Friday, May 26, 2006

Why I've Been So Busy Recently

Here's the background..

I'm a great believer in generating income from Google AdSense. I've been using it for 3 years now, and it's a great source of "passive" income for me.. set it up, do nothing more - and rake it in! OK, I keep updating the content on my AdSense sites from time to time, but it doesn't take me much time to do that.

AdSense website building has been a hot internet marketing topic over the past year, with numerous "systems" aimed at generating websites very rapidly.

Apart from writing content yourself (or paying someone else to write it), there's been two main content sources:

1) "Private Label Rights" ("PLR") articles
Some marketers have paid "ghost writers" to churn out articles on niche topics, and then have sold these articles to thousands of other people.

The problem here is that you have to modify each article to make it "unique" or the search engines will ban your website because the content is duplicated all over the net. So even more convoluted automated methods have been sold to automatically modify PLR articles in an attempt to make them unique.

I've tried many, many of these systems, and usually the result is garbage. No-one is going to read them, let alone hand around to look at the AdSense a.ds. Just look at this example. What an appalling mess!! And that's not the worst I've seen.

I set up an AdSense site system for owners of my Newbies Starter Kit. But, not only is the content fresh and readable, but I've also encouraged my newbies to manually modify each article. I've also told them to drip feed one or two articles per week into their websites, rather than upload all the content at one. Google gets suspicious if huge websites appear overnight!

So I'm less enthusiastic about PLR articles than I was a few months ago.

2) Articles From Article Directories
There's some great directories of articles on the web, with thousands of articles carefully categorised. The authors of these articles want people to take them and put them on other websites, as long as their name and links to their own websites remain intact.

So software started to emerge which automatically scoured these directories quite aggressively, lifting articles and building websites with them. Then, after a while, the article directories got fed up with these high-pressure raids on their servers, and most of these software programs stopped working.

This was a pity, because using other people's articles is a great way to build a themed website - and the search engines don't treat such articles as duplicate content.

I needed a solution - so I started to come up with one..

Over the past few weeks, I've been working on a system which is friendly to the article directories, and yet allows you rapidly to generate themed websites with content that is highly readable. The software and the sales system have been finished a while back, and you can see a video of the software in action here. I hope it whets your appetite :-)

So why haven't I released it yet? Well, what I've been working on for the past week is the User Manual. It's not that the software is hard to use. Quite the opposite. The software instructions take up just a small part of the Manual.

But I wanted anyone who has this software to be able to use it even if they know nothing about website building or graphic design. So in the Manual, I've been developing a highly-detailed step-by-step tutorial covering subjects such as:

  • How to use f'ree graphics software to create stunning banner headers
  • "Easy HTML" for complete novices
  • A little-known "sec'ret" way of getting an AdSense account quickly - even if you don't have a website

Owners of my Newbies Starter Kit know that I take very little knowledge for granted!
I've also been assembling a powerful set of AdSense-related resources - not the usual bundle of worthless "bonuses"!

I'm nearly finished. Watch out for its release!

(From my Marketing Magic "News Update" newsletter)

Monday, April 17, 2006

The Power Of The Upsell

OK, so just where IS your market? Who are the people who are going to buy from you?

I've just spent this Easter weekend being 'dragged around' visitor attractions by my family. Yes, I went around with a smile :-)

And whilst I was smiling, I was also watching how other people were selling to me.

To start with, they got me and my extended family onto their "site" - a stately home, a nature reserve, a roadside cafe - anything. They got me there through conventional advertising in the press, by "word of mouth" (other members of my family knew of the site), and by roadside advertising.

But, once we were on their site, what else did they do?

They went for the "upsell" - i.e. 'now that you've bought, what else can I sell you?'

The "upsell" can double your profits. Once someone has bought from you, once they are on your site (physical or virtual) they are more inclined to buy from you than at any other time. These hooked customers are the easiest to sell to.

Never neglect the power of the "upsell"!

Friday, April 14, 2006

I've Been Beaten To It!

For some time now I've wanted to write an eBook about my marketing techniques. I wrote the outline of the eBook months ago. I even registered a domain name for it. But it didn't get off the ground. Now someone's beaten me to it.

A few days ago I came across six short "fluff-free" reports, written for "newbies" and covering the main areas of internet marketing. These were just the type of reports that I would have written had I got round to it.

I didn't have to think twice. I dug (quite deep) into my pocket, "flashed the plastic" and bought the Master Resale Rights to the collection. Such reports are like gold dust - maybe even nuggets! And only a few Master Resale Rights were being sold.

I've decided to make these reports available to you. I'm going to have to make a small charge, not just to cover my costs, but also to comply with the terms of the Master Resale Rights. But I've brought the price right down to a very affordable level - and even sweetened the deal with three great bonuses, all of them educational, and all of them designed for "newbies".

Here's where you can get them

If you are a battle-hardened internet marketing veteran these are probably not for you. But you might be interested in another angle.

I'm making available a small number of Resale Rights Licenses. I'm restricting the numbers so that the market won't get flooded and that the people who purchase these licenses won't face excessive competition.

Check out the Resale Rights deal here

Note: Don't delay. I'm expecting these few licenses to sell out quickly.

Monday, March 27, 2006

"AdSense Websites" - Do They Work?

Google's "AdSense" contextual advertising system enables owners of content-rich websites to generate income from their websites. I've had AdSense on my "Marketing Magic" and "City Of York" websites since July 2003 and it's been highly profitable for me.

But you will have noticed in recent months a huge push to sell various systems which generate content-rich websites very quickly with the sole purpose of bringing in cash from AdSense ads. I've tested about eight such systems in the past few months. Some work well - as far as building the sites is concerned. Some were terrible!

However, I have reservations about the whole concept of building large numbers of such sites:

  • Duplicate content: If you just upload these sites "as is", your sites will be identical to hundreds, maybe thousands of other sites. And the search engines are weeding out such duplicates. I'm not talking about the content of the articles - the search engines are fine with the same article appearing on many different sites. But if the same article collections appear in the same order, then those are duplicate sites.
  • Competition: If you target content niches which are known to having high-paying AdSense advertisers you'll face huge competition from other sites. This means that it will be more difficult to be found on the search engines (even when your site is in the indexes). Consequently, the number of visitors to your site - and your AdSense income - will be low.
  • Time: Generating websites from these systems doesn't take long - except that you'll need to tweak many of them. But, as I showed in my marketing experiment, generating traffic to a website can be time consuming. One guy selling one of these systems said "It doesn't matter if you only make a dollar per day from each site - set up a hundred sites!". Oh yes, and how long will you have to spend driving traffic to each site just to make a dollar a day?

OK, here's my conclusions - and remember, they are only personal opinions.

Maybe, just maybe, some people are making the multiple-site systems work.. for the time being. But they are probably spending a lot of time on them - and using techniques that most people would struggle with - interlinking sites, blogs, RSS and maybe "AdSense arbitrage" ("Google" it if you don't know what it means!).

I don't think that it's a method for "newbies", despite the attraction of having large numbers of "ready-to-go" websites.

Then there's the grey area of ethics. I personally don't feel comfortable having a website which deals with a topic that I don't understand or have any enthusiasm for. That's the reason why I put a month of work into developing a content-rich, customisable website for owners of my Newbies Starter Kit around a topic which most people have some understanding of and feeling for - "self improvement".

I have five websites aimed at generating AdSense income - apart from my two main sites that I mentioned earlier. But they all deal with topics which I have some understanding of - and enthusiasm for. And that's the way I'm going to continue. It's a personal decision.

(From my Marketing Magic "News Update" newsletter)

Monday, March 20, 2006

Another Neat Webmaster Trick For You

You've probably seen it before - you mouse-over a link on a web page, and up pops a coloured box with some information. No, I'm not talking about the standard pale yellow box. That's achieved by adding the 'title' attribute to a link.

No, these little fellers are coloured usually to match the website. Just have a look at the demo page I've put up here.

As I said on that page, there's some very fancy scripting stuff going on behid the scenes. Fortunately, there's a handy f'ree online service that does all the grunt work for you. Just fill in the form with your desired colours and fonts, and it generates all the code for you to copy and paste into your web page.

This was something completely new to me. I've often wondered how it was done!

(From my Marketing Magic "News Update" newsletter)

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

IMP x CTR x EPC = $

Catchy headline, eh! What does it mean? What's it all about?

Last one first. I'm talking about Google AdSense. This program displays "contextual" adverts that you can insert on any content-rich website (i.e. an info site rather than a selling site). The ads which are displayed are supposed to be related (it isn't 100% accurate) to the content of the page. If / when it works, the chances of a website visitor clicking through to the ad are much better than a blatent banner ad.

Banner ads aren't really effective. The "468 x 60" format is tired. We all suffer from "banner blindness"; we ignore them. The Click Through Rate ("CTR" - remember this acronym) is usually less than 1 per cent. A lot less. Because they are indiscriminate. Usually, they don't relate to the content of the page. So, apart from "banner blindness", our visitors have no reason to be interested in the ad.

Let's face it, if you bought a magazine devoted to "ice skating", would you be interested in the slightest in adverts for "baby care" products? I don't think so!

"Contextual ads", where the content of the ads is related to the content of the web page, is far more powerful. And that's what the Google AdSense system does. It allows any webmaster (or webmistress) with a content-filled website to use its contextual ads on their pages.
You might have noticed lately a spate of new products aimed at building a mass of content-filled websites very quickly. The reason? To generate income from AdSense. OK, back to that mysterious formula:

IMP x CTR x EPC = $

Just how successful you'll be in generating income from your AdSense websites depends on these three factors:

IMP = Page Impressions
That's the number of times that your pages are viewed. So, the more visitors you drive to your site, the higher your AdSense income is likely to be. This is one of the factors which is under your control.

CTR = Click Through Rate
That's the percentage of visitors who click on the AdSense ads. That's a crucial factor in increasing your AdSense income. Again, it's something over which you have some measure of control.

EPC = Earnings Per Click
That's really dependent on the subject matter of your web pages and how many advertisers are competing with each other. Your EPC is likely to be lower on a page about, say, philosophy, than on a page about marketing.

I decided to write about this topic today because a year ago I made a small but very significant change to my AdSense ads. I've charted the impact it made on this web page. Powerful stuff, eh?

The turning point was a report that I bought - "AdSense Secrets" by Joel Comm. I've read a lot of reports about AdSense but Joel really lives up to his reputation as "Mr AdSense". He lives and breathes it! What impresses me even more is that Joel updates his report regularly, and he's just issued version 3.

If you use, or are planning to use, AdSense on your website, you really ought to get Joel's report. But if you do, not only must you read it, but you should act on it. You've seen the difference that just one of Joel's tips made to my income.

(From my Marketing Magic "News Update" newsletter)

Friday, March 10, 2006

"Ian's Marketing Experiments": Month Two

Mid-January, I posted an account of three very hectic days I spent building and launching a new website about a niche topic: "Learning Yoga". I had such great feedback about this diary that I decided to continue with it.

Over the last six weeks, I've kept a detailed diary on what I did to get the site indexed in the search engines, get in-bound links to the site from other websites and generally tidy up the site. I describe:

  • My feelings of both frustration and elation when I encountered failure and success.
  • What I did to get a Google Page Rank of "2" in less than 6 weeks
  • How I detected a copyright cheat
  • Why I rejected a lot of offers to link to my new website
  • What my plans are for future work on the site

Read my Marketing Experiments Diary here:

And please - give me more feedback using the form on the Diary page. By the way, if you missed the January Diary, there's a link to it on the current Diary page.

(From my Marketing Magic "News Update" newsletter)

Monday, February 27, 2006

The Merry-Go-Round System

How easy is this to do?

  • You set up accounts with ClickBank, Google AdSense, Google AdWords and The cost of all this is zero apart from a $5 activation fee for AdWords
  • You find suitable products to promote as an affiliate on ClickBank. Then you drive targeted traffic to the products' sales pages through your affiliate link using AdWords. This costs as little or as much as you like. You're in total control. All you need to do is to make sure that your affiliate inc.ome is greater than your AdWords spend
  • You build a few blogs at (no skills required) and add some content to each (there's plenty of sources of articles around). You put AdSense code in these blogs - and some of your ClickBank affiliate links. Another $0 spent!
  • You get your blogs indexed by the search engines and your blogs start earning you both AdSense and ClickBank income

So there you have it. A way to generate income online with no website and no products of your own.

So, how easy is that to do? Very easy.

But how easy is it to do well? Ah, that's a different story!

I've done all of these, and I know some of the pitfalls. And I've learnt some of the "tricks" to make these strategies more productive.

You need to know which are good products to sell. You need to figure out which keywords to target for these products when you're setting up your AdWord campaigns. You need to know how to get your blogs into the search engines quickly.

And you need to know a heck of a lot more than just those three things. I can't pretend to tell you that I've got all this knowledge and skills. I haven't. But I know a man who has..

Richard Quek. He's was a Chartered Accountant before he 'discovered' the internet. I've been dealing with Richard for quite a few years now, and he's one of the few internet marketers that I both trust and admire.

He's really gone deeply into this "merry-go-round" system (that's my phrase, by the way, not his). And now he's put all his ideas together in a couple of eBooks (and bundled in a load of other very useful resources).

Please note that his system is really aimed at newbies, not experienced marketers. Having said that, I learnt some new techniques with 5 minutes. For example, I hadn't realised how easy it is to set up a "WordPress" blog as an alternative to Right, so that's something else I've got to have a play with!

Richard's reports are concise and free from "fluff"! Wish I could say the same about the other half dozen I've ploughed through this week. OK, want to know more?

Read more about Richard's system here

(From my Marketing Magic "News Update" newsletter)

Friday, February 24, 2006

Handy Online AdWords Tool

If you use Google's "AdWords" pay-per-click system to drive traffic to your website, you'll know that you shouldn't just target two or three keywords.

You bid on dozens or hundreds to have an effective campaign. Maybe you use a service such as WordTracker or software such as AdWord Analyzer to research your keywords. Either way, you end up with a big list.

But then, there are three keyword matching options in the Adwords system:
  • Broad match: If you have jewellery box in your keyword list, your ad will show when the searcher includes both these words in the search term - in any order. So if the search term was "silver box for jewellery", your ad will be displayed. This is the least targeted option.

  • Phrase match: If you enclose your keywords in speech marks thus: "jewellery box", your ad will show if the searcher includes those words in the same order. So your ad will show if the search term is "silver jewellery box", but not if it is "silver box for jewellery".

  • Exact match: If you put square brackets around your search term thus: [jewellery box], your ad will show only if those two words were searched for without any other words in the search term. This is the tightest of the targeting options.

It's very useful to use all three matching methods to get as broader coverage as possible. But there's a problem..

I've just used the AdWords system to generate keywords starting with the initial word "jewellery". It came up with 140 different keywords. Now how long will it take me to produce two more variations of each phrase - one with speech marks and one with square brackets? And how boring is that job?

Fortunately, I've found a handy (and free) web service that does the job in seconds. It's kindly provided by a guy called Mike. Just copy your keyword list, paste it into a box on Mike's page, hit a button - and out pops all the keywords with all the match options. Great stuff! And there's no fluff about having to sign up for anything. Just use this great little tool if you are an AdWords user. Go to it here.

Incidentally, even if you aren't an AdWords user, you can still use the AdWords tool to generate keyword lists. This can be handy for all sorts of purposes. Access the AdWords tool here.

(From my Marketing Magic "News Update" newsletter)

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Email Postage Charges: Fact Or Fiction?

It was announced recently that AOL and Yahoo! are going to start using the "Goodmail" system to implement a "sender certified" email system.

This means that every message sent through Goodmail has a little tag which identifies it as "certified" and it then goes through whatever spam filters the participating ISPs use.

Email senders have to go through an approval system, which costs $399 ($199 before 31 July 2006). Although I couldn't find it on the Goodmail website, I believe that email senders are charged 0.2 to 0.4 cents per email, depending on volume. Oh, and your business has to be based in the USA or Canada to be a Goodmail certified sender.

So what does this really mean to us? Certainly, the media have hyped it up. "AOL to charge fee as way to cut spam" was the USA Today headline. Total rubbish! It will not impact on spam at all, and Goodmail don't claim this.

And it's entirely optional. If you decide not to join the Goodmail system, nothing will change at all. Your chances of getting emails through to AOL and Yahoo! mail boxes (which account for about 50% of consumer mail boxes) will be just as good (or bad!) as they have always been.

Is Goodmail the thin end of the wedge? Won't it be just a matter of time before we all have to pay to send email? Maybe. But I doubt it. Goodmail aren't the first providers of such a system. Habeus and BondedSender have been around for much longer. And they haven't made much impact.

My advice to you? Don't panic!

(From my Marketing Magic "News Update" newsletter)

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Google's Bigdaddy - Prepare For Some Changes

In case you hadn't heard, Google has been working on a new search technology called "Bigdaddy". At the time of writing, it's still in test phase but it's expected to become the Google default search mechanism this month or next.

The main aim of Bigdaddy is to deal with "web spam" (e.g. pages consisting of 'scraped' search engine results) and a number of cheating re-direct tricks For example, the search engines see one page; human visitors see another. BMW's German site was removed from Google's index for pulling a stunt like that! BMW sensibly removed the re-direct and they're back in. Bigdaddy could also result in many near-identical websites being removed.

It's important to understand that this is not just an algorithm change like big updates in the past. It changes the way in which the whole Google search engine works. It contains new code for sorting and examining web pages.

Matt Cutts is a Google search engineer who has become quite a public figure. He's a very useful channel of communication between Google and webmasters (I had a talk with him at a "Webmasters World" conference in London a couple of years ago - he's a very approachable guy).

Matt has a very informative blog, and he's been drip-feeding us with info about Bigdaddy on a regular basis. On 1st February, Matt posted news to his blog that Google was converting data centers at the rate of one every 10 days (Note: Google uses a network of data centers with different IP addresses to answer search queries. These decentralized servers share the workload of indexing web sites.)

There are now at least 3 data centers running Bigdaddy. There's one you can test here. Note that this may not always show Bigdaddy results because data centers are sometimes taken out of the rotation for testing purposes. One way to test it is to enter the search term "sf giants". If the first site on the results page is '' then it's a good chance that the data center is running Bigdaddy.

You can read Matt Cutts' blog here. Check out various entries in January and February for his Bigdaddy news.

So what does Bigdaddy mean for most of us?
Possible very little, if you have a normal website and you don't try to fool the search engines. In fact, if some websites are removed from the index, others are going to move up the listings.
I was please to find that when I typed in "selling and marketing techniques" into a Bigdaddy-powered search box, my Marketing Magic website was at #1! And I couldn't find my site with this search phrase when I used one of the older data centers.

But if you have a website which is nearly identical to other people's sites, you could well have a problem. That's why, as a matter of some urgency, I am replacing the current AdSense Starter kit in my Newbies Starter Kit with a site that owners of the Kit can easily customise and make unique. I needed to find a way for people to do this easily.

(From my Marketing Magic "News Update" newsletter)

Monday, February 06, 2006

Affiliate Honesty

Why did I decide not to promote "Butterfly Marketing"?

It's all to do with my conscience!

I've nothing against Mike Filsaime. He's produced some great products from which I have benefited. And it's nothing to do with the Butterfly Marketing product, which I have not seen.

Quite a while ago I made the decision that I would not put my name against any product which I had not personally reviewed and liked. It's subjective, I know, but that's the way I work; I sleep easier at night :-)

Mike Filsaime is an astute marketer whom I admire and, in some ways seek to copy. His pre-launch of Butterfly Marketing was brilliant. But there was a flaw, in my opinion. A big one..

No-one, except a privileged few, saw the product - or even the sales page - until launch day on 31 January. Yet dozens of people sent out email after email extolling the virtues of the package; many of them will not have even seen the sales page. Is that being honest? I don't think so!

OK, I believe and respect the opinions of some of the 'big hitters' who probably did have sight of the product, and, having seen the sales page when "Butterf'ly" was launched, I think that they are right in saying that it it is a great product - for certain types of people..

But having read the sales page several times (and I re-read it just before writing this), I am still happy with my decision. My impression is that "Butterfly" is not for inexperienced marketers, and quite a few people will have bought it thinking it will solve all their problems.

The whole concept of Mike Filsaime's software and home study course is, I believe, brilliant. But from what I've read - and what other people are saying - if you are not already an established marketer, "Butterfly" is unlikely to be very helpful to you.

But, bear in mind that this is my uninformed opinion. I could be wrong. Remember, I haven't seen or experienced the product. If you want to decide for yourself then go to the website: and make up your own mind. Incidentally, I can't put in the full URL for "Butterfly" because it's already in a "block" list!

Not for you? Here's an alternative
If you decide that "Butterf'ly" isn't for you, there is an alternative which I do endorse. It's the late Cory Rudl's "Insider Secrets To Marketing Your Business On The Internet" course. I've owned it for a couple of years now, and a few weeks ago I took delivery of an updated version.

This is a home study course for both 'newbies' and experienced marketers alike. The course comprises two thick ring-bound manuals and three CDs. One of the manuals covers the basics of internet marketing and the other deals with more advanced techniques (some of them were real eye-openers for me).

What I really like about the course is not just the content, but also the presentation. This makes the course highly readable. There's too many topics covered in the course for me even to put them here - there's a good description on the sales page (you have to wade through a lot of hype, though!)

Again, you will need to form your opinion. Here's the sales page - and yes, it is an affiliate link!

(From my Marketing Magic "News Update" newsletter)

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Yahoo! Challenges Google AdSense

I've been a very happy Publisher with Google's AdSense program for a few years now. It's another very profitable income stream for me, with the context-relevant ads appearing on two of my main websites.

What has astonished me is that there's been no serious competitor to AdSense over the past few years.

Well, maybe that's going to change! Yahoo has now entered the field, very tentatively, and restricting itself to website publishers in the USA.

A recent article on my Marketing Magic website by Merle (she doesn't admit to a second name!) takes a look at what Yahoo!'s Publisher Network ("YPN") is offering to website owners. She goes into a lot of detail. So, if you're looking for an alternative to AdSense..

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

A Marketing Experiment

I don't know how regular this is going to be, but I've written a diary of three very hectic days I've had this week.

I set myself a challenge - build a 500-page content-rich AdSense website and launch a new niche product.. within a week. I managed it in three days. My diary is far too long to go in this newsletter, so I've put it online:

In it, I take you step-by-step through all the processes I went through, from first selecting the niche to finally launching both websites.

I give you links to the resources I used, own up to the errors I made, and put some useful tips throughout the diary.

Set aside a few minutes and see what you can learn from me:

Oh, and the niche topic I chose was completely unrelated to internet marketing. It was all about "Learning Yoga". Here's the content-rich site:

.. and here's the new product's sales page:

My task for the coming days and weeks is to drive traffic to both sites!

Friday, January 06, 2006

What's Your Plan For 2006?

A few days ago, I listened to some very inspiring planning advice from a top marketer. And I followed his advice and made some notes whilst I was listening to his audio. I'm sure that he won't mind me sharing his thoughts with you.

It's all about what you are going to achieve in 2006. There's five steps you need to take to reach the goals you really want to achieve:

  • Decide the life you want to live - don't let other people interfere with your dreams. Plan it in detail; imagine it in detail - and visualise it in great detail.(Me? Some years ago, I visualised myself driving a top-range Volvo estate car - five months ago, I took delivery of a Saab Aero Turbo.. much better than a Volvo!)
  • Write down exactly what you want, and make it measurable - e.g. make a hundred thousand dollars by June 1st. Don't limit yourself. High expectations are the key to everything.(Me? My wife, Ruth, who's also my accountant, sets my targets. I ignore them, treble them and achieve them!)
  • Take ACTION. Everything starts with ACTION. The faster you move forward, the more you'll get. Focus on your goals, not on your mistakes.(Me? I have a little notebook with the label "Ideas Journal". Each time I get a new idea, I write it down - check it daily, and cross it off whenever I achieve or reject the idea)
  • Measure your results, and take corrective action. Do it weekly. Aim for your results.(Me? I have a series of spreadsheets which, on a daily basis, I record my financial results for the previous day. I always know when I'm hitting my targets)
  • Enjoy your life! Imagine the possibilities of your life, and decide to attain them. Have fun! You'll achieve more if you enjoy what you are doing.(Me? I really do enjoy everything I do at work and in my ample leisure time!)

    Don't just read these words - act on them. It's powerful advice. It's worked for me!