Archive for the 'Blogging' Category


Myspace As A Marketing Tool

People are always looking to increase the traffic to their website. One of the easiest ways to do so is through Myspace. I’m sure you all know what Myspace is by now so I won’t go into the details, but they have over 100 million members so why not tap into this market. A few months ago I started a myspace resource site and created an actual page for the site itself. Today it accounts for a few hundred hits to the site on any given day.

Here’s a step by step guide of how you can do the same.

  1. Create a Myspace page for your site or blog. If you blog under your personal name like this blog does, then it can help to put a creative spin on it. For example - if your blog is and you write about your surfing adventures, then make sure your Myspace page focuses on surfing rather than Joe Smith. Call it something catchy like “Surf’s Up” so people know right away what they are looking at.
  2. Go to the Myspace groups section and join every surfing group there is.  There are tons of these groups with thousands of members in each group.
  3. Add 25-45 friends per day from these groups. A while back I heard Myspace starts to monitor closely if you add more than 50 people per day but I am not sure how they do this today. I try to stay under the 50 number in any one day.
  4. Decorate your page with your blog logo and keywords from your blog in all the descriptive fields. Write your page from the perspective of your blog speaking.
  5. Once you have 200+ friends, you can start posting bulletin boards every now and then when you write an interesting article that will appeal to your friends. Don’t spam the bulletins multiple times per day because it’s extremely annoying and it’s a fast way to get your account banned or to lose friends. You only want to post messages when they will be interesting to people.
  6. Rinse and repeat steps 4 and 6.

If you do this diligently you will have no problem getting a boost of a few hundred extra hits everytime you post a bulletin and you will convert your Myspace friends to your blog readers. If done correctly, you help yourself by getting more readers and you help your friends by giving them interesting content to read.

Have any of you tried this yet? I’d love to hear your experiences! :)

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Blogging Drop Out Rate

I’m sure many of you have heard of the 90/10 rule and it is valid in many areas of our lives. In case you don’t know what the 90/10 rule is, it states that 10% of the people make up 90% of the success or income in their field. My guess is that in blogging and online marketing, the rate is even lower - 5% of the people make up 95% of the success.

As I look back over the last 6 months, there is only a handful of bloggers I knew 6 months ago who still continually update and maintain their blogs. A few of these people are:

This is definitely not an all-inclusive list, but where did the tons of people I frequently saw on John Chow’s top commentator list and MyBlogLog go? They must have lost the motivation to keep updating new content on a daily basis. There is a 6-8 month threshold in blogging and online marketing that if you can make it past, your chances of success dramatically increase. I’d love to see all my current readers stay motivated, implement techniques to increase traffic, monetize their sites and still be writing 6 months from now! If you are losing motivation to keep writing don’t give up. As Calvin Coolidge said: “Nothing in this world can take the place of persistance… Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.” 

If you’ve run into a writers block, leave a comment letting us know the problems you’re experiencing. Maybe we can help :)

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The Learn to Blog and Earn Money Series continues.  I left you with what to do on the first Tuesday of starting a blog.  Today, I will cover what you should do on the Wednesday of your first week: Robot Walk-Through.

The best analogy I can think of is being all dressed up and dinner is served waiting for you on the table.  There is just one hang up, there is a big Do Not Enter sign on the front door.  Similarly, the way Search Engines index your blog is to send little robot crawlers to your site to track what you’ve written and follow the links.  You don’t want to block these little guys out of your site with a Do Not Enter sign. 

Here are some reasons a robot might not be reaching your landing page and possible ways to fix the problem:

Robots can’t follow your links. A major reason this can happen is having no links from your home page to all of your landing pages (About, Contact, other posts, etc.).

Often, this is an easy fix:

Most, if not all, WordPress templates offer homepages with links to your other landing pages.  I recommend for bloggers to make sure that your “category” pages are in your sidebars.  This helps with the robot walk-through or the “crawl.”

No stand-alone landing pages. Maybe your site was developed in Flash, in which case it really isn’t a group of individual pages but is one big file that’s hard for the Search Engines to index as separate pages.

Your site asks too much from the visitor. If the President came to visit, you wouldn’t turn him away if he wasn’t wearing the right hat (well, maybe this is a bad example). The idea is you want to treat your spiders in a welcoming way! Some web sites won’t display to a viewer who doesn’t have JavaScript. Guess who doesn’t have JavaScript? The robots!  You’ll need to eliminate this from your landing pages.

A server outage interrupted indexing. I’ve talked about the importance of having the proper hosting.  I use infinfx, but that’s because I’m having thousands of viewers to my sites.  Another cost effective hosting company that handles sites very well with less than 3,000 visitors a day is HostMonster.  If you don’t have the right server, then you might have your pages linked and structured properly but the robot might come crawling just at the moment your systems administrator spills his Dr. Pepper soda on the server. What happens here, well the robot finds no site to index. There’s nothing you can do in a situation like this but wait until the next indexing cycle.

Your site is too big. Maybe your landing pages exist alongside thousands of other pages in your site. Robots don’t index every page from every site, so they may simply have moved on before they got to the ones you think are most important.

Quick fix:

Just be sure to add links that place your landing pages no more than two clicks away from the home page.

You told the robots to stay away. That wasn’t very nice of you!  Double-check that none of your landing pages has a tag on it that says meta name=”robots” content=”noindex”.

Your site is being penalized. It’s possible, but unlikely, that you are violating a search engine’s guidelines without knowing it. If none of the other problems are striking a chord and you are absolutely sure that your pages are not present in the index, this might be your situation. It’s a tough one. Probably your best bet is to post a note in an SEO forum and see if the community has any suggestions.

Now that you all know what keeps that Do Not Enter sign visible to all the Search Engine robots, let them in and have a feast on your site!  The next post of this series will look at Site Text.  Stay tuned!!!

If you liked this post, be a nice person and buy Jane a beer.

Today, I continue my series of what webmasters should do on their first week of having their web site, you can see the summary here: Learn to Blog and Earn Money: Week 1.  Two weeks ago, I left you with what you should do on the first Monday having your blog.  You can review that post here with Learn to Blog and Earn Money: Monday.

Today’s post will cover Meta tags.  There has been much discrepancy as to the importance of using Meta tags.  The reason this is my number two thing to do when starting a web site or blog is because Meta tags are one of those things that are a lot easier to do when creating something from scratch.  They don’t hurt right? They do help and help in a monetizing way.  I have implemented them on a site or two.  I did so only when creating a new site or blog.  

There are so many other things you can do to better optimize your site that take a lot less time.  Things such as including title and heading tags and great content can be a better use of time if you already have a site created.  Having to go through an already existing site to include these tags would be tedious.  If you have an existing blog, I wouldn’t go through the trouble of inserting these tags, focus on the headings. 

A major reason I like to use these tags is because they tend to have an impact on my adsense and the ads that are being shown.  Anytime I can focus those ads translates to more adsense revenues.  This can be a major factor in turning daily totals from $100 into $300 with adsense.

Meta Description Tag

Meta description tags are not visible for the world to see.  Well, at least they are not supposed to be.  Sometimes web sites leave the tag out of their code.  Why can this be a bad thing? Well, search engines usually display snippets from your site in their listings.

Here are some possible scenarios in which your Meta description tag might be displayed instead:

  1. If you have a Flash or graphics only site, or maybe even if you have the only content on your site being a redirect to another page.
  2. When off-page factors make your site a relevant match for a search but no exact match is found in your site’s text
  3. In less-sophisticated search engines that use the description tag as a workaround for their inability to display snippets

Search engines often display 150 characters or more for the listing description.  That’s kind of a lot of space.  Well, a lot of space relative to the page title that is.  That space is prime real estate to convey your message. So, if good writing comes naturally to you, you have a lot of opportunity to make this tag stand out. But if writing isn’t your strong suit, this tag gives you a little more room to make mistakes. Bring in a proofreader if you need to; this is a bad spot for an embarrassing typo. 

I’ve recently taken a tour around my community on MyBlogLog and there are a good 50% of blogs in my community that have some sort of grammatical errors in key places.  I usually cut and paste my content into a word document to catch any minor grammar errors I might have missed.

Here are some pointers for writing a great Meta description tag:

Keep it simple and informative. Think of the Meta description tag as an “About Us” blurb, not a “Buy Now!” advertisement. Do you have a 30 second elevator speech you have prepared for those key moments when you are next to a high profile executive and you want to network?  Well, this is similar, think of it as your keyword-rich elevator speech.  It’s not worth the upkeep to write this tag to promote special events or deals.

Pair it with the page title. While you can’t be sure exactly when or how people will see your Meta description tag, it’s a sure bet that when it is shown, it will be right under your optimized page title. So, don’t repeat your title text in your description tag.

Include your keywords. While the Meta description tag may not be a huge factor in influencing rank, include your target keywords because they’ll be bolded in the search results. Notice how the bolding catches your eye in these pointers.

Make it Unique. Like your page title, your Meta description tag should be custom-written for each landing page to match its specific content.

Here’s some good news if you’re interested in saving time: The combination of page title and Meta description tag can be used as is, or with a little trimming or spinning, for any directories that you submit your site to later. And, if you’re looking for a keyword-rich tagline to add to the bottom of your page, your Meta description tag can be a great starting point. 

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How To Find A Profitable Niche

Profitable and popular niches are easy to find as long as you know where to look. If you want to develop a site that you can enjoy writing for and make good money at the same time, then you should look at the sites mentioned below. I use many of these free resources when doing research. Keep in mind that making money from your web site takes research but these tools help save you a lot of time.

Ebay Pulse

Ebay is the worlds largest marketplace so why wouldn’t you go there to find what people are searching for? Here is a link that you must bookmark:

I checked ebay pulse a couple of months ago and saw a new children’s toy called Webkinz in the top 10 searches. I had no idea what Webkinz were so I did a little more research. I still have no idea why they are so popular right now, but they really are. Some things just catch on and others don’t :) Anyways, I checked ebay pulse again today and Webkinz is the #1 searched for item on all of ebay. This could be a ground floor opportunity for someone to start a kids toy site or a toy review site and feature Webkinz. Find an affiliate to sell Webkinz so you can profit from your writing, and if you SEO your site properly you might even start popping up in search engines over time. You can also go the pay per click route and use adwords to drive traffic.

Google News - Fresh Off The Press

The day a big news story hits, there are hundreds of thousands of Google searches for that story. If your blog is geared toward bringing current events to people, be sure to write about the event right away. You can get a lot of targeted traffic from searchers this way. To get news as soon as it hits - you can sign up for Google Alerts and they’ll email you the top stories as soon as they hit.


Every blogger should be aware of Technorati so I’ll keep it short. On Technorati’s home page (top, left sidebar) you can see the top 10 most popular searches at any given time. Paris Hilton and Myspace always tend to be on this list. Alexa has a similar what’s hot feature.

Top 100s

This is a great area for affiliate sales. Find the most popular or top 100 items in different categories. - Top 100 / most popular current songs. Great for ringtone offers, surveys, online dating.

IMDB - Top 100 movies of all time. Great for movie review sites, Amazon affiliate sales, eBay affiliates, DVD rental sites.

Alexa - Top 100 web sites. 

Amazon - Top selling books.

IGN - Top 100 video games of all time.

With some creativity, you can easily incorporate top 100 lists into your web site or the keywords you target.

Monetizing Popular Items

There is usually only a certain amount of time you have to monetize what is popular today; nothing stays popular forever. The good news is once you build a template for your site (or learn to use wordpress), you can reproduce your prior successes over and over by using the same template. You’ll need a host company that will allow you to host multiple domains on the same host account for one monthly fee. Host Monster is a great option for unlimited domain hosting and a low monthly fee ($5.95/month).

  • Be sure to sign up for my free newsletter on the sidebar for more valuable info on making money with your web site.

If you liked this post, be a nice person and buy Jane a beer.

You Have Voted!

I enjoy listening to what my readers say; I enjoy reading about the projects you have going on; and I enjoy telling you about my experiences if they help you guys make money. I have had a poll on this site for the last week and a half (side note: it has been sitting below the fold which is a bad place to have something that you want your readers to notice ;) ) which asked what you were interested in learning most.

The majority of you (60%) want me to focus on “Monetizing Your Blog”, 2nd most votes (19%) was “Creating Your Own Blog”, and a close 3rd (15%) was “Affiliate Marketing and Sales”.

A great business motto is “Ask and You Shall Receive“. I enjoy writing about monetizing blogs and since that is what you asked for, this is perfect! As I mentioned before I will be conducting several case studies involving everything I write about. 

These case studies will include:

  • Starting a blog from nothing and growing it to see how much it can make per day in a very short period of time.
  • An affiliate sales project.
  • A Pay-per-click project.

We are all here to help each other make money and these are 3 strategies I can help people with. I am also happy to announce that I have been working on a small project with a very smart affiliate marketer named Max who will guest blog a few posts sharing his money making strategies. His monthly income from affiliate market well exceeds mine; and I will also bring you, Nohel, an expert friend of mine who specializes in building online and offline marketing campaigns. Nohel is a great multi-tasker and will be very helpful in assisting in the case studies we will write about.

I will write a post about my new case study idea very soon.

  • Please sign up for my free newsletter on the sidebar to get valuable email updates not always found on my site about making money with your blog :) 

If you liked this post, be a nice person and buy Jane a beer.

Benefits or Features

Whether you are selling a service to your readers, selling products or just marketing your blog you have to decide between leading with benefits or features. This is a key distinction that most people do not think about and end up using the wrong choice. Most people display the features of what they are promoting. In most cases, this is not the best way to get sales or grab readers’ attention.

Use Benefits

It is natural for us as humans to care about the immediate benefits we can get from making a purchase or reading someone’s blog. We like catchy headlines or bold words like: “Land a job today” or “Lose 30 lbs in 30 days” These are examples of benefits. Examples of features are: “We list 500 job ads for you to search” or “We provide a diet plan”.

Why Do People Use Features?

When we think about how to market our service, product or web site we think in terms of what value are WE providing to our customer. Naturally, this causes us to write about the features WE are giving YOU. Instead you should grab peoples’ attention by putting yourself in your customer’s shoes and think “Why would they buy my product?” The answer always comes back to - They want to benefit from buying your product or reading your blog. This makes your job simple - show your customers the benefits.

This simple distinction between showing customers benefits over features can be the difference between thousands of dollars in sales and thousands of more readers.

If you liked this post, be a nice person and buy Jane a beer.

Exactly 1 week ago I wrote about making $100 per day. Thanks to all your inspirational comments and a small partnership project I am working on with 2 other people whom I will introduce to you soon, yesterday was another big first for me. All my projects combined for over $300.

How Can You Make Over $300?

The simple answer is by diversifying your income streams. As I review yesterday’s stats, I had income from Adsense, Affiliate Sales, ReviewMe and a small PPC site.

In order, here are broad steps to developing web sites/blogs to make you money.

  1. Excellent content. No doubt about it, this is the most important step. Your web site must have unique, quality content that people want to read.
  2. Regular updates. If you update your web site every day, people will continue coming back daily. If you update once per week or less, you are losing valuable readers. People forget about sites if they are not updated daily. Sure there are some sites that can get away with less frequently updated content, but their content must be the most invaluable source of knowledge in your subject matter. If you update daily, you can get away with very good content, but not necessarily the best in the subject.
  3. Marketing. Market your site, network with other bloggers, etc etc. There are so many different ways to market that this subject will need its own detailed post to explain fully.
  4. Perfect 1 method of monetization. Before you can make money with 5+ income streams like the best bloggers do (John Chow, Shoemoney, Steve Pavlina), get good at making money every day in ONE stream of income. Some may view this as putting all your eggs in one basket, but you are only starting with this one basket. If you cannot make money in one method, how are you going to make money with multiple methods?
  5. Expand to multiple monetization methods. After you’re consistently making money with adsense or another method, then start developing and focusing on another method. Introduce the new methods slowly so you don’t get in over your head. Really RESEARCH the method you are using for hours and hours. It is not an over night thing and not a get-rich-quick scheme. It takes time and knowledge but is more rewarding than most 40 hour per week desk jobs because it becomes your baby. You are solely responsible for developing and growing your projects and income streams, and can measure your success.

I hope this answers some of the email questions I have received about steps on building income streams. Use your prior successful days to build new, more successful days. Your first $25 day will lead to your first $75 day which will lead to your first $500 day. Get creative. I will provide many more posts in the coming weeks with plenty more details. I’d like to take each of the above 5 steps and expand on them in their own posts. Now that you’ve read this, let’s start making money! :) Be sure to share your experiences in the comments section. It helps push everyone to do more and I find your words very encouraging.

  • Be sure to sign up for my free newsletter in the sidebar to get exclusive money making tips that I will not always publish on this web site.
  • If you don’t have hosting for your web site yet, message me for advice. I’ve used 4 different hosts in the last 6 months and have experience in which company might be best for your specific needs.

** Update: An easy way to start making money everyday is PayPerPost which currently has 44 opportunities ranging from $5 - $175 per review. You write the reviews on your blog and as long as you meet the minimum requirements you get paid. You can view the opportunities here.

If you liked this post, be a nice person and buy Jane a beer.

As I mentioned yesterday, I will be giving an overview for new bloggers of what they should be doing in week one and break each day (Monday through Friday) into individual posts throughout this week and maybe next week.  So if you are new to the blogging world or you want to clean your own site up, be sure to pay special attention to this series as it will help you have a successful blog or web site.

Full Speed Ahead

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a long-term maintenance activity, something you do throughout your online life.  It is made up of both productive spells and waiting periods.  Sometimes it’s hot, and other times it’s not.  Your SEO plan should be designed so that your waiting time (waiting for other web site owners to get back to you, waiting for the search engines to notice what you’ve done, etc.) isn’t spent doing nothing. Rather, you’ll use this time to take on new initiatives. And even though you’ll constantly move into new SEO territory as the plan progresses, you’ll periodically come back to revisit and continue the work you started in earlier weeks.

As we begin Week 1 of your first week of blogging, you want to take the following into consideration:

Monday: Page Titles

Today, you’re going to take a stab at writing unique and compelling page titles for each of your landing pages.

Remember, as I mentioned yesterday, have a sheet of paper or a log to keep you in tune with your goals and keywords as you write them down. This will help you in the future when you are testing new things or you are starting a second, third or tenth site.

Effective Page Title Do’s

DO keep it short. Like a telephone answering machine that cuts you off before you finish talking, most search engines display only 40 to 60 characters in the listing title. So to get your message across, you should include important keywords toward the beginning of the title and make sure that the first 40 to 60 characters of your title form a complete thought.  Keep in no longer than 8 words.

DO include your keywords.  Your page title is important in the ranking algorithm, so it must include your target keywords! Since your space is limited, focus on the two to three key terms that you previously matched with your landing page. Feeling a bit squeezed by the 40 to 60 character cutoff? Remember that you can combine keywords to save space.

For Example:

Learn to Blog and Earn Money= Learn to Blog, Earn Money, Learn to Blog and Earn Money, Blog and Earn Money, etc.

DON’T overdo it! First and foremost, you want to connect with your intended audience. Excessive keyword repetition is a short-sighted strategy. Is this a marketing message or a synonym sandwich?

Remember to think of the big picture! Your approach to site optimization will affect more than just ranks…it will also affect your readers’ decision to engage and interact with your web site or blog

DO include your name. Although I do not recommend this for every title in your blog, your blogs or web sites name will not only differentiate your listing from your competitors’, it may earn you more clicks. Maybe your name carries a good reputation with it, or maybe it provides important context, making your listing more attractive or relevant.

DON’T assume your slogan does the job. Even if branding is your only objective, you need to think about whether your slogan contains your targeted keywords and, if so, whether you think it will encourage visits to your site. 

DO write unique titles for each page. You’ve got enough competition out there. Don’t add to it by pitting your landing pages against each other with identical page titles.

Since each of your landing pages is already targeting a unique subset of your top-priority keywords, you can always find a different angle for each page title. Give each of your landing pages the chance to shine on its own.

DON’T duplicate site navigation in the title. Whether generated automatically or written by hand, page titles are often used as a place to mirror the navigational structure of a site. I won’t say never for this because, if your site sections are named well, it can be an effective way to display keywords. For example, a furniture store might have a landing page titled “Frank’s Furniture – Patio Furniture – Wicker.” This works—the navigation text is very brief and includes target keywords. But most sites aren’t built this way, and you don’t want words like “Index,” “Main Page,” or “Our Products” to take up space that’s best reserved for your targeted marketing message.

Hopefully these Do’s and Don’ts for your first day on the job, or blog, help.  Because the importance of titles, I wanted to be sure you started with this first when looking to create an effective and optimized web site.

If you liked this post, be a nice person and buy Jane a beer.

I’ve had a number of emails and comments from people asking about starting a web site and a blog.  Questions ranging from “is my domain name too long” to “do you really email each individual commentator when they leave their first comment.”  All of these questions will be answered in an ebook I am creating for people wanting to learn how to blog and earn money.  But before I introduce that ebook, I want to give you a sense of what you should do in the first week of starting a blog.

I will give an overview of week one here and break each day (Monday through Friday) into individual posts throughout this week and maybe next week.  So if you are new to the blogging world, be sure to pay special attention to this series as it will help you have a successful blog or web site.

For the sake of time and since I’ve touched on these topics previously, I will assume you have a domain name and hosting.

Week 1: Basic Site Optimization

In week 2 you’re going to work hard at finding blog owners and convincing them to link to you. But before you call this kind of attention to your blog, you’ll need to spend a full week detailing, polishing, and checking for the proverbial spinach in your site’s teeth.

One of the major goals for this week is to optimize your blog, with the hope of positively influencing how search engines view and rank your web site. You’ll also tackle basic site structure issues making sure that search engine robots have easy access to your landing pages. With these improvements in place, your site will have a basic level of optimization: nothing tricky or fancy, and no time wasted on tiny technicalities, just common-sense, best-practices solutions.

I recommend that you keep track of all your changes in one document as you go.  This document will help you when starting a second or third site.  You see what works and what doesn’t work and you can recreate what you do based on this one document.  Who knows, you may be able to use it as a foundation for an ebook.  

Here are your daily task assignments for the following week:

Monday: Page Titles

Tuesday: Meta Tags

Wednesday: Robot Walk-Through

Thursday: Site Text

Friday: Implementation

This week and next week I will walk you through each day and the specific things you should consider as you begin to optimize your blog and/or web site as you earn money online.

If you liked this post, be a nice person and buy Jane a beer.

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