Affiliate Marketing

RevResponse – A different Type fo Affiliate

I have a confession – I am not very good as an affiliate marketer. For one I won’t promote anything I don’t actually use myself – and for two most of the stuff I use is free – so no commission – like Q10 Retro Text Editor.

So its taken me a while to check out RevResponse – and I only really have because I saw a write up from people like Terry’s – Make MoneyOnline and Grizz’s Make Money Blogging In fact when I clicked through I realised that I recognised the site – I had used it before as a consumer so it must be good!

So what’s RevResponse and why do I like it? Well is different, its useful – and its FREE! How good is that? Here’s how it works – RevResponse has a wide range of business and professional magazines on offer – for FREE – yes no catch. You do have to fill in all the contact information and for some offers you have to reside in the right country, but if you are eligible you receive the magazines free.

For you greenies: no trees dies – these are e-magazines – so they are delivered straight to your inbox in pdf format. And the range of topics is impressive not just finance and business but utilities, food and beverage, packaging, to transportation and travel. They really do have a full-range of options.

For those of you not resident in the US check towards the bottom of the main pages on the left for “International Eligible” to avoid frustration.

And yes: if you do click through and sign up I do get a small commission – but you’re not paying it so its all good!

Article Marketing HubPages

Knol: Competition for Squidoo and HubPages

Today Google launched their new service Knol. Speculation has been that Knol is an attempt of Google to take on Wikipedia at first glance I think Knol is actually closer to Squidoo or Hubpages.

Knol appears to be ambivalent on the commercial appeal of the site. Wikipedia has been robustly and adamantly non-commercial- deleting any page which is “commercial” in even the broadest terms. Knol of the other hand specifically allows knols that are about a commercial subject.

Knol even has Adsense and allows authors to keep 100% of Adsense revenues: but the placement of the single Adsense block is far right and below the fold, about as bad as you can get.

Knol seems to have a bit a flawed launch too. Some features appear to be glaringly missing: you can tell exactly how many versions of your knol that you have saved but there is no statistics and no way to link to Google’s Analytics.

Although they claim to want international authors: the only way to become a verified author is to have a US address associated with your credit card or phone number. I have a verified Adsense account – why is that not good enough for Knol? It’s not like they are ever going to add my New Zealand credit card to a database anytime soon!

Its also totally unclear as to what the advantage of being a verified author: though only verified author’s appear on the surprisingly static front page of featured knols.

Read my full review of Knol and Hubpages here

Free Tools Search Engines Tools

Where to publish your best content

I’ve been focusing very much on learning a whole lot more about SEO and winning the Google game to get myself ranked. One of the “light-bulb” moments I had as that content isn’t king and writing good content is not, in its self, enough to make you money from your own sites.

Another of those “oh God its obvious now” is that content is important: but not so much own your own site or your target money maker. Instead your best content should actually be in guest blogs, or articles or hubs or lenses that you write elsewhere. Why? Because these backlinks sites serve too purposes:

  • to get backlinks;
  • to drive targeted traffic to your site.

Now sites such as Quassia basically provide just a backlink, no traffic. However sites such as ezinearticles or hubpages can provide qualified traffic looking for whatever you are selling.

Free Tools Freelance Writing Tools

Q10: A Retro Text Editor

OK I guess this is kinda going to show my age. I learnt to type on a typewriter: not

Originally uploaded by emsef

even an electric one. I had a PC before there was windows. The first word processor I used was WordPerfect 4.2. What you got with WordPerfect: you got a black screen and a blinking cursor: hit crtl-C to copy ctrl-V to paste and F7 to spell check. Remember?

Well recently I have had a few problems focussing on writing: I typically have a Firefox browser with 6 or 8 or 10 tabs open, several other programs, 5 or 6 documents open, and a directory or 2!

Surfing the internet, while I was supposed to be writing, I found something rather cool: a simple text editor which eliminates distractions – sound familiar? Remember in the old days when you could only run one program at the time: well just like that!

Well Q10 (cryptic – think scrabble) is a back to the future text editor. It is a “full-screen” editor: that’s right no tool bar, no windows bar nothing: just you and a black screen. I am absolutely amazed that it actually does make a huge difference: I do focus better with out see all the other buttons available. The help is on F1, you can still alt-tab to other windows if you need to check another file or web page but it so much less distracting than actually being able to see the tool bar!

It gets better, there is typewriter sound effects too, which I thought I would immediately turn off: but I didn’t because its kinda nice…

There are a couple of versions available: I chose the one with a spell check, but even then the whole download is tiny, you can add the files to a thumb drive and take it with you, in fact you could even fit it on a floppy disk if you could find the matching drive! You can also set the file encoding, a target number of words (handy if you are writing an article), change the font and colour settings, and it supports quick text allowing you to replace given character combinations with whatever you specify. Q10 also creates files in plain text which is really handy if you are uploading to a site which need text or html such as or even for uploading simple files to sites such as Hubpages

Oh and how much is this little marvel cost: zero, ziltch, nada: how cool is that! Download Q10 here

Back Links Marketing Search Engines

Backlinks are Everything.

I guess I am only just starting to learn the fine art of earning passive income online. One of the blind spots I had for a long time was that “content is king” – “write good stuff and they will come”. Well actually: they won’t, and in fact even when they do they may only make you 7c / day which is not going to see you retire in style any time soon.

There is only one  way for the bulk of your potential audience to find you: that is Google. Yes there are other search engines Yahoo probably sends me 5% of what Google does and MSN about 5 (no not % just 5 🙂 ). But Google is king of the search engines

You see Google don’t find your wonderful hub or article or website or blog by accident. It certainly doesn’t decide to put your site on the first page of results except for some very specific reasons.

  1. Google needs your content. Try this type “lis sowerbutts” – without the quotes into Google what comes back – this site normally ranks #1. At the moment in the Australian data centre of Google I rank #1 and #2 of 493,000 results: cool eh? Well no not really – lets face it “lis sowerbutts” isn’t exactly a high competition set of words – there aren’t that many sites around so I end up at the top because a) the name is in my url of this blog and b) and often comment and link to Lis Sowerbutts – an anchored link on the name of the blog
  2. Google thinks you have “authority”. Think about it if you have a problem with your car who do you call a: qualified mechanic or Uncle Ed who mucks around with motors –  OK, if they were both the same price you would call the “authority”. If you want the perfect smoked fish recipe do you check out Hub Pages or some site you never heard of: you go to Hub Pages because you know there is some great recipes there but even if I didn’t if I search via Google I will find hubpages often on the first page Why? Because Google “likes” Hub Pages. Which actually means that the Google algorithm basically gives Hub Pages the benefit of the doubt and indexes and ranks hubs quickly. Look carefully at what shows up most often on the first page of Google when you search for generic information:, and almost always 1st or 2nd These sites have authority: just like you should listen to your Mum you should also probably listen to wikipedia or hubpages!

So how do you get that “authority” from Google? Well that is how

Backlinks are King

Try this: go to Google and type in


this will give you a list of all the sites which link back to your site.Well all the ones that google have got around to counting anyway, which can take anywhere from hours to months.

If you don’t have a profile or a website which has been around a few months try mine as an example link:
at the moment about 125 links. But look at those links: tags some of my hubs have, people I am a fan of, comments I have paid of hubs (my own or others), posts I have made in the forums. Being active on HubPages creates lots of backlinks to your profile and you can see the effect that my profile now has a Page Rank (PR) of 4. Basically the more links you have pointing at a page the more important Google considers it and the more likely you are to rank well in a search for that term.

Online Business Rants

Do you need a Website Builder

I must admit when I started online I didn’t really investigate website builders all-in-one solutions. It never really occur to me that I would want to rent my website and not own it – after the cost of ownership are so low.

Don’t Rent your Website
Now what I am talking about with website builders are the ones which

for sale
Originally uploaded by netan

offer all in one: domain name, hosting, templates, keyword optimization, statistics, the lots. Just one easy payment often a month sometimes annually. Now I suspect that a lot of these products are marketed to actual bricks and mortar small business owners. These people aren’t developing an online business they just see the web as another form of advertising for their real-world store. Even shop owners should be worried though that the content that they have been developed is not freely available to them and this is why.

These packages effectively don’t give you ownership of your site and your content. Why because they bundle in the domain name and the hosting package. If you want to pick up your website and move it another host can you? If you can’t you don’t have full control over your asset.

Oh top of that of course these packages are offering you a long list of features for one low price: amazing things like submission to search engines and statistics on your key word density. That’s worth something surely? Well actually no: you don’t actually need to submit your website to search engines: but if you do it can be done easily in a couple of minutes on the only two that matter: Yahoo and Google. Keyword density: lots of tools available. Checking on competitors: again free tools or sophisticated paid for software. That type of software costs maybe $100 / once for ever regardless of how many sites you use it on. Costs for a domain: $10/year; costs for hosting: $6/month.

Oh they offer you a support forum and EBooks and Videos: all of these are available online too. Check out digitalpoint forums or webmaster world or smaller more specialised forums. The internet is full of very helpful people: and if they are charging your for advice as a newbie: run a 1000 miles

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?