Thursday, December 31, 2009

Get Your Self Scam Free - Introduction

How do you quit being a victim to every slick telemarketer out there? Is there anyway to see a scam and get out of their way?

I've been there and done that.

There are reasons people have been trained into being dupes. And all these reasons can be un-trained as well - if you know how.

I wrote the book this video is based on from the research I did to dig myself out of the hole I had been scammed into.

I decided not to get mad or get even – just get my money back somehow, write up what I had encountered, and then move on. And writing this book is part of moving on.

This video is the introduction to these lessons on how to get yourself scam free.

And so, any scam, fraud, telemarketer, or "business opportunity" that comes your way won't get the best of you.

Enjoy your new-found freedom!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Internet Marketing ladder: one step closer to the top

Getting there, one step at a time. Finally got my refund today, and a friend said he wanted to take over the Internet Scam site - so I'll now be free to simply concentrate on streamlining and publishing what I know about Internet marketing.

One interesting point which has come to light just over the last 24 hours is that most of promotion is link-building. And while this is still a great majority of what you have to do in Internet Marketing, it gives us structure to what has to be done.

My take on this is going to fill about a dozen sites on the same host, with a dozen books, a dozen email courses, and a dozen CD's/DVD's filled with videos (as well as online).

If you've been following this blog intently, you may have noticed some data going up and then coming down again. I'll be able to explain this more thoroughly in these books, since now I've lived through and refined what can happen to a person when they make certain promotional steps. And more of what needs to be done to ensure these are properly effective.

This, of course, isn't the last of this - since the Internet itself is evolving and so are the lessons we learn daily as we go.

One of the more interesting mentors I've been working to catch up with recently is Charles Heflin. He's from a ThemeZoom SEO background, so is thoroughly engaged with real-world studies on what is effective site-building. As well, he is very active in the social media scene and can tell you exactly how to build an effective social network that really brings home the bacon.

While I've got a desk full of notes on this area, I'll start sorting and weeding these through tomorrow. Don't know if these will result in posts or not - since some of it is so esoteric to be nearly gobbledegook until it's all sorted through and aligned.

As well, I have to research the keywords and competition for 12 different sites in order to present them in a fashion that will be effective and useful.

One immediate spin-off is that I'll be able to do a sort of "Chicken Soup" transmorgrification, making it possible for this data to be used by all sorts of niches from small organic farmers to Fortune 500 companies, from WAHM's to Boomers - and everyone inbetween. If my heart were in it, I could spend the rest of my life just marketing this to all the various niches which need to be on the Internet to expand their own product offerings.

My work in this is to actually just perfect the marketing channel itself, so that I can move into a much tougher set of niches to crack - personal improvement.

And there are some trees beyond that section of forest as well.

I imagine that I'll be adding to this area as I find more about what happens after - particularly in building a subscription site. (Internet marketing has plenty of velvet rope areas already, so I won't bother in this one - too much inane competition. I've got bigger fish which create far more impressive changes for this planet than simply making tons of money.)

But I wanted to keep you up to date.

And if you haven't, subscribe to this blog as it will be an outlier promotion line for this new baker's dozen of products coming out. You won't want to miss this insight as I dissect the basics and show how simple it is for anyone to do this - and why most people don't...

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

More Genius Social Media Insight from Charles Heflin

(Well, after the third try, I'm having to import from a text file to quote from a blog - Blogger doesn't like the copy/paste from Chrome.)

Here's real genius on how to deal with the flux of data from the Internet:

How do you create a social media marketing campaign?

Here’s how I do it…

  1. Publish a new blog post.
  2. Syndicate the post to 2 or 3 social news sites with large market share (many eyeballs).
  3. Increase the visibility of the syndications by garnering comments, votes and shares on each network where I syndicate my blog post. (I use a tool called Synnd for this function)

As content gains votes and comments it becomes more visible to a larger and larger audience.

It matches a post I did today on genius, Free Will and the Universe as a data aggregator.

The point is the punchline to this old joke:

"Q: How to you get down from an elephant?

"A: You don't, you get down from a goose?"

Social media is designed to network, not produce results. Marketing has ROI as it's base, since you are working to gain return on your investments. Social media isn't remunerative in it's base - you add value to your commercial offerings by including the community your business is supporting. Warts, in-laws and all.

(and no, the quote function on Blogger is currently broken. Sheesh.)

Auto blogs don't work - but twitter does

I've been working with various "pipes" situations, rigging aggregators and whatnot in order to acquire and utilize data. 

A few notes on this:

Google Alerts piped to Blogger eventually get shut down. Usually the Google Alerts just disappears. Once I got a notice that Blogger thought one of my blogs was a "spam blog" and so I shut it down myself.   Apparently content that is only built through Google Alerts can be considered a "spam blog" but one which has human-edited content originally isn't.

Google Alerts piped through an imaginary friend on Friendfeed to Twitter is a success - as well as mixing it in with other news RSS feeds. I've got an imaginary "" which was developed simply to give me news feeds and an alert which is all the "how to's, learn to's, and ways to" which show up on the web. This has over 466 followers as of today. I imagine if I put a babe as an icon, it would get even more. Just the way life works. But its right now the content which is valuable to people.

Using Alerts to pipe to Friendfeed and then using that RSS back to a blog (probably a WordPress plugin) would be the next approach. A direct Google Alerts to Blogger using a mail-to approach leaves the header in, so is easily worked out. When those alerts go through Friendfeed, that header disappears. Posting it on a Wordpress blog would be a workable auto-blog. While Google could lower it's rankings, it couldn't stop it as it does with Blogger.

Now, if you could do that with a video feed, you'd be really popular, depending on how you themed it...

All for now, a couple more posts to do elsewhere. 

Oh - remote blogs do work, you just have to watch your subdomain names and not directly "take over" trademarks.  Research shows that adding "blows" or "sucks" after a tradename is legal.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Marketing Insight: Watch your trademarks and linklove mojo

(If you go to that link, you'll find the entire story of how this trademark dog, Nipper, came into being.)

If you read up on Robert Kiyosaki's books and lectures, he infrequently tells of creating a line of "surfer wallets" made up of nylon - and building a factory in Hawaii to get them made, only to see his product be undercut by foreign manufacturers with knock-offs. Lost the factory as he couldn't compete in price. He hadn't trademarked his products and so could actually have blocked those imports into this country if he had.

Lesson here: make sure you trademark along with your keyword strategies.

The advantage of trademarks is that they don't expire, like copyrights or patents. You can keep renewing them indefinitely - which, for Burrough's Tarzan, was a nice little inheritance for his descendants.

- - - -

I remember someone got a lot of traffic during the last presidential election with and had a simple one-word site: "No". But that person went further and also grabbed the variation, - and the answer was: "No. Muslin is a fabric."

If the guy were really smart, he would have set up t-shirts with just his domain name on the front and the answer on the back. And link to Cafepress where people could buy his product.

Monetize, always.

So watch your defenses closely. Most big (and smart) corporations will actually tie up all the domain variations of their brand names. And if they are really smart, they'll hire someone to build some static mini sites which link to their main site.

When you are working to develop your linklove mojo, you build it by sharing.

But you have to think entirely outside the box regularly - or hire people that do. And if you do have a person like this, give them rein and don't just load them up with work to solve. Let them try things out - give them a small budget to try experiments, plus a percentage of those profits to expand their experiment-budget when they are successful. That will fine-tune their genius. And your profits will grow exponentially.

The point in "Marketing Warfare" is never to take on the competition directly, but take them on by developing a very narrow front - one torpedo in the right spot may not sink a ship, but it can stop it dead in the water while you keep steaming right along and get to that port ahead of them to sell your product.

A final point. Competitions are never won by going head-to-head. The more creative person wins. Period. Don't buy how you were trained in school, with equally-matched teams on two sides in different-colored uniforms. Doesn't work that way. Ask Microsoft. Or Apple.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Service and Exchange: Some social media sites just don't get it.

Got into a couple of new social sites today and they basically sucked.

Reason? They were pristine Ivory towers. Also known as silos. You couldn't link other sites in or import even tiny parts of your lifestream - and no one could get a link from you to check out. Everything was internal.

Much like the students above - a very inward facing group with their own little set of agreements which no one else makes much sense of.

The problem is that the group doesn't contribute outward and so will eventually wither and die off. Groups need to both service and exchange, internally and externally in order to survive and expand.

One of these groups had a good idea - to get people in to write reviews. Only problem was - they were essentially whoring. The people writing the reviews got really nothing out of it. These guys wanted to attract people who needed reviews of stuff. So it's a cute, but dead, idea. It's not social except within that tiny group of people who want to write reviews in 800 characters or more. If you could only live in Twitter and couldn't post your blogs or import your Friend Feed - or even have tinyurl links to share. Boring. Boring and whoring.

Probably only Facebook and FriendFeed really get this. (Google's social attempts are also probably on the mark all except they were started by a company, not a bunch of like-minded individuals and then popularly adopted.)

"Social" has gone beyond simply getting along with people around you. Now it's finding and building your own niche of like-minded people. And you are going to have several niches. Great for marketing, since more and different products can be offered and exchanged easily.

Nothing like the Internet for setting things on their ear, eh?

Monday, April 27, 2009

Article Marketing - Dusting off an old stand-by

Just like meeting an old friend again - or picking up an old baseball mitt and ball, remembering the days of sunshine-sprinkled catch and impromptu games with the ball going wild and no one playing that position...

Picked up Article marketing more or less as a way to force myself past the death of one old machine (two hard-drives gone) and another one on the mend (actually, I have to get out the manual to mend it, still.)

As well, I needed to translate some great over-long blog posts into tight prose needed for articles, podcasts, and videos. So writing articles seemed the best way to try it out.

I found that I'd not submitted any articles since last fall. And nothing really significant in any volume for well over a year. But I'd been busy with research and it was a perfect time to try out these new tools I'd assembled (yes, I know, men and their tools...)

So I took advantage of this opportunity to cobble everything together and blog all about it for you.

There's a lot to cover about article marketing, so much that it's filled a single volume out of the Online Millionaire set of books (anybody have a better name for that subject, please let me know...) Today we are simply going to cover a simple recipe for producing non-duplicative articles and submitting them to multiple directories.

What's non-duplicative?

Non-duplicative articles isn't writing the same one over and over and over. How tedious and boring, that would be. It's taking your original article (short essay) and working out how to make it say the same thing with different words for every article directory you want to submit it to - well, at least those which show up on the top Google standings.

Some authors (namely Michael Campbell of "Striking it Niche" and "Nothing but 'Net" fame) found that the Google penalties for duplicative content fell out if around 40% of an article was changed out. Articles didn't have to be entirely fresh (which gives hope for all those PLR article collections which are clogging your hard-drives right now.)

That being said, how do we write an article?

Same as always - get an inspiration and hammer it out before it passes. You can write this on anything. More recently, I've been excited by the use of Google Docs, which is based on OpenOffice. This way, as long as you have an internet connection, you have all your documents all neatly (or not) organized and available.

But at some point, you are going to have to convert this to pure, straight text. Here's where I recommend NoteTab ( And I say to get the free version, and look around for pre-5.0 version. (Because I use their feature to strip out HTML tags, which disappeared from the free version after 4.95 or thereabouts.) But you can use Note Pad in Windows or any other straight text editor. You want something which will take the straight text out of copied data and paste it into some other application without the formatting included. A filter, nothing more or less. (And it helps if that application will count words for you - something we'll find useful in meeting various article directory word limits.)

This article writing also assumes that you've already done your research and picked out your niche, found it's profitable keywords and still were inspired enough to crank out some copy.

Take a second and look at Top 50 Article Directories by Traffic, PageRank. This is a regularly updated list which gives you an idea of the huge amount of article directories and which ones have clawed their way up to the top by providing far more relevance and service. You can see right now, that even if you wanted to just post at each of these, you are going to have to be very creative for a long period of time in order to come up with original articles for each of them.

Save your fingers - let a spreadsheet do your creating.

There is a broad subject of article spinners, which are programs that simply replace various words with synonyms and so "spin" a new article out of old cloth. Problem is, they look and smell like old cloth that's been patched several times too many. They don't have the same quality as actually human-edited. Like someone put the article through a foreign language translator and then back. Awful, unreadable stuff. Means people aren't going to read down to your resource block and click on your links there.

Enter Chris Smith ( and his article-rewriter. (Free download from link.) He tackled the problem of editing articles head-on and came up with an elegant solution. He got a spreadsheet to use some simple math formulas and generate new versions of your original article. You simply separate the article into short paragraphs or sentences and then create two more versions of each of these. The random math function he's built in takes your three versions of that article and then recombines them by their paragraphs into different formats. He figures you get well over 200 different versions of each original and it's two additionals.

But are they at least 40% different?

Lets go to Dupe-Free Pro - another free download, ad-supported. This great tool has two panels left and right where you plug in your original article on one side and your newly re-written article on the other. Hit the Compare button and you'll quickly see by what percentage the new version is identical to the original. If you come up with more than 60% or so, just go back to your article re-writer and generate a new one.

This is where your NoteTab (plain text) editor comes in. Copy/paste from article rewriter into NoteTab, then copy/paste from there into DupeFree Pro. Otherwise, you can wind up with some messy looking stuff, since there's some formatting on the spreadsheet you don't really want.

But you now have the capability to generate new versions at will. Far more than you need.

Go to eZineArticles and enter your first one. Means you have to sign up.

Now take the next on the list and post your newly re-written version. Make sure you change the headline and the summary blurb. Otherwise, it's just copy/paste. (You still have it in your NoteTab editor.)

Next article directory, generate a new re-written article, change the headline and blurb slightly - and so on, etc.

Who, me - cheat?

Isn't this cheating? Well, did you actually write each article yourself? Are they different enough that Google isn't going to penalize you or the article directory for duplicative content? Then what's the problem?

Ok, then, there's still more. How about the thousand or so remaining article directories out there?

Here's my tip. Give the top of the heap your best shot, always. Most of these are completely uniquely coded and have to be hand-entered, which takes time. But an interesting point is that the lower rankings mostly run on the same basic script.

Save your time, submit to the multitudes semi-automatically.

There is another body of data called article submitters. These automate the production. Essentially they work because there are only a handful of scripts which people use to create article directories. The largest majority of these are based on Article Dashboard's free script.

In my searches and trials, I found one Article Submitter which did the trick and was worth paying for (less than $50. Simply because they re-coded an existing codebase (yes, there are tons of article submitters out there just with this name) and have continually updated their product. You want to buy support, not headaches and expire-ware. This one is from And yes, they have additional products.

What this does is take a single article and post in on around 1000 directories if you want.

I say it's semi-automatic, as it is trying to act like a human would and every now and then hangs when a website isn't delivered right on time. And some websites simply go "4 legs up" every now and then. So keep it open on your desktop (or another monitor or computer) so you can debug it from time to time.

Wait - isn't this just duplicate stuff again?

Why do we want to post duplicative content after all that work? Is it, like Clinton, just because we can? No.

My argument is this:

Look at the Bell Curve and the Long Tail. The bulk of your traffic is going to come from a few sources. Practically, the top 5-10-15 article directories are the only ones which will routinely send you traffic - if you routinely post to them. The rest of the article directories have very nichefied traffic and loyal readers who go there first for data. Just the way it is.

You are only going to get drips and drops of traffic from these niche sites. Posting by hand isn't efficient to do 500 or so article directories at a go. In practice, because these directories are so niche-oriented, I actually only get about 150 or so posted from any single article. Cat-article directories don't want the same articles as Real Estate article directories. And their clients don't search through other directories for their specialty articles, either.

But if I'm a cat fancier article writer, I'd post my original articles on the Big Box article directories and also a copy on any cat-niche article directories as well. Cover all your bases.

Article Submitter from Submit Suite allows you to help the niche directories build up their services while you also have set up your main supply of paying traffic through the top article directories. (If you want more on this subject, check out my work over a year ago on article directories and article submitters.)

- - - -

All that great work deserved an update - and so there you have it.

The advantage of posting articles is that it gives you back links and potential traffic for years to come. Like blogs, you have to maintain a constant supply of content, as the new articles are featured and older articles archived. Human nature, again. (Otherwise, used bookstores would always be the first place we look.)

But again, this is really the point of creating once and publishing many, many times. Your job as content creator is to be first in all these various venues with your brilliant ideas to share.

Articles are another vital venue to get those potential viewers who want this particular type of data delivered in that particular content-type. And it's our good fortune to be able to satisy their needs.

Good Hunting, then.

Update: Skip this whole subject. Article Directories aren't worth the extra effort. Most of the backlinks are no-follow. Meanwhile, you can autopost to a whole string of blogs via Posterous with the same content and do-follow links - while also publishing to Facebook and Twitter. So better SEO results can be had with less effort. And "the best" have to be individually posted to. Don't bother wasting your time with Article Directories. 

One exception - the 2 or 3 who accept bulk submissions. Meaning you could take your earlier material and set it up into a format they'd accept - and you'd then have some relatively cheap backlinks (and you could probably vary these with and within each submission) content re-publishing with nearly as little effort as the above - but only after you've already autoposted everywhere you could. 

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Care and Feeding of Social Media: a remote blog-outpost primer

Sure, social media dominates Google - by their choice. Because social media already has been "vetted" by others and so is popular. And Google simply follows things that are popular and helps others find them.

Homework for our first lesson is to get a copy of "Bending the Web" from Jack Humphrey. While you're out there searching, find a copy of his "60 day plan" in PDF format so you get an even broader clue about what he's talking about.

Essentially, the point is to get your content on as many other sites as possible for any given keyword.

Now, this video (which I did a year ago - my how Internet time flies) shows you a simple route to do this:

But your mileage may vary. For this example, I didn't take some hot keyword with a lot of competition or even figured out how to push a particular product with it. The general idea is there, though - write your content once, publish it many ways as fast as you can. And make sure it all links with the same keyword to the site you are promoting.

Good Hunting!

Use of remote blogs to subvert someone's keyword ownership

The only thing missing in that headline is "dominate".
(But the photo's worth a thousand links...)

Unlikely theory and potential Black Hat SEO use - post removed...

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Using Google bookmarks to track your social outposts

(At the outset, I have to apologize for the housekeeping over at - going through some changes as I optimize the site for better bandwidth consumption. And generally evolve it.)

But the point I wanted to bring up tonight is using that Google Toolbar with it's bookmark function to track your own social outposts.

Social outposts is a term coined (more or less) by Chris Brogan. Essentially, the social sites you visit and leave your profile at are advance scouting parties for your content-production-line.

Trick is that you can sign up for stuff and then forget where you'd been a month later. So these various places are just sitting out there - while you've been moving on and creating all sorts of content everywhere else.

. . . .

The trick is to be valuable with your content - and release it in valuable formats.

Using your Google Toolbar with it's bookmarking simplicity looks to be a key tool to use.

Good Hunting!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Personal Computer Woes: upgrades and old machines - too full

When it rains it pours - two computers down out of four, and the other is running Win98...

Tried about five more times to get Ubuntu upgrades on my server - but it still sticks at boot. Next is to take two of the hard-drives out and make it work on the one that's left.

Other machine that went south today (just the Main HD, actually) is running on another Ubuntu Live CD so I can either copy (too big) or delete some files off it so it will run again. XP just blue screens on me. And there's some ominous clunking going on down there, so I expect the end is soon...

One other note: I think WordPress is top-heavy. Seems again I've caused a bandwidth problem simply by accessing my own admin page on WP - plus posting from within that platform instead of outside it. This one on a different host than the other.

Solution is to use Scribe-Fire to post to it (maybe Blogger, though this doesn't always work) and then tweak the settings once it's there. Keeps my own access to a minimum.

But what I'm trying to do with that site is to lower it's bandwidth - however, I have to access the admin to do that.

Still using Yslow to see how I can speed things up. However, the cache I use gets in the way when I want to see changes - and then my time goes up if I turn it off. (I'm sure I'll figure it out soon enough.)

. . . .

Good Hunting!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Wordpress Optimization: speed up or get out of the way

(While this is another one of these technical posts, I'm posting my notes as I run into getting a web business operating online - so you can learn from my efforts and mistakes.)

Ran into this when running Wordpress MU on a site (setting up subdomain mini-sites) and finding all about bandwidth - by running out in the first week of a new month. And then again, the second week. Got it bumped up twice, but it took me off my regular game of posting content over into figuring out how to optimize a site for fast loading. (And this was with just two mini-sites running...)

Luckily, the Internet is full of answers. Lots of surfing with different sites (sorry I can't link to you all) gave me a few simple rules:
  • Smaller is faster.
  • Don't call up more than you want to chew.
  • No pix, no slows.
Smaller is faster.
Essentially, the static html page, text only, is the fastest loading page. The less content, the faster it loads. Kinda like security - if nothing gets through, then nothing can get leaked.

Obviously, since we like nice graphics and nice-looking text, and like to talk to each other - the above statements aren't workable.

Next up from that - CSS-styled pages which look nice but don't take a lot of time to load - meaning the server doesn't have to work at bringing these up. Means you want to compress all the line-breaks and white space out of these CSS pages so that they are more machine-friendly (and nearly impossible to read or edit.)

Don't call up more than you can chew.
Finish off your CSS loading before you call any Javascript - and keep those calls to a minimum. Again, ideally your CSS would be a single document, but the reality is that you have different style sheets for different aspects of the site - human editing benefits, mostly (although some would argue with me on that).

Javascript should load last so the page is there to be read, even if other stuff is coming in the background.

Enter database calls. Same deal. The more you call to your database, the slower the page is to load, and also you are going to use up more bandwidth. So your database has to be optimized internally so that it finds the data quickly and efficiently. Extra tables and entries are removed, which keep the files small and quickly accessed.

No pix, no slows.
Minimalist designs tend to be faster, because a single graphic can be bigger than the entire text on the rest of the page. The more graphics and icons you have on a page, the slower it's going to load.

Your graphics - if you have to have them - should be compressed as much as possible without degrading their quality. (And a two-color GIF still rules.) However, you can do a lot with colors in CSS, so don't think you're limited to a monochrome scene to get a fast-loading page.

While people like pictures on their sites - think these over carefully before you drop a bunch of stuff in there to make it look "pretty".

- - - -

- - - -
Tricks and Recommendations:
  1. Host your images on another site or a subdomain - this way they load in parallel to your text body.
  2. Host your feeds on Feedburner - doesn't speed up your page loads, but does preserve your bandwidth.
  3. Don't use an ecommerce plug-in on your WordPress install - host these externally as well. Scripts like ZenCart are amazingly fast as they are designed to specifically deal with ecommerce. WordPress is designed around blogging and ease of use. Make your external ecommerce script do that heavy lifting. (The ecommerce plug-in I used to use had all sorts of javascript calls - when I finally got under the hood to look at it. Now I'm looking at a simple PayPal button to do everything I want - but the jury is still out on that...)
  4. Always, always refine by function - actual use - rather than bells and whistles. Practically, leave entertainment on entertainment sites and then link or embed them. Let them pay the bandwidth and give you a sitelink as well.
  5. Skip ads, unless they are text links. a) People continue to look at fewer and fewer ads. b) Most are graphic heavy or javascript "endowed". c) Content pre-sells best - then link to the page which will give you PPC or affiliate commissions. (Adsense is still notoriously poor-paying.)
Bottom line:
Serve optimized text only from your server, then call to other hosts for the extras. Sounds austere - but if you keep these in mind with your designs, you won't have the big problems later when you have to find out how to make your site's bandwidth footprint much smaller out of necessity. (And I've already had a domain kicked off one host for violating their *ahem* terms of aggrement - you get what you pay for.)

Good Luck - and Good Surfing!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Small Business Marketing Insight Tip #9 - Remote Blog Outposts

A short FAQ about the care and feeding of remote blogs.

What are remote blogs and why?

When you use an IR keyboard and large screen TV so you can blog from your bed - remotely... (grin)

Have fun - don't take social media engineering too seriously... Some of these theories just don't work in practice.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Marketing Insight - the return of mini-sites and mini-webs

Just had to tell you about this one. Too neat.

(Warning: advanced terminology ahead - Geek Alert)

Dr. Andy Williams reminded me about it with his recent newsletter about site building.

I've been playing around with the idea of subdomains as minisites and have finally gotten it working. Mini-sites go back to the days of page-rank as King of SEO, and Michael Campbell (Striking it Niche, Nothing but 'Net, etc.). The idea is that you would build mini-sites around your niche and people would find all sorts of fascinating content within that mini-site and they'd bounce all around within it and build up your pagerank, making your SERPs improve.

Then you'd link these mini-sites together and you'd have a mini-web. Since the links were by related content, you could actually take over a major niche just on pagerank.

But the days of pagerank are ebbing, if not gone. Google doesn't think that metric is as important these days.

However, the concept is a fascinating one. It allows you to group your content by niche and then cross-link to related content on another site you also created and maintain. So link love can still be shared, along with subscribers (if you liked this blog post, other readers also found these blog-posts fascinating...).

Enter the idea of sub-domains. Now for the time being, Google still gives subdomains individual pagerank and treats them basically as their own site. Meaning that when you link from one subdomain to another, you are crosslinking sites. So you are giving authority to another of your own sites.

But this has been tricky to do, since other than hand-coding mini-sites, the best way to build a site was with WordPress (or some other CMS scripting platform). Meaning that if you wanted to set up a subdomain and install WP on it, you'd have several installs on your hard-drive with multiplicitous files duplicated in every subdomain.

Enter WordPressMU. (Multi-User.) It has the option of being able to create new blogs and assigning them a subdomain name - used on and many others. So each person runs a single blog, but the underlying program really runs them all as one huge mega-blog.

Here's the deal: Set up WPMU on a host and then create a new "blog" for each keyword niche. Posts in that blog are all germain to that subject and so build authority within that subdomain. Every subdomain is it's own subject - and so you actually build mini-sites again - and a mini-web, after a fashion.

What makes this really take off is that you can have completely separate look and feel for every sub-domain blog. It looks like it's own blog - which it is. And templates make it much, much easier to configure - but far more powerful - than mini-sites.

An example is Midwest Journal Press - this is set up as a main site for all the books I want to promote as a publisher. Every book is to have it's own blog. My latest project is How to Stop Telemarketers' Internet Scams. Note that the link goes to a subdomain on that main blog. I'm in the process of writing this book right now. And it will have all sorts of links off the site, but also to the other related books which I publish. It becomes an authority for the keywords of "stop telemarketers", if not "Internet scams".

The great part about it is that I can build an opt-in mail list just for that book (coming today, I hope) and so get subscribers on this particular niche completely independent of the other books I write/edit/(re)publish. Also, I'm not limited by a single template's foibles, but can actually grab and install various templates until I have the one which is appropriate to that particular niche. (A person looking to solve their "I've-just-been-scammed-by-a-telemarketer" problem will expect a more dramatic look and feel than the "I'd-like-to-lose-more-weight" person - who needs more reassurance.)

In short, WPMU looks to solve a variety of problems with a single install. Sure, there are some tricks that have to be mastered, but it's not a particular problem compared to learning HTML and coding pages by hand.

And to think - you probably heard it here first!

Your comments? Suggestions?

Marketing Insight - WordPress site-building sequence

This post on Marketing Insight is how to build your site. (And those are silo's above - where grain is stored before it is shipped to processors.) Dr. Williams (below) is offering one concept about how to build a site. He's actually converting old hand-coded sites over to a new WordPress platform. And I respect his work.
ezSEO Blog: "The overall idea of this new system is to concentrate on sub-niches, one at a time, and build those sub-sections before moving on to the next one.


Suppose my website was on dieting. This is a huge niche and to try to do the keyword research up front would be a monumental task. A large part of my site would probably be the various diets that people could go on, so I would start off by setting up my Wordpress site with a super category called 'Diets'.

I would then pick one diet at a time, e.g. the Sonoma diet, and carry out the keyword research only on the Sonoma diet. I’d keep this data in a separate database in KRA Pro.

I could then concentrate on the Sonoma diet, creating a main page for that diet as well as articles on the diet that can link back to the main page.

When you are finished with the Sonoma diet, pick another area you want to work on, e.g. South Beach Diet and repeat.

I would take a different approach. And as you know from following this blog I use RankTracker to query WordTracker to get my niches (which is a whole lot cheaper and more powerful).

Now, as I've discussed, my approach is to distill my niches and their keywords. This gives me what keywords add up to the targeted main keywords I want to use to create content. I simply line them up by KEI and then work on them in that way. I don't take a certain one and then create content for all the pages like that. I don't do all the dog-collar keywords and then do dog-leash keywords. I'd work all of the long-tail niche keywords for dog in order of their KEI. Sure they'll cross, but what you are trying to take over is "dog" as a main KW - and that is what your blog is named. (Yes, that is a lousy choice as a "niche", since it isn't really, but it gives a good example. )

Under dogs, you'd have categories (silos) of dog-collars, dog-leashes, dog-dishes, and so on. As Andy says above, I don't really hold to silos either. Mainly because people don't want their content served up that way. And your "back" button is there by default on every page you visit. So bouncing from a too-content-limited page is easier than not.

And WordPress has the option of viewing all your categories on the sidebar. So while they might be interested in dog-collars, they might want to compare with the content you have for cat-collars. Or just Cats. Those are all on your categories - and allow you to nest categories as well.

I recently imported a Blogger blog into WordPress and found that now I had tons of default categories. So that screwed any idea of having category-silos without editing every single page out of hundreds. (And I have more to study up on the use of both categories and tags for posts - both of which cross-link posts, making it easier for viewers, but ridiculous if you are trying to maximize page-rank.)

Another reason I like to post by KEI rather than category is to break up my week. While I still have lots of research to do on the various keywords, it gives you more diversity and options if you are posting for the best traffic/competition first. And when you have all the long-tail keywords established, you can come back to work them all in sequence again (or several times) because you already have the research done.

My writing is what I am inspired on - so I jump from blog to blog, depending on what I'm covering at the time. Lately I've been hobby-horsing how to stop telemarketers' Internet scams, but this also gave me a post on hate-addiction, as well as putting up a new post from an old draft about expanding your marketing mix beyond email newsletters I had hanging around on that imported Blogger site. So I'm working on several keywords at the same time. Each with different publics. Keeps me from getting bored, but it's mainly to get those-type thoughts out and written down before I forgot about them and lost the inspiration. (Plus, it makes my friendfeed life-stream far more interesting, let alone twitter.)

And this method of writing for just a single blog also makes more sense to the search engines, since a person doesn't just talk about dog-collars for twenty articles over a couple of weeks and then fascinate on dog-leashes. This also breaks up your flow if you are doing posts, so your subscribing public isn't bored to tears by dog-collars, then bored by dog-leashes. A simple approach would be to write in one category, then do your next post in the next-best KEI category, and so on.

But I'm pretty sure with both tags and categories, any idea of a silo is pretty shot. Silo's are actually a hold-over from the days when PageRank ruled SEO. And pagerank has been pretty back-watered for some time now.

The general rule is that search engines follow viewers. So Content is King - like nothing else. Build a great site and you'll get more subscribers and they'll stick around for more (as well as buy).

The point of doing your articles/posts by KEI then targets your most likely traffic first. Rotating through these keywords until you have several articles for each long-tail-KW - and a good leg-up on taking over the main phrase, this keeps your readers interested and coming back for more.

Just my thoughts on the matter. What are yours?

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Don't start marketing a product unless you want to help build a community

In working over a new product, it occurred to me that there is a very tight relationship between the company, its product/service, and the community it serves.

Just in that statement, you can see tons of information alone.

Communities have needs and wants. Like corporations, they have a growth or decline. They have participants. Those participants (mostly) share common needs and wants. Doesn't mean they can't or don't also belong to other communities because of their other needs and wants.

So my story is this: I was scammed almost exactly a year ago and haven't made back the money they promised I was supposed to have in 3-4 months. The companies in this scam are Internet Income Solutions, Bright Builders, and Thrive Learning - all Utah-based companies.

While I'm pursuing a refund through Rip-Off Reports, as well as other complaint routes (FTC, FCC, FBI, state attorney generals, BBB), I'm also writing a book about these adventures and using the research I've done into this area over that past year. And I plan to promote that book down social media lines.

But then I plan to move onto other venues. I've got a lot of stuff that I need to get done, and other than this handbook, I don't intend to become a consumer advocate by any means. So my investment in the community of "stop telemarketers' internet scams" will draw to a close. (But my involvement in book writers/editors/publishers community won't.)

And so, while I can go full bore in promoting this book with social bookmarks, podcasts, videos, forum posts - why would I want to? I've got a whole series of books which are demanding my attention, forcing me to get this one up and off my lines, so to speak.

And that's the question I think that everyone should ask themselves about their products that they pitch or services they offer. Why am I promoting this product/service?

Is it for the community?

Is it just to "make a buck"?

Is it for personal fame?

If you look up or follow Dr. Mani or Chris Brogan and you'll see people who are completely working to build communities and to help others openhandedly.

Do Comcast or Dell or Home Depot really work to build the community - or are their social actions and participation simply CRM with a twist?

Now, if you follow Scott Monty, you'll see that you are dealing with a person who is trying to help a somewhat enlightened brick-and-mortar car company transition into our modern Internet age. And he's got his job cut out for him (but Ford didn't need to take bail-out money, did they?) If you check out his blog, you'll see he is tackling some tough issues that are actually contributing to the social media community as a whole.

As a book writer/editor/publisher - I have to ask myself about the products I'm bringing out: do they actually contribute something to improving this culture, our global communities?

But - what do you think?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Keyword research - an example of a very deep and wide niche

Index-mining of a huge niche - an example
(a dull and boring, left-brained exercise)

Had to sort out some other stuff, so I've been vacant from marketing insight posts. But I was able to get some work done on the side, because an upcoming mess was staring back at me - so I put the old RankTracker to work at digesting stuff it wasn't designed to do.

My example is the huge, vast "niche" of self-improvement/self-help/personal growth, etc. It's that big because all humankind's adventures fall under it. Any time you push the condition of a person forward, it's self improvement in some guise or another. (Because actually, only the person himself can improve or worsen their own condition...)

So there were really far too many words to describe this area. And those terms above either gave no useful terms or too many when I ran them through my Adwords/RankTracker/OpenOffice system.

But I'd been doing this for months, getting various insights and doing trial searches. All of which resulted in lists and spreadsheets of words, but nothing definitive.

Finally, I decided to take a rather adventurous leap (like some cliff diver) and assembled all these numbers of lists into RankTracker and made it digest them. Turns out it was far more difficult than I thought. It chokes the WordTracker component at about 240 words, so I had to split these up - meaning my 6000 words took about 120 times to get them all ranked by KEI. (Several days' work in the background.)

And then I tried to get it to find alternate WordTracker suggestions - it doesn't choke so easily, but RankTracker can appear to hang after a thousand or so...

Finally, I got most of these done and wound up with over 12000 keywords (that's right - what a masochist). Extracted these to a spreadsheet, cranked up a database from that (OpenOffice is a wonder) and then built queries based on the top single-world keywords.

Turned out I had about 20 or so real keywords that were applicable (and not porn or popular culture related).

Now, I copied these by hand into a text editor, and then pasted that list into a new RankTracker project. Right now, I'm getting the WordTracker suggestions for these, which I'll run several times until I quit getting any decent KEI new keywords.

All this just to tell you how to take something that doesn't really seem to have a keyword set for that niche you know is there.

The steps:
  1. Compile all the lists you have into RankTracker and find their KEI and suggested alternates.
  2. Copy/Paste this into OpenOffice spreadsheet, then convert that to a database format to do queries and narrow down to relevant terms.
  3. Take that short list and run it back through a new RankTracker project to find the real bottom line.
  4. Convert that into a spreadsheet database and mine it.
Some notes:
If I had these all in spreadsheets to begin with, I'd probably been able to just extract the top KW from each and drop them into RankTracker. But some of these were simple text files from my earliest research into the subject.

Now I'm up to date and should shortly have a concise set of huge KEI niches (in the thousands, literally) that can be approached with finding the QAT (in quotes, in anchor, in text) for these and then lining up content and products to start this approach.

- - - -

The results: about 3700 keywords gave me just over 1100 usable (above 2.0 KEI) terms. Of these, there are nearly 50 which are over 10K KEI (rare). To get that kind of KEI, nearly all are under 300K competing pages (rule of thumb says that I probably have less than 1,000 actually optimized pages for these terms) and those high-competing pages have around 3K visitors every day.

While that mega-digestion took days, it now sets me up with some apparent uber-niches to develop. (Let's hope I can find a product for that niche which serves the community...)

So: there's your example of what is possible. I imagine if you took something as broad as pets, you'd then also be able to digest this down nearly as profitably. (I may go back to those top terms I had before just as a test, but I'm really going to have to have some free time on my hands...)

Good Hunting!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

How to get Started with Google Analytics

This little link is the simple how-to in starting to understand Google Analytics.

Analytics Help

There are some more free resources to track down - but since so many people are selling paid versions of their own courses in the subject, I thought to get this link out to you and save you some dough.

Google has its own course - and when I find it again, I'll link. When I do the course, I'll review...

Monday, March 16, 2009

Marketing Insight: Keywords which don't tell you anything about the Gorilla in the room

Marketing Insight: Not getting the right keywords
won't tell you anything about the gorilla in your room.

That's the problem with a lot of these niches we deal with. When we are simply trying to sell a product, we fail because some of these niches simply don't have buyers in them. And worse, some people are telling you that the way you find buyers is to see if people are advertising in that area. (Really? How come people are advertising where there isn't even any traffic? Google says they do - just look on their Adwords tool and see where there is "competition" even when there aren't enough traffic results to make up a monthly tally...)

Since I got myself all worked up with that (above-linked) post, I then had to see what was actually going on.

So I set up my Keywords Genies: Google Adwords Tool and RankTracker and started to get to work figuring this all out. I started using Google Adwords to see if it would give me bigger and bigger traffic keywords through its synonyms. After I amassed about 12,000 keywords, then I quit to digest them by OpenOffice database.

Now, this is completely the reverse of what my research says to do. I was purposely looking for stuff that couldn't possibly be a niche - waaayy too big. Of course, one of the first things I found out was that Google and WordTracker don't agree on what the traffic for something actually is. (Big surprise - all these tools only deal with their own estimates of traffic. Your mileage may vary, as well - only your own analytics knows for sure.)

But what I did find is that there seem to be a huge number of really good one and two-word keywords with decent KEI. Even though they could (and some did) have literally a trillion pages of competition. No, you couldn't dream of trying to get these on their own. So the niche theory of marketing empire-building still holds.

The review of these niches and their main keywords started showing something else (other than the fact I was really straining RankTracker and WordTracker - you can only check about 240 KW's at a time before WordTracker shuts you down). That something else was the point that people who search on Google are just that - lookers. Doesn't mean they are buyers. And you have to check that keyword on eBay or Amazon to see if people are actually able to sell something like that.

Even more striking was the observation that very little "stuff" was turning up with these keywords. Specific camera's, or toys, or gadgets or books or authors weren't coming up. But the big-ticket Maslow-pyramid-type phrases were. As niches.

But didn't I just say you couldn't sell anything in a niche that didn't have buyers in it?

Sure. The trick is that the motivations to buy are there, not the stuff you can sell.

This means that people are actually searching for their wants and feelings, not just specific stuff they want to buy - although that happens as well, but not in two words or less (most of the time, anyway).

Your niches show up in four-word or longer phrases.

But something even more interesting showed up - you aren't selling stuff, you're offering solutions.

All of these wants and feelings people put in their search engine forms - these are just problems they are having in their lives (more or less). What they are plugging away at searching for are solutions which would improve their lives.

Again, go back to Maslow and Cialdini. When you take these two giants together, you see what people as individuals and as groups/niches are trying to solve in their lives. All these things people buy are somewhere on Maslow's pyramid. And what you see selling on eBay or Amazon are translations of these items into the tribe-dominated Cialdini 6 (or 7) principle triggers.

Being blonde, young, trim, athletic, rich, famous, etc. - all of these have definite products associated with them. But below all these states are very definite wants and needs - and between those and the products that represent them are the person's feelings. Which are what all sales are based on - feelings.

My point in this actually goes back to what I've spend the bulk of this life on - personal improvement and self-growth. Recently, I've been studying marketing to see how selling this type stuff is done. And so, now I know how to sell almost anything - find out what stresses are hitting people's lines and offer solutions. Stresses are tied into feelings - and they come from a person's purpose, something seemingly disrelated to marketing.

The reason I'm telling you all this is to keep you up to speed with what I've been discovering.

Practically, with proper market research, starting with keywords and then finding what products are selling in that niche - you could conceivably sell sun-tan oil to Eskimo's if you wanted.

It's all sitting there in the keywords.

So, go ahead, compile your own list of 12,000 Google Adwords and see what comes up.

May you be just as pleasantly surprised.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Keyword Research Marketing Insight - Don't think the inmates know how to unlock the sanitarium gates...

(photo credit:

Marketing Insight:
Escaping the sanitarium profitably with your keywords
-- don't ask the inmates for directions.

Sometimes I get fed up with people who use advertising as proof that people are buying or not buying stuff in any particular niche.

I've been doing a heckuva lot of research on keywords recently and can tell you this - advertiser are generally clueless about what people are going to buy. And they are caught up in this insane addiction to buying advertising as a way to get leads which will convert to paying customers.

The reason I say this is I've pulled in my Ranktracker files from Google adwords KeywordExternalTool and found that there are some fascinating keywords being used that have a lot of advertising competition, but no one is actually visiting these sites. True.

Now, this doesn't say all advertisers are this way - but when I've now run into the fourth or fifth "authority" saying that you look at these sites which tell you what advertising is being bought as an indicator of whether people are buying products in that area - and I say "BULL".

If you want to see if people are buying that product, check out eBay with one of the free analysis tools out there. This will tell you if there is a real buying market for it. Now, eBay is a bit different from Google, as people who are looking (google) aren't necessarily buyers (google and ebay). But if you use Terapeak, you can see over the last two weeks (for free) if anyone is looking for a product in your category and what types of products (and prices) they are willing to pay in an auction. (One caveat - auctions are for 1] Collectors, and 2] Bargain Hunters. So prices are unreal here - both too high and too low.)

Right now, I don't know of any other area where you can find out actual sales data. You want to be able to look at the records of buyers buying. Terapeak and HammerTap both license eBay's database records to generate their data. Another source would be WorldWideBrands - even though their entry is rather high, even for a lifetime subscription. But they can tell you the rough value of an area and whether there are buyers for that product. WWB does have an online trial where you can check out your keywords in a limited degree.

Oh - but you could check out Clickbank, which does (in a round-about way) give what is selling and you can work out roughly whether you could actually make money at that stuff. Also has return rates (as some of those digital products aren't worth the digital paper they're printed on...)

But when someone tells you to see if people are advertising as an idea of who's buying what - just smile and nod and thank them - then go right on by. Because those people are probably going to be there for a very loooong time. And you should be out in the real world earning money by the carloads.

Places to find out if someone is actually buying products for your niche:

  • Terapeak
  • WorldWideBrands
  • Clickbank.
Good Hunting!

Small Business Marketing Insight Tip: Keyword Article-writing tool - OpenOffice

Small Business Marketing Insight Tip:
Writing articles while keeping your keywords in mind just got easier.

Now, as you know from following this series of blog posts, I'm a big fan of using RankTracker to compile a spreadsheet of keywords - then mining that spreadsheet with a database.

Then you write your articles keeping those keywords in mind. And you can do this all from OpenOffice.

I used to keep a list of keywords to hand, and then started keeping a spreadsheet open on a second monitor while I wrote my articles on my main one. What I found out today is that you can search your database in the same window while you have your article open - saving desktop real estate. Look at this partial screen capture:

(image opens to larger version)

The database is opened up above your editing window, so you can see the keywords you've already culled from your RankTracker research. In this case, I'm working on a series of articles on telemarketing - and you can see the highlighted keyword "telemarketer training" right above the article with that keyword in it's title. Note that it's all in the same window.

Makes it easier to see what you're talking about. Now, if you have multiple databases, they'll show up there as well (right now, I only have the "refund02a" database registered, but more will be coming, rest assured). So you can switch easily from one to the other to find the cross-keywords you need, which helps you out with your Latent Semantic Indexing.

As you update your spreadsheet on a regular basis, that keeps your database current, so when you are writing articles, you can tweak them however your research sends you.

A probable sequence on this would be to

Follow your publishing schedule and then it's downhill for your work, and uphill for your sales and bank account.

Just wanted to keep you up to date on the latest and greatest - make us both more efficient that way, eh?

Good Hunting!

PS. Coming soon: How to break into Google Analytics without breaking a sweat - a newbie's guide.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Marketing Insight: Hype Curve, Bell Curve, and Long Tail - how to profit regardless of the economic downturn

Marketing Insight: Where Hype Rubber Hits the Laggard Road

Long Tail

I've recently been proving all those Madison Avenue psych studies right. By studying Cialdini, Gladwell, and Godin it pretty much says that we are actually being herded along in our tribes quite nicely. Of course my secret weapon in this is to study Maslow and then see that these tribes are far from being destructive, but are actually heading toward a better future quality of life for all members.

Madison Avenue has been helping, in their odd way, to enable people to spend their way to a better material quality of living. To do this, they need to keep earning more money than they have before. And people get sold on getting their kids through college (another tribe grist-mill) and living better lives.

Our use of this, of course, is to learn not to become effect of every marketing frenzy that comes along - and to re-learn our own mental habits so that we can make our own independent decisions. But meanwhile, as we become the lighthouse on the rocky shore for other ships passing through this storm we call life - we have to use these data to help people find our routes to success. Not that they have to follow it exactly - you just want people to be able to find it and utilize it. And if they become independent thinkers as well - hey, we might wind up with a huge tribe of people who care for each other and do the right thing more instinctively. Better for all of us on this small single world we share.

OK, today I wanted to tell you more about this tribe stuff and some fascinating explanations of what we go through.

Gartner's Hype Cycle, Bridging the Gap, and Fads Vs. Evolution

First off, there's Gartner's hype cycle - which of course is full of hype. But it tells us that not everything is a fad. Somethings make their way into society and do quite nicely after they are widely adopted. Beany Babies aren't one. Fire and the Wheel apparently are.

Someone else approached the same concept of technology adoption and talks about Bridging the Gap for early adopters, using the Bell Curve to show where early adopters, mainstreamers, and laggards show up. Unfortunately, this model only says that demand dies out for every new adoption.

A really bright lad made a great point over at Trashmarketing when he superimposed the two graphs. Not all of his arguments follow, but it's a great start.

He opines that hype is much greater during the early adopters phase and that the chatter drops off as the mainstreaming begins.

Gartner is talking about technology and adoption curves. Use of the bell curve and this gap theory is fine for fads - but says that people won't continue using an item.

I think that we are somewhere in the middle of these two curves. (And you'll see that the Long Tail curve also is represented there - if you look closely around "Late Majority and Laggards')

But you'll see what I mean when you look at Detroit's growth and decline. Compare the Edsel and the Mustang and you can see where Ford missed the boat and made it. Social media is going through this same scene, as some platforms are bought up and drop off. Practically, Nasdaq and our current real-estate economy bubble burst (thanks to Bill Clinton, Barney Franks, ACORN and Chris Dodd for our US version) show this same hype curve to some degree. At least for now.

And technology stocks as well as real-estate will always be with us - much as Jesus talked about the poor. So there is some combination of these to start making sense out of things. Sure, the hoop skirt never caught on, but the mini-skirt is still around - just not as hyped as before (but just as enticing to males).

How do we use this? Realize that your marketing efforts have to be way out ahead of everyone else. What you are looking for are early adopter evangelists and "sneezers" (per Gladwell's Tipping Point) in order to help your product get critical mass. And be prepared for that Dip (Godin wrote a book about it - which I haven't read).

But you are wanting to keep true to your main, core idea and purpose - both of yourself and of your business. You are there, actually, to help move society and this culture forward - to help it evolve. Don't worry if your company and product get snapped up and incorporated into some behemoth current juggernaut. Turn it over and start your next one - you've now got your own financing as that startup just went mainstream. Time for your next startup.

The main point is to keep on keeping on. Don't listen to the Joneses - but figure out what they really need next and offer them a better solution than the one they have. Like the fries at MacDonald's which formed the basis for a world-wide trend in fast-food. Or that entrepreneur who found out that selling everything for a little less made a lot more profit - Sam Walton created a very recession-proof business which has improved the lives of millions through his ideas like spoke-and-wheel distribution.

So: the sky is no limit, actually. Just get out there and create your tail off. Learn from the best and do better than them. With what we can now know in this Internet Age, anyone can retire several times over after creating their booms, not bubbles.
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