Friday, July 29, 2005

Vaughn's One-Page Summaries

Here is the site of the day: Vaughn's One-Page Summaries

Here's why: Vaughn's One Page Summaries is a fine example of a great website. It's a site with a clear purpose (providing one page summaries on a variety of topics, like Google, time and date, and which businesses suck). It's also a site that provides something unique. I don't know of another site which offers the content that Vaughn offers, or at least not in the form that Vaughn offers it.

What's this got to do with affiliate marketing though? To make money with an affiliate website, you need to know how to make a good website. One of the ways to learn to do something is to look at examples. This is an example of a site that covers a wide range of subject, and it possibly even makes a little bit of Adsense revenue. I got a good laugh out of the "which companies suck according to Google" page. Basically Vaughn did searches for "generic company sucks" in quotes for various companies and tabulated how many pages came up. The theory being that if there are a lot of pages built for that search, the democracy of the web has decided that the company really does suck.

Also, just as an example of some of the success Vaughn has seen, his site ranks #1 in Yahoo for "google ranking factors", "google data centers", and "fresno flowers". I didn't have time to check his Google rankings for anything, and I only checked maybe half a dozen sites to see where they ranked. Anyway, it's a great websites and you could learn a lot from it. I'm having some new ideas myself already.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Graywolf's Google Adsense Resources

In the "I wish I had though of it first department" today, I bring you Graywolf's list of blogs, forums, and other Google Adsense resources.

This is a short post, but a high value post. (But I would like to point out that conventional affiliate marketing wisdom tells you NOT to send your traffic away from your site unless you're sending them to a vendor.) This post is high value because the list of Adsense resources over at Graywolf's site will help you make more money. And I'll tell you how.

Becaues sometimes only 1 distinction, 1 insight, can change the amount of money you're making by several thousands of dollars. The more places you have to look for those distinctions, the better off you are.

And as far as defying conventional wisdom goes, I do it sometimes just out of orneriness, but mostly because, in this case, sending people to good quality resources will encourage them to bookmark and return to this site, so they can see what other good resources I link to. (There's a moneymaking lesson in that insight too.)

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

SEO Tip - Absolute Links versus Relative Links

I'm not, by any means, the master of SEO. But one thing I've learned is that absolute linking is better for the search engines than relative linking. Some folks might be wondering what the difference is. (I did when my mentor told me to get rid of all my relative links and move to absolute links.) So here's the scoop:

An absolute link includes the full destination URL in the html code for the link. An example would be hxxp://

A relative link doesn't include the full destination URL. A relative link looks something like this: ../example-interior-page.htm.

The reason that the absolute link is better than the relative link is because some search engine robots, some of the time, will get confused by relative links, especially if there are a lot of them, and might index your site poorly, or worse yet, rank your site poorly.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Google Toolbar PageRank Update - PR Update in Progress

I LOVE PR updates because I can see in a visible way what kind of effect my linkbuilding efforts have had. I was really excited today when my poker blog had gotten up to PR 6. That's my first PR 6, so I'm pretty excited about it. I still don't do so great in Google with that darn poker blog, but that's probably because I have a few links to some bad neighborhoods over there. If I cleaned those up, I might see the Google gods smiling down on me again.

But if you want to read about the PageRank update, and see what people are saying about it, then here are links to the threads on the major SEO forums that I know of. Enjoy.

Google Toolbar PR Update at WMW

Google Update in Progress at SEOChat

Google PageRank Update Right Now at DigitalPoint

Keyword Research Tools - Compare Wordtracker, Overture, Google, Keyword Discovery, and More

If you're not already reading Aaron Wall's SEO blog, then start. Today. Right now. Best blog you could be reading online right now if you're really interested in making money online.

Today you can read a comparision and review of all the major keyword suggestion tools available, including Wordtracker, Overture's Keyword Tool, Google's Keyword Sandbox, Keyword Discovery, and some more that I'd never even heard of. As usual, Aaron divides his reviews up in the format of general comments, positives, and then negatives for each tool. One of the things that I enjoy about Aaron Wall's reviews is that his negatives/criticism sections always seem as if they're aimed at helping people improve, rather than on tearing them down.

Also, I highly recommend Aaron's ebook on SEO. I think it's a bargain at the price he offers it, and it's thought-provoking in unexpected ways. He has a way of approaching material that's less straightforward and more interesting than other writers. His writing tends to have a "learn how to think for yourself" philosophy, which is a lot better than some of the cookie-cutter-here's-how-you-should-do-it approaches I've seen in other ebooks.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Adventures in Net Marketing and Affiliate Program Tutorial

I recently came across a wonderful affiliate blog called Adventures in Net Marketing that I just love. It's very much a first person account of someone's experiences as they enter the internet marketing field, and if you're interested in getting your arms around what starting out in web marketing is like, then this site is a good place to start. BJ, the author, is a self-employed netpreneur who hails from Canada.

And as a bonus, here's another great resource I found online over at Allan Gardyne's site: the Affiliate Program Tutorial is as good an introduction to how an ordinary guy can make money with affiliate programs and a website as I've seen. There is a LOT of really good, solid information about how to make money contained in this deceptively short article. There are occasional plugs for other ebooks or products, but the real value in the article are the tips themselves.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Blogs as Affiliate Marketing Tools

There was a post over at Allan Gardyne's forum about whether or not you can make money as an affiliate using blogs instead of websites. The consensus seems to be that it's not the format of the website that's going to determine whether or not you make money. I'm not 100% sure I agree. The real answer is going to be pretty similar to the answer you'll see to most poker questions, "It depends."

I know one blogger who's the premier blogger in his niche. We spoke last week because he wanted to ask my advice on how to make more money as an affiliate. When I found out what he was actually earning, I was stunned, because I had thought he was making quite a bit more than that. His niche is traditionally a high dollar niche for affiliate sites, and he gets a lot of quality traffic. But the target market he caters to often is already a customer at the affiliate sites he's promoting, so his earnings are limited as a result.

Most of the blog success stories that I've seen are bloggers making a lot of money from Google Adsense. The variety of ads that are available, and the guaranteed revenue from getting a click through, almost guarantee a maximum amount of earnings. My guess would be that if you were going to do well marketing an affiliate product of some kind in a weblog, you would do it by actually promoting the product in a post, and linking to the affiliate code in the post, rather than just running a banner ad across the network of your blog.

That's what would make the most sense to me as an affiliate marketer, anyway. And just as an aside, the initial question of can you make money with a blog as compared to an actual website is a bit of a misleading question, because it assumes that a blog isn't a website. A blog is a website though--it's a frequently updated website that "logs" something, and usually has room for the reader to interact with the blogger.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Digging Adbrite

I've bought ads on Adbrite but I haven't actually run any Adbrite ads on my sites yet. I was pretty pleased and excited about the whole operation though, from the very first time I visited the site.

What I liked most about buying ads on Adbrite was the search and browsing functionality. You can find websites to advertise with a variety of criteria: subject matter, ad type, traffic, Alexa ranking, CPC, and price. The ordering process was easy and my ads went live when they were supposed to. The amount of traffic that was advertised was very similar to the amount of traffic that I received.

I don't know how Adbrite compares with Google Adsense from a publisher perspective, but from an advertiser perspective, they're a pretty doggone good deal, especially if you're advertising for one of the more profitable industries where it's hard to buy advertising, like online gambling.

Another cool fact about Adbrite: The company was founded by the owner of, so that he could get some advertising revenue from that site.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Trading Links? How Many Links Are Too Many? Time Frame?

I emailed a webmaster the other day asking him to trade links with me, and he replied that I should check back with him in a few weeks but he was full up on link exchanges right now. So I emailed him back asking if it was because my link directory was showing a PR of 0 in the Google Toolbar (it's a new site, and I wanted to explain to him that it was a high PR page, even though the PR hasn't updated on the toolbar yet.) He explained that he was trying to limit himself to about 10 0r 15 link swaps per month so as to avoid getting put into a penalty box by Google or one of the others for getting too many links too fast.

Bottom line is we're going to trade links in a few weeks.

But it was interesting to me, and I came across a post in the Link Development forum at Webmaster World asking whether or not excessive link-trading can cause penalties. This particular webmaster already has a certain number of link trades but was afraid that he might get kicked out of his positions if he had too many links. The general consensus was that there was no problem having lots of reciprocal links, but he needed to be careful not to get too many too fast, and he should try to get some one way links too, on top of his recip's. Good advice in the thread, and good reading. Slow and steady probably really does win the race at some point.

Google Adsense Keywords - Top Paying, Most Expensive

The most expensive Google Adwords keywords are also going to be the most profitable Google Adsense keywords assuming you can get traffic for the phrases. There are a number of sites out there selling lists of the top paying Adsense keywords, and some of these lists are pretty good, and some are just obvious. I've bought a few of these keyword lists myself, and I don't think I wasted my money. But I don't feel like I need a constant update on these keyword phrases.

I'm also not 100% sure that a page I create based around a particular keyword is going to target exactly the phrase that I'm wanting to get the big Google Adsense bucks for. Maybe my page's content will come up 1 word off and I'll cut my Adsense earnings by 50% or something?

Something else to consider is potential volume. Yeah, you might be able to make $2 a click for some obscure keyword phrase, but you might not ever be able to generate more than 10 clicks a day for it. While you might be able to get paid $0.20 for another keyword phrase, and get 10,000 clicks for it. Which would of course mean more money at the end of the month.

(Note to Google: I know I'm not supposed to talk about my earnings and CTR and stuff; this post is just hypothetically speaking.)

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Affiliate Marketing and Blog Networks

Been reading about blog networks a lot lately, and I'm pretty intrigued by the potential of marketing affiliate products through blog networks. I'm sure that's probably not the model that Nick Denton and Jason Calacanis had in mind when they launched their blog networks. From what I read on Wired, Nick Denton is famous for applying regular media advertising philosophy to blogs by starting what is essentially a constantly-updated magazine or newspaper on the internet that sells advertising and is themed.

I've been familiar with Jason Calacanis's blog network for a long time now, and I guess he makes a good percentage of his income from Google Adsense, but it looks like what Calacanis has in volume, Denton has in quality and panache on his blog network. After spending a little time at Gawker and some of the other blogs in that network, I come away thinking wow, I could be doing so much better. I could be writing so much better stuff, and I could be running websites that are so much better than they actually are.

And maybe I will. I have a few blogs of my own these days, because I like to keep my writing focused on certain themes in a blog, and so suddently I've wound up with a blog network of my own, although they're all written by me instead of by professional writers. I guess since I make my living from what I write on the internet, I'm a bit of a professional writer myself now though too.

This Blog Gets a New Name!

Was chatting with a friend of mine today about my blog, and he messaged me that it was "surprisingly good". Then he told me the title, "Affiliate Marketing Programs" was too spammy-sounding. And I thought about it, and he's right. That was probably the biggest search engine spider attracting trick I could pull, so I decided to rename this blog immediately. Heck, a "surprisingly good" blog deserves an interesting title, and now it has one. Hope you like it.

And if you have any comments or suggestions about what might be a better title for this blog, feel free to put it in the comments section, because I might even be willing to change the title again!

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

GoogleGuy - An Impostor? Or the Real Deal?

Really odd discussion of whether or not GoogleGuy is for real. I'd always taken it for granted that GoogleGuy was the real thing because Webmaster World wouldn't put up with an impostor. As someone wiser than I am pointed out in the thread at Associate Programs, one of the reasons for Webmaster World's success is its editorial rigor. The thread eventually evolves into a discussion of who the web community is and who should Google really be serving anyway.

Eventually Phil Tanny launches into a rant about how webmasters ARE the internet community, and if it weren't for the content that we provide on the internet, Google would have no reason to exist. (By extension, GoogleGuy wouldn't need to exist either.)

I think what Tanny might be missing is that not all webmasters, in fact, most webmasters, are not providing content on the web, but are serving up advertising along with a hefty serving of spammy, bogus content designed to attract search engine spiders.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Evaluating How Much a Google Adsense Site is Worth

There's been a few threads at Webmasterworld over the last few weeks discussing how to value a website in order to sell it. The most recent is asking how much a Google Adsense site that generates $20/day in revenue is worth. It has over 1000 pages of content. The seemingly accepted calculation for this sort of thing is either 10 months' or 1 years' earnings, give or take a little bit. At $20 a day, your site is making $7300 a year, which according to the "consensus", is what the site should sell for.

I haven't sold a site lately, but when I did, I didn't look at the earnings. This was probably a big mistake, both on my part, and on the webmaster's part who bought it. It wasn't an Adsense site though, just an affiliate site, and I wasn't making a lot of money from it. But I think I sold it for cheap.

The other interesting conversation about selling a website is in the members' only section of Webmasterworld. "Kellyandsummer" were looking to sell a site that was making almost all of its money from pay per click arbitrage with Google and Overture. I'll not spill the beans on the thread, since you're supposed to have to pay to have access to the information in that section of the forum, but it's good reading, and definitely gets you thinking. Motivated me, anyway.

Web Marketing Quote of the Day, from Aaron Wall

Something I read on Aaron Wall's excellent SEO blog:

"When you are new to the web it takes a bit of time and effort to figure stuff out, but after you gain a bit of experience it is not that hard to make boat loads of cash, since on the whole the marketplace is not that competitive and most websites are garbage."

This is one of the best expressions of this idea I've seen. Another friend and mentor of mine told me when giving me advice on how to write content for my new poker site, "Write stuff that doesn't suck."

Put those two thoughts together and you've got a large percentage of the formula for internet success there is. Most websites are garbage. Make sure that your site isn't garbage. Write stuff that doesn't suck. Ask people to link to your writing. Couldn't be any easier.

Affiliate Links, Google Adsense, or Both?

I frequent a few different affiliate forums, and the question seems to come up pretty often. Should I use affiliate links only, Google Adsense, or both?

The consensus that I've been seeing is that most people make the most money with a combination of affiliate links and Google Adsense, although there are people who say that having affiliate links on the same page as Google Adsense ads is a sure way to lose money on one side of the coin or both. There are really three options here.

You could run affiliate-only ads. This would probably work well if you were targeting a very specific product keyword for an affiliate program with a high commission. For example, if I had a site that ranked #3 in Google for the phrase "Golden Palace casino", I would guarantee you I'd make more money with an affiliate link only than with Adsense or with a combination of Adsense and an affiliate link.

You could run Google Adsense only. For some phrases, like Mesothelioma, you might be better off running Google Adsense without any affiliate links. Off the top of my head, I can't really think of any affiliate programs that would be a terrific fit for this phrase. There might be some lawyer referral programs out there, but knowing how much law firms pay per click for ads through Google Adwords, I'd say there's a ton of money to be made from pay per click here.

Or you could run both. To me, this is an ideal way of doing it, and the general consensus I see on most webmaster boards is that you'll make more money running both Google Adsense and affiliate links.

But the most important thing you can do is try it each of the 3 ways in order to test your profitability, then make decisions based on your testing. All websites and all topics are different, and different kinds of ad campaigns are going to perform differently.