Online Business Rants

Issues with moving Hosts: Technical Limbo

You know at the moment this is the only 1 of my sites which is absolutely 100% working! Why? Because over a week ago I decided to move hosts. My current host hasn’t given me any grief, but it doesn’t have a couple of industry standard tools such as CPanel (a way of managing your site) and some standard statistics packages.

I decided that if I needed the additional functionality down the track then I should

apply directly to forehead?
Originally uploaded by anomalous4

move sooner rather than later – and anyway the host I was moving to is supposed to have fantastic customer support and will move my sites for free.

Now if my sites were just static websites there would have been no problem at all: moving a bunch of files from one host to another is dead easy and it would have taken about 10 minutes tops. Unfortunately though WordPress blogs and BANS sites both use databases to hold you content, comments, well every thing important really. The issue is that the new site had a totally different set of naming standards for databases – so I couldn’t just copy the databases over.

Fine I thought – cut my losses wait the 72 hours get support to do: which they did within the 72 hours. So I went to check, no some bits working but most broken. Like my personal blog is fine except the plugin that manages my over 500 photos scattered throughout more than a year of posts doesn’t. The plugin just plain refuses to work on the new host: why – I don’t have a glimmer of an idea; they all run the same operating system – linux, the host is supposed to support WordPress – lets face it they wouldn’t be in business if they didn’t – but a really common plugin just fails to work!

One of the frustrations of being self-employed is issues like this: I guess this has lost me all of my productive time this week. Even this blog which was actually starting to get a little bit of traffic has nose-dived because I haven’t posted for days – which is fair enough, but guess it just points out how fragile building a business is.

The percieved wisdom is that you won’t succeed without determination, and quitters never win. But the converse isn’t necessarily true either: those who persevere aren’t guaranteed success either. What do I know having sunk a week of time and $16 into this new host. To I walk away, cancel next month’s payment and never know if 1 last email would have fixed the problem: or caused to to waste another 10 hours?

On the bigger side of self-employment: do you stay with your existing trickles of income: not because you know you can grow them: you probably can’t but because at least they are certain. Or do you neglect your existing sources while trying to develop new business models with no idea at all whether the new technique will work for you?

Free Tools Search Engines Tools

Qassia – what is it?

Qassia is not only a useful word to know if you want to win at scrabble and are stuck with a “Q” but not the “U” but also a way to get free do-follow links to your websites or blogs. You earn “Qassia $” (unfortunately not convertable!) for adding “intel” which are short (200 word typically) articles, or by screening other people’s submissions or by referring people to Qassia. You then spend the Q$
to get “do follow” links for your websites: as many sites as you like and you can change the allocation as you please.

It’s a fairly new site and but seems to be doing well and now has a PR5 ranking for its front page. I suspect its one of these places where being in early might well be good: I go to ezinearticles and get depressed about how many excellent articles there are on any imaginable topic: there is a lot less competition at Qassia! Qassia is still in beta testing so the only way to get on is to follow my personal invite to join Qassia


Why a Blogger blog?

Update: I moved – this is no longer a blogger blog: and heres why I moved from Blogger

Some of you may be wondering why I am using the free blogger hosting to run this blog. After all I pay for hosting which effectively allows me to run unlimited domains so why would I not just run another blog there: after all all I need to pay for the domain nae – which can be had for $1 if I don’t mind a info tld.

I started on blogger but moved away from it when I discovered the power of

Originally uploaded by Shavar

WordPress. Now for some purposes I think blogger has a place in my empire. Horses for courses and here are some of the pros/cons that I can see.

Advantages of Blogger (Blogspot) Blogs

  • they get indexed quickly in Google: not surprisingly because Google owns blogger! This blog got indexed inside about 48 hours.
  • out of the box bloggers are well optimized for SEO purposes. You can do the same for WordPress blogs of course: but that’s the point you have to do it – and many people don’t;
  • it’s idiot proof: its very,very easy to set up a blog. if you can write a HubPage you can set up a blogger blog, even my Internet challenged brother could do it!
  • you can easily add Adsense and other Affiliate advertising: in contrast free hosted blogs don’t allow you to monetize;
  • for those looking for a keyword focussed domain name it might be easier to get compared to (don’t bother they are both gone and no they are not my sites!)
  • blogger blogs are hosted somewhere different from the rest of your empire – if something happens to your web hosting at least your blogger blog will still work;
  • you get traffic from blogger itself: people seem to surf blogger looking for something to read – though I doubt that its very well targeted traffic.
  • its free and I doubt that that will change

Disadvantages of Blogger (Blogspot) Blogs

  • its not an open interface so you don’t have the huge range of plugins and themes available for self-hosted WordPress. if you want a super-slick, beautifully designed blog then stick ith self-hosted WordPress. If you just want something functional that works blogger will do fine;
  • all domains include as in if you get good rankings and backlinks for that url and them decide to move later to your own site e.g. then you will lose all that age, backlinks and SEO advantages and have to start again. If you expect to move to your own domain later then do so, sooner;
  • you are basically renting, or squatting as the rent is free, on someone else’s site: they have no obligation to keep on providing the service and one day your whole blog may just go away, I tend to think if that happens we may have more serious things to worry about than a blogger blog!

For those interested in the use of blogger blogs with Adense to make money from Niches check out Grizz’s: Make Money Online Blog: Check out the “Make Money Online Lesson’s” series towards the bottom right of the main page: don’t be put off by the length of his posts: its deliberate and he explains why.

Making Money Online Online Business

Google Smart Pricing

One of the things that is worth knowing about Adsense is smart pricing. When I first got an Adsense account I slapped Google ads on every site I had and got excited when someone clicked and gave me a few cents!

What bloggers forget though is that unlike say an affiliate program such as eBay:

Originally uploaded by keso

where the advertiser only pays the blogger if they actually get a a sale: Adsense you get paid even if someone clicks and then clicks away: your readers random clicks on ads can actually cost the advertiser real money and they won’t be happy unless they are seeing a business return!

So Google will “smart price” your ads if your customers aren’t buying from the advertisers they click. Google will smart price all of your websites/hubpages/blogs that you use Adsense on too: not just the site that has the problem.

How to Avoid Smart Pricing

  • Don’t add Adsense to your personal blog: its too general to bring either well-paying ads or targeted traffic to your advertisers;
  • Read up about ensuring that your Adsense ads are picking up the right keywords from you titles and other SEO tricks: Check out Grizz’s blog on this;
  • Don’t add Adsense to a brand new blog or site: let the site mature a bit and get some traffic before you attempt to monetize with Adsense.

How do you know if you are smart-priced? You’ll notice that clicks that used to get you 25c a click now get you 1c or 5c. Although that’s not definite because clicks value does change depending on the readers location, time of day, time of month and lots of other things that Google doesn’t tell us about.

Also be wary of actually discussing the details of your Adsense online or elsewhere in public, from Adense’s Terms of Service:

[you may not disclose] click-through rates or other statistics relating to Property performance in the Program provided to You by Google; However, You may accurately disclose the amount of Google’s gross payments to You pursuant to the Program.

Making Money Online Online Business Search Engines

Traffic equals Cash?

Does an increase in traffic bring you more Adsense income? Not in my experience: one of my most consistently visited articles on HubPages has brought me about 10c – in 3 months!

Early on in Hub building career I remember sitting up most of the night as I

Originally uploaded by ulalume

received hundreds of visits from Stumblers – it was really really exciting: did it make me any money: no. StumbleUpon traffic doesn’t convert – people don’t even seem to read the site they just click onto the the next one. They usually stay for less than 10 seconds.

So what is the best traffic: organic traffic the people who find your hub or website from searching in Google or Yahoo or MSN not because they are a friend from social networking or your real-world life. Why are they the best traffic: because they have a problem and if they find you hopefully you can provide a solution.

That’s the trick though: there are basically two to solve your visitor’s problem:

  • provide content that answers their question; or
  • provide an advertisement that solves their problem

Which one gets you paid?

Affiliate Marketing Search Engines

Adding a BANS store To an Existing Site

Yes success! Having been frustrated with getting INFO domains indexed I decided to try adding a store onto one of my existing blogs. The blog has great content and basically gets about10 hits a day even though I havent updated it for months and done no promotion of it. I checked what people where using to find it and then built a BANS EBay store around those keywords.

Never Delete an Old Blog

Google basically considers that the older a site is the more likely it is to

Ruins of a Muslim haveli in an Oudh qasbah near Lucknow
Originally uploaded by Indscribe

be legitimate. If you think about it age is one think you really can’t fake! Or hurry up! My blog wasn’t being updated and it still has a has a PR of 3 which in itself can be useful for backlinks too.

Well 2 days later my store is indexed in Google: no traffic or sales yet but at least its got potential now! Think it might be time to re-vitalise this particular site too!

So if you think your old sites are a mistake you may be right but don’t delete them – they aren’t costing you anything and you might be able to reuse them for something more useful in the future.

Making Money Online Online Business Rants

Statistics, more Statistics and Depression

Getting Indexed in Google
Are you are a compulsive statistics checker? Do you Google your domain url 15 times a day to see if you are indexed yet? Do you check Adsense on the hour every hour to see if you have made another 6c ? Do you worry if your visitor numbers to your hub or lens drops from 9 to 8? Yes you are obsessed with your statistics. You are not alone: I get out of bed and flick through my domains checking to see if they are in Google’s index yet (Hint: just enter in Google’s search bar will do it). Yes statistics can be very useful: if you can’t measure something you don’t know whether you are getting better or worse.

However until you have got first indexed in Google and second had a reasonable amount of time (that’s months not hours people!) to collect statistics you are seeing nothing but meaningless variations. Unfortunately those meaningless variations cause lots of people to give up before they get started. OK your site isn’t making anything after 3 months: you delete it. Unfortunately maybe the next day Google was finally going to index your site and throw it onto page 1 for your long tail keyword: what a shame!

So When Should you Check your Statistics?

Actual is not normal (a tribute to Edward Tufte)
Originally uploaded by kevindooley

  1. When you new website has been running for 6 months minimum
  2. When your new blog site has been running for 3 months minimum.
  3. When your hubpage has been up for 1 month minimum
  4. When you are testing a new form of promotion.
  5. When you are testing a new advertising campaign
  6. When you need to record what your income was for the month because you made so much money you are going to have to start paying tax on it!

You have Compulsive Statistics Checking Disorder When:

  1. You spend more time checking statistics than writing content, promoting sites or running your business.
  2. You know that you have a new click because you have memorised what the numbers were: for 10 sites!
  3. You are hugely exciting to have calculated that you will reach the Adsense $100 payment threshold in 4 months, 25 days and 13 hours.
  4. You know immediately if the statistics program is running slow and you havent seen a click update for 30 minutes.
Affiliate Marketing Making Money Online Marketing Online Business

Update on the first month of my BANS Empire

OK I started buying domains on 10 April and now I have over domains. Buying of course is the easy bit! To date I have only got 7 sites setup.

Originally uploaded by Peter Kaminski

The GoDaddy sale is still on so you can buy a info domain for $1.99c (plus 20c registration fee). That’s cheap compared to a com at $9.99. Though you might want to hesitate before you jump in. Six of my BANS stores are on info domains and not one of them are currently indexed. What does that mean? If you put the exact url of the domain for example in Google it will return no results – but put the url exists – well not that one but you get the idea. No one searching on Google will find my stores 🙁

My first info was indexed for a couple of weeks: it even bought me in a small commission. Then Google did an update early May at it disappeared, the other info stores have either been briefly indexed and dropped or never indexed.

The low price of info domains obviously attracts bargain hunters but also spammers. It appears that Google has decided to “sandbox” info domains for a while to discourage the spammers – hopefully they will back soon :-). One of the things I have learned with internet marketing that there is not point worrying about things you can’t influence and I definitely cannot influence Google! On the other hand Google can’t ignore all info domains for ever – its a perfectly legal TLD with lots of perfectly legitimate sites established and being established.

As 6 of my info domains are effectively invisible to Google I am getting little traffic and no sales. The last site is a com but has only been up two dates so far!