales lead. Mortgage companies, banks, schools, colleges, and insurers are only a few of the kinds of organizations always looking for more leads.

Because these and other organizations want to grow their mailing lists, you can also earn a commission when one of your website visitors signs up for a coupon, a free restaurant meal , free business cards, introductory offers of various kinds, or other freebies.

Of course, you should try to choose affiliate programs which pay high commissions, but commissions by themselves won’t determine your earnings. Try to find those which will pay you for attracting other affiliates. Those with two, three or more tiers offer even greater potential.

You should probably limit yourself to affiliate programs which:

1. offer you daily online tracking and meaningful statistics so you can determine how you are doing and make necessary changes quickly.

2. attractive, tested banners and/or text ads that get results.

3. respond to your inquiries quickly, provide you with good suggestions and advice, and pay you on time.

4. offer your website visitors a good product at a reasonable price.

Lastly, here’s the best business advice I was ever given… track and carefully analyze everything possible to identify trends and areas in which you can make adjustments to increase performance.

Daniel Kane creates and maintains websites (supported by affiliate advertising) on scholarships, career schools, career colleges, college admission, online degrees, and online colleges.

Online Opportunity’s Phase Three

It’s time for another change for the blog.

Phase One of the blog was the initial phase, where the focus was on regular posting and education. This was a year long phase, and most of what I was sharing was what I was learning as I was going, although a portion was the typical “Here’s a new program” sort of post.

Phase Two also focused on regular posting, although not quite so often, but more on mentoring. That phase focused more on posts from my actual experiences, designed to be helpful to those just starting out. I also started an official mentoring program over at The Advisory Panel, but that didn’t do well. It’s apparently tough to find people actually willing to put effort into being mentored.

Phase Three has come upon me as a bit of a surprise, because of other (non IM related) projects I’ve gotten involved in. I haven’t had the time for regular posts for a couple of weeks now, so I’m going to make it official. From now on, every post on this blog will be directly related to IM projects I am working. There will be no more of the “Here’s a new program” type of posts, unless I have tried and seen value in the program.

Frankly, I expect the irregular posting to kill my search engine rankings. I’ve made some good money in the last year and a half from Google sending people my way (and continue to do so, through residual income), but I’d rather increase the quality of the posts than keep them coming at regular intervals.

So, what can you expect as an RSS subscriber? Less frequent posts, so don’t delete the blog from your RSS reader. The posts will all directly apply to either a project I’m working on, or a technique or service that I have personally tried (whether I’ve seen positive or negative results from it).

I hope you all stick around for Phase Three, and enjoy the posts!

Advisory Panel Member To Speak At National Conference

Connie, one of the most active members at The Advisory Panel, is scheduled to speak online as part of the Invisible Illness Awareness Week. An “invisible” illness is one that isn’t immediately obvious to someone looking at you…chronic pain, for example.

As a reasonably healthy adult geek, I knew intellectually the opportunities that the Internet provided for people who couldn’t work otherwise. But I didn’t really appreciate how much opportunity there was until I started the Advisory Panel and met Connie (she writes Brain Foggles, along with other blogs). I get migraines, and moan and complain when they’re bad, and pretty much am laid up for the duration. But I cannot imagine coping with what Connie copes with every day, and still being cheerful and energetic, and earning her income online to boot.

I applaud the people who are blogging about invisible illness, and the folks at Rest Ministries who are sponsoring this conference.

If you have a chronic condition, or know someone who has, head on over to one of the links above.

Project In Development

My apologies to my regular readers who missed a post here last night. I’ve been using my online time to work on a new project.

This one’s an ebook, but rather than a general information ebook like Link Cloaking 101, this one is going to be a down and dirty, nuts and bolts, how-to for creating your own neglected niche sites.

I’ve posted now and then about my neglected niche sites, and how they’ve done surprisingly well, given how little work they require. In the new ebook I walk you through creating and promoting such a site, using one of my latest as an example. The site I use as an example is currently on page 1 of Google and in the #1 spot on MSN for its keyword, so you’ll be able to verify that the techniques work.

The ebook itself is ready, but I’m determined to do this one right, so I’m setting up Rapid Action Profits to handle the distribution of the ebook.

I’ll let you know when it’s ready for download.