This is a guest post from Adam Grunwerg, who runs a portfolio of sites in the finance, and education industry.

Investing in your Sites vs. Investing in Yourself

One of the things that I’ve been guilty of in the past is re-investing everything back into my sites (or investing in premium domains such as Investing.co.uk), without regard to investing in myself.

While it’s great to invest in a growing portfolio of web assets, I was completely naïve to think everything would just “come to me” in the future.  Working on your own, isolated in your office, has severe limitations.  I’m not just talking about boredom, but the enterprising setbacks, partners and opportunities your limiting yourself too.

Advantages of Partners, Contacts and Friends in the Industry

I’m not sure where to begin with this.  Partners and Contacts in this industry are everything.  From being close to the grape vine, getting exclusive links or being able to forge ongoing partnerships with key players in the industry; whom you know is everything.

I’ll provide an example of my own.  This time last year, I was plugging along with my sites making a nice income, but I wasn’t putting myself out there at all.  I’d been to no affiliate conventions, I didn’t keep in touch with many affiliates, and I didn’t really know anyone in my city.  I also didn’t speak to my AMs or negotiate business deals.

Fast forward 12 months and I’ve got two clients for my SEO consulting business, potential partners to work alongside and a friend’s offices I can use throughout the year (including his team of editors and writers). I also keep in regular contact with my AMs and negotiate special deals on a monthly or quarterly basis. In the future I’d like to use my skills to set up a full-scale consultancy offering SEO, PPC and Social Media services.  Other advantages include a number of exclusive links and deals I’ve solicited through key partnerships.

Where Does my Value Lie?

The thing I realized about my website business it that it can be 90% outsourced.  I outsource 99% of my content anyway, plus I can use an editor to upload/link/add images to all my posts and content.  I can also hire someone to manage my social campaigns (I’ve already found a guy for my site BinaryOptions.net), whilst PPC campaigns tend to not need much attention.  I then had to ask myself where my true value lies.  It’s pointless spending all day uploading content to my sites if I can outsource all of that for $50/day ($1500/month).    It’s also pointless sitting around doing nothing, so the rational choice is to set up a consultancy and use my skill set.   I’m already planning to take exams to become Adwords Certified, which is a good investment in myself.

Tips for Building Great Connections and Contacts in the SEO Industry

There’s a number of things that I’ve done and then planning to do to make some more contacts in the industry.

  1. Guest Posts and Participating in Forums:  First of all, keeping a business or affiliate blog, doing guest posts, commenting on blogs and participating in forums and Internet communities’ helps a lot.  Eventually you end up chatting with people doing similar things to you.
  2. Engaging with people on Twitter/G+: I’ve actually done a 180 turnaround when it comes to G+.  I think the biggest advantage to Twitter and G+ is that you can follow/communicate with leading authorities in SEO and other niches very easily.  This is great for building new contacts rather then just importing the same old contacts from Facebook.  If you start following 100s of people/sites you enjoy on G+, start creating two-way conversations and share a great piece of your own content every day or week then you’re bound to start making some great connections.
  3. Become a Leading Authority on SEO Blogs or Forums: One thing I’m planning to start doing this month is writing regular blogs at SEOMoz.org and participating in the communities (especially Q and As).   When you consider that the majority of people here are Directors or consultants at SEO agencies and brand marketing companies then you realize how good a connection they can be.
  4. Create Authority Sites in your Industry: I’m not saying it’s easy to become an authority but there’s definitely a “build it an they will come” mentality towards authority sites.  Operators will want to be listed on your site, others in the same industry will want to get in touch with you, partnerships will be made and the others parts of your business will be see the benefits.
  5. Diversify into Different Markets and Niches: Diversifying into different markets massively increases the types of contacts you’ll make along the way.   Having said that, there are lots of benefits for developing a network of sites in a similar niche that complement each other.
  6. Buying Sites/Domains/Contacting Website Owners and Looking for Partners: There’s a bit of randomness in many of the useful contacts I’ve made.  For example, sometimes I’ve made useful contacts purely through enquiring on a contact form, getting to know someone, or buying a domain.

In conclusion, I just want to say that the value of investing in yourself is always greater than that of re-investing in your websites.   By putting yourself out there and making new contacts on a regular basis, your business and websites will also see huge benefits.

Interview with Kevin

February 7th, 2012

Below is an email interview I did with my friend Kevin of DropoutGotRich.com. Kevin is a very experienced internet marketer, and also runs a great Workout Tips site.

#1 – When and how did you get into “internet marketing”?

It was around 2004 when my friend first introduced to his online affiliating business that was making him a few thousand dollars per month.  At that time I knew nothing about running a website, or really what being an affiliate was, but I looked into a little and then forgot about it.

Three years later when I went to University I took a Computer Science class as a part of the Business classes.  In that class I learned how to make a simple html website, and that got me thinking about the websites again.  I visited the forums that my buddy had shown me and started asking a ton of questions.

A few months later I had my first website on the Internet.  It started making money within a few months, and then I just stuck with it.

#2 – Did you dive right in full time? and if not when did you decide to make the switch to full time?

After that first year of University I was making a few hundred dollars per month with the affiliate business.  Definitely not enough to live off of or quit school, but I decided I didn’t want to go the university route.  I took the year off to see what I could do with my business and planned to go to college the following year.

During that year off my business grew and I started to believe I could be doing this full time.  I still went to college the following year, and my business continued to grow.  After my first year I didn’t really want to go back but I tried to finish up.  I was a couple weeks into my 2nd year and decided my business was more important and that I should be going at it with 100% of my time and effort. I gave it a few more weeks so that I wasn’t making  a snap decision, talked to some other people, and then finally decided to drop out of school and work on my business full time.

#3 – Was switching to full time a tough decision? Any advice for when/if to make the switch?

It was extremely tough because I was still in school, but it was just something I knew I had to do and I was wasting valuable time in a college course that wouldn’t get me a good job.  It was on my mind for about a month straight, I talked to a lot of people, and I even wrote out the pro’s/con’s on paper before making the decision.

Advice: It all depends on your personal situation, but my advice would be to make sure you are making good money with your business prior to going full time and you are certain you will be able to make money for the long term.  If you aren’t making good money yet start putting more hours into it when you aren’t working or in school.  If you have people you support wife/husband, kids, etc you need to really be sure (more so then I did at just 23 years old).  Also, don’t force the decision – you will know when it is time and you will be fully confident in your abilities to make a good living with your business.

#4 – What type of sites are your biggest money makers?

My biggest money making site is my main sports portal.  It is becoming an authority type brand, with lots of return visitors every day.

Getting a loyal customer base is key with online business as you have multiple chances with making money off of them.  Try grabbing visitors names and emails with a email sign up form and use email marketing to get them back to your website.

When I first started out I was running dozens of small sites each making on average a couple hundred bucks per month which added up to a good amount.  But things are different now, and these days I would recommend focusing on one or two websites and making them into authority type sites.

#5 – What is a typical day in your life (when working)?

This always changes depending on the time of the year and what routines I’m in.  Right now I wake up around 8:15 to my new alarm clock (my puppy).   Take him downstairs to feed him and let him be outside.  I sit at my laptop (which is on the kitchen table) and check my emails, stats, etc.

I then make breakfast, eat and head up to my office.  I usually work for about 3 hours before heading to the gym.

After the gym I’m usually in the office working for another hour or two before dinner. I’ll make dinner and either throw some sports on the TV and relax or head back into the office and watch sports/work some more.

So everyday I am working about 4-5 hours, and then select days of the week I will work 6, 7, 8 maybe even 10 hours.  I used to have some 14 hour work days, but haven’t had any of those in a while.

#6 – What is the toughest part of working from home/for yourself?

I don’t have problems being on the computer for most of the day when I’m at home, but I do find myself not being productive a lot (facebook, youtube, etc).  I actually just installed a program that blocks websites certain times of the day, so that should help me during week hours.

Two more things: When my girlfriend gets days off during the week I usually don’t get much work done those days.  And my puppy distracts me a lot during the day – I’m not complaining though he’s great for breaks from the computer and without him I would probably suffer awful back pains when I’m older (I used to sit at the computer for 3, 4 hours straight).

#7 – What is your biggest piece of advice to other affiliates/internet marketers?

Work your ass off.

Seriously.  Not a lot of people who work for themselves work very hard.  If you legit do work for just 6 hours per day (work doesn’t include checking blogs, forums, etc) you will be ahead of a lot of people.

Find something that works and then work your ass off with it.

For example, try writing 3 blog posts or pieces of useful content per day, 5 days a week, for the next year.  If you’re doing things right you should have enough traffic to your website by the years end to be making some good money.

Thanks for the interview Mike

Thank you to Adam Grunwerg for this guest post!

With user-experience and engagement becoming increasingly important for SEO in 2012, one of the best things I like to look at when studying the QUALITY of my websites is the bounce rate.

Let me just explain quickly here: the bounce rate is the percentage of single-page visitor to your site (i.e. visitors that left your site from the entrance page).

The biggest problem with finding the “average” bounce rate is that if you ask this question in a forum you’ll just get a hundred people saying “it depends” and “it’s impossible to answer”. I hate these kind of slavish comments. The least you could do is offer average bounce rates for different types of websites or niches, which will help you understand the matter more.

Generally speaking, bounce rates will vary from 20-70% for websites. There’s a lot of blogs and articles explaining average bounce rates for different industries, but to put it short, here’s the average bounce rates for different types of sites:

  • Retail: 20-40% Bounce Rate
  • Content Websites (a lot of traffic from SERPs): 40-60% Bounce Rate
  • Portals (e.g. MSN): 10-30% Bounce Rate
  • Service Sites: 10-30% Bounce Rate
  • Lead Generation: 30-50% Bounce Rate
  • Simple Landing Pages with One Call to Action: 70-90% Bounce Rate

What is a Sustainable, Working Bounce Rate for Affiliates?

So there you go, typical bounce rates will be between 30-50%, which is where I’ve seen most of my websites such as BingoBonuses.net fall.

However, as a Webmaster I like to look much further then just bounce rates when deciding if my site is providing value and interest to users – and I’m sure Google will do the same to. Bounce rates are only half the picture and can be influenced massively by the keywords they rank for in search engines, the user navigation of the site, the source of the traffic and so on. For example, a lot of news sites will have high bounce rates (e.g. 60%) because visitors will see links to interesting news articles, read them, and then leave.

Affiliates will tell you that a bounce rate of 100% is ideal. However I’m not a fan of this model. All it shows is that your site provides zero value to users and its rankings in Google will be unsustainable in the long run. That’s why, strangely enough, I like a comfortable working bounce rate as an affiliate. Of course I want to convert users, but I also want to encourage users to come back to my site and show Google that I am providing some value.

To put some bluntly figures in this article, I wouldn’t want to have sites with a higher bounce rate then 50%. I think anything above 60% really shows your site is poor value to users, and anything below 45% is good in my opinion.

Bounce Rates are Not the Whole Picture!

As I said before, I like to look at other stuff besides just bounce rates, since this information is just half the picture.

The signs of a high quality site in my opinion are return visitors (i.e. 50%+), direct visitors, time spent on site and a high number of page views. The average number of page views for sites across all the industries is 4.6 (with an average time spent on the site of 190 seconds).

The more time spent and page views on your site, the higher quality it will appear it is to its users. You can increase this by providing excellent navigation, well constructed coding and interesting/engaging resources. I think there’s a lot of affiliates out there who probably have an average time spent on site of maybe 20 seconds, and this is the kind of stuff I think will be unsustainable in the long run.

To end this article, I just want to point out some interesting stats from a new affiliate marketing site at AffiliateFYI.com, which I launched 2 weeks ago. In the last 14 days, I’ve had 370 visitors (around 80% of which are from direct visits, links in my forum signatures or RSS feeds). My average bounce rate in this time has been 22% with an average time per visit of 4 minutes and 23 seconds.

I’m not trying to show off with these stats or anything but I think it does show that if you provide quality articles and value to your visitors then your site’s stats won’t lie. It also shows a huge difference compared with my other affiliate sites and it’s something that’s surprised me and allowed me to learn a lot from. If you spend more money and time on high quality content/user-experience and less time on SEO then often you can get the same amount of traffic or even better.

Thanks to Jonathan of MotocrossGear.com for this guest post.

Many of us got our start in internet marketing in the poker industry. The high commissions and seemingly endless opportunities to make money made it an easy choice for me. But after years of hard work making a ton of crappy websites, a few good ones, and a little money, there comes a time when you get sick of the poker/casino business.

The constant spamming, idiotic webmasters who take you for a fool, intense competition that is miles and miles ahead. All of these factors make other industries look like a walk in the park. Just the amount of link buying going on in poker is enough to make your head spin. Then when you factor in that 6/10 of the sites in the serps for the most competitive phrases are all owned by the same group of guys you start to wonder if it’s even worth trying.

You can see why some guys decide to bail out on poker and go for another industry.

But before you decide to embark on a new journey… consider the pro’s and con’s.

Pro’s

  • Less competition. Pick a niche with less money and less competition and you’ll find it easier to make progress.
  • Easier link building. No one wants to link to a poker site. Pick a niche that is mommy blogger friendly and you’ll be guest posting your face off.
  • More fun. Let’s face it… poker is saturated. You aren’t doing something original; it’s all been done before.
  • The government is not shutting it down.
  • More creative potential. Maybe I have tunnel vision, but the gaming niche is the same old shit over and over again.
  • You get paid. On time.

Con’s

  • Less money. There are not very many niches as flush with cash as the poker/casino niche.
  • Less exciting. There is so much more excitement when a site starts doing well in the poker biz. The amount of money it can make seems endless.
  • No amazing conferences to attend. I’ve had some of the best nights hanging out with friends in crazy cities all over the world.
  • You risk getting stiffed on payments
  • You can get penalized by google

As you can see there are some great reasons to focus on non-gaming stuff. Some of us can focus on more than one industry at once, but in my opinion you are wasting your time if you are trying to half ass poker. The same goes for other avenues. Why spread yourself too thin?

Can anyone think of  any more pro’s and con’s  to  diversifying?

The below is a post by Nick Haslem, a longtime gambling affiliate and webmaster of AustralianGambling.com.au and IntenseGambling.com.

When thinking of something to write here for Mike’s blog I thought to myself “what are some of the things he does that make him successful” and instantly I have something to share with you.

It’s getting harder and harder to become successful in the online gambling market. The successful ones are getting bigger, getting better deals and buying out smaller affiliates at rock bottom price. Gone are the days of throwing up a bonus code site.

The US market especially has taken a major hit, and affiliates and continually looking for new ways to make money before succumbing to the calls of a job with a secure income.

Staying One Step Ahead

This brings me back to my original point about staying ahead of the curve. It’s important to choose very wisely who your friends are, where you get your information from and choosing marketing strategies for your business.

It consistently amazes me the amount of people that get their SEO advice from affiliate forums, and continually search and wait for other people to tell them new trends, and what the next big thing is.

Infographics are a prime example of this. I watched a Distilld conference from a couple of months ago in New Orleans. It was a panel of some of the smarts SEOs in the world discussing current trends. Their consensus was that unless an infographic is absolutely amazing, then it probably wouldn’t work. They have been done far too often, and were a big hit about two years ago.

Whether or not you agree with that is beside the point, I’m just using it to illustrate how behind the 8 ball some affiliates are.

Someone will tell them something like “infographics are the nuts right now dude” so they will spend some money making one with a few facts, ask for a few Diggs (which is also dead) and wonder why it doesn’t work. Then onto the next thing.

Creating Your Own Success as a Gambling Affiliate

Websites like www.springwise.com are a great example of new businesses popping up all the time.

But I want to keep this specific to the gambling affiliate market, because the majority of readers will be in this niche.

Get SEO Advice from Professionals

I’m now a member at SEObook and I know Mike is too along with a select handful of others. If you want real advice or a real website review this is the place to go.

The $300/month isn’t for everyone, and there are other solutions. My point is that these guys do real research and are serious well versed in the industry. If you ask a question, you get a real answer. In just one month you can learn an absolute ton, and spend a few months improving on your sites.
The good thing about this is that you can cancel your subscription at any time and return when you want. That way you only have to return every few months when you have the information you’re looking for.

Get Access to the Bets Business Minds and Products

Yeah I know, business products can be a big waste of time. That being said you can learn a lot from the best business minds of the world. I recommend www.thevault.bz. I gave this advice on my blog one time and I don’t think anyone listened.

I can’t stress how important this place is, and I don’t mind sharing either because I know most won’t find the effort to get past the signup difficulty.

This is a private business torrent tracker and a seriously great forum. It’s kind of like WickedFire and WarriorForum but without the dickheads and noobs respectively.

These are just two tips, but honestly they are some of my best. It’s pretty simple, start surrounding yourself with smart people. The guys that are successful are the ones you want to be around.

There’s a famous quote that says something like you are the sum of your 10 closest friends… if they are all broke what’s that telling you?

If you take nothing else away from this post, please just start getting advice from professionals and start networking with smart people.

The online gambling industry is way too tough to continue following what other people are doing.

The following is a guest post from Kevin, who runs this MLB Picks blog amongst other affiliate portals.  He blogs at DropoutGotRich.com if you’re interested in following him.

If you’re anything like me, you like to get any advantage you can when working for yourself.

I have found that setting yourself up with a solid working environment will help out your production and overall feeling when working by quite a bit.  More production, of course, leads to higher revenue when all is said and done.

Getting yourself into a good working environment is especially important for those like me, who are working out of their own home.  For those in an office, it is still important to make sure your work environment will allow you to be as productive as possible too.

Everyone is different and you will have to judge for yourself what different things will increase productivity and which will decrease productivity, but I will go over a few things that I’ve noticed have helped me over the years of working from home.

Dual Monitors

I was pretty amazed at how much my production levels went up when I purchased a dual monitor setup back 2-3 years ago.  For those that don’t know, the dual monitor setup allows you to set up two monitors side by side and drag windows or anything you want onto either monitor.

The biggest benefit for me is when I need to research something for writing.  It allows you to read something on screen A while you type on screen B.  This means you won’t have to constantly switch between an article and Word (or whatever program you use).

Clean Desk

I think studies have actually been done on this, but having a neat and clutter free desk can actually help you increase productivity.

I think when your desk is messy and all over the place your brain will be doing the same thing.  Having a tidy desk will help keep your mind clear and focused.

Good Lighting and Natural Light

Make sure you have adequate lighting in your work space.  It isn’t good for your eyes if you are looking at your computer for hours on end with poor lighting, and who knows what it will do to your vision if you are working at a computer for 20, 30 or 40 years.

Something I have just been doing lately (since moving into my apartment) is letting in the natural light.  I have a big window beside my office, which gets some nice sunlight for most of the day.  Having the natural light is far better than my two lamps in the room.  Try to have your desk set up near a window that can let in some natural light – you’ll love it.

Good Computer Chair

I hadn’t done this until just recently.  For the first 3 years of working on my computer I had been using a pretty crappy computer chair.  Within the last year it was actually pretty busted up, and the back support didn’t even support my back.  It also squeaked and the arm rests were chewed up and would irritate my forearms.

I don’t know why it took me so long, but I finally got a nice new $300 chair from Staples (mesh back chair) just over a month ago.  It was the best purchase I’ve made when it comes to office equipment.  I am way more comfortable while working, and don’t get any back pains that I was starting to get without the back support from the old chair.

If you can afford it, look at the ergonomic chairs that run around $800, but if you are a little tight for money (or just don’t want to spend that much on a chair) you can find something good enough for about $250-$400.

If you are sitting reading this in a crappy, uncomfortable chair, do yourself a HUGE favor and get yourself a new computer chair.

Distractions

I recommend keeping distractions to a minimum in your workspace.  I have a TV in my room, but this actually increases my productivity.  I’m good with keeping it off during the day with I work, and when I want to watch sports or shows at night it allows me to watch and work at the same time.  If having the TV in your office would mean you would work less, get rid of it.

I know that if I had my Xbox sitting right beside me I would find it a lot harder to sit at the computer all day, and would be inclined to play just a “few” rounds of Call of Duty.

Oh yeah, distractions include friends, family, kids, etc.  Try to work in a room where you can close the door and have no one bother you when you need to get some work done.

Summary

That is about all I could think of  for creating a good work environment.  It is important that you set yourself up for success.  Figure out what works for you, and stick to it.  Also be sure to take small breaks during your work day.  Breaks from sitting at the desk are good for both your body and your mind!

The following is an excellent guest post by “doovde” from the PAL forums, who runs a great bingo reviews website. His ideas on creating sustainable income and not worrying so much about short term profits reflect the exact moves I am making in my business at this moment.

Business isn’t just all about how much money you make right now, yes it’s awesome to be coining it in and living the high life while things are good but how sustainable is your income? It’s not a topic that’s widely discussed but it matters, in fact it matters more than the amount of money you make this month and even the amount of money you make this year.

When I first started out as an affiliate my main focus was to grow my monthly income to a point at which it could support the lifestyle I wanted to lead. There was no better feeling than achieving my monetary goals but after a few months of earning well and spending cash I began to wonder what would happen if all this was taken away. Basically my conclusion was that it would be a total disaster, one worse than not making any money in the first place! You can’t miss something you never had and the thought of having to start over from the bottom of the pile sent chills down my spine having spent so much time getting to where I am right now.

Upon the above realization my goals changed significantly. I went from the pursuit of more money to the pursuit of sustainable income. Now obviously I still want my income to grow but what I really want is the safety of a consistently good monthly income that can allow me to lead the life I want to lead. Don’t get me wrong quick income is good income but when you really think about it sustainable income is the holy grail.

How To Create A Sustainable Income

Hopefully I’ve convinced you a little or maybe even just made you consider the idea of sustainability when it comes to the growth of your business. It matters and in 20 years time if the income streams you’ve built now are still paying out for you then you’ve got something very special.

Like anything there is no one way to create a sustainable income, it’s more of a mind set than anything else and the more you start to think about it the more it creeps into every decision you make. Often it’s pretty obvious that decisions people make are not sustainable. If you’re strategy is to just spam you way to the top of the search engines then you don’t have a sustainable income stream. Even if your strategy is to buy your way to the top of the search engines you’re taking risks with the longevity of your income.

You need to strike a balance of risk that you are comfortable with when you build your online business. Don’t worry about what other people are doing, do what’s right for you and what works for you but try to put yourself in a position where you can take countless hits and still sustain income.

Think about the different affiliate programs you work with. Are these programs likely to be around in 2, 10, 15 or even 20 years time? If the honest answer to that question is no then reconsider promoting them. You might be thinking 20 years, who’s going to still be playing in 20 years time on a gambling site I’ve referred them to?

Well you’ve only got to look at some of the major online bookmakers to answer that question. The likes of Bookmaker.com, Ladbrokes, Betfair and Bet365 will have had customers for serious lengths of time. You should be trying to send players to a program where there is potential for this player to earn you cash for as long as humanly possible. Think of the difference in ROI that you’re getting here, it’s unbelievable.

If you are promoting the type of programs above and you’re taking CPA I think you might just be a little mental. I can understand why people take CPA deals, especially at questionable programs but you’ve got to take the program you’re promoting and long term ROI into consideration.

Sustainable income is the absolute nuts and if you want to work 4 hours a week and spend the rest playing golf then it’s the only way to go!

Write Whatever You Want

October 25th, 2010

The following is a guest post from my friend Greg Walker, an experienced poker affiliate. Feel free to check out his Real Money Games site to see an example of a well-structured affiliate site.

How interesting is the content you write? Is it engaging and entertaining? Or is it reserved and constrained by imaginary Internet laws that insist that you sit on the fence and try to sound more important than you need to?

If you have a niggling feeling that you might be in that second category (don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone), here’s a tip for you: try writing whatever the f*** you like.

The Internet isn’t one big royal dinner party, nor are you constantly trying to impress your girlfriend’s father every time you sit before a keyboard. This is your website and your work. Don’t write how you think you should write, but how you want to write.

If you’re writing a poker news post, why not mention how much of a melon you think Durrrr is for making that play? If you’re writing a poker room review, don’t be afraid to spend five minutes writing about the insanely awesome chip movement audio. I’d rather read about that than the standard “this room has good player traffic and great support…” line yet again.

This is one of your greatest opportunities to voice your opinion on virtually any topic you like. You don’t need me to remind you how satisfying it is to let people know what you really think in your quest to set the whole world straight. Make the most of it.

Every article that has as much inspiration as a rainy Sunday afternoon is destined to fade in to the greyness of Internet content for eternity, failing to leave an impression on each and every person that reads it along the way. Don’t be that kind of writer.

Nobody wants to read articles that have as much enthusiasm as their most recent gas bill.

You know that feeling you get in that 30 seconds prior to forcing yourself to write a review? Yeah, you don’t get that if you’ve decided to write how you want to write. If you’re writing as if you’re talking to a friend it becomes far more enjoyable and less of a chore. Forcing yourself to be uncreative when you write is such an unnecessary punishment that affiliates seem to subject themselves to.

If your everyday talking range is more colourful than a toddler’s drawing of what they think a rainbow should look like, then maybe you should tone it down. But in general, just write as if you were talking to a good friend. In theory that should make your content interesting, as you wouldn’t have many friends if you were constant semi-formal bore.

Bonus tip: have an opinion.

I spent 2 hours watching clips of Bill O’Reilly on Youtube the other day because he’s such a total d*ck. Now, the important thing here isn’t that he’s a d*ck, it’s that I spent 2 hours watching him.

He is so unapologetically opinionated that I wanted to hear more of what he had to say. In fact, if Youtube had asked me if I wanted to pay $5 to watch the most annoying clip of Bill O-Reilly ever right then, I wouldn’t have been able to fire up my Paypal account quickly enough.

Note: If you’re from the UK (like me), Bill O’Reilly is like Kilroy but louder. Not necessarily more annoying though.

Here are a list of words (mostly adverbs) that you should avoid using when you’re writing your next article:

  • Maybe
  • A little
  • Fairly
  • Probably
  • Quite
  • Somewhat
  • Might
  • Possibly

There are a lot more, but this is a good foundation to work from.

There’s a huge difference between saying “PokerStars is quite possibly the most popular online poker room” and “PokerStars is the most popular online poker room”; one sentence is wishy-washy and drab, whereas the other is gripping. Guess which one is which.

Being opinionated may well mean that you’re not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s better than sitting on the fence and definitely appealing to nobody.

This article was provided by Kevin of DownloadablePoker.org.

Are you capturing your visitor’s e-mails?  E-mail capture and newsletters may be one of the most overlooked marketing methods in the gambling affiliate industry.  Although I have seen lots of gaming affiliates begin capturing e-mails, the majority still don’t.  With the search engines acting strange lately you almost never know when one of your main sites might drop (or even disappear) in the SERPS, and having a list to market to is important.

I will admit that it is some added work, but I am very happy I have started using this marketing method and I will no doubt be continuing e-mail marketing.  Below I will go over some tips and information on e-mail marketing that I have picked up in my short time (about a year) implementing it.

The first thing to look at is how will you capture the visitor’s e-mails.  Personally I use Aweber (affiliate link) and, like most people, am extremely happy with them.  After signing up for an account you will be taken through the steps to get your campaign set up for your site, and they even have pre-made templates for their “web forms” where the visitors will enter their e-mail and whatever else you want to collect (I usually just do first name and e-mail).

There are many different routes you can take for capturing e-mails.  The two I am most familiar with are “inline” forms found built into your content or template, and “pop-up” style captures.  I know a lot of webmasters won’t put a pop-up form on their site, as many see it as spammy, but I have a lot of success with conversions rates on my pop-ups.  With any site that I am capturing e-mails I almost always have a pop-up plus a form within the content or template somewhere.  If the user doesn’t sign up right away via the pop-up there is a still a chance that after reading your content (even more so if it is quality and interesting content) they will submit their e-mail through your inline form.

Tips: Although the standard templates are fine at Aweber, I usually put a custom header image in and sometimes even a custom submit button, which have both increased conversion rates.

There are a couple landing pages that you will want to work on after you have your campaign set up – confirmation page, success or thank you page, and already subscribed page.  When I first started e-mail marketing I was just using the generic Aweber pages and realized in order to build trust with your members it will be better to send them pages on your site.

I suggest creating a custom confirmation page telling visitors to check their e-mails and click on the activation link to confirm their e-mail.  I also suggest that after they have clicked that link you have a custom “thank you” landing page that lets them know they have successfully signed up (Tip: I usually include links to some of my websites pages.  For example – “Thank you for signing up for XXXX.  If you are interested in sharpening up your poker skills I recommend you read our articles listed in our Poker Strategy section, or if you are looking for an online poker room to play at check out our Poker Review section.”).  If you are giving away a free eBook or something similar to sign ups you will want to make sure you have an “already subscribed page” with a link to that eBook (or whatever) because some people who have already signed up will want to get a hold of that item again.  If you want a live example of these techniques I don’t mind if you sign up to my Sports Betting Tips newsletter list and go through the steps so you can see how I have done it.

Ok now you have a list starting to build up, so what’s next?  You want to start to build trust with your list or members.  Right away most affiliates will probably start sending dozens of poker bonus offers, clickbank eBooks, etc, but that’s not the best way to do things.  You want to gain a bit of trust from your members, and you want them to start to like you.  A good idea may be to set up an auto responder where every couple of days after they sign up you send them some really good content, maybe a few great poker strategy articles for example – the important part is not to include any affiliate links.  Just give them great and interesting content and they will start to like you.

After you have gained a bit of trust you can then hit them with an offer, and you will get a way better conversion rate then you would have if you just hit them with that offer in your first e-mail.  I have heard as a rule of thumb that you should be sending out about 4-5 value newsletters in between every offer related e-mail – this builds a relationship and more trust, etc.

Tip: Be personal.  I always use my first name in my e-mails and talk like I was sending it to a friend.  I close with things like “good luck this weekend” to my football bettors, and I try to connect with them a little bit.  I was surprised I started getting e-mails from people back where they say things like “Hey Kevin great job on your picks this weekend”, etc, etc.  Relationships + Trust = Money.

So what are you waiting for… get your ass in gear and start building a list!  I hope this article helped you and I hope to see a couple more affiliates use this technique for increasing their income!


What Domains to Purchase

September 28th, 2010

The article below is a guest post from a well-known affiliate manager who chose to remain anonymous…

Domains… so much you can do with domains, and which you can learn so much of by just being and affiliate or talking with others.

I would believe you have learned some recommendations on domains depending on your business and industry, but I’ll cover mine just in case… never hurts, and if you think it does, then by all means, stop reading me :P

Make sure you have a clear idea of your business and industry – the traffic for that industry, your budget, resources, and your skills. For instance, here’s a quick example – sex (dot) com is or was for sale recently – and even though its bidding will probably be huge, it might not be too profitable depending on the business. Let’s say an adult membership company… now, considering the traffic – they want people who want to see adult content videos, so think about it…. Who searches for sex anymore? If anything, they’ll search for porn and not sex – sex is more for sex education, sex toys, etc… not their real target market, and obviously conversions will be sort of crappy.

Now that I have your attention, let’s move over to gambling.

Same rules apply here. Unless you are skilled at SEO and/or at least have enough budget to pay for your resources (outsourcing SEO, content writers, back-links, etc…), then buying any domain regardless of the name might not be best purchase for newbies. Your best move here is to go for a type-in domain, either type-in at the browser search box or at Google (search engines).

Onlineblackjack.com is a great type-in domain for both the browser box and search engines. Players looking to play some online blackjack will definitely be typing it. Clearly, most of these high-value domains have been purchased already, or are just too expensive to buy from others.

So now what? Well, look for alternatives, such as play online blackjack, play blackjack online, play blackjack on the net, etc… Even though you might not be getting as much traffic as the shorter domains, you’ll be able to still target type-in traffic (those searched on Google, etc…), and since they are long-tail keywords, you’ll be targeting a niche market, meaning: less competition, and most likely, better conversion rates too (depending on your keywords).

This is definitely the best move for start-ups, and you’ll still make quite a bit of commission too, not to mention, you’ll be able to flip the domain later down the road, making enough to buy more similarities you can dominate.

Last point – don’t give up if .com is gone, try .net, .org, .co.uk, etc… go for different markets. These will still rank well for those keywords, not as high usually, but still quite strong. Plus, like mentioned, you can go over to a specific market, such as UK/EU with .co.uk – dominating that country in your specific niche. Think about it… there’s not a lot of people targeting certain countries out there, and a lot of potential numbers still waiting (some countries).