Sunday, December 4, 2011

Articles submitted to Ezinemark approved, indexed quickly

Ezinemark is one of the lesser known but growing article directories I have been using lately. It's a nicely designed and efficiently run directory with a PR of 4.

I have submitted a few articles there, and they all get approved pretty quickly. That's good to know. Also, like Articles Base and Sooper Articles your articles can be found in Google search results almost immediately after they've been published there. So that's another sign that the search engines crawl it often and regard it highly.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Merchant affiliate commissions vary between networks

I posted earlier about why joining several different affiliate networks is recommended. One commenter mentioned that if you do that you'll sometimes see the same merchant using different networks, and that the size of the commissions they pay for leads or sales varies between each. Obviously, you should go for the one with the highest payout.

I've done that recently with one program. It's just a pay per lead one. The commission is around three bucks per lead at one network, but over double that amount at another. I'm glad I've done this, and wish I had switched over earlier. This is a popular program and if it keeps on going for a long while I'll be making hundreds of dollars more per year from it.

That said, I can't be sure when this higher commission commenced with that particular network. I think it might have only started recently. In any case, it is a compelling reason to not only join different networks, but also to keep browsing through what they offer occasionally. Do that and you're sure to find programs that will bring you more money for the traffic that you're already getting. 

As to why merchants vary their commissions between networks, I'm pretty much in the dark. Maybe it reflects the relative quality of the signups that the affiliates from each program deliver. Or perhaps the setting of commission size is partly out of the merchant's hands, and is recommended by the network? Or it could merely be due to a lack of organization on the merchant's part ...

I really don't know the answer. But for anyone who promotes affiliate programs it's certainly a factor worthy of close consideration.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Why you should follow good people on Twitter

Many people who start using Twitter just want to get heaps of followers as quickly as possible. Maybe that's because they want to feel like celebrities, or intend to spam people. These are bad motivations for obvious reasons.

However I think most people who do use the social networking site sincerely still feel a pressing need to try and get lots of followers, and soon. It's only natural. And of course you want as many people as possible to read what you have to say in your tweets.

One of the main ways that Twitter newbies try to get those numbers up quickly is by following tweeps primarily in the hope that a certain percentage will follow them back. But in the end I think the best policy is to try and curb that need for quantity and keep looking for quality.

If you don't do this you'll end up with heaps of irrelevant or just plain spammy tweets in your timeline. So you'll have to spend more time wading through them to find the nuggets that you can learn from, retweet and reply to.

If on the other hand you make a point of following really good people in your niche, then that river of tweets will be consistently golden. You'll find interacting with the people you follow a lot easier and more rewarding.

Not only will this get their attention -- making them more likely to mention and retweet you, thereby lifting your profile -- you'll also accumulate far more tweets up there on the site, meaning you're more likely to get found by people looking for others to follow.

Sure, a certain proportion of these followers will be low quality themselves, but there will be some goodies. And they will have chosen to follow you because they liked what you had to tweet -- not just because you followed them. That's a better way to kick things off, surely.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Some factors that seem to increase conversions

I have been promoting affiliate programs for quite a while now, although this is not my main focus. Basically I love to write so I just keep doing that and make a few sales from stuff I'm advertising on my blogs and sites along the way. While I don't monitor my statistics really closely like some people do, I do try to keep an eye on them and I have noticed some trends when it comes to conversion rates. 

Firstly, there's a much greater chance of conversions if visitors come via a specific search. They really trust Google, and if they're looking for something to buy that will definitely shape their search query. So, if you're ranking for these kinds of keyword phrases people can often arrive at your site pretty much already primed to purchase something you're advertising.

Then there's the geographic factor. People do seem to be more likely to buy products and services that are produced in their own country. Sometimes the reason is obvious, such as when they're looking for a dating site. Obviously they are more likely to join if they know that it's based in their country since there will probably be more local members signed up to it. 

But sometimes this geographic influence is a little more subtle. Say you're promoting an ebook about a subject that in itself is not geo-specific. I think that prospective buyers tend to feel that if it's written by someone who lives in their country it will be more relevant to them somehow, and they will therefore be more likely to make the final decision to purchase it.

Also, I think that factors such as a sense of patriotism, and the desire to keep the money within the country increase the likelihood of conversions a little.

Then there's the power of your own recommendation. There's no doubt that if you write something positive about the product you're promoting, people will be more likely to buy it. This applies generally, and is an even more powerful factor if you have built up a reputation as an expert in your field.

That's why writing lots of thoughtful blog posts and articles is still financially worth it in the long run. You will eventually end up with an opinion that people will value when making purchasing decisions. That's definitely something you should utilize -- although of course you wouldn't want to abuse it by going crazy and recommending anything and everything (which would surely negate the effect in time anyway!).

Of course there are many other factors that can increase conversions. However, from my experience these seem to be among the most significant.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Leaderboard banners get more clicks

I have been trying out different banner sizes and positions on my various website sand blogs. And leaderboards -- those 720 x 90 banners placed at the top of pages -- do get more clicks than others.

This is hardly surprising, of course. They stand out more, and are the first thing the visitor sees. Also, only a small percentage of people actually read web pages all the way through, so those ads placed down at the bottom will obviously get fewer clicks, no matter how big they are.

So, if you are promoting different affiliate programs then it's a good idea to to advertise your highest paying program with a leaderboard. Do this and you could see quite an increase in your earnings.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Wordpress powered classifieds sites and SEO

It's well known that Wordpress is one of the best platforms for SEO. Blogs built with it tend to rank quite highly even when they haven't been around all that long and don't have much content up there. I'm no geek so I have no specific insights into why this might be. Whatever the reason, there's clearly something about the way Wordpress is designed that makes Google tend to like it!

Given this fact, I thought I'd try out some free classifieds that are powered by Wordpress to advertise a new site I have which is about garage sales in Perth. There are more and more of these popping up now, and a few of them are tailored towards Aussies.

So I submitted a couple of ads with headings like "Perth garage sale promotion" and "Local Perth garage sale advertising" to these sites. I only did this a few days ago but the ads I posted on the Wordpress sites are already ranking highly for related keyword searches. Similar ads posted earlier at other -- seemingly more well established -- classifieds sites took longer to get indexed, and have often been beaten in the rankings by these newer ads.

Of course free classifieds sites shouldn't just be judged on SEO. Some of them get huge traffic for a whole bunch of other reasons, and so are well worth using -- particularly if you are advertising a locally oriented product or service. Still, this aspect is something to keep in mind. And it will be interesting to see how well these sites do in the future.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Expert opinions on website making, Wordpress and SEO

Anyone who has been browsing the blogosphere in the last few years will have noticed the huge increase in the number of slick, sleek Wordpress blogs -- particularly in the online marketing niche. There also seem to be many more business websites that have been made with this platform. It seems to be the CMS of choice if you want to have a fast loading, search engine optimized website with blog included.

Being a long time Blogger user, who has never had a Wordpress blog, I am not the person to ask about it. Dean Wormald definitely is, however. That's why I have asked him some questions about Wordpress, as well as others on the subject of website making, social media and SEO. 

1) When getting ready to build your own business website, what are the most important factors to consider and why?

The old phrase, "if you plan to fail, you fail to plan" is a good one to keep in mind when getting ready to build a business website. There is a set process I follow when I create any website, and all businesses should do the same.

First there is the requirements gathering phase. This involves evaluating the business and communication requirements. A good start is to reflect on your business plan and consider what the website must achieve for the business. It could be generating enquiries through telephone calls, get more customers through your door, or simply build up your profile as an expert in your field.

Second, following the requirements gathering phase is the content requirements phase. Knowing what the business and communication goals for the website are, I collect, create and organise the content that will be on the website. This also involves describing any functionality requirements, for example, contact forms. Doing this before buying website hosting or a domain name is key to ensure a good work flow through the process of making a great website.

After the requirements have been clearly defined and all the content collected, it's time to buy website hosting and a domain name. I always buy these together. Australian businesses, I always buy the and .com variations of the chosen domain name. For larger companies we'll buy all domain name variations possible. Then we direct the un-used domain names to a primary domain name.

For Australian businesses, it is critical to buy website hosting with a reputable Australian website hosting company who has servers based in Australia. This influences search engine rankings.

2) You are obviously a fan of Wordpress for building business websites, as well as for blogging. Why do you think it is so good?

I've been using WordPress both professionally and personally since 2005 (before it even had a WYSIWYG editor!). I'm more interested in spending time on making great interfaces and content, than coding a website. Over time I have used other CMS platforms like Drupal and DotNetDuke, as well as other blogging services like (free hosted WordPress blogs) and Blogger. I believe the WordPress software (installed on your own hosting) is just as simple to setup as a free hosted blog, however it allows for much more customisation.

The WordPress community is huge and thriving. There are hundreds of thousands of active users contributing and helping out with customising or troubleshooting WordPress. A portion of this community also creates plugins and themes, which enhance websites in a huge variety of ways. Over the last few years I've been quite immersed in the community and have even written an eBook. It's a guide on how to make Australian websites.

Perhaps the number one reason I use WordPress is the focus on web standards and usability. The software is constantly kept up to date with evolving technology and on the front-end (what the site visitor sees) you get a great interface.

3) Website building technology has been developing extremely quickly over the last few years. What do you think will be the next big trends in this field?

HTML 5. The previous version, HTML 4, was released in 1997, a grandfather in Internet ages! HTML 5 will help to standardise a lot of different web technologies. For a long time developers have been trying to make mobile content with this (and other) web technologies that just aren't suited for these devices. HTML 5 also displays multimedia content, without the need for plugins like Flash Player or Shockwave.

Over the next few years, the groups working on the HTML 5 specification will finish it off completely, and it will become the new standard. When it dones, I wouldn't be surprised if a few Flash developers found themselves with less work.

4) With the rise of social media, some pundits are predicting that search engines will gradually lose their influence, and that SEO will become a minor consideration for website builders. What are your thoughts on this prediction?

Just like HTML 4, the current methods used by search engines are based on old technology. When I worked with Microsoft on the Bing Search team in Sydney, one of the heads of search in the USA said "however brilliant the current search algorithms are, and they are brilliant, in many cases it fails to give the best results. As one of the most influential factors to ranking highly is to have many inbound links to your site, search engines today serving up the most popular, not the most relevant results."

While you can't argue that social networks are growing at a phenomenal pace, when seeking specific information, people still need to search for it. SEO will still be important, with the foreseeable/possible changes currently on the table. The biggest change will likely come from a radically different search algorithm. This would have an impact on the scope of SEO activities, but website owners will still need to engage in SEO.

I've heard of one interesting idea that uses the information from your social network profiles to gain a better understanding of the context of your search. So perhaps one day social networks and search engines will work together, using a new search algorithm to return more relevant results.

About Dean Wormald

Dean Wormald has been working in the digital industry since 1998. After studying Multimedia and Marketing at university, he has worked with the biggest and most award winning agencies and companies in Australia, including: Amnesia Razorfish (with clients like Xbox 360, Microsoft, Land Rover, Holden, Lynx and IKEA); Bing Search Team (Microsoft Australia); Clemenger BBDO and Proximity (with clients like Yellow Pages, White Pages, M&M'S, Dulux). Recently he released a guide on how to start a website, make it look professional and market it successfully.

Friday, October 28, 2011

ArticlesBase gets indexed very quickly by Google

Still on the subject of article directories: I just submitted an article there. Not only was it published very quickly, it was in Google straightaway as well. And it also came up when I did a backlink check using Yahoo. That was noticeable because I did have at least one other article with a backlink to that site. That article was indexed by Google at least a week ago, yet it wasn't showing up as a backlink.

I don't have detailed knowledge of how all this works. So I may be drawing a false conclusion. But I think the fact that the ArticlesBase link appeared in both Google's results and Yahoo's backlinks immediately says something about how highly that article directory is regarded by these search engines.

So, if you do have a new site that you are keen to get indexed as quickly as possible, then writing an article about its subject and putting the URL in your author bio-box, then submitting this to ArticlesBase is a very good idea.

The only drawback is that the link will be nofollow. However, that might not be such a negative SEO-wise in the long run, as this post explains

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

GoArticles versus Sooper Articles

Having used various article directories over quite a long period now, I can see patterns start to emerge with them. For example, I've noticed that when you submit articles to Goarticles, they do get used by other publishers quite quickly.

Of course that's what you want to happen. However that can also be a problem in that they might not faithfully cite you as the writer, with bio-box links intact. Or if they do do that, they might be using nofollow links -- or the site is just not well regarded by the search engines. If Google then indexes your article at this site before it does at Goarticles (which is PR 3, I think now) then you are being penalized, or at least not getting good value from having submitted there. Outcomes such as those described above have resulted when I have submitted articles there in the past.

But one thing that I've noticed with Sooperarticles, which I'm using more and more now, is that very soon after you get the notification that your article has been published it's right there in Google. So, there's virtually no chance of penalization occurring.

The downside with Sooperarticles, though, is that it sometimes take a while before your article is approved by one of the editorial team. Still, I think that's a small price to pay.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Find and write for Twitter daily newspapers

One thing that has become increasingly popular among avid Twitter users is to start a daily newspaper using This is an excellent way of giving your followers lots of interesting reading material.

Some of these dailies get a large number of views, so it's great if you can become a regular, or even occasional contributor to some of them. If you're pretty active on the site, have a decent number of followers and tweet interesting content then this is certain to happen eventually. 

But you can increase the odds of this occurring by looking for these daily newspapers on Twitter, then following their creators. The favourite phrase that people use to announce their latest edition is to tweet "The (insert title here) Daily is out!". Because these editors often use a specific keyword in the paper title, then all you have to do is search for that phrase, inserting a keyword describing a subject you tweet about often.

The other way of finding them is just to search for those keywords in itself. This has the advantage of showing how many views each paper is getting as well.

If you use these methods you're sure to get more and more of your tweets included in these papers, thereby substantially lifting your profile on Twitter. If you're primarily tweeting blog posts then of course you'll get extra clicks on them. Google takes Twitter activity into account so this should help a bit with SEO as well.

Of course, if you do get included, then it's a good idea to retweet the newspaper edition to your followers. That's a way of saying thanks to the paper's editor as well as increasing the odds that he'll include your tweets in subsequent editions as well.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Joining many different affiliate programs is a good idea

Everyone knows the saying "don't put all your eggs in one basket". That's good advice generally. It also applies to affiliate marketing, as a recent experience confirms.

See, I've been promoting various affiliate programs on a few different websites. They come from different networks like Commission Monster and Check My Stats. A couple of them have been working consistently, and I've come to count on getting a small but regular flow of commissions from them.

On one of them I'd racked up forty bucks for the month so far. But then all of a sudden this just disappeared. As far as I can tell this was because the merchant had just cancelled its relationship with that particular affiliate network. So all earnings that had not been paid out just dried up.

It's not much money, of course. However it's a bit annoying. And as well as that saying I cited at the top of the post, there's another one worth remembering: "Don't count your chickens before they hatch."

I'm glad I've signed up to several different programs, so it's not such a big problem. However if I'd put all my work into promoting just one affiliate program and was earning substantial monthly payments and that went belly up all of a sudden -- well, it really would be back to square one and be very disheartening.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

GhostBloggers is a new online marketplace like Constant Content

Because of the immense demand for unique online content, there are countless websites out there where writers can sell their work. However the vast majority require them to write to quite stringent specifications and sometimes tight deadlines as well. Of course that's hardly surprising. The work is being commissioned, and those who will ultimately publish it get to call the shots.

As someone who's been a bit spoiled by the freedom of blogging over the years, I find it very hard to warm to this particular way of doing things. Basically, if I'm going to get into writing content for others I want that to be more on my terms. I'd much prefer just to write what I feel like writing, then offer it for sale. If someone wants to buy it, that's great. If not, no trouble. I'll just keep writing for the fun of it.

I'm sure there must be countless other bloggers who have this attitude, and quite a few webmasters seeking content who are also okay with it. That's why I've long found it a bit strange that there are so few "online content marketplaces" using the model described above. The best known of these is Constant Content, of course, and there are a couple of others.

That's why it's good to know that another one has arrived on the scene just recently. It's called GhostBloggers and it looks like a well run site, with many writers signed up already. The default pay rate it has for work on offer looks very good for writers. (One of the sad ironies of the internet is that while the number of writing opportunities has gone through the roof, the average price per word that writers can charge for their work has just plummeted!)

I encourage other bloggers to sign up and put some articles out there for sale. I'll do the same if and when I find the time. And if anyone has had any experience using GhostBloggers, please feel free to include your thoughts in comments below.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Commission Junction payment in Australian currency received today

I've been promoting affiliate programs on my various blogs and websites over the years. Most of these are in-house Australian ones, or run through big affiliate networks with a strong presence in Australia (such as Clixgalore, Check My Stats, etc).

I joined Commission Junction a while ago -- which doesn't have an Aussie version (yet) -- because it's got a great reputation and lots of really good things to promote. I received my first payment from them in the mail today.

It was in Australian dollars, which was a bonus. That makes everything easier, since you don't have to pay for the currency exchange fee (which if I remember correctly is at least ten bucks per cheque) and you only have to wait three working days instead of twenty one for it to clear.

Other Australian affiliate marketers should check it out if they haven't already. 

New Weebly website indexed quickly by Google

I've posted quite often about the website builder and hosting company Weebly. I have built several websites using their platform, and have been very happy with the service.

I just built another little geo-specific niche site with Weebly. It's about garage sales in Perth. I only bought the domain recently and set it up with the host less than a week ago. It's only got a few pages of content up, and I haven't built any backlinks to it at all. But it's already there in Google's index.

Not only that, it's on page 4 of Aussie Google's results for the phrase that comprises the domain. I don't want to link directly to the site yet, because I don't want to risk any ranking penalty (even though I suspect that's highly unlikely). In any case, you can see it halfway down the page here.

This is clearly good news for anyone building a site with Weebly. I'd happily join their affiliate program and promote them enthusiastically. But unfortunately membership to it is not open to people from outside the United States yet.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Blogging makes it harder to write content for sale to others

My affiliate earnings are slowly increasing. However the process is very slow, and I'm still not pulling in that much money. So I have been considering writing content for sale to publishers again.

Needless to say, with the dominance of the internet there are few offline writing markets left. There's no shortage of such opportunities online, though, of course. As well as all the webmasters looking for writers on forums and freelance job boards, there are some sites dedicated to the purpose of supplying content to individuals and companies.

Unfortunately the pay rates are very low for this kind of work. (That's hardly surprising considering that pretty much all the reading material on the internet is offered for free.) This fact, compared with the sharp deadlines that you often have to commit to make it pretty unappealing.

Having been blogging for ages, I'm more attached to what I write than ever before. I just don't like the idea of handing my work, along with all my claims to ownership, over to someone else for a flat fee. In any case, I think it could be used to draw in search engine traffic by being put on one of my blogs. And if not there, then it could be part of an article with a backlink to one of my blogs or websites. By using my writing to bring in more traffic, it could prove to be more of an earner in the long run anyway.

I've had this feeling for a while. It seems to be intensifying. And I suspect it's quite common amongst bloggers.

What are your thoughts? Does blogging make you more attached to what you write?

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Thoughts on making money from Google Earth

A couple of years ago I worte about how I used Google Earth to find clusters of apartment blocks to target when I go on flyer distribution runs. I've had some more thoughts on how to use this amazing program to make money.

One thing that really stands out when you look at some suburban areas is the number of swimming pools in backyards. I'm sure that pool cleaning businesses and the like would have already taken full advantage of this information and have been focusing on these areas with their offline promotions. But even if you weren't actually in the business you could still make some money from this.

You could build a basic website listing some affiliate programs for swimming pool supplies and related products. There are a few out there. Then you could do a flyer run advertising that URL in those pool rich streets.

You could also look for very big gardens with lots of vegetation. You could do the same with gardening, outdoor and "DIY" affiliate programs. Some of these programs have good potential. I've seen a couple of Aussie garden shed companies that will pay you five percent per sale, for example. Considering the actual products are often a grand or more, that could end up being lucrative if you kept going long enough.

And here's another idea: Google Earth will show you where all the brand new suburbs are. You could promote a home security website to them, since these are the kinds of products that many new home owners would be thinking about getting, but still be unlikely to have purchased.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Sooperarticles gets indexed by Google quickly

As I've mentioned previously I've been trying out different article directories. One of those that stands out is Sooperarticles.

It does sometimes take a few days or more to get your articles approved, but it's definitely worth the wait. Not only does it get a lot of traffic and have decent page rank, but your articles are indexed by Google very quickly. I just got an e-mail notification that my latest article had been accepted so I Googled the title and it was there.

It's much better that you wait a while to get an article accepted by a directory than wait for ever for it to get indexed.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Tips on how to quickly identify Twitter spam followers

As you keep using Twitter and have more and more tweets to be found by users, you find that you amass followers at a faster rate. If you tend to "follow back", which many people do, particularly early on, this trend increases somewhat.

Needless to say, some of these new followers are spammers. Obviously they're not that hard to identify when you look at their profiles. But as your following increases more quickly, you have less time to do this. So here are few things to keep an eye out for to speed up the process:

Firstly, they're often female, and their profiles include photos of attractive young women. They often have strange names that seem kind of exotic. Clearly this is because they've been created by some kind of name generating software.

They often have very few tweets. If you do take the time to look at them you'll see that they just describe completely unrelated stuff that comes out of nowhere. (Hard to believe that they fool people enough to get clicks on their links. Still, they must. Otherwise the spammers wouldn't be doing this.)

They also tend to follow many more people than follow them back. (This tendency is not confined to spammers, though. There are a lot of genuine users who do this, many of whom are certainly worth following.)

The main characteristic seems to be that most don't even have descriptions included in their profiles. So they stand out immediately in the list of all the others who've recently followed you. (Again, some genuine users might not include a description. But they're very rare, and would probably add one eventually anyway.)

Also, these Twitter spammers usually roam in packs. You tend to get clusters of them appearing from time to time.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

So many bad article directories out there!

Keen to submit articles to a wide variety of directories so that I have a greater range of locations for backlinks to my sites, I've been doing a lot of Googling for new ones. I've joined a few of the ones I've found and submitted some articles. But it's hard going because there are many bad article directories out there. They're duds for various reasons.

Firstly, there often seem to be software or formatting issues. You submit the article, and it doesn't go through. Or it seems to, but then you go back to your dashboard to preview and edit the article and it's not there. Or it is there but nothing comes up when you click on the relevant icon.

Then there's the problem of having signed up and logged in once, but then not being able to do so again!

The third problem is when you submit a perfectly good article but automatic notifications come up telling you that you need to break up your paragraphs more or making other suggestions that never seem to be good enough.

But by far the most common problem is that many article directories say that they will approve your article (or reject it) within a certain time period (it's often 72 hours) but it's still on pending more than a week after you submitted it! I realize that this is often the result of people being overworked but it's still annoying. It would be nice if the webmasters running these directories were a bit more honest about the time it takes to review articles.

That said, I think there are quite a few such webmasters who will never look at those new articles submitted. They've pretty much forgotten that the directory is even there and have left it as it was sometimes even years before, still calling for submissions. They just leave these directories up there because they're still making money from Adsense or whatever.

Whatever the reasons for such bad article directories, there are an awful lot of them. Unfortunately there is no way of knowing just how bad (or good) they are unless you try them out.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Some article directories allowing shorter (250 word) articles

From my experience with article marketing it appears you get better results if your articles are of a reasonable length -- at least 400 words and preferably over 500. (This applies to blogging as well.) It seems that search engines generally give more weight to longer articles, since they tend to have more information in them (which makes perfect sense, of course).

it looks like this factor has become even more influential recently because Ezine Articles increased its minimum word count from 250 to 400 several months ago. Also Go Articles, another major directory, seems to have increased its word length minimum from 250 to 400 words (though I'm not totally sure on that). I also recall Articles Base having a 250 word minimum in the past. But that's now at 350.

While it isn't hard to write articles of this length, there is still a benefit to writing shorter ones. If you just want to make one or two basic points 250 words is easily enough. Also, you can write them quickly, and thereby build backlinks in less time. And if you spread these around at various directories, then that helps with SEO. (Google likes a variety of sources and locations, remember.)

With this in mind I've been looking for article directories that clearly say you can write articles of 250 words or more. (Of course many that don't stipulate minimum length probably allow such short articles anyway, but you wouldn't know for sure.)

These include Sooper Articles, Versatile Contents, Free Articles Inc, Article Snare, New Free Article, Pro Articles Daily, That's My Niche, New Articles, Yes Articles, Article Field (300 words).

Most of the above directories have low PR, ranging from 1 to 3. However Sooper articles has a PR of 5.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Uber Articles appears to have a large backlog of submissions

I posted earlier about why it's a bonus if the directory you're submitting your articles to approves them fairly quickly.

A bit more on that subject: I recently found another directory that looked pretty good. It's called Uber Articles, and it has a PR of 4.

I submitted an article there several days back, but it's still stuck on pending. I looked in the dashboard, and saw that there were literally thousands of articles marked with that status. So, if those figures are accurate it seems to have a very big backlog. I decided to give it a miss and submit that particular article somewhere else. So, I'd suggest that that's one to avoid if you value quick approval highly.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Why Twitter is inspiring

Before signing up to Twitter, I could never understand why people were raving about it so much. Basically, the idea that you would constantly be making these little tweets seemed frivolous and vain. Then you would be asking people to "follow" you? Frankly, the whole concept seemed shallow and narcissistic. But while there are a lot of egomaniacs on Twitter, it is much more than a platform for such people.

It really is what you make of it. The more you get into it the more possibilities you can see. And there seem to be so many people on there with a real sense of clarity and purpose. Whether they are business people, or just those with a message, it's awesome to know how many experts there are out there.

And while being on Twitter is a great profile raiser and obviously has great potential for those wishing to use it to make money, many experts are still sharing much of their knowledge freely. You can learn a lot from following such people. (Of course this has long been the case with blogging. However with Twitter the whole process is far more streamlined and immediate.)

So, seeing all these people pursing their dreams, and being able to connect and interact with them as well, fills you with a real sense of possibility and purpose. Inspiring is not too strong a word.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Things to look for when finding people to follow on Twitter

I'm really starting to understand why so many people rave about Twitter. It's a fantastic tool, and you can use it in so many different ways. Of course you've got to find people to follow for the whole thing to work. And hopefully those people will follow you back so you can interact with them by retweeting, replying and also direct messaging.

So, here are few things to look for when deciding who you're going to follow.

Firstly, obviously you should try and find people in your niche. You can do this by searching for keywords much as you would do with Google. I find lots of them by typing in "blogging tips" for example.

Once you've found some prominent users in your niche, then go to their lists. You'll often find more there.

Also, whether you're cruising lists or doing searches, then keep an eye out for people who are reasonably active, with a decent number of tweets already. And check to see if they've been active recently. And needless to say, they should be real people. You can usually tell if they're not by the sheer incoherence of their tweeting! And if they've got a photo of some celebrity, or a model's glamour shot on their main page, well, that's not a good sign.

Also, look for retweets and mentions of other tweeps in their streams. If these are present they are clearly interact with others. And chances are they'll be constantly looking for mentions made of them, and retweets of their tweets. So, they may well reciprocate if you mention or retweet them. That will of course get your profile seen by more and more people.

If you are hoping to promote yourself, and not just learn from others then I'd avoid tweeps who never mention or retweet others, even if they follow a lot of people. They are basically using Twitter as a kind of press release service, just tweeting their blog posts, articles and affiliate programs.

Also, see how many people they follow compared to their number of followers. If they are approximately equal, then this means they will often follow back.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Being active on Twitter does seem to help generally with SEO

With the continuing growth of Twitter there are more and more people raving about its potential for website marketing. Twitter offers many benefits, but there's also quite a bit of confusion surrounding it. And one question seems to pop up more and more. That is: Does Twitter activity directly improve the SEO of the URL you're linking to?

I've been Googling for a definitive answer to this question. I haven't found one as yet. But as with so many questions about SEO there are a lot of yes and no answers. Those in the "no" camp say that because the links are nofollow, it doesn't have any direct effect. Sure, you'll get quality traffic from clicks from your tweets, and that will go into Google's calculation of the value of your site. Also, you'll get some backlinks from the bloggers you've been networking with on Twitter. But these are indirect effects.

Those in the "yes" camp say that Google definitely does take your activity on the site into account directly and rewards you for it commensurately, if only a little.

Well, from my own experience, I do tend to fall into this latter group. Take this blog. I have had quite a break from updating it in recent months, going from February to June without writing a post. (I've written a few in the last month, though.) Yet my search engine traffic has increased over that whole period, particularly in the last few weeks. Sure, it hasn't been much but it was certainly enough to notice.

Maybe this had something to do with algorithm changes. But I don't think so. The slow increase seems to coincide with my activity on Twitter. It was the only thing related to this site that I've been doing.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Boom in public profile sites like

I've been using Twitter more and more recently. And one of the things I've noticed recently is how many tweeps use their site in their Twitter profile. This elegant tool allow you to list all your social profiles in the one place. It just shows how popular social networking is now that there is a booming social networking site designed primarily for people to list all their other social networking profiles.

And it's not the only one. Alternatives include, DooID, Zerply and Unhub. I'm sure their are others out there, as well as more on the way.

Amazing! In a couple of years there'll probably be another bunch of sites springing up for you to included all your profiles for the above-listed sites in the one location as well.

Related ebook: Twitter Marketing For Dummies

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Using Twitter to find new blogs in your niche

While individual blog comments tend to have little or no direct SEO benefit, it's still well worth any blogger or webmaster's while to do as many of them as possible (as long as they are thoughtful and non-spammy, of course). This is because it gets your URL noticed -- not only by the blogger on whose blog you're commenting, but also by many other bloggers reading that blog.

So, you should always be looking for good, popular new blogs. One of the best ways of doing this is to just scroll down the comment threads of high traffic blogs in your niche. You'll find tons of them!

You can apply a similar approach to Twitter. The social networking site is now a very popular search engine in itself. So you just use it in that way. Search for, say, one niche-specific keyword and "blog" or "blogger" and you're sure to find some great new blogs in that niche.

Of course there is still a bit of sifting through results that needs to be done, since not everyone who tweets about blogging is going to be a blogger himself. Still, quite a few of them are.

Just as with Googling, it's useful to mix up the terms as well. If I use keyword combinations like "SEO+blog", "article+blog", "blog+marketing" and then search for various permutations of those searches I get lots of different results. The fact that Twitter is so hugely popular and always frantically being updated alters the mix even more. The results for each search change a lot from day to day, and even from hour to hour in some cases.

The hash tag should be remembered as well. I find a lot of good blogs in my niche by searching for #bloggingtips, for example.

Once you've found these new blogs, you can then look at the lists that they're on. That will turn up still more similar blogs.

Using these techniques, I find that every now and then I turn up bloggers that I've already found via comment hopping. But there are a lot of completely new ones as well. Approaching the blogosphere in a different way means that you'll find new zones of it that contain new clusters of blogs. I suspect that scouring Facebook would be similarly fruitful as well.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Some good fast approval article directories I have found

The more I use article marketing, the more I keep looking for new, good directories. This is because it's important to get those bio-box backlinks from many different places on the web. That does seem to help SEO.

Knowing that it is effective, I also want the new directories to approve my articles pretty soon. There's nothing worse than having submitted something and then not seeing it appear on the site for several days or even a couple of weeks!

But they still have to read your stuff, of course. If they don't, and just let absolutely everything that's submitted go up straightaway (and stay there) then the overall quality of the directory will suffer, and its rankings will drop.

That said, there are some article directories that are auto-approval, and still give you a good strong backlink. Go Articles is probably the best known of these. It's huge and has a PR of 4.

Then there's Article Slash. I've only just joined this one, but it's a solid directory with a PR of 4 as well. And your article goes live immediately.

I've also just found another PR 4 directory called Ezine Mark. Your article doesn't go live immediately, but I've only submitted one and that was approved within a day.

Another directory that published my article wihin 24 hours was ABC Article Directory. That has a PR of 3.

Articles Base is another huge, highly ranked one (PR 6) that is quick to approve (although it is nofollow).

Sooper Articles has a PR of 5. I quite like this directory and it's growing in reputation from what I can tell. I've submitted a few articles there now and sometimes they get published within a few hours. Then other times it will take a week. I suspect they just get inundated sometimes and get a little behind.

The biggest and best of all (and with a PR of 6) is Ezine Articles. It isn't known as a fast approval directory. It's really slow while you submit your first 10, then it speeds up a lot. The time after that varies, but it's usually around a couple of days from my experience.

UPDATE: I recently submitted an article to Amazines, which has a PR of 3 now I think. That was approved in a few hours. That's a pretty solid directory that's been around for ages. The article URLs don't have the full titles in them, though. Maybe this has ramifications for SEO? I'm not sure.

I used Article Blast this morning. That now has a PR of 5. The article I submitted went live instantly, and it was indexed by Google within a few hours, maybe sooner. I know this because when I Googled for the title a few hours ago it came up.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Offline ads get more clicks per impression than most online methods

I have used offline methods such as flyers to promote online products for several years now. I've never done much analysis of where my clicks and sales were coming from, but it always seemed to me that the offline clicks were better quality. The reason I came to that conclusion was that I'd usually get more sales in the weeks and months after doing some concerted offline promotion.

I'm pretty sure that assessment was correct because I've just been promoting an affiliate program using both methods. The network has really comprehensive stats and they reveal a pronounced difference between the results generated by each of them.

I have one banner on a web page that I've been promoting solely offline, and over the last month that ad has received 58 impressions and 8 clicks. I have another banner for the same program that is on one of my blogs. Granted, it's an eclectic blog, not specifically related to the affiliate product on offer. But it's had 988 impressions over the last month with only 4 clicks.

As yet, I haven't had any sales of that product. Still, there's a pretty noticeable difference there. And I think this is mainly due to the fact that if someone goes to a website as a result of seeing an offline ad you can be sure they're reasonably interested in what it offers. They'll also type it in, meaning they'll give it their full attention for a short while at least.

The same cannot be said of various forms of online promotion. Sure, search engines are very targeted. But even then people are often whizzing through them quickly, flitting from query to query. And blog and site hopping is not so targeted, and often happens when the searcher is a bit bored. It's more a kind of grazing behaviour than anything focused.

That's why I think offline promotion of sites is worth doing. It's pricier, slower and more laborious. But it can still be profitable.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Constant Content, Daily Article and Article Sale

I've looked around for other listing marketplaces for writers. The biggest and probably the best is Constant Content. I mentioned it below, but it's worth describing in greater depth.

The site clearly gets a lot of visitors, many of whom are keen to buy good content. You can also choose which kind of rights you are offering to the buyer. The site does take a substantial commission of 35% on each sale however. I've also read a few complaints about how picky they are about grammar and spelling from some disgruntled folk. But surely that's a good thing in the end. You just have to go through each article with a fine tooth comb before submitting it to make absolutely sure that it's perfect.

There seem to be only two other sites of this kind. One is called Daily Article. This looks pretty good. And from what I've read it takes a 20% cut. There does seem to be pretty good quality control, however I get the impression that it's not quite as stringent as Constant Content.

Unlike that site, however, you don't have any choice about what kind of rights you're selling. You basically just hand over the article completely to whoever buys it. And they can basically do whatever they want with it.

There's another site called Article Sale. This one takes no commission, and seems to get its entire income from serving ads. Like Article Sale, you sign over all your rights with each purchase. There doesn't seem to be any quality control, and after reading some of the negative reviews of various authors, it's clear that a few are just uploading duplicate content.

That said, people are clearly buying stuff from there. And it could be just the place to sell short blog post type articles for 4 or 5 bucks a pop. I'd imagine that you could end up with some regular customers pretty easily.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Constant Content and Textbroker are good sites for writers

I've been looking around for different ways to earn a few dollars from writing articles. There are a lot of freelance job boards out there, and people are crying out for content for websites and blogs. But they usually pay peanuts, and you have to fight (or at least bid) to get those peanuts!

Then, if you do score one of these gigs, you'll often be committed to weeks of work because the requests are usually for scores, if not hundreds of articles. If you live in Australia, as I do, writing jobs like these just aren't worth it.

I don't want to sound like a protectionist whinger, but this is an unfortunate result of the global economy, as well as the brilliance of all this cyber-technology. Nowadays, it can be economically viable for someone in Pakistan to crank out oodles of content for a client in the USA for next to nothing.

Not only will this be low quality because of the nature of the demand (lots of it in a short pace of time), but there's the language factor as well. People in countries like India, Pakistan and the Philippines aren't native English speakers, so their writing quality will generally be lower. Yet business owners will still buy content from people in these countries (usually indirectly) because their work will still improve site SEO enough for the deal to be profitable.

So, you've got to look for other sites that have slightly different models to these big freelancing sites. Then you have a chance of earning better money, and on your own terms.

One of these that gets lots of good reviews is Textbroker. The site is completely focused on writing. They assess your work, then give you a rating. They have heaps of small, simple gigs that pay a few dollars each. You can crank out a few of those at your own pace and accumulate a nice little sum after a while, or get more serious about it and end up with big ongoing jobs. The big downside is that you have to be in the USA to join.

Then there's Constant Content. What I like about this is that it's much more writer-focused. You write something, decide on a price, then leave it on the site for someone to buy it. I suspect that if your work is half decent, you should be able to sell a fair bit of it eventually. The downside is that you have to wait, of course.

Still, I like this model. You can earn more money, and basically write whatever you want.

Of course there are many other sites for freelance writers. I'll post about them in future, too.

UPDATE: Textbroker has launched another site in the United Kingdom. This one accepts writers from all over the world. So, those living in Australia can join and make money through them after all. 

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Use backlink checks to find more great blogs for commenting campaigns

I've been going on a bit of a blog commenting blitz lately. It's definitely worth doing from time to time. There are just so many blogs out there about blogging, marketing, etc. They're great because not only can you learn new stuff all the time, they're very conducive to participation. And because they're not super-specific in their focus, it's usually really easy to find something that you can contribute thoughtfully to.

Also, the bloggers themselves appreciate the feedback and often reply. They come back to my blogs and return the favour, too, which is appreciated.

The best thing about comment-rich blogs like these is that you'll find an endless stream of them simply by scrolling down though the comment threads, since many of those commenting are in the same niche.

And here's another good way to find them:

You'll keep seeing the same bloggers' names popping up in the comment threads. So you know that these people been particularly active with this method. So if you do a backlink check on one of their URLs (Yahoo is probably the easiest and quickest) you'll see scores, if not hundreds of the blogs they've commented on showing up in the results. While you'll see some of the blogs you already know about, you're sure to find some new ones pretty much every time.

You just repeat that process, and on and on you go ... You could do this for weeks and never run out of new blogs to learn from and contribute to.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Social bookmarking for backlinks can help sharpen writing skills

I have been using Snipsly and Jevitt recently. I think it's worth getting into the habit of using them to regularly promote blog posts and articles.

Of course it's worthwhile having your links seen by others on these bookmarking sites as well as getting the SEO boost they can confer, but these aren't the only benefits.

For each link you add you have to write a new little summary of what you're linking to, or at least some mini-article that's related to it somehow. Of course you don't want to waffle on with these summaries. You should get right to the point with a pithy and accurate summary. And, each of them has to be unique. So, every one presents a little writing challenge. Doing this regularly can increase your writing speed and quality.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Yola blog indexed by Google quicker than Weebly's

As I've written before, I have a couple of sites with both Weebly and Yola. They are both fantastic (and free) website makers. They also have great blogging tools attached.

I've been updating the blog on one of my Yola sites quite often lately. The posts get indexed pretty quickly, usually within a day or so. The same is not true of my blogs on my Weebly sites. They seem to take a lot longer, usually weeks.

This may have something to do with the frequency of my blog posting. I have certainly been posting at much shorter intervals on Yola. So perhaps I've "trained" Google to come and visit the blog more often?

However I do update one of the Weebly blogs reasonably frequently, usually once a week. And there have been periods when I was doing so more often than that. So I suspect this situation might have more to do with the way Weebly is structured generally rather than specific factors pertaining to my site.

Also, I have found this review from early in 2010 in which an official representative of Weebly acknowledged that it does take a while. (The relevant part is right at the bottom.) So, maybe they're working on this. They seem to address any bugs really quickly and comprehensively.

In any case it's not a huge issue for me. My Weebly blog posts do certainly end up in search engines and they seem to rank pretty well. However, some other webmasters might consider speed of indexing to be an extremely important factor. That's why I decided to relate my experiences in this post.

UPDATE: Google has just paid a visit, so all the recent blog posts are indexed, including ones I wrote just a day or so back.

I'll keep an eye on this in future because it may just be a temporary situation. Perhaps this is a slow patch, something to do with the Christmas and New Year break? This webmaster seems to think so (see point 9).

Friday, January 28, 2011

Page4, another free website builder

Still finding more free website builders that look slick and highly customizable.

The latest is Page4 and it looks worth checking out.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Snipsly and Jevitt

I have just found another couple of sites that look useful and innovative. Snipsly and Jevitt combine features of social bookmarking sites and article directories.

You can post do-follow links to blogs, articles, and other content. You can make the surrounding text a complete article in itself, or as short as a few sentences.

I quite like this idea because sometimes you want to post a little nugget of information, or a pithy bit of commentary, rather than a comprehensive 500 word article. These sites allow you to do so and still get some SEO benefit.

They also have Adsense revenue sharing enabled, so you could make a bit of money as you do so as well.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Follow tweeps who mention others and retweet regularly

A lot of people think that it's vital to get as many Twitter followers as possible. But as with so many other things, it's not the quantity but the quality that counts.

That's why you should focusing on finding tweeps in your niche. Also, seek out those who aren't just selling stuff, but who are actually using Twitter to express ideas and opinions and link to their blogs and others. Also, see how often they mention other tweeps and retweet.

If they do both these things quite often, there's a chance that they'll also mention your tweets or retweet them, particularly if they're good. That will help expand your following further. (Needless to say, it's wise to return the favor from time to time.)