Buying Domains: The Way Forward

As an Internet Marketer, it is important to me to make sure that I keep increasing the right kind of traffic to my commercial websites so that I continue to make sales from which I make my living online. Times change fast online and what were easy ways to make money a couple of years ago are now not viable. But one thing that has always remained a constant is investing in domains. This is why it will continue to be the way forward for anyone who is serious about earning money online.

Free Blogs and their Problems

There are more free blog platforms than ever these days, but that doesn’t make them the right way to build a long term business. They are fine when you are just starting out on a low budget, but their stability is questionable. You can put ads on blogger blogs, but they are harder to rank in the search engines and this is where you need to get your traffic from. You can use WordPress free blogs, but you can’t place ads (unless you abuse the system and do it anyway and hope that you don’t get found by the WordPress social police like the blog I highlighted in my last post WordPress Do Not Allow Ads on Their Free Blogs.

Other free blog platforms may be around today but drop out of existence tomorrow, as in the case of today.com which took a lot of people’s content then disappeared. A free blog platform may allow you to place links in your posts to begin with, but then go ahead and make them all nofollow as happened with wetpaint.com and others. The bottom line is that if you are going to put a lot of work into writing a load of original, well thought out and researched content you might as well put it onto a domain that you own and you call the shots on.

Self Hosted Domains

There are many benefits to hosting websites on your own domains. Aside from the cost of maintaining hosting, which can be had for as little a $5 a month, building your own website(s) is the most solid long term plan you can have. You get to choose what you write about and as long as it is not going to break any laws, you can publish it and no one is going to come along and call you out and get your blog flagged and even deleted as has happened to me on more than one occasion. Not that those blogs were bad, they just focused on weight loss which for some blog platforms is a disliked niche and seen as spammy. I’m sure the 60 million obese American citizens would beg to differ when there is a resource built to help them reduce their weight and get their lives back.

But on my own domains, I can write about weight loss and help people to help themselves and no one is going to tell me I can’t.

Blog or Static?

Now for the big question, do you create blogs or static sites on your domains? There are pros and cons to doing either, but here is my own reasoning and why the vast majority of my websites are actually NOT blogs, but static html sites.

Benefits of Static Sites:

  • Have no database to maintain and therefore do not present such a temptation to hackers to get in and cause mayhem.
  • Use far less server resources and are therefore faster to load and won’t eat up your hosting resources
  • All content is created on your PC and uploaded to the server, so there is always a backup copy of all your files if your server crashes and you have to recreate your site(s)

Benefits of Blogs:

  • Are easy to post articles to and publish
  • Have built-in blog service pinging for immediate recognition across the web
  • Can use widgets for social interaction
  • Posts can easily be commented on by visitors
  • Make it easy to join social groups

For my own peace of mind, going with static sites means less chance I’ll lose my sites because of hackers. The few blogs I still maintain regularly get attacked and I have had one blog have its database wiped by some nice person. That alone was enough for me to backwards engineer that blog to a static site and start doing the same with many smaller blogs. After all, why were many of them even blogs in the first place?

Many of the blogs I created a few years ago, were never meant to be social animals, but to exist as platforms to sell affiliate products and make money. Blogs are not really all that good for that, because of their setup and the difficulty with navigation. Plus for me, there is really no need to have any social interaction on a site that promotes a group of affiliate products from say, Amazon or CJ. All they need to do is present a decent review of the product and get the visitor to click through to buy it if they want it.

Blogs are for writing your thoughts, putting your points of view out there for others to comment on and discuss and for generally being social. Static sites are better for selling stuff. That’s my viewpoint and it may not be the viewpoint of others. Some may disagree and that’s fine, we all have our own preferences and ways of working.

It leads me to the way that search engines and Google in particular are talking about rating the worth of websites. They give the impression that they are going all out to use social recognition metrics as a way of gauging the value of a website.

How can this be if such a large proportion of websites are not blogs or have no database that can interact with the social buttons and widgets that they intend to use to gather these metrics? Does this mean that all static websites will be viewed as of less value than blogs simply because they do not have the mechanics to socially interact?

That is something I have already posted about here. I still maintain that Google cannot use social metrics to gauge the value or worth of a website if so many websites don’t have the gubbins to display social interactive buttons or widgets. So make your own mind up on how that will pan out.

Terry Didcott

Squidoo Do the Dirty on Affiliate Marketers

I just happened to check on one of my better performing Squidoo lenses today because I’d noticed a drop om affiliate sales coming from it. In fact a drop in affiliate sales coming from all of my lenses. Why should this be I wondered?

I know there has been some devaluation in Google’s search index of such web 2.0 properties like Hub Pages and Ezine Articles, but for the most part Squidoo has been left alone. Sure a lot of my lenses have dropped a little in the SERPs, probably a by-product of the recent and on-going changes that Google are making to their algorithm. But even with some of the low competition buying keywords that my Squidoo lenses are targeting, they were still ranking high enough to attract visitors looking to buy the product the lens was promoting, and converting into sales.

But as I said, sales have dropped noticeably and I needed to know why. Now I do.

First some background. For a several months, I’d known about a neat trick you could do with lenses to improve the conversion rate of affiliate sales by getting at least one ad banner above the fold. You could place the code in the lens bio with a couple of lines of text and that banner would more often than not be the one that got most clicks and most conversions into sales.

If you put ad banners inside text modules, the highest one is still below the fold because of the way Squidoo sets out their page design to place their own or adsense ads highest. Fair enough, its their site and their business which we are contributing to by building the lenses, for which lensmasters get a small reward from their revenue sharing scheme. It is only small change, but the value of lenses was increased many fold by being able to use a squidutils banner in the bio box to attract clicks and sales.

But no more. Squidoo have done the dirty on affiliate marketers using this necessary trick. They have somehow altered the bio box so that the code from squidutils (or any other affiliate banner code) does not display any more.

You know what?

I’m just about sick to the back teeth with these greedy buggers who run web 2.0 sites like that and pissball about with the earning potential of the handful of marketers who know what the hell they are doing.

Like me.

Well I’m done with them if that’s the way they are going to undermine the hard work I put into building and ranking their site for them. I’ll be looking at unpublishing those lenses I set up to sell affiliate stuff and once the content is de-indexed from Google, I’ll be putting it up on my own sites and taking ALL the earnings for myself. Geez, don’t these guys want our business?

Terry Didcott

Who Needs a List?

Hi everyone, I’m back after another month’s absence from my own blog and my last post Writing for Who Exactly?. This long absence is pretty awful but also tells its own story. I’m busy with all the stuff I do online and that means doing the rounds to all my blogs takes longer. So posts are naturally fewer and farther between.

Well, now you know, so let’s not waste any more time in trying to explain what doesn’t really need explaining! So what’s this post all about? Who needs a list? What kind of a list is he talking about?

I’m talking about what Internet Marketer’s call “The List” which is a list of harvested names and email addresses taken from opt-in forms that offer a free giveaway of some kind. Every good Internet Marketer is busy building his or her own list. The List is what we will eventually sell stuff to, as such marketers who have been around a long time do on a regular basis. It makes them a lot of money because they use their List as milking cows, to be bled dry on a regular basis by being sold yet another crappy eBook that is going to show them how to get rich quick on the Internet.

Well, its a system that is taught to all good Internet Marketers with the catchphrase “The money is in the list”.

What’s crap about it is that its true. When you’ve built up a big enough list of names and email addresses, you can pitch all kinds of new products to them and this being a numbers game, the more numbers you have to pitch to, the more sales you’re going to make.

I don’t like this idea.

I subscribed to it myself when I didn’t know any better and started building my own list. But I don’t like it when some smarmy git emails me with this or that latest must have product and practically rams it down my throat, all because I made the mistake of opting in to their free this or that. Stuff that just teaches you to build your own list and hawk your own crap to them.

I really don’t like this idea.

I took down my opt-in form from my blogs a while ago, as I never actually sold anything to my List. So that list is no more. Dissolved, disassembled and departed. There are many more honest ways to make money online that work just as well and don’t entail trying to rip anyone off or sell anyone crap they don’t need. Stuff that I talk about in my money oriented blogs and websites, so I don’t need to talk about them here.

Who needs a List?

Not me, mate!

Terry Didcott