Making Money Online Online Business Rants

Online Income – The Secret to Success Is …

Online income is something many people profess to want – but few actually achieve it. Why? Isn’t terribly technically difficult – nope, is there really a secret – yes but not what you think. Online income, passive income whatever is a business – and a business is all about YOU.

I read a couple contrasting attitudes today – which I thought were relevant. Chris posted on The Keyword Academy forums:

To anyone whose article got returned on,  I apologize, it definitely isn’t my style. With the craziness going on with the Iraqi government formation and the troop withdrawal, our base is taking a lot of mortars and rockets, and one just happened to nail our internet satellite.

They just installed a new satellite, and I worked through the 119 articles pending, but I know some got returned, and I’m sorry. For the next 24 hours I’m doing hourly submissions to make up for it (besides sleeping of course), so hit me with your best shot.

Just to explain – Chris owns a article directory on TKA’s postrunner system,  and if you don’t approve articles submitted within 7 days they are automatically returned to sender- something some people whinge about a bit on the forums.

Chris obviously has a full-time job – in a war zone – and he’s concerned that he’s let others down … It would be really cool if some of you could add an anchored link to his site … (and yeah I disagree with the US involvement in other people’s countries too – but this ain’t about politics ). Something tells me that Chris is going to succeed in this game.

Also this morning I got a PM through the same forum asking:

I need help and don’t know where to look or ask. I’m half lost in all of this. This is all new to me and I am trying to learn it by myself. I know I am missing several things, but don’t necessarily know what.

Note this was from within TKA – this person is already a member of the site that I push everyone to who tells me they want to make money online.  A site that provides a set of step-by-step videos telling you what to do. I tell people in emails – that they will teach you everything you need to know. If you follow the program you will succeed. But I think I left out a step. So I’m gonna rectify that.

Before you write that email and ask for help (and this isn’t just the above one – I get an email via the contact form at least once a week asking for similar things). And don’t get me wrong I would like to help – but before I spend 1/2 hour of my time giving you free specific advice (something BTW I’ve never asked anyone else to do for me) – I’d like you to spend the time to answer these questions:

  1. Do you really want this? Do you really, really want to walk the road less trodden – ’cause this is what it is. If this is just a fill-in before you get a job, go to College, the kids go to school, – then frankly I doubt that you will be committed enough to make it happen.
  2. Can you deal with being  faced with  blank incomprehension every time you are asked what you do for a living? Do you have an ego wrapped up with what you do for a living – then this is most definitely not for you!  Most people will think I am a web designer!  Can you  handle not being taken seriously: my own partner thought I was “playing online” until he saw the money, I got asked last week “when was I going to get a job”, again, the same person then turned to my partner and said “I guess you have no choice but to have a job!” . For some people even if your business is a success and you pay the bills (mine does) – that will never be good enough. Some of those people will be related to you and you will care that they don’t get it.
  3. Do you want to own your own business. Can you handle the uncertainty of it – the fact that your income will go up or down, and its always gonna be like that ? Can you handle being the ultimate decision maker – for everything.
  4. Do you like your own company? If you intend to do this full-time are you happy about sitting alone in a room, just you and the computer for day after day – believe very, very occasionally I miss the idiots I used to work with…
  5. Are you prepared to take responsibility. Responsibility for your success as well as your failues.  For a long time  I thought I was scared of failure – but I was also scared of success – in the end I was just bloody scared!
  6. If you are doing this full time do you have saving for 9-12 months of living expenses? If you are doing this part-time are you prepared to do this with no financial reward for 12 months plus?
  7. Do you understand that Internet marketing changes all the time?  Do you consider that a challenge or a threat?
  8. Do you realise that you can’t just blindly follow a formula – that at some point you will have to step up and do your own testing and experimenting?

Frankly most make money online blogs won’t tell you this – but the vast majority of people can’t make money in this game.  My first serious mentor told me that – and he was right. I’m border line – I nearly didn’t make it – I had no actual experience or natural ability in this game. Oh I understand the tech, the websites, enough html and css. That’s not the issue – the issue is self-belief and having a business plan. Anyone with a background in commission selling or successful MLM – will  do way much more with this business much faster than I did.

To the rest of you – you have a chance – but only if you really, really are prepared to throw all your preconceived notions out, forget about the sensible and logical thing your years of experience in education or being a good employee has taught you. If you’re not then – cut your losses – get out  – get a job – or take up a hobby –  that’s not so bad – its what most people do. Isn’t it?

New Plymouth Gardens
New Plymouth Gardens - the road less travelled

Hey you’re still reading – must be stubborn…

Over 16 months ago, I wrote about the turn-around point in my business, not the moment  that I understood keywords, or understood  how to optimize WordPress, or how to find backlinks – but after I started believing in my dream.

In the next 3 months I doubled my online income. That wasn’t because I some how magically wanted it enough or any other “The Secret” bullshite – I stopped worrying about whether this could work and did the bloody work to make it happen!

I’ve said it before : I’m writing it down here so I can refer to the post the next time I’m asked :

If you have no money and no clue about earning online income:

  • answer the above questions;
  • still here? Enrol in TKA (handy affiliate link at bottom of post in blue box) and actually study the core videos
  • find some keywords – build hubpages – they are quicker and easier to rank and make money from than anything else I know

If you have money, no time and no clue (aka a J.O.B or a partner with a J.O.B):

  • answer the above questions;
  • still here? Enrol in TKA (handy affiliate link at bottom of post in blue box) and actually study the core videos
  • buy some domains and hosting and  install websites
  • learn the basics of the business and then invest in learning to outsource, preferably everything, but starting with the writing.

If you have money, time and no clue:

Pretty much the same as above but you should be seeing results way quicker because you can afford to both reinvest in your business and learn it all at the same time.

The secret to success with online income – there is no secret – its just a lot of hard work.  But you do “meet” some cool people along the way.

Case Study Lis Recommmends Paid Tools The Keyword Academy

Keyword Academy Case Study 4 Month Update

OK so its been two months since I did the last Keyword Academy Case Study update!

Postrunner Articles Live

Since the 6 May I’ve published another 13 articles – with five sent but not yet published – so yes most of them have been published in the last couple of weeks! However I  now have some regular writers on board so I will hopefully get a more consistent number of articles published this month!

Computer dog?

Rankings As of 2 August 2010

Rankings on (2 June | 30 April ,14 April 2010 in brackets | 8 April 2010)

18 pages indexed in Google (24, 26, 15 |13 pages)

13 backlink recognized in yahoo (13,13 ,6,1, 0)

domain name exact match long-tail: 8 (12, 14, 17 | 17)

main keyword:14 (21, 17, 34 | 61)

main keyword singular: 12 (19 ,19 , 31 | 61)

Sorry I’ve stuffed up the tracking of the cousins – to the point I can’t remember which was which LOL. Suffice to say that they have all improved since 2 June and are now all on page 3 or 2.

Note about the rankings – as I am still only getting trickle traffic – according to I am 14th for my exact match domain name and 22 for my main keyword – or in other  words my rankings are hardly stable.   So more backlink building for me!

So I guess the overall message here – is its hard to stuff this up – if you miss a week or a month – don’t quite, give up, or (shock, horror) look for a job. Just get on with getting more links LOL

What is the Competition Up to?

Tiffany updated about a month ago her Keyword Academy Case Study

Search Engines SEO Tutorial WordPress

Free On-Page SEO Tutorial – Using Your Keywords In Your Site

OK so this is part 2 of my free on-page SEO tutorial last time we talking about what is a keyword – today I’m going to tell you what to do with that keyword – now you’ve found it.  So let’s say -your site is about – oh I dunno – websites for small business maybe?

Ideally – if I wanted a site completely focussed on websites for small business I would do the following:

  1. I would  try to get the exact domain name match e.g. (or net or org) – there is definitely a bias from Google in favour of exact match domains (this does not extend to .info, .ws. .biz .co or any other extension). In this case those domains are unavailable and I wanted to focus the site on a particular country, so I went with the extension.
  2. I would include the keywords I was targetting in the  blog’s title – sometimes you can’t get, didn’t get, didn’t think before you established a website – so end up with a stupid domain name e.g. – but you can still target a totally different keyword by using the title tag. Ideally though I’d have had an exact match domain name.
  3. Then I’d add the keyword again into my tagline.
  4. I’d head over to the permalink settings and change them from the default for WordPress – which is the ugly ?p21 format and make them %postname% so that now I would have “pretty” urls like which include the page’s and post’s titles.
  5. If I wasn’t using a theme such as Catalyst which includes SEO options  I would install a FREE plugin such as  all-in-one-SEO or Platinum SEO. I would tell the SEO options it to NOT noindex categories and tags and other pages.
  6. Using those SEO options  I’d add the main keyword into the title and  meta-description of  my homepage, and it and related keywords in the  overall meta tags of the blog.  This counts for very little – Yahoo may still use meta tags, Google probably doesn’t. Google may or may not use your meta description in  your site’s search engine’s listing.
  7. Now having done all that – I would add some posts and pages – which – obviously – would talk sometimes about websites for business in NZ or websites for small business or even cheap websites for NZ business – all obviously closely related.
  8. If I was feeling really ethusisastic I would add some optimized images. Now Google is pretty stupid – its only a computer and tell that the bunch of pixels at the top of the post are about the consequences of  earning a passive income online.  So I told it! (Yeah I know its a stretch but I don’t have an image of banknotes lying on the beach!).  BTW traffic you get from Google’s image search are notorious for only staying long enough to steal your images, they are useless as readers or revenue sources!  To optimize an image do the following:
    1. change the name of the image – before you upload it – include your keyword in the new image’s title – mine is now called
    2. then when you import the image – make sure the title, the alt-title, the description and the caption all to include the keyword of interest.
Perth from Rottnest - Passive Income Rewards!
Perth from Rottnest - Passive Income Rewards!

Targeting More Than One Keyword on a Website

All of the above was an example of a small and focussed website. Not all websites are like that – this one sure isn’t it – it ranks quite well for its main keywords passive income online and related terms.  But I also rank for terms utterly unrelated to those. How does this happen – well I do two things – I add relevant content. For example I rank  quite well for the term postrunner and postrunner review – that’s entirely deliberate. This is what I did – I wrote a post: Postrunner Tutorial –  used the keywords and related terms in the title, at the start of the post and at the end. I didn’t try for any particular number of times – I didn’t unecessarily captialise, bold or italicize the term – though it was natural to use it in sub-headings that happen to be bolded…

Then I wrote another post – also about Postrunner – I linked the two together – simply to tell my readers that there was a previous post that they should maybe read first – and to tell the search engines the same thing. I used the same category and similar tags for the two posts.  Google now knows that I have quite a lot of i.e. more than one page, about this particular topic – that gives my pages a boost up the rankings,and hopefully a double listing (if I use exactly the same anchor text linking from each post to the other).

Ultimately you can get one website ranking for a bunch of unrelated keywords – and even it you started totally wrong – you can change everything up but adding titles and revising posts and get the same effect in the end.  The key though is to get the site ranking for one keyword first – once you have the first ranking it will be quicker and easier to get subsequent rankings.

So over a couple of thousand words that’s pretty much a free on-page SEO guide. Its really not that hard – and almost all of your effort should actually be directed at getting backlinks for your site !

Making Money Online Search Engines SEO Tutorial

Free On-Page SEO Tutorial – Part 1 What Are My Keywords

A few months ago I wrote a Scribe SEO review which created a lesson in online reputation management in the comments – which was interesting  – but hardly the point. My point was that there is nothing difficult or technical about “optimizing your blog for SEO” – and I promised that I would write more about on page SEO. A promised and then I promptly forgot about. But I have had more than one person contact me about a free alternative to a tool like Scribe SEO – so here is my version of it.  Its free – its here, you don’t even need to subscribe for the e-book – frankly there is not enough to write to fill an e-book – well not the important stuff anyway.

Baobab Tree - Native to the Kimberley's this example relocated to King's Park, Perth, WA

I am NOT an SEO Expert

I can do SEO, I know what I need to know to rank sites in Google. I am not an innovator, and I don’t do a lot of testing. This seems to appeal to the inner Geek – I am a part-Geek but not with SEO. I do practical SEO which works for my sites.

SEO Changes

SEO=search engine optimization – but what we all really mean is Google optimization – Google is the only game in town because it has so much of the search traffic.  Ranking top in Yahoo or Bing is nice but pretty worthless as far as search traffic is concerned.

BUT Google changes all the time – most recently was the so-called MayDay Update – which caused angst and concern throughout the online Internet Marketing world – if you haven’t heard about it – don’t worry – and save yourself several hours of reading – don’t Google “Mayday update”

On Page SEO – A Practioner’s View Point

Not every post I write here is focussed on getting search engine traffic – in part this is just a social blog which allows me to connect to readers – and mix it up a fair bit.  That’s OK and it doesn’t affect the site’s rankings for  the keywords I DO target. Because Google ranks pages not sites in general. But before we even get to where you should be using  your keyword on-page lets step back to ask the most basic question? If you have a popular site you can get traffic to any post – just my publishing it! But if you want to draw in new readers the easiest way is to have at least some posts which are keyword focussed.

What Are My Keywords?

You can’t rely on any tool to tell you what you keywords are! To do so is like sitting down and writing a novel and then working out what the plot is! You must have at least some idea before you start!   Which is not to say that you should completely ignore market demand. If you want to write about garden design – it doesn’t require a genius to know that anything with the words “eco” or “green” in the title may sell better than others.

But even if you are short of ideas – Google will help you for free!  In particular Google will tell you what terms they think your search is related to.

Sturt's Desert Pea, Kings Park, Perth WA

For example – go to google in and  type indigenous landscape design. Google will tell you what it thinks you mean in two ways: as you type in the drop down it will offer alternatives, and at the very bottom of the page – you will see “searches related to indigenous landscape design ”

Now this particular keyword is an excellent example of having to know something about your niche and the way that niche uses language. Indigenous means “the original people (or other things: plants etc) of an area” – any biologist, anthropologist, zoologist would know that. But in Australia it is also the term very specifically used quite often in the media – where an American might talk about Native affairs or Native title and a New Zealander would talk about Tangata Whenua or Maori title – politically correct Australians would use the term Indigenous to reflect the people who were living in Australia when the Europeans happened upon the so-called Terra nullius. Aborigine is incorrect (it excludes Torres Strait Islanders and implies that almost all of the original Australians are the same race (they are not)), and native is associated with previous racist policies of white Australia.

Now having lived in Australia I know that Australia has huge issues with using the land inappropriately – e.g. commercially growing rice (which needs huge amounts of water) in the semi-arid Murray-Darling basin.  Even home gardeners seem to grow far more more roses and  lawns than the local flora (which is quite beautiful – I am using this post just to show off some of my better shots of it LOL)

So with that background when Gordon from Indigenous Landscape Design Australia asked me about a free alternative to Scribe SEO a thought his site was a really good example of a site which is doing most things right – but could be improved with a few additions. First a note about

Country Specific Keywords

Almost nothing is more country (if not region) specific than anything related to gardens and gardening. The information is specific, the plant varieties are specific and the stuff that grows in Cairns certainly won’t grow in Tasmania or Alberta.  If you are targeting a specific country – get the specific countries TLD in this case – but also, .ca. etc.  This is the biggest hint to Google that your site is relevant to  a single country – in fact the default now is for Google to show “sites from NZ” if I search from – which is the default browsers for users in NZ. It doesn’t really matter where you sie is hosted (US is generally cheapest) – but you do need that TLD as a big hint in the domain name. As we are talking about an Australian site with an Australian  audience I am using the Australian Google from here on:

So from

as I typed in indigenous landsc… I got suggested:

  • indigenous landscapes – too broad
  • indigenous landscape design Australia – nice lots of searchers will add their country
  • indigenous landscaping – possible – might be too broad
  • indigenous landscaping ideas – excellent seracher wants info
  • indigenous landscaping omaha – huh – don’t think so
  • indigenous landscaping systems – hmm maybe – I don’t know enough about the topic to comment

once I insisted on searching for my original term – at the bottom of the page I got the related terms of:

Even More Related Keywords

So armed with this knowledge – and what very little I know about the topic – I head off to Google’s free keyword tool . Set the results to the relevant country (in this case) – toss in all the terms I think might be relevant from the above search and voila:

A note about search volumns and cost per click. This tool is designed for the USERs of Adwords ie the advertisers who pay for those  Adsense ads that some of us make money from. This doesn’t mean its not useful even if you are not an adwords advertiser or publisher. If someone is paying to advertise for a term such “landscaping design” there is probably some chance of making money from it. Though if you change the search volumne over to “exact match” you will see that its not a huge volume. Even if you get the “not enough data” against a term – this doesn’t mean there are NO searches – again you need to know your  market. Almost all New Zealand specific terms come up with that statement (there are only 4 million of us living here) – but that’s not to say that people don’t search for “small garden design” in NZ! It just means compared to the global demand for a term  like  “erection problems” its not very high!

Wildflower display, spring, Kings Park, Perth, WA

You don’t necessarily need high search volume to make money if you are offering expensive products and services e.g. a garden design service.  But you do need to be using your customers language – and Google is offering you these suggestions because this is what your customers are using to search in Google for. Yes “outdoor landscaping” is a tautology – but 58  people a month in Australia search for it!

Now this site may be too specific – Gordon is already #1 and #2 for “indigenous landscape design” out of over 3,000,000 results. This suggests that there is not much competition  and probably not much demand. But he will know what the demand is by checking  his  Analytics or other stats package –  once  you get to the top of the rankings you will know exactly what your traffic is!

And while you are there – your statistics are another excellent source of keyword ideas – people will find your site by using the oddest searches – and your stats should show you these.

Maybe I was wrong,  perhaps  my free on page SEO guide should be a book! Anyway its going to be a multi-part post obviously! Click here for part 2: Using Keywords in Your Site

Online Business Passive Income Australia/NZ

Is Lis Lost Down Under?

Life is for living has always been my motto – its one of the reasons I now own my own business rather than make obscene amounts of money as an IT contractor.  Being that miserable isn’t worth any amount of money. And sometimes going to work just seem too trivial to be bothered with. Unfortunately my online business has felt a bit like that over that last little while!

Taranaki Egmont New Zealand
Mt Taranaki taken from New Plymouth

Well life went from interesting to worse really. After I wrote that post (when we had sold the house, and my partner’s mum had died) – we found a new place we liked and bought it. There was gap of about a month between during which we stayed with friends – which was very nice and saved us a fortune. In the 4 weeks we stayed I managed to write-off our car by running  it into a bus – no serious damage to me but the back is only just about recovered from the whiplash now. My partner’s uncle died in Australia so he  had to fly over for that funeral (its only 4 hours flying from here though – slightly shorter than if we’d still been in Perth).

My partner then ended up having an angiogram (he’s OK – but it was seriously scary for the few days it took him to have it done).  It could have been stress (duh!) .That was rock bottom really.

Then stuff started improving:

  • We bought a new(er) car (NZ has a wonderful deal where we import used Japanese cars with low mileage so we are now driving a 2005 car for less than US$7000 (NZ$11,000) )
  • We took a long weekend and gave the car a run  to New Plymouth (I’d never been) and even got to see the mountain (unusual in winter).
  • We moved into our new house, we unpacked (mostly).  We bought new toys like a dryer and a digital video recorder thingy that will watch TV for you (yes I know about video tapes but I couldn’t be arsed connecting it really -and its really hard to buy tapes now). Eyeing up a new thin TV and some furniture to put it in but the credit card is over-tired this month LOL
moving house - too many boxes
Don't you hate unpacking!
  • We moved into our 5-year-old townhouse to discover that insulation really does work, even in Wellington, as the weather was seriously cold even for us, that we really did like the place (I am never sure once I’ve bought somewhere), that it’s super convenient , and we really don’t need to do much redecorating.  And the vegetable plot even seems to be growing non-weedy things (I understand they are called Brassicas).
bassicas in the garden
IThey are growing - so I hope they are Bassicas not triffids!

Stuff has been happening on the Internet Marketing front too – but I might save that for another post – and no it won’t be as long this time! Too main points though:

  • no – I haven’t given up on the Keyword Academy Case Study – and although I haven’t built anymore links my rankings are basically holding from my last update.
  • if anyone is still considering the The Keyword Academy – the price has dropped back down to $33/month (after the first month @ $1) – if you signed up under the $67 rate – check your email and follow the instructions to get your fees retroactively reduced.
  • I have decided to work smarter not harder – more details soon.
Online Business Passive Income

Slope Stability, Earthquakes and Passive Income

You may not know – I used to be a Geologist and even know useful stuff about how to make sure your house didn’t fall down a hill in rain storm or earthquake  (here’s a hint you probably need a 3D slope stability program to do the calculation!)  Having a science degree in real physical science has always been extremely useful – even long after I left the profession – because it taught me about cause and effect – and  that just because something happens at the same time doesn’t mean they are related.

Big Pit, Kalgoorlie, Western Australia
Its predictable whether this slope will fail or not - it won't because the right slope stability calculations have been done on it!

Where am I going with this – and does it relate to making passive income online? Well it does relate – we mix up cause and effect all the time: we think life is more dangerous for kids these days then it was in the old days – but most children survive to the age of 5 in developed countries now – something that would have been beyond imagining  even 200 years ago, and unfortunately still is in some parts of the world.

We think that working hard on a site should see Google loving the site, sending us heaps of traffic and making us lots of money. We get mad if it doesn’t happen inside a month, most of us quit – and most people quit Internet Marketing just before they start to succeed at it.  We chase the dream – but miss the obvious – starting your own business is about risk and reward – but first comes the risk. Building a passive income online is always about building a business: in might be a rental property business or an active share portfolio. Don’t get me wrong you might not be actively managing that business –  my tenants don’t call me when the hot water breaks – they call my property manager – that’s his job –  I pay him to work work for me – but I own the business – I take the risk – no tenant, I still get to pay the mortgage.

Its a lot like building a passive income business online. There are heaps of different models out there – unfortunately the most common one is parcel up shiny objects and sell those to the beginners – and persuade them that the more they pay the more likely they are too get rich overnight. Make no mistake someone is getting rich – but its not the person buying!  At the end of the day – it doesn’t matter really how many make money online products your buy or how many membership sites you enrol in. Unless you are actually building a business i.e. creating some income producing assets e.g. websites – then you are just dreaming.

On that note –  yes I have still been doing not very much to make  passive income  online – I mentioned in a previous post that life had been getting in the way. Well its pretty been going from bad to worse and now back again – I wrote off the car (me v.bus) – not sure whether I was in the wrong or not yet but have the pay out and am not much the worse for wear. Slightly annoying but as the 10-year-old car which we’d stored for 3 years while overseas had been running well until it impacted said bus.   We have also bought a new house and weathered a health scare (that’s all it was a scare not a reality) – I am really looking forward to getting back to some level of normality next week!

Oh and the title – well hopefully most of you will know why the term “slope stability” needed to be in the title – the earthquake was the personal kind not the real deal and the passive income really has been just that for far too long now!

Case Study Lis Recommmends Paid Tools The Keyword Academy Tools

Keyword Academy Case Study 2 Month Update

How was the month – well not very productive – as I have already mentioned.  But I did say I would keep on updating the Keyword Academy Case Study series – so here we go!

Pack me to!

Rankings As of 2 June 2010

Rankings on 2 June ( 30 April ,14 April 2010 in brackets | 8 April 2010)

24 pages indexed in Google (26, 15 |13 pages)

backlink recognized in yahoo 13 (6,1, 0)

domain name exact match long-tail: 12(14, 17 | 17)

main keyword: 21( 17, 34 | 61)

main keyword singular: 19 ( 19 , 31 | 61)

cousin keyword #1 ; 33 (24 ,63 | 47)

cousin keyword #2: 15( 22, 43 | > 100)

cousin keyword #3 90( 82 ,>100 | > 100)

cousin keyword #4  >100 (100, > 100 |>100)

cousin keyword #5:  38, (25 (and 78 double listing),49 | 37)

cousin keyword #6:  50 ( 39, 60 | 71)

cousin keyword #7:  35 (33 , 60 | 71)

Postrunner Articles Live

27 articles are live – and yes I’m slack and haven’t added any more!

So really should go away and right some more articles write now!

How’s the Competition

Alana seems to be the only one left updating her Keyword Academy Experiment

Tiffany has now got her Keyword Academy Case Study update up now!

Online Business Passive Income Passive Income Australia/NZ

Passive Income Online – Where Has Lis Been?

Sorry I don’t usually do purely personal posts of Passive Income Online – so you may want to skip this one – unless you were wandering what happened.  Well first off from the online point of view – nothing bad has happened – in fact its looking like a record breaking month on my passive income goals – and I mean truly passive income because I have really done very little focused work this month.  We’ve had a month of it.

Sold House in Khandallah

First we finally sold our house in Khandallah (BTW ranking #2, #3 behind the major Real Estate Institute in the country – just wondering how much an Agent will want to pay for the site …). Got pretty much our price in a very slow flat market which was freaking out about the budget (now been and gone). We move out in a few weeks. Where to – who knows I’m  no fan of bridging finance – we may have to rent for a wile or we may win the tender that closes today – something will happen.

I don’t know how it is in your country – but in New Zealand the Internet has been a game-changer for selling your own home. The standard deal is you pay around 4% plus tax to an agent to “market” your property. They will probably charge you for advertising on top of that – but even at that rate you are looking at NZ$20k for our  place (US$14k). I paid for advertising too – it cost NZ$160 for 2 large signs complete with photos (we are in a cul-de-sac these were essential and an agent would have charged for them anyways). We spent NZ$300 to advertise on – eBay didn’t bother opening in NZ – Trademe is  the local equivalent – but  actually has fair fees and is the only way to buy and sell garage sales stuff here now.  We wasted NZ$500 for one colour photo ad in the Saturday night newspaper – I tracked how many came from that ad to the website – about 3. The Trademe add had over 2,500 hits in the 2 1/2 months it was up. Many people found it from the sign as well because its a neighbourhood people like to stay in because of the local restricted zone school.

There is still several glossy magazines that vendors pay to advertise their homes for sale  in (only available if you have an agent) – it does a great job in advertising the Real Estate Agencies. Its fun to flick thru from time to time – but now I’m serious about buying a house – I use Trademe which allows me to easily see the new listings in suburbs and price brackets of interest.

About a week after the house sale – my mother-in-law (well we’re not married but there’s not a short way to describe the relationship in English) – Jeanne Malthus died.  Its not normally my policy to name and identify my family here but  I’d just like to make sure that Jeanne’s tribute page stays #1 for name – and that link should do it.   I think its a very nice development that Funeral Director’s now run tribute pages for clients. Hopefully they have a lot better chance a longevity than the Facebook versions!   Jeanne  was a lovely lady who was one of the generation who remembered when home phones were a special thing (her father was a policeman so he had one – that was unusual in small town NZ at the time) – who lived to learn how to send emails and read friends and her (other) son’s  blog.   My father died over 15 years ago – before the Internet became common – but he grew up in a world without indoor plumbing and died while still selling computers (in his 80’s).  To anyone who thinks that change and progress is bad – really should read some more history – Dicken’s was wrong –  we live in the best of times.

See I told you this post really had nothing much to do with Passive Income. I’ve done very little work this month. So to all of you who are just starting off this making passive income online caper and wondering why you’ve only made 2c after writing 10 articles – its because this business is the ultimate in delayed gratification – you will get paid months down the line – not now – later. The money I will bank this month  came from work I did a year or more ago.

Passive Income

My Sites Have Dropped Out of the SERPS – Does Google Hate Me?

I have the habit of near the start of the month using the Rank Checker in Market Samurai to check where my sites are ranking. I did it a couple of days ago and was sad to see one that had been turning a few consistent pennies had dropped out of the top 100 positions. Odd I thought because it was an exact domain match which had happily sat on the first page for  three or four months.Now I didn’t notice this for every site put it down the Google dance and got on with life.

But it was new – I’d never seen an EMD drop so hard after so many months.   With the disturbing stories coming out recently of good people getting  de-indexed . I was concerned – not so much for the $10 the site earned me a month – but the fact that this could be the start of a trend.  I hoped I wasn’t next in G’s sights – but I couldn’t really believe that I had that much influence on the WWW but I  had started cleaning up in order to do the right thing , even if Adsense had asked for it – and I knew that not every bad arsed marketer had been hit.

Now I’ve seen the explanation – you may have noticed that Google has changed their interface to the new one:

Whether or not this is making any difference to people’s rankings in the SERPS – I haven’t heard so yet – but  what it has done is broken all the scrapers. How does this affect you? Well if you use a tool like Market Samurai or MicroNicheFinder or almost anything else  (except Google) to check your results  – its broken and the results are misleading. Market Samurai has announced an update on Twitter – but its not out yet.  I  suspect because the roll out of the new Google interface is gradual across  all its data centres that’s why sometimes the results are OK and some aren’t. If in doubt check for non-personalized results – scroogle does seem to be working BTW.

So if you do see something odd in a tool double check – check your stats –  if the traffic is about the same – nothing much has actually happened. But far more importantly in the immortal words of Jonesy – put your tin hat on  and DON”T PANIC!

Back Links Case Study Lis Recommmends

Keyword Academy Case Study – One Month Update

End of the first month with my little Keyword Academy Case Study with the statistics for my new site after a month of Postrunner submissions. Basically the site seems to be growing naturally with  solid page 2 rankings for both my exact domain match and my main keyword. I have the distinct feel that the exact domain bonus drops siginficantly down if you have more than two words in the domain (this domain has four).

Supreme Court, Wellington New Zealand

Rankings as of 30 April 2010

Rankings on 30 April (14 April 2020 in brackets | 8 April 2010)

26 pages indexed in Google (15 |13 pages)

backlink recognised in yahoo 6 (1, 0)

domain name exact match long-tail: 14 (17 | 17)

main keyword: 17 (34 | 61)

main keyword singular: 19 (31 | 61)

cousin keyword #1 ; 24 (63 | 47)

cousin keyword #2: 22 (43 | > 100)

cousin keyword #3 82 (>100 | > 100)

cousin keyword #4 >100 (> 100 |>100)

cousin keyword #5: 25 (and 78 double listing) (49 | 37)

cousin keyword #6: 39 (60 | 71)

cousin keyword #7: 33 (60 | 71)

Postrunner Articles Live

25 articles live 2 still waiting review. Over all iIve had 3 or 4 articles returned after 7 days because the directory owner is asleep at the wheel.   When you schedule posts in Postrunner – they are not  actually sent to the directory you select until the date scheduled so you may have to wait for another 7 days for the article to be approved.

Of the 25 articles live – all but 4 are indexed. One of those has only been live 2 days the others have been live for over two weeks so I may need to build some links to get  them indexed.

Expenses to Date

25 articles @ $3/article from The Content Authority = $75

Income to Date

I haven’t put Adsense on the site – but I may do soon because I am starting to get trickle long-tail traffic. I have an affiliate product which as so far has had a bout 30 clicks (but no sales).

Hows the Competition Doing?

Alana has battled through hardware failures to update us on her Keyword Academy Experiment

Tiffany’s posted her one month’update at Passive Income Goals

Has anyone got an update? Let me know and I’ll link you here!

Online Business Passive Income Passive Income Australia/NZ Plan Review

Passive Income: End of the Quarter Review!

Well a little late but so long as I get this out before the end of April! In fact the last time I did one of these was 6 month’s ago!  Anyway its the end of the tax year here so I had to do some tax stuff first.  First off a huge  tip for any of you who aspire to wander around the world logging in occasionally to make a little more passive income online!  Sort out your tax status and try to be tax resident in only one country! After several years of doing tax returns in two countries I am significantly over it!

Dancing Rumba on my 48th Birthday April 2010, Nelson, New Zealand

Now I did indeed write down my Passive Income Goals for 2010 so perhaps I should see whether I am quarter of the way there yet!

After all I only had three goals:

  • US$5000/month – $3000 of which would be passive (e.g. affiliates) income;
  • develop a website trading business;
  • develop my own products.

OK – so what have I actually achieved in the first 3 months of 2010?

  • Total income of around US$3000/month – of which about 1/3 is passive;;
  • lost the enthusiasm for the website  trading business – frankly it would be just as easy to sell niche sites on The Keyword Academy forums where there  seems to be a constant demand;
  • the whole own product thing hasn’t inspired me yet either – though I am thinking about doing some Frugal Theme skins – possibly just to give away for people who sign up with my affiliate!

So I’m not too unhappy with the way my actual gross revenue is going – though I am now starting to track my expenses as well to make sure they don’t start creeping up.

Tracking my Business Growth and New Zealand Taxes

I am still using the simple spreadsheet I described in my October post – for the end of the tax year I added up the income over the last year , converted to NZ dollars, and came up with a figure which strongly suggested I should start worrying about provisional tax!  For the record I have no understanding of people who whinge about paying tax – I am bloody delighted to be paying  tax – it means I am making some money!

Mind you my next step was to register for GST to minimize the tax I was paying by being able to claim 12.5%   (soon to be 15%), discount on anything I  buy in New Zealand. Then I bought a rather nice 21″ monitor!

I don’t know how they do it in your country, but in New Zealand (if your business is small enough) you get to choose whether to pay provisional (estimated) tax on what you have earned or what you have been paid. Given that most affiliate programs pay sometimes  months in arrears I chose a payments basis – which means I now have to run my accounting on a cash (payments) basis for my accountant – though I still will use the actual earning figures for my planning and personal gratification!

The irony of course is that people who skip paying taxes are also skipping the ability to legitimately deduct their expenses – even expenses they have anyways like rent and power and Internet!

What I am Planning for the Next Quarter

I am trying to get my passive income up a LOT for the second half of this year. My partner is not very happy with his current contract – I’d like to replace his contract income  and give him the option of not working. That would be the equivalent of an extra US$7500 /month that’s a lot for such a short time frame.

More realistic might be to make sure I can cover our total household expenses – I’ve been paying 50% since the beginning of the year – so to pay the lot would be around another US$2500/month – bringing my total monthly income to US$5500 – that’s a bit more realistic I think. So long as the US / NZ dollar exchange rate stays in my favour.

A Note About the Photos

I like taking photos – and I particularly like my new fancy camera,  but I don’t really want a separate photo blog like  Sire’s Scenic Adelaide or Todd’s Picture a Day blog about Iraq, weather and kids.

So I decided my long-suffering readers needed to see them, after all proper professional type blogs always have very sophisticated and shiny photos  which mainly look like they came from the same stock photo source. Mine are at least unique!   After all don’t you get tired of all the perfect  I think some of my photos should be forced upon my loyal readers – so – I started adding them in – around the time I moved back to New Zealand.

Sometimes the photos are a play on words, sometimes they’re allegorical, sometimes they’re random – you get to figure it out!  If I actually have real screen shots to illustrate a point I’ll use those. But most of the time waffling on about passive income online isn’t  that much of visual topic – so hence – the completely irrelevant photos!

Having just added all the thumbnails back in after swapping themes – it stuck me that not a lot of passive income blogs feature photos of Wellington and Australia – so you might have been wondering!

What About You ?

Its not just slackness that has meant I haven’t talked much about my income recently – when I was making  under $200/month from Adsense and Affiliates I wasn’t too worried about sharing that fact. Now I was a little worried that I sound a little arrogant talking about it – but I know the frustration of many beginners who wonder if they will ever see any believable income figures – which are over sabout $10/day – the level at which many bloggers quit at.