Getting Back into the Game

Hey guys,

It's been a while since I posted, I realize. As you probably imagined, I've been focusing on other things -- life, for example. Work, mainly. But just recently, I've had the chance to check up on my old flames. And by flames, of course, I mean my aging domains that I'm not doing anything with -- the ones I've decided to hold on to, anyway.

Checking up on my AdSense earnings the other day, I found out one of my sites was still earning money from the occasional click, even though I hadn't touched the site in literally years. That sparked my interest, because I thought of what that kind of site could do if I actually put effort into it.

Play it Again, Carl
The time for learning to play piano is meow.

As it turned out, the site was Piano By Heart and it's been silently ranking for all kinds of fun keywords behind my back! The nerve.

So being that the site was initially ported over to Drupal from a general static implementation, I thought it wise to move everything over to WordPress and get rid of the crappy marketing angle. Instead, I plan on making this site a full-fledged information site -- something actually useful to people (crazy idea for someone keen on Internet Marketing in general, right?).

I've already made an outline of posts that I'll be filling out this month. Luckily, my daughter has been learning to play piano for the past few years, so I have plenty of material to go off of. I figure if I can put out a couple posts per week, I'll do just fine with this site. I'm monetizing it with some out-of-the-way ads (AdSense up top and in the footer, some ClickBank ads in the sidebar) because I really would like to make this site into something useful -- a methodology I've planned on following after being burned by the Big G so many times in the past for grey hat activities.

Basically, I'm trying to focus on the kind of thing Matt Cutts would praise -- writing quality content for my readers, not for search engines. I'm still making sure things are in place for SEO, but Google and the other search giants are no longer my focus.

I just want to help people and get paid (at some point) in return.

I'll try to remember to come back and update you all on the way it's going, but I just wanted to let people know I've got the bug again. And I intend on staying bitten for a while.

It's good to be back!

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Health Careers

Hey all,

Long time no update. Basically, I've been focusing on work for a long time and now I'm sort of checking on things and they're ... interesting. Currently, I've got a decently-ranked site that talks about health careers, yet it's lacking some decent content. So the purpose of this post here is to ask you fine people how you would monetize such a site.

Obvious first step is to get more useful content in there, because right now it's very dynamic in terms of the way it's generated and I don't think it's even functioning the way it's supposed to anymore. But beyond that, I'm not up to date on what offers would be decent as far as networks go.

Any advice for me out there?

Thanks!

Scott

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How NOT to get Scammed on Rebills

You've seen the sensationalized news stories on re-bills and how these companies are out to get you, bad to the core, evil, etc. What you might not know is that companies have been doing this for DECADES but only now is the shit hitting that oh-so-proverbial fan.

Well, instead of complaining like some whiny girl, why don't you just NOT get scammed?

"Gosh .. how do I do that, Scott?"

It's easy. Let me tell you.

1. Single-use (AKA Disposable) Credit Card Numbers

Yeah, hear that? That was the sound of your brain exploding.

They exist, they're easy to use and banks are beginning to offer them. What you do is have your bank (or PayPal) generate a one-time-use credit card number for you, and you can go out and use that credit card -- wait for it -- ONE time.

What this means is that no one could re-bill you even if they begged and pleaded. The only way you can have a second charge made to your account is if you purposely contact them and request billing be made to your REAL credit card number.

2. READ, READ, READ and READ some more

As an affiliate marketer, I can tell you that if I can hide something in the fine print, I will. That asterisk? Yeah, it's my best friend. I can say something like, oh I don't know:

FREE* AFTER $1.95 SHIPPING & HANDLING!

So not only have I duped you into thinking you're getting a product for free, but I've also left out the most important part of the deal (which of course is hidden at the bottom of the page or on a completely separate page):

* This product is free for 30 days, after which I will bill you for $1,000/month until you cancel the subscription. Also, you must dance like a chicken for 30 minutes every first and third Tuesday of every month at 4:00pm.

Not so appealing NOW, is it? Well, it is to me but not so much for you. If only you had read the fine print, you wouldn't be getting billed $1,000 a month and dancing like a chicken on every odd Tuesday. Well, luckily you can cancel at any time, right? RIGHT?

3. Canceling Re-Bills Is NOT EASY

Companies that offer products rely solely on the fact that you'll forget to cancel your subscription (as most people who sign up do forget) and it will continue for at LEAST a few months. This is why they are notoriously difficult to contact for cancellations.

Not only can you not get through to them in the first place, but once you do, you'll be on the line with someone who will be penalized for losing your business. They might be called "customer service," but they are really just unlucky salesmen who got stuck answering phones for unhappy customers.

What this means for you is that not only are they going to try their hardest to get you not to cancel, they're going to try and get you to spend MORE money (the audacity!).

The system is set up this way to make the owners of these companies butt loads of cash that they most likely won't have to return. There are hundreds of these products active on the internet for this very reason.

So yes, they may be investigated by the media, government organizations and even joe-blow reporter, but that doesn't mean they'll stop. They'll make minor adjustments here and there to fit through the loop-holes in the system and they'll continue. The only way to make them stop is to educate yourself and STOP being such an idiot! People will take advantage of you if it means a few extra bucks in their pockets.

Trust me.

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Please stop the BS

Yes, new people, we get it. You came up with this genius idea:

I have a site/blog/whatever that earns $1/day. Now I just have to make 1,000 more and I can make $1,000/day!

  1. This is not an original idea
  2. This is not a realistic idea
  3. You will most likely fail
  4. Maintenance is a bitch on the few blogs I do have; imagine maintenance on 1,000.
  5. The reason you're making $1/day on one site is because you're putting effort into it. 1,000 would be beyond mind-numbing.
  6. I challenge you to come up with 1,000 completely unique niches. Or even 100. I will give you $20 if you show me proof that you did.
  7. Thousands of people have tried this and failed (hence #3).

So now that I've discouraged you from wasting everyone's time spreading this idiotic notion around, how about you spend some time building up a few EXCELLENT sites that will actually get you PAID, son?

You can thank me later.

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Should I Create My Own Product?

Your Product
Your Future Product

If you're an affiliate marketer struggling with making a decent profit, then perhaps you should consider the other side of the coin: creating your own e-product.

Sure, it's a lot of research and hard work but if you come up with a half-decent product to market, not only will it be profitable but most likely others will market it as well. And that's where you can make a killing. Market places like Clickbank's Market Place are a great place to get free exposure for your products. On top of that, Clickbank can handle billing (both normal and recurring) for you. But that's only part of the puzzle.

Creating your own e-product entails a number of things, including:

  1. Research & Development
  2. Branding
  3. Website Creation
  4. Billing
  5. Marketing

Research & Development

Now in terms of research and development, it's important that you either choose a niche that you're passionate about or that you choose a niche that contains information you are privy to. Of course, it's possible to come up with good material for products you have no interest in, but if this is your first product it will come out much more smoothly if you put a little bit of love into it.

Good e-books shouldn't be too short that people feel cheated when they purchase it, but also it shouldn't be too long that your customers won't even finish reading it. The best e-books I've read have been concise and informative. After all, that's truly what we're after in e-books: the information. Don't be afraid to add visuals either. This ties directly into branding.

Branding

Coming up with the right "look" for your e-book shouldn't be something you do in ten minutes. Colors matter, fonts matter and composition matters. I don't recommend stealing a "look" from someone else's e-book, but definitely pay attention to the way successful e-books and their corresponding websites are colored, the way they lay their graphics out, what sorts of graphics they use and the way that they organize text around graphics. If you aren't a wizard with graphics, don't be bashful about paying someone else to come up with something stylish for you.

In order to come up with a nice e-book graphic like the one you see above, either download software or read my post on creating your own e-book cover.

The way your e-book looks will tie directly in with how your website looks.

Website Creation

If you aren't a web developer, your best bet is to pay someone to build you a decent site. Creating a small site (5 pages or less) should run you less than $150 if there's nothing special to it. The best part is, they'll have your existing branded e-book to base the design on. A good site will do a great job of getting people salivating for the information in the e-book, which means excellent sales text. Again, if you aren't the best with words, don't be afraid to outsource that department either.

Billing

As I stated previously, Clickbank will handle virtually any kind of billing you'd need as well as refunds and things of that nature. Paypal is also a solid option, but requires a bit more work on your part unless you want to shell out some decent money for a web developer to custom-create part of your website that interacts directly with Paypal. There are other decent payment gateways out there (2Checkout, for one), but I've used Clickbank's billing with absolutely zero issues. All they require is that you deliver a decent product and that you have a return policy (60 days). And part of the perk of being with Clickbank is the market place.

Marketing

Here's the fun part. When you have your own e-product, not only can you market the hell out of it but so can affiliates. Clickbank in particular has an excellent tracking system for affiliates selling your e-product through their website. You don't even have to worry about your affiliates getting paid as Clickbank does it for you. And at this point you want to start focusing on getting affiliates to sell the product for you as that will only mean more money for you in the end.

Additionally, I recommend doing some heavy search engine optimization to guarantee more hits from search engines to your sales page.

Conclusion

This is not, in any way, a detailed guide to creating your own product. My motivation in creating this post was to illustrate how simple organization can yield great products that will most likely profit you many times over. For anyone struggling to market other people's products, I can tell you from experience that it's exponentially more thrilling to market your own products and even more so to see other people doing it for you.

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Creating Your Own Ebook Cover

3D Ebook Cover Generator
3D Ebook Cover Generator

For anyone in the process of creating their own informational product, I highly recommend using the 3D E-Book Cover Generator from 3d-pack.com.

Not only does it create the awesome reflection effect for your E-book cover, but you can rotate the image any way you want and the on-page Flash will render it to either a gif, a jpeg or a png image for you.

Creating each side could not be easier. Simply upload an image for the cover, the top, the side (and optionally the back, if you so choose) and voila -- you have a beautiful fake image for your e-book.

I was able to create this e-book in less than 10 minutes in order to demo it here:

Your Product
Your Product

Sure, you might notice that I could have spent a lot more time making it look fancy but I just wanted to show you how powerful this free online tool is. Here are the three graphics I used:

E-book Front
E-book Front
E-book Side
E-book Side
E-book Top
E-book Top

I just uploaded each image to the corresponding areas and within ten seconds, I had a beautiful E-book graphic. Could not have been easier.

If you guys have similar recommendations for creating 3D E-Book covers and the like, please feel free to share them!

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Tracking202 Pro Goes Live!

Tracking202 Pro Goes Live
Tracking202 Pro Goes Live

After several months of public beta, Tracking202 is finally opening its doors to the public!

Click here to receive a 10% discount off your monthly fee.

So just a gloss-over of features:

Full Integration with the Big Three

Instead of having to log into each advertising account (Google Adwords, Yahoo! Search Marketing, Microsoft AdCenter), now you can interact with each one remotely from one interface. Tracking202 is fully integrated with all three and does nightly downloads of data.

This way, you can easily see which campaigns, ads and keywords are duds and, more importantly, which ones are profiting you.

Full Integration with the Affiliate Networks

T202Pro will download your earnings and subids automatically every few minutes and give you accurate earning stats! Now you can just login to the platform and all of your costs and conversions will be ready for your analysis right away!

This is an outstanding feature that I've been looking forward to. As I've been using the free version more and more for my campaigns, it's been a bit of an inconvenience to go back and forth between affiliate network and the database to update sales data.

iPhone/Smart Phone-friendly

Like checking your stats throughout the day? Do you own an iPhone? Well you're in luck! Use our Stats202 iPhone Web App that comes with T202Pro and check your stats on the fly wherever you are (will work on other mobile browsers for other phones but is optimized for the iPhone). Now you can, simply with a touch of a button, press on your Stats202 button on your iPhone and clearly see how much you've earned for the day wherever you are, anywhere and anytime. It will pull stats from every affiliate network you work with!

As an iPhone owner who checks stats like it's a crack addiction, this is a most-welcome feature. I've hacked together a script that does this but it only works for a few networks, so I'm happy to use the new application.

No More Re-Redirects

If you've used our old system, you'll understand that it relied on redirects. On our new Tracking202 Pro system, redirects are a thing of the past. Unlike the old system, we do not process redirects through our server anymore, so in a case of a system wide server failure, you can be rest assured your traffic will still be up and you'll still be banking! Should a storm hit, an earthquake destroy our servers, or something else go wrong, your traffic will still arrive to the offer!

I am honestly impressed by this feature. Adding another hop to any jump-link is sure to annoy possible customers, especially if it takes longer than half a second. Great going, guys.

Keyword-level Conversion Tracking

Our keyword conversion tracking isn't just about seeing a list of keywords that converting. It is about seeing all of your keywords across all of your accounts, where they exist in their associated adgroups, and being able to see 100% accurate cost and revenue data drilled down to each keyword. Then right from the interface you can resume or pause the keyword if needed. Imagine being able to see a list of all of your keywords, across all of your accounts and being able to pause them from one application, no longer do you have to login to your accounts to do it one by one. Also to be able to trace exactly where each keyword originated from, from which adgroup to which campaign to which account, something not present in our regular Tracking202 system.

If you aren't using something like Tracking202, you're losing money. Tracking at the keyword level allows you to see exactly which keywords are profitable and which are not, and for which search engine / social media you're advertising on. Being able to see which adgroup and campaign the click originated from in real time is just beautiful.

Conclusion

Not much I have to add besides what I've pointed out and described. Tracking202 Pro is a very welcome addition to the affiliate marketing world. The amount they charge is a small price to pay for the service you're getting in return.

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An Update On All That Is Me

lol
lol

Sorry for the pause between posts, people. I've been doing some heavy experimenting here and there. For some reason, I've been craving to write about whatever pops into my head and to spare you people the off-topic rants and random funny pictures I find, I started writing in the ScottMW blog. I figured you'd be grateful.

Yes, of course I'm still doing internet marketing. Although, lately I've been switching it up.

You see, I've had some recent success doing organic marketing that kind of took me by surprise. By no means is it what I'd consider 'easy' though. To the contrary, it's been quite a rollercoaster and when you're dealing with organic traffic, you're basically doing a lot more work than you would with PPC to stay in the same positions you'd get with PPC and you're waiting a lot longer to get there.

The beauty of it is -- once you're there, the profit margins are upwards of 90%. Yeah, no kidding.

So while I may not be doing $20,000 in daily revenue these days, I am pushing a few hundred a day with organic and actually keeping most of it. Although, due to a bit of greed on my part, I've been pushed back into the double digits for profit. Needless to say, if you're going to do any kind of organic marketing, DO NOT mess with any kind of black hat trickery. The bads outweigh the goods by far. A good organic campaign can get you a few thousand a day if you play your cards right and that means no hidden links on popular sites, no link spamming and no huge, sudden growths of backlinks. It's all about taking your time and having a plan.

Anyway, so that's where I am right now. I'm still around every day for questions, comments, that sort of thing but until I have something more profound to say in regard to affiliate marketing, I'm going to leave you fine people alone. I think the content on the blog is sufficient for most n00b Q&A.

So until the urge hits me or I have something amazing to tell you...

You stay classy, San Diego. I'm Ron .. Burgundy?

"Dammit. Who typed a question mark on the Teleprompter?"

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