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!

Entrecard Widget Up & Planned Site Changes

I’m belatedly giving Entrecard a try, so the widget is in the far right sidebar.

Feel free to drop your card. I’m still getting a sense for how it all works, but I’ll likely be fairly discriminating when approving ads. I’m happy to show cards for visitors, but anyone purchasing a spot without visiting the site will need to be a site I feel is valuable to my readers.

(A side note…mere seconds after putting the widget on my sidebar, I had one visitor who had dropped their card, and about 8 people who wanted to advertise their card without visiting…new members have a very low advertising rate until Entrcard can see how many people are dropping cards, so probably get hit hard at first.)

In other site news, I’m going to be reworking my top menu bar soon. The “Featured Opportunities” page hasn’t been updated in ages, and I’m going to replace it with “Free Courses”. This will link to my own email courses, and to any others that I feel I can personally recommend. If you have a free course that you’d like featured on the new page when it goes live, use the contact form to let me know.

My criteria for courses is that they provide truly useful information, and any affiliate linking is soft sold. I’ll review any courses personally before they go up on the page.

The “Recommended Websites” page is also long overdue for a change, but I’m not sure yet what I’ll do with that, so for now it’ll stay as is.

Upgrade to WordPress 2.3

Just a quick note that I’ve upgraded the blog to WordPress 2.3.

This was relatively painless, although one of the plugins I was using turned out to be incompatible (the EXEC PHP Widget), and so I had to find a replacement. For part of the weekend, none of the PHP code I was using in the sidebar was showing, so the top commentators list, featured posts, etc, was gone. It’s all back now.

Also, at least one comment seems to have been lost in the transition (one by Chris on the Fast Directory Submitter Review post). Sorry about that Chris! At the end of the contest I’ll give you one extra entry into the random drawing to make up for it.

Hopefully everything is in order now, but if something blows up on you, please use the contact form to let me know.

Contest Beat First To Promote January Contest

Just a quick post to plug Contest Beat.

I submitted January’s Win A Free Web Site For the New Year contest to half a dozen of the contest oriented blogs, and Contest Beat very quickly turned the submission around into a post promoting the contest. I haven’t heard yet from another of the others, which is not surprising considering I submitted the contest on New Year’s Day.

So if you’re running a contest, I highly recommend submitting it to Contest Beat. Or go there if you’re looking for a contest to enter, too.

Popularity Contest Plugin And Spam

For some time now, the most popular posts in the sidebar list have been put there by spam.

Online Opportunity is setup with my recommended settings for a spam free blog, so comment spam doesn’t make it into the public eye.

But the Popularity Contest plugin still counts each spam comment as a vote for the popularity of a post. So the popular posts are those that are most keyword targeted by spam bots.

I’ve zeroed out the weight comments play in popularity, but the spam bots are still officially visiting the post pages, so they still tend to rank highly based on traffic alone.

I may need to look into the Bad Behavior plugin, which is supposed to prevent spam bots from hitting the blog at all.

Has anyone else encountered this same issue?

Online Opportunity Community Toolbar

I’ve been playing around with creating a community toolbar.

I initially started looking into this in order to put together a toolbar that had exactly the feeds and links I used on a daily basis. Then I realized that the capabilities of a community toolbar were much greater than I’d imagined.

Members of the community can send messages that the other members’ toolbars will pick up, or you can have a private chat page for just the people running the toolbar. The radio tuner alone makes it easier to listen to music while you’re surfing.

I’m still working on configuring the toolbar, but figured I’d make it available to readers, too. There’s a link in the sidebar under the feed subscription buttons. Click on it to install it into your web browser. The toolbar is certified virus and spyware free, so no worries there.

And, of course, it comes with a built-in link to Online Opportunity and the associated RSS feed so you’ve never more than a click away.

If you have any resources you’d love to be included into the toolbar, let me know.

The Demise of My First Ad, and more Swypefile

I’ve removed the DealDotCom widget from the sidebar.

As I’d mentioned before, it was an experiment to see how an affiliate like ad would do on the blog. The results, after two weeks, are in…it did horribly. The widget generated only about 5 click throughs the entire time, and at least one of those was me, testing the widget. And no sales.

Sure, given enough time it would have generated some sales, but I wasn’t particularly comfortable putting the widget in the sidebar in the first place. To overcome that discomfort, it would have had to generate regular sales, which is didn’t.

So the blog is back to being an ad free zone.

Swypefile, on the other hand, has been a success. I’ve put half a dozen of my posts on the site, and Sunday it generated about $3 in Adsense revenue for me. Since the site officially launches only today, that’s pretty good. As traffic to the site increases, the revenue should go up (provided I keep submitting posts).

If you write in the Internet Marketing arena, I highly recommend heading over to swypefile and putting some of your own posts on the site. You’ll get paid a bit for promoting your own blog. If you don’t write in the Internet Marketing arena, but read Internet Marketing blogs, you can also put posts from other blogs onto swypefile and earn from the Adsense on those pages.

Click here to get your free swypefile account.

New ShareThis Button

I’ve added a new social networking button from ShareThis.

It’ll appear at the bottom of posts and allow submitting posts to Digg and all the rest, as well as emailing posts. I’ll be running it in parallel with the FeedBurner social links for a while, to see what gets used more.

Why ShareThis?

One of my students recently graduated, and is working for the company. He was in today telling me about the service, so I figured I’d give it a try. I haven’t used it enough to know if there’s a big advantage over the other social bookmarking aggregators or not.

What do you think? Do you like the widget it pops up more than the FeedBurner links, or vice versa?

My First Ad

Okay, so I’ve gone and done it.

I’ve added an actual advertisement into my sidebar. It’s the DealDotCom plugin that showcases the product of the day. Naturally, if you buy the product through my link, I get a commission from it. And if you join DealDotCom through the widget, then I get ongoing commissions when you purchase the deals.

I’m not entirely sure whether I’ll keep the widget or not.

On the one hand, DealDotCom has improved the quality of its offerings, and I don’t really want to use up a blog post letting you know when they have deals I’d recommend. So using the widget is a low key way to let you see what the deals are in a way that gives me some benefit.

On the other hand, I’ve always resisted adding advertisements of any type to the blog, other than affiliate links to products that I’ve reviewed. DealDotCom offers products that I haven’t reviewed, so should I really be linking to them?

What do you think? Does it hurt my credibility to have the widget in the sidebar?

Blog Rush Update

Just a quick update on Blog Rush.

My traffic stats show that yesterday I received 6 visitors from other sites running the widget. Those visitors show as being referred from “widget.blogrush.com”.

That was the first day I’d received traffic. Presumably it took a day for me to build up enough credits from showing the widget to get enough exposure for my own posts to show. I’ll let you know how the traffic changes in the next few days, but 6 visitors on the first day of traffic is better than I’ve seen with most of these sorts of programs.