Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Resolutions: To Remain Slow and Steady...Dream-Build-Succeed

When I was in first grade and received my first report card, my parents saved it.  A while back I came across my card and was intrigued to read of the teachers comment on my reading skills:

Reads slowly but with expression.

That assessment came about 41 years ago, and in reflecting over my progress of the last year, I'd say it still has merit.

Many moons have risen and set since I began this journey of finding an honest way to make money on the internet.  There have been periods of inactivity...bursts of energy and productivity...times of brainstorming and imagining...analyzing and growing.

The foundation has been set of what will become my business and finally, realization of what I've been wishing I had studied in college and turned into my career.

At this moment I have no regrets.  I'm actually glad that I have not taken the plunge to purchase my SBI! website.  So often I have read of people who jump before thinking, full of giddy enthusiasm and rush through the process, only to not  produce the website of depth and quality that they had so wished to create.

As I move forward, from 2009 into 2010, I do so with great appreciation for who I am and how I do things.

I am moving slowly.  I have within me many wonderful things to express. 

In this coming year of 2010, I look forward to reaping the rewards of my patience.  By waiting to purchase my SBI! website, I'm going to be able to take advantage of their newest, most powerful platform:


I've Dreamed.  I'm ready to Build.  I will Succeed.

2010 is going to be a very good year.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

SBI Action Guide Day 2

When preparing to read the SBI Action Guide for the first time, it is suggested that you do so from "30,000 feet"....meaning that you read through once for familiarity, not learning or understanding.

After completing Day 2 last night, I totally understand. There is so much information to absorb, and such a variety of tools for research and analysis of data to learn to use that it will most likely take multiple "fly-by's" to begin to feel oriented.

When reading the Action Guide it is stressed that the term "DAY" is not actually a 24 hour day, but rather a term to designate the block of work that must be completed before advancing to the next level of the process of creating your website business.

"Website Business" is really what this is about. Not just a website full of articles and affiliate marketing ads, but a web business that will be producing a valuable resource for your specific future clients.

As I am reading I'm still keeping in mind my general perceived site concept, though I'm totally open to that being shaped differently after I purchase SBI and actually begin using the tools and "process" in "real time".

On to begin Day 3...

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The SBI! Tortoise...Fits me to a "T"

In a quick update, I'm progressing....slowly but surely, just as the SBI! "mascot" suggests doing. I decided to switch to the printed version of the SBI! Action Guide to reinforce what I've been learning in the Video Action Guide, Day 2.

I'd definitely recommend trying the video lesson first then reading the same lesson....a great way to introduce then reinforce the lesson.

The other day I had a brainstorm for developing something that will be unique to my site, a little something that will make my "twist" on my niche just that much more "mine". Until I buy SBI! and have access to the full version of the research tools, I'm still uncertain how the "numbers" will support my "niche". Even if I have to go one step up, or "broader" for my site concept, I'll still use my specialty experience to make my site different from other sites, or even other SBI! sites that otherwise are similar to my "passion".

It's kind of exciting to think that some of the writing I began last night and tonight are the actual start of what will make up content for my site!

Being retired is great, except for the difficulty I'm finding in getting that level of energy back up to speed (as it was when I first began learning online). Once I can get more than 2 hours dedicated to this study and work, and, get motivated to get busy before 11pm at night, who knows what I'll actually accomplish!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Niche Selecting: Reassurance & Application

Had a bit of niche-choosing reassurance last night after re-watching some of the SBI! Video Guides Day 2 lessons. The importance of analyzing the keywords search demand and supply was stressed, along with using the resulting data to brainstorm for broadening or narrowing your chosen niche.

I did some Googling for sites that are similar to my niche, and even ferreted out some SBI! sites. The question that has been running through my mind is "What can I do to make my site different? What can I offer that will be of value for the content I will be creating, that isn't already out there?".

It's easy to start feeling unsure, or even insecure about having something to build a site around that will actually offer enough to have others want to read the content....or at least for me it is!

Anyway, in the SBI! lessons it talks about "bending and stretching" your potential niche until you find something to be unique to your talents and knowledge. So, I started thinking about what my real experience with my niche is.

OK, now with that idea, is there something I believe can be added that would make it even more unique? Yes!

So, with that thought in mind I decided to look through my notebook where, about 6 months ago, I had been outlining some of the resource books that I would use for my content building. In there I had actually come up with my first draft site concept niche...and it was totally on line with what I had come up with last night. Except, now I had "drilled down" and made it more unique.

You might be wondering how this helps you? If you have a passion about something, go back in your memory to the beginning and look for the components that make up your experience. From within those components, look for possible "topic keywords" and research those. Even Google for websites and see what comes up.

Trust in yourself and look within....don't try to force anything, but work with what you know...isn't that a saying? Write what you know?

Lets' all try it, but instead, build a niche with what you know!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Niche-Choosing + Google AdWords Keyword Tool

Stayed awake this time while studying Day 2 of the SBI! Video Action Guide. To give myself a change of pace I decided to watch a couple of videos I did not watch last night. The first on Niche choosing, the second on Google AdWords Keyword Tool.

Earlier in my blog I mentioned the Google tool, after learning about it when studying the Holly Mann book Honest Riches. Hate to say this, but after watching the video on using this tool, I do believe I totally mis-applied the results in some of my keyword research for previous articles. Ooops!

Tonight's video actually has you open the tool in a different window and do research with your own site concept keyword ideas, working along with the instructions from the video. Not only do you do the steps, but you are being given explanations of exactly what the data means and how to work with the tables to get different comparisons of the data.

The work with the Niche Choosing is shown with tools you have access to once your purchase SBI!, but to see, again, how much research will be available, is educational.


***If you read yesterdays post, you know that I fell asleep, literally, at my computer last night. Well, as I was starting out tonight to watch the videos, I again felt uncomfortable and sleepy. I changed out of my "day clothes" into something comfy. Also, I was unable to get comfortable sitting in my desk chair, so I took the laptop and stretched out on the floor! No sleepiness or lack of concentration....so my point here is to remember that sometimes you have to change your approach to a project to get the best result!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Finding The Time - A book available on Amazon.com

Though far from perfect, I am doing quite a lot better on staying focused and productive. In fact, I'm re-reading a great book titled: Finding The Time, by Sharon Hanby-Robie. It's from a series called "The Spirit of Simple Living" originally offered by Guideposts, but now available new and used for half the price on Amazon.com.

The book is written in short chapters, easy to read and graced with gentle teachings of the Bible to support what is being taught in each chapter. As a way to make time to read, I try to do so each morning while having my breakfast. A nice way to get positive thinking started early in the day!

As regards my progress with the SBI! Video Action Guide...I've watched and read (with the online text) the introduction and Day 1....I watched Day 2 last night, but was so exhausted that I literally fell asleep at my computer. At the end of the video there is cheering and that is what awakened me...I'd insert a blushing smile here if I had one!

Needless to say, the combination of being tired, not starting the video until 10pm and the section being detailed meant that I was not in the right place at the right time. I will try again tonight to see if I can stay awake and absorb the information.

I will say this, without a doubt from what I've seen so far, the tools received from the SBI! web building program are out of this world incredible. It's definitely going to be worth the price.

Again, for anyone reading this, if you want to have a look at the program, this version of the SBI! Video Action Guide is totally free to review.

Well, time waits for no one...so I'm off to watch Day 2, for a 2nd time!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Distractions, Interruptions and What To Do With Them

In yesterdays post I wrote about distractions:

The first lesson I will apply is "Don't get distracted"... Faithfully focus on the steps of the Action Guide and stay the course.

When I was thinking about this lesson, it was in conjunction with not studying or referring to any other Internet Marketing or Website building "how-to" program. The idea being to focus solely on the teaching of the SBI! Video and Text Action Guide...to not get back into daily participation of forums...even the SBI! forum. To harness my time and energy on the pursuit of ONE goal.

Doing this is harder than I thought. Now that I'm "back in the game", I find myself wanting to see what's been going on...to update my old HubPages...to finally organize my notebook of Affiliate and Forum user names and passwords...all productive and useful, but not now....these are distractions.

One of my major productive flaws is creating daily To-Do lists that are too long...too ambitious. Yes, there are things that must be done daily, but in balance.

Instead of a list of 15 tasks, I'll limit the list to 6. IF I finish all those, then I can add another.

As I sit at my desk I see the stack of files to my right. A distraction. My initial response would be to tackle all the files today and get through them, but I'll commit to 1 file...completely working through it. Tomorrow, the next file, and so on until that distraction is off my desk, completed ad behind me.

A distraction does not have to be a negative thing..sometimes even things we enjoy can distract us. Instead of 2 hours of TV I'll be aware and just turn the thing off in the evening. I'll be the first to say that I am weak when it comes to limiting myself there. The theory of "A body at rest stays at rest, a body in motion stays in motion" sure holds true for me. Once I sit on the sofa with the remote in hand I hear the voice in my head saying "Ok, just for fun let me see what else is on". Complete distraction.

The final thing I'll be sure to keep doing is continue implementing the "15-Minute" rule:

Anyone can do something for 15 minutes.

With the aid of a simple timer set for 15 minutes starting on projects or tasks is easier. If this sounds like something you would like to try for yourself, follow this link to the HubPages article I wrote a while back: 15 Minutes to Boost Productivity.

*** Keep in mind there will be a fine line of distinction between distraction, interruption and sharing your time with others for fellowship.

This thought came to mind as I heard the call of the billiard balls from our game room. For a fun "something to do together" my husband and I recently purchased a billiard table. We try to play a few games a day, and I like to shoot a couple of practice games by myself at night. A lesson I learned from my first year of Internet Marketing is to not get overly "obsessed"! Once that happened and all I could think of was working online (whether or not it was productive) I found that it was easy to get a bit resentful towards obligations and family...not a mistake I plane to make again!

***To achieve my goal I'll set aside a specific time of day to devote to reading the SBI! Video Action Guide. Most likely between 7pm and 10pm.

Well, being true to my theory, I'm about to make my list of 6, tackle the 1st file from the stack, then challenge myself to complete items 1-5 before 7pm!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Where I've Been and What I've Learned...so far

Five months is a long time to be away...especially from something that had captured my interest and ignited the feeling that I had finally found exactly what I had been searching for. I had really believed that internet marketing and building a website to share my knowledge and teach others about my passion was what I was meant to do.

Recently, when I first realized how long it had been since I last posted, it brought forth a feeling of sadness and disappointment in myself...that once again I had started something "full throttle" then left it unfilled. I know exactly when my steam began to fade: After thinking I had made my first big commission from an affiliate program, only to find out that the customer asked to switch the credit to another person. After finding out the "back story", I understood and agreed that there was validity to the customers request. She had originally clicked on my link, so had my affiliate cookie. However, from a forum, she had received answers and guidance to her particular questions and needs. The other person (who I know and consider a great mentor and friend) really had been of service with her knowledge and experience during the "information gathering process" that proceeds any major purchase.

In the end, it really wasn't that big of a deal, but no matter, like the air seeping out of a balloon, my energy and interest towards anything related to internet marketing dwindled. My belief in what I was doing wained. Eventually I stopped blogging, participating in forums or even studying for building my website.

During the last five months my husband and I stepped-up our home search by traveling the Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi Gulf Coasts. For the last two years we were "temporarily" living in an apartment...the result of having sold our business and been blessed with the chance to begin an early "retirement". After viewing around 60 houses we finally found a home...truly somewhere that feels right. Anyone who has ever moved knows that no matter how much you organize and prepare, it's hard work. Before, during and after. Thankfully we are just about 2 months into the after, and though we still have some unpacking and minor tweaks, it's definitely feeling like home.

Now you know the "Where I've Been" part of this post...on to the "What I've Learned"....

I honestly think the break has been very productive. Granted, it feels like my internet marketing brain is filled with cobwebs, but I'm feeling the stir of interest to begin again. And, it really is like a new beginning, but better. This time I'm not setting out to make a business solely by being an affiliate. It didn't work for me. Representing products, blogging and writing articles gave me knowledge and experience, but all in fragments. To create something that is going to last, grow, benefit others and actually be successful I must create a website.

Not just a website, but a great one. An excellent resource full of content, advice, examples, and yes...specifically chosen affiliate products, but only those I fully believe will benefit my visitors. No more representing a product just because it offers a high commission. And that's a positive thing, for it will really narrow my focus to what is relative to my passion.

If you have read any of my earlier posts you know what I think about SBI! (Site Build It!), the website building+so much more company. Like an athlete warms up before the big race, last night I began watching the 1st video of the free version of the Video Action Guide (VAG) to prime myself on what to expect when I purchase my SBI! site. (It's the same guide actual SBI! users use, just without access to all the research and marketing tools you get once you own SBI!).

The first lesson I will apply is "Don't get distracted"... Faithfully focus on the steps of the Action Guide and stay the course.

That's a great lesson, for distractions come in many forms. Participating in forums, reading RSS feeds, reading and writing HubPage articles, chasing down affiliate programs...all these are things I spent my time on...before. Don't get me wrong, these aren't bad things. They are just not things I want to have clutter my mind or steal my time...been there, done that...have nothing to show for it. Lesson learned.

When I first created this blog I did so with the intention of being honest in my choices and experiences with internet marketing. That hasn't changed. I'm not sure how often I'll post while studying the Video Action Guide, but, I'll definitely update here along the way.

As I sit here in after thought, I realize that I'm feeling more clear headed and confident. I enjoy doing this...writing and sharing what I know. Truly, truly, everything is going to be just fine.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Make Your Content Pre-Sell from SBI - Reviewed

In the SBI Master's Course, the free e-book Make Your Content Pre-Sell (MYCPS) is actually the book I've just completed reading. So, to correct my previous post, I will now begin reading the SBI Action Guide.

The MYCPS course will be useful to anyone planning on building a website as well as anyone who has an existing website.

Some of the topics that are covered in this course include:

~Points on writing to develop a friendly tone in your website content.
~Discussions on the elements that truly make a difference in your sites look and feel.
~Tools for developing the voice and tone of your site.
~Web page layout pointers, including discussion on fonts and color.
~Writing tips...from style to the mechanics of writing to pre-sell.
~Learning how to outline your site before trying to build your website.
~How to edit, polish and tighten your website content....before publishing your page!
~The importance of your sites homepage
~How E-zines work as a repeated pre-selling tool.
~How to integrate your affiliate offers without spoiling your pre-sell.
~The importance of copy writing your work...and how to.
~An outline on content page structure that makes the actual writing process easier.
~Finally, a wonderful summary of all the key points covered in the course.
(Complete with hotlinks back to the section in the book for each key point.)


In all honesty, I did find it easier reading with the Affiliate Master's Course, over this Make Your Content Pre-Sell course. I think the reason for this is that the MYCPS is more detailed, so there was more I had to absorb and concentrate on. That, in and of itself, has made me so glad that I have completed the course.

Keep in mind, these are all free e-books, so if you feel the content may be helpful, just click on the hot linked titles and you will be taken to the information page, along with the free download. On this last book, I found it fine to just read it from my computer and take notes where needed.

Good luck, and if you have any questions about any of this, please, do leave a comment and I'll be happy to answer with what I know!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

The SBI Action Guide: My Next Step

Wow. Time flies, or at least in my world of blogging it does. Since my earlier post on Applying What Affiliate Masters Course Taught Me I've been continuing to read the reference material I'll be using with my website creation. Having just recently completed this step, I'm now venturing on with a quick study of the SBI Action Guide. Basically this is the guide that you receive when you buy your website package from SBI. Of course, the tools that come with the site aren't activated, but it's a good opportunity to see what to expect. Since I like to read, I chose the printed guide, but they do offer the SBI Action Guide Video for those who prefer to "see" the information.

As it stands now, I'm planning to purchase my website package no later than June 9th, 2009. Why then? As you can read about in one of my first blog posts: Auctions For Income, June 9th will mark the 1 year date of when I first began my fore into Internet Marketing. Having a goal is one thing, but having a bonafide reason for a particular date is very inspiring for me.

Here's to living life in the slow lane. It might be taking a while, but I'm still moving towards my goal of an honest way to make money online!

Friday, March 27, 2009

IDEA: Imprinting Your Website

Are you concerned that when you build/design your carefully chosen niche website, it will end up being just "another" site? I've been wondering how I will avoid being a "me too" site, after looking at some of my competition online.

Tonight while doing some "niche-related" reading, I began to make a connection with some of the points in the book with my own, past experience. My plan is to tie my experiences in with the web content, but in a unique "high-lighted" way. The purpose will be to build trust with my readers that I DO know what I am talking about, for I've "been" in their un-educated shoes, as well. Realizing that I don't want to undermine my effort to be seen as an authority on my subject, I'll create a proper presentation and balance of my own "errors".

What a great way to use the lessons we have learned from our past mistakes....to help others, hopefully, avoid making themselves! A definite way to make your own personal imprint on your website.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Applying what Affiliate Masters Course Taught

As a quick note, I wanted to share how I am now applying something I learned from the Affiliate Masters Course (the E-book course I wrote about in this earlier post.)

Having never built a website, I had often wondered how you went about getting your ideas organized for creating the site. It just seems like such a monumental task. Well, in the Affiliate Masters Course the concept of Tiers is presented.

The SBI website is designed with 3 Tiers. Basically:

~ Tier 1 is the site concept or theme
~ Tier 2 is the collection of topics (that support the site concept)
~ Tier 3 is the collection of individual pages of content to support the topics of Tier 2

Well, when I was reflecting on my intended site concept, I was bumfuzzled on how to go about rounding up my knowledge so I could create my rough draft outline (I say rough draft, for I'll do it "for real" when I purchase SBI and use their tools that come with the package.).

What I'm so excited about, and wanted to share as a possible encouragement or "example" for you to follow, is that I am reading a book that comprises all the topics I want my site to be built around. As I read, I am writing down the chapter themes and sub-topics, then re-organizing them using the Tier system. My content will, of course, be all original, but it is really helping "guide" my thinking to use this "niche" book as a reference.

So, if you are trying to figure out how you should organize your ideas for creating your website, try consulting some of your reference books for an example/inspiration.

Update on Make Your Content PRE-Sell by SBI

Like the Duracell Bunny, I'm "still going"!

Up to page 100, though I'll add that I've taken a break to begin reading a book directly related to my niche for my future website. Last night I began reading the Content book again.

Did you know that there is a suggested maximum number of sentences per paragraph, when creating your web pages? I didn't know that.

How about how to create pages of content that actually guide your reader's eyes along the page?

These tidbits of information are part of what I've learned from the E-Book. One thing I'm so glad of is that I am learning all this before I invest the time to write my website content. It's not like we learned in English class...not by a long shot. Writing for the internet is way different.

Do you sometimes find it difficult to get started writing when you are creating for the internet? Could be for an article or web page. One little thing I learned is to picture your customer right in front of you. So, don't write for "the masses", but write for just one person. If you are still stuck...just start talking out loud, like you are having a conversation, but type as you talk. You can always go back and edit later.

Later in the chapters the book teaches about the importance of editing, cleaning, paring, reworking and finally, when you are totally sure, publishing your web page. There are actually 14 steps given to guide you with this process.

As well as we all think our writing and grammar blend, it's not always easy to remember the "rules"...or at least, not for me. There are plenty of examples offered to remind you of what you once knew!

Along the way there are lessons that seem so simple, but really, are great nuggets of construction advice. My favorite is when you are developing a web page, stay focused on ONE profitable, specific keyword. Always stay on topic.

Some of the concepts are repeated throughout the course, but not in an obnoxious way. The way the book presents the information, it feels like layers are built, revisited, reinforced and then learned.

Overall, I'm learning a lot and looking forward to putting it into practical use with my future website.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Make Your Content Pre-Sell from SBI

My "continuing education" has led me to begin the next free e-book offered by SBI in their "Masters Course" series: Make Your Content Pre-Sell. Having started this book a few days ago, I'm 67 pages into it.

The overall purpose of this book is to teach you how to communicate online. SBI is very concentrated on the importance of "pre-selling" your reader/visitor, and to learn how to do this takes some knowledge mixed with skill.

When I think of communication, the main thing I think of is communicating through speaking or writing. Since we all work online, expand your thought to include how you send information visually. How our websites, or even blogs, are set up is so important.

As I make my way through the book I'll continue to pop back on here and share some of what I've learned, in a "highlighted" sort of way. This way, if you are wondering how this book may be of assistance to you, your answer may be made more clear here. (Or, if I'm not careful, made clear as mud!)

* Points on writing to develop a friendly tone
* For Profitable Pre-Selling, there are 2 "BIG" Right things to do
~Points regarding the Look & Feel of your site
~The importance of over-delivering for what web surfers seek
* A great and useful approach for learning exactly who you are writing your web content for
* Excellent tips on things to consider when laying out your website and web page, from color
to fonts
* Discussion on the actual mechanics of writing to pre-sell
* The importance of outlining your work before putting it online

As you read through the e-book, there are mentions of the SBI (Site Build It) web building program. Mostly tie-in's to show how a lot of the tools that you get with your SBI package help you check your layout and web page elements to be sure they are as highly refined for SEO and those seeking the information you are presenting. However, if you already have your own website or web host that you plan to use, no problem. The wealth of information and education offered will apply to you as well.

Though I already know that I will be purchasing my web package from SBI, I'm still enjoying taking advantage of all the great free educational materials I can.

As I continue reading and learning, I'll post more notes on what the course offers.

Until then, here's to you finding what YOU are meant to be doing on the web!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

SBI's Affiliate Masters Course

Well, I've just finished reading The Affiliate Masters Course, so I thought it a good time to write a quick re-cap on what I learned.

After actually "doing" the steps up through Day 6 of the course, I found that I only needed to "read" the rest of the e-book, since the manual SEO and marketing techniques discussed will be part of what I will receive when I purchase the SBI! package for building my site. (And, with the push of a button, it will be done automatically for me. Yeah!)

What I gained in Days 1 - 6 include:

Day 1: Grasping the importance of pre-selling to visitors with the information packed content I will provide on my website.

Day 2: Though I "knew" what my niche was, using the Brainstorming lessons and Search It tools allowed me to crystallize my niche a bit more narrow and focused. (Once I sign up with SBI and begin following their Action Guide, it will be interesting to see how it changes from this point. )

Day 3: Developed a huge list of high profitability topics. Learned how to use the tools in Search It to help "prune" out some of the topics.

Day 4: Discovered some incredible techniques to find Affiliate Partners to use when I monitize my site. Some I knew of, but others I had no idea. Again, the Search It tool (free) consolidates all the search tools/links in one window. In fact, I came up with an affiliate I had not found before, so that is good.

Day 5: Focused on refining the final site concept, brainstorming and researching to create the perfect, keyword focused URL for the website. There are 8 factors given to consider when developing your URL. Again, I had come up with what I thought would be a great keyword rich URL, but when i did these exercises, yes, my ideas changed. Though people are divided on short URL's vs. long, and all run together vs. using-dashes, the actual words chosen, for my thought anyway, is the most important.

Day 6: This is something that I will be using a lot before I actually purchase SBI. Learning the way the website pages will be structured. How the site pages link together, how they are integrated for both visitors and Search Engines to be able to navigate, is really important. Plus, this information really helped me to see just "how" to organize my mind into creating the topics, through Tiers 1-2-3.

Again, the reason I'm doing all this pre-reading and "trial exercises" is to prep myself. Once I purchase SBI and my 1 year subscription begins, I don't want to waste time getting familiar with the concepts, but be prepared to tackle the Action Guide and understand it. Sort of like reading the chapter the night before school...it always made the lecture easier to follow and remember.

The next book I'll read is the free e-book called Make Your Content Pre-Sell. Since "Content is King", and that is what makes up an excellent website, I want to know how to do it to my best ability!

I'm thinking I'll take a couple of days off before starting into my next ebook, for I've just purchased a book on my niche that I'm excited about looking through. Though I have strong knowledge and experience in my niche for my website, I believe that continued reading and research can provide a wealth of guidance and inspiration as I plan my Tier 2 and Tier 3 topics.

Sure, there is a lot to do, but since I finally feel I am on a clearly defined course, it's not overwhelming me...in fact, it's the most solid and secure I've felt about my Internet Marketing since I've started!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Keyword Research

In my last post I wrote about my focus on article writing while I was still studying the e-book Affiliate Masters Course. Well, in the assignment for the 3rd day of study, the focus is on brainstorming possible themes for a website and using the array of keyword research tools for finding demand of those words along with potential competitors for those types of websites.

Though the research tools are not unknown to me, the SearchIt feature brings all the tools you need into one convenient window...and it's FREE! If you build your website through them (SBI!) then there is a more advance version that you have access to, but, for free, this tool is great.

Since I am totally certain of my website theme, I've made a new decision. I have published 9 articles to my Hub Page account in 5 months. (You can find links to my articles in the HubPages box on the right hand side of this blog. Scroll down a bit...) My goal is to write and publish 1 more article, for an even 10, then focus on the work in the Affiliate Masters Course. After I finish this course I will have created my basic "blueprint" for my intended website. Since that is my next big step, instead of spending time writing general purpose articles, I'm going to pour my energy into the course and any article writing will be to create content for my site.

When you have a strong feeling about something, I believe it is never a bad thing to allow yourself to change course. Who thought doing keyword research could be so invigorating and inspiring?

Saturday, January 31, 2009

On the Countdown To Creating My Website

Lately I've been spending my time writing articles. I have set a goal to write and publish 1 article a week, and so far, 2 weeks running, I've achieved my goal. From a course I am reading (yes, more education!), the underlying lesson is to do well you must be able to create excellent content when working online. People come to the internet seeking something. Not to be sold, but to learn about something. If I want to be a success online, to be able to provide my visitors good, informative content, rich with keywords, I have to develop this skill.

The goal of writing also allows me to continue to put into practice some of the skills I learned from Honest Riches, such as article directory submission, linking to the articles from my signatures in forums and re-writing then submitting the articles to EzineArticles.

Another benefit to this goal is I am creating the good habit of having to brainstorm for article ideas, researching for keywords, creating story outlines and then actually producing the finished article and publishing it to my HubPages account.

If you have been reading some of my prior posts, you may remember that I did a lot of "learning by trial and error". During this phase I felt it was important to register a domain name for a review I was planning to write. After doing my research (you can find the results in the sidebar), GoDaddy.com was the least expensive/best reviewed site for registering my domain. Now, keep in mind that I was not planning to build a website with this domain, but to "re-direct" the address of one of my reviews so the URL would look more professional. Well, since I have begun writing regularly, I have been able to use both of my domains with articles.

Since beginning to experiment with all the facets I could from Holly's book, I feel like I've covered a lot of ground and benefited with a lot of experience. My thoughts keep returning to the ideas I have for my niche website, so that is where I am headed.

Before I begin my website, I've 3 courses to finish. A while ago I began a writing course, mostly geared towards writing a book, but some of the exercises are universal for any type of writing. With daily study this course will be completed this week. Next, I will complete my Affiliate Masters Course from SBI! From what I have read, there are a lot of research tools that are offered and by the end I will have a blueprint for my website! After that I want to do one more free e-book course, also from SBI! called Make Your Content Pre-Sell. Since websites are mostly about good content, I don't want to waste my time writing the site pages before I take advantage of what this course will teach me. Since the SBI e-books are totally free, I figure I have nothing to loose by studying them.

The timeline I imagine for beginning my website will be by May. It actually feels great to have a clear cut goal and timeline laid out. No more running around wondering what I will do. And since I have decided that I will be using SBI! (Site Build It!) to build my website, I'm not even stressing about whether or not I'll know how how to build it and bring in traffic. It's all part of what they offer.

Well, I just wanted to bring the blog up to date and note that other than a lot of reading and article writing, I'm expecting some quiet time ahead, little to no frustration, and no more feeling like I'm running behind. Since I have my own plan, I no longer feel like I'm behind the "crowd". No longer am I following, but I'm finally walking on my own path.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Affiliate Network Programs That I Trust

Embracing the belief that I can "learn by doing", I wanted to see what types of companies and products the various affiiate networks offered, so I set out on a "signing-up" spree. The affiliate networks I selected were from the list Holly presented in Honest Riches. My main quest was to get signed up, then later I would concentrate on which companies I would apply to represent.

The affiliate networks I choose were:

Plimus
(If you are going to buy Honest Riches, wait to sign up with Pilmus. You will be automatically accepted as Holly's affiiate.)

Half.com

Commission Junction


LinkShare

Amazon Associates Program

Clickbank

HD Publishing

5 Pillar Affiliate Club

Affiliate Future

shareasale.com

Share Results

TIP: Have a small spiral or notebook available before signing up for the affiliate networks. With each network you sign-up for you will be required to have a user name and password. Though you might keep the same user name, it's never a bad idea to have some slight variances with each password. I've never had a problem with my online identity, but just to be safe I change it up. The spiral I have keeps all sign-in info. organized and within easy reach.

TIP: Some of the different networks offer tutorials. Make the time and commitment to utilize whatever training tools are available...especially since it will be free! My favorite training, so far, is from the 5 Pillar Affiliate Club . Between the detailed marketing resources to some of the e-books that they offer, it would rate "right up there" for me, even if it had nothing to do with an affiliate program.

Affiliate Programs: Who can you trust?

As I wrote earlier, the first affiliate network I signed-up with was Pilmus, so I could represent Holly's book Honest Riches. Since I had found Honest Riches to be a legitimate course on how to make money online, it was easy for me to trust signing up with Pilmus to be an affiliate, as this is the company Holly has chosen to handle her affiliate program.

Having trust in the affiliate companies you sign-up with is extremely important since they are the ones you are trusting to send you your earned commissions! For those new to affiliate marketing you have two basic ways to proceed: sign up with a network or sign up with individual programs. If you sign up with a network, you can represent several of that networks offered affiliate programs. When you earn commissions, your payment is processed to that network, then all the commissions due you are combined into one monthly payment to you. In comparison, if the company you want to represent as an affiliate offers the program on their own, as opposed to thru a network, you can sign up and receive your commissions directly from the individual company.

How do you know which networks or companies to trust? Do your research, look for reviews and ask people you know and trust who they use and suggest. The way I've "met" people who's opinion I trust is through a few online work-from-home forums.

The final thing I've learned is if you use a product that you think is great and feel would be a terrific niche to represent, find out if the company offers an affiliate program. If they do not, then send and e-mail and ask how you might be able to represent their program. I did this once and the company offered a discount code that the customer could use, then it would track for the commission that would be credited and paid to me. When I first approached the company and they said "yes", that they would create a program for me, I sort of felt like the dog that chased the car, and the car stopped! It was exciting and a bit scary at the same time!

In closing, the main reason I feel that affiliate marketing is a smart way to begin when learning to build a legitimate online business is that it does not require you to house and ship any product. It does help to buy the product or have familiarity with the "thing" you are representing, but from there, all you do is promote and send interested buyers to the company! It's the smart way to start.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Make quick work of your accounting

Accounting...bill paying....record keeping. If someone asked you right now to show them your record keeping and bill paying routine, how would you feel? Embarrassed about how sloppy it is or comfortable because it's all under control?

For anyone who would be embarrassed I say, get over it and get with it! A long time ago, when my husband and I first started our business, I had to go from using a simple personal checkbook to learning to use the type of accounting system that would satisfy our CPA. The good news is that with QuickBooks Pro 2009 the double entry system that accountants require is achieved simply by entering your bills and payments data. Once we sold our business and retired I began using the personal accounting program, Quicken Deluxe 2009. Again, it's just a matter of entering your data as you spend money or pay bills.

What does this have to do with those trying to earn honest income online with internet marketing, affiliate marketing or building a website? It is very possible that once you begin to have success with your business, you will have income streams from a variety of sources. If you start off organized then your time can be spent on building your business, not trying to make heads or tails out of a messy accounting system.

Set yourself up to be a success, from the start.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Affiliate Streams of Income and related points

Making my official "entre" into Internet Marketing, my first affiliate network to sign up with was an easy choice. With the sea of a zillion programs and products to choose from, I think it's best to choose one you know about. For me this meant signing up with Plimus to be an affiliate for Holly's Book Honest Riches.

Since signing up to be an Honest Riches affiliate, there are a few points I've learned along the way to take into consideration:

1. The affilate commissions will vary, from very low to very high commissions.
2. The payout can be a one time commission affiliate program or a lifetime commission affiliate program.
3. When starting out, it helps to choose programs or products to represent that you can use and market from a 1st hand experience. (Notice I didn't say "sell"?)
4. Start with a program or network that you know is legitimate. You can discern this by what you read in blogs, forums and online. Try searching for the name+review in your Google search and see what types of feedback you find.

The temptation to sign-up with any affiliate program you read about and lots of affiliate networks can be a big mistake...think about it, how many things can you do at once? Or, do well anyway.

Once you decide on an affiliate program to represent, you will have access to marketing links that you can use in text or banners to market your product. When you start posting your links, keep in mind that there will be sneaks online who will try to "steal" your commissions from you. The best way to prevent that happening is to "cloak" your links. Once you have a website there are a lot of ways and products you can use to cloak your links, but before that, there are a few free products that I have found. Not only can you gain the benefit of protecting your links, but with many programs you receive statistics for the number of clicks as well as where the clicks came from. After trying Addme.com, URLFreeze and Clickfire.com, the free link cloakiing program I use is ViralURL.com. One word if warning: before you sign up for this progam, consider getting a free e-mail account. Right after I signed up I did receive some spam mail as part of the marketing program they offer for their members who have upgraded to the paid service.

Speaking of free e-mail programs, I'm a total gmail.com believer. I really expect to eventually convert all my e-mail addreses to gmail so I'll never have to change again! (I know, never say never.)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

AdSense for Google...It makes sense, even if it only makes cents!

Do you know what AdSense is? No matter if you said yes or no, picture a sandy beach. Now, imagine picking up just a mere pinch of sand and looking at the individual grains. If you were to see one single, solatary individual grain of sand, by itself, could you ever imagine, in your wildest use of your mind, that if multiplied by some unknown quantity, you could have enough sand grain volume to create that beach you were initially picturing?

Now, picture a penny! Do you see where I am going? One penny does not seem like much, but multiplied pennies do add up. And, once you do a little preparation, they add up without you lifting a finger. That, in a nut shell, is what AdSense "does", to me.

The reason I am writing about AdSense is because it is one of the reasons behind why I decided to host my blog on Blogger.com as opposed to a free blog on WordPress. With a Blogger.com blog we are allowed to add the AdSense "widgets" (element or feature) to our blogs, which in turn is allowing us to earn revenue from the ads generated and clicked on by the readers to our work. On the other hand, WordPress' free blog does not allow you to have AdSense or Yahoo ads for income generating.

To sign up for AdSense you can go to Google.com and select the option for their program and just follow the steps from there. Honestly, adding the adds in Blogger is such a snap. One important thing is to pay attention to the tips you will find when placing AdSense ads on your blog. Tips such as making the ad background color blend with your template so it appears to be a part of your site...not a blatant stand out "GOOGLE AD". When I was first surfing I did not realize that the Google ads were not part of the web page content, so who knows how many clicks I provided for websites to make money from!

As of today, with the various places I have written and published articles, here as well as on my HubPages, the total dollar amount I have earned from AdSense is......$4.34.....OK, so I may not have enough grains to fill a sandbox, let alone a beach, but as far as I'm concerned, that's $4.34 worth of sand that I was "given" by Google, just for generating content that brought in traffic, that then, clicked on one of their ads.

I'll take that!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Joining WFHF (Work From Home Forums)

Back when I had a "real" job, I attended several of the dreaded Chamber of Commerce "After Hours" events. I say dreaded because out of all the dozens of people attending and socializing, very few had anything more than gossip to talk about, when the whole idea was to network and exchange useful business ideas. Well, recently I joined several of what I consider the online equivalent of the "After Hours" mixers: Online Forums.

If you search, you can find a forum on just about any topic you have an interest in. Now, these aren't "chat rooms" where conversations are flying by with dozens of people "chatting" at the same time. The Forums are static "discussion" boards where people post questions or topics and other people "post" their answers or replies. From my observation and experience the discussions can become quite active and sometimes even heated, but, all in all, they are mostly beneficial.

For anyone new to forums, the easiest way to find what you are looking for is to do a general search such as: Work form home forum or Forum for work from home moms. Once you get the search results, visit the sites and have a look around. The best forums are active ones. You can check the activity by looking at the threads and posts and seeing the date of the post and date of the last reply, how many views the questions have had along with how many replies. After you have found a few you think look promising, go ahead and sign up. Then, post in the "I'm New" thread, and spend some time reading. You really can learn a lot from these boards....and, you really can learn how to spot the ones out only to promote and scam! My advice is use the same cool head and character assessment online that you do IRL.

One of the most useful elements of posting in forums that I find is the chance to add a link back to my blog or anything else I may have published online through the "signature" feature. The signature will be found in your User Control Panel and it's here that you can add a URL of your choice. Sometimes you can add several. In fact, for others who are just starting out, the use of a signature can be one of your first ways to begin "advertising" your site or blog and drive traffic to it, and do it for FREE! As a little test, I created a link in my signature to my GPT (getpaidto.com) site and in a couple of days actually had 2 click through's for more information.

Hey, 2 clicks may not be a lot, but it's proof that this free strategy works!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Domain Names: Choosing and Using

It's amazing how time flies. This is marked well for me when I look at the last entry I made back in December and it's now the 2nd week of January, 2009. After time off to just "be" and enjoy the holiday, I'm ready to continue sharing my experiences and discoveries about learning to make honest income from the internet.

After creating this blog and getting a few entries I began doing some thinking about another lesson I had learned from Honest Riches, and that was on getting a domain name or two. My first "big" project I wanted to do was to write a review of Honest Riches, for I felt and still feel, very positive about the quality and benefits offered by what Holly teaches. With this as my motivation, I set out to decide from whom I would buy my domain name. Not wanting to make a hasty decision, I did my usual research. After that, not wanting all that work to go to waste on just me, I created an entry on my blog....you can find the results of my research on the right hand side titled Web Hosting. In the end my choice was to buy the domain name from www.GoDaddy.com . My decision was based on the low price and the good reputation of GoDaddy.

Of course, before buying the domain, I had to do a lot of creative thinking on what my domain name would be....GoDaddy.com has some good pointers that I used in my brainstorming session, and that combined with trying out some of the keyword research Holly teaches, I was able to come up with two domain names that I liked.

Be prepared, however, that when you purchase the name, there will be more expense than you might expect. To have the name registered privately, there is an extra fee. The purpose in this is so your name, address and phone number are not publicly displayed with regards to the "ownership" of the domain. Well worth the small fee!

Oh, the 1st domain that I am going to use is: HonestRichesHonestReview.com and will link to my book review on Honest Riches.

During my life there have been so many times that I've just "sat" on the fence...full of ideas and lists, but never putting into action what I need to in order to achieve something. This time, I'm not just "thinking", I'm "doing". Whether you are using Honest Riches or another program, maybe not even related to internet marketing, dare to believe that you really can do what you dream. At some point you have to start. Once you've started, it gets easier and easier to add up your achievements, like, buying a domain name.