Tools of the
Naturally, the tools you need depend on the opportunity path
you want to pursue, and I cover most of them in the individual
One reason I put this site together is because it’s too easy
to be sold a single tool, and not realize that it’s just one
piece of a much larger puzzle, and without the other pieces,
your one piece isn't all that helpful. So what I’m trying to do
here is show how the pieces fit together.
So for example, if you’re interested in the
GoogleCash approach, really all you need is a
keyword research tool. And the Commission Junction Site will be
useful. But if you’re also going to get into the more advanced
option of using Landing pages (as you should) then you’ll want
to consider a web hosting account, which can be free or at
least very inexpensive (US$4 a month), and some kind of html
editor to put the pages together. And free FTP software to put
the site up on the host’s computer when you’ve built it.
Looking for automated site generation for
Adsense income (or other income opportunities)? Start
with Keyword research. A text processor is useful, not
essential. An html editor is useful, almost essential ... but
you can get away with just a text processor if you’re willing
to learn a little html code. Graphics ... useful for the header
graphic. But then you add a bunch of other stuff if you want
your site to get a better ranking, and last longer in the
Search Engines. Plus you need a hosting account, of course.
If you’re interested in Affiliate
marketing, then the Commission Junction site will be
useful, but you’re also looking at keyword research and web
page editors. A hosting account. With a good case to be made
for autoresponders. There’s value in the tools to get traffic
to your site, too, of course. Then there’s a potential role for
a Blog; which in turn might benefit from RSS2Blog software ...
as you see, this stuff can easily escalate.
Information products ... you just need to
build a simple web site, so just a web page editor and perhaps
a graphics program. The inevitable hosting account. And the
equally inevitable keyword research. But you’ll probably also
want to add autoresponders.
If Joint Ventures is your game ...
actually, you don’t need a lot more than a Browser to
Anyway, what follows is just an overview of some of the most
1. First, some organizational
software that isn't mentioned in any of the main
“opportunity” pages. It’s of value regardless of the
- The single most important … download, learn and use
free software called Keynote. Use it to keep every little
piece of “loose” data in a single, search-able location.
You can open unlimited files, have unlimited notes in
each file, have unlimited entries on each note, have
indented “nodes” for each topic , etc. It’s a life saver
because you're going to get flooded with little bits of
valuable information, and most people have no logical
place to store it all.
- If you use Internet Explorer, Netscape, Mozilla,
NetCaptor or Opera as your Web Browser, seriously consider
buying a very useful piece of software called Linkstash. You’re going to discover
100’s, even 1000’s of useful links as you get into
Internet Marketing and you simply never know when you'll
need to find them. I finally got completely ticked off
at the incredible lack of functionality in the
“Favourites” or “Bookmarks” functions of the
conventional Browsers, did a lot of research, and
Linkstash is the answer to an Internet Marketers dream.
You can capture addresses, create folders, add comments,
sort, move stuff around, and search, … all so easily it
makes me even more angry that the Browser manufacturers
didn't provide this service. It simply integrates with
the browser's toolbar (if you choose). And it’s
- If you really start getting into Internet
Marketing, consider buying an excellent password manager
(and more) called Roboform. When you register domains,
you open an account with the registrar that needs a
log-in name and password. When you choose a web host or
hosts … ditto. If you join any forums … ditto.
Membership sites … ditto. Software you download has
passwords when you install or re-install. E-Books have
passwords. Open a Yahoo or hotmail e-mail address … user
name and password, please. Gmail? Ditto. Blogger
account? Yep. Do you want to track sources of traffic
(the answer, by the way, is “yes”)? You need user name
and password. Do you want to open an Adwords account? Or
an Adsense account? Do you want to use services like
Blogburner, or Articleburner, or RSS Equalizer? User
name and password, please.
I hope you're seeing the point. Now, you CAN keep all
these on Keynote. And you can encrypt your keynote file to
keep the information safe against computer theft. But
Roboform is designed specifically for making password and
log-in simple and secure, and it does a great job. It does
a lot more besides ... it's a form-filler, for example.
Keep it in mind.
2. One quick item here: Text
If you are doing anything with keywords, or with web page
editing, or with e-mail marketing, there will come a time when
you need a useful text processor.
When you write in MS Word, for example, which is a word
processor and not a text processor, your document includes a
great many formatting characters that MS Word normally hides
from you (go into Tools, Options, select the “View” tab, then
click in each of the formatting marks boxes and click “OK” to
see what I mean). If you write something in MS Word, then cut
and paste it into a Web page, or into an e-mail, there is a
real danger that these extra characters will mess up your html
code or your e-mail format in unpredictable ways.
So what you need is software that deals ONLY with text.
That’s a text processor.
Everyone with Windows gets a text processor included. It’s
called Notepad, and it stinks.
What you need is something like the one I use
and recommend, called Textpad. There are a lot of reasons to
like Textpad. For one, it allows you to have a lot of files
open at one time, and see the whole list at all times. It
also allows you to call a collection of files a “work area”
and open them all, or close them all, simultaneously. You
can also choose to set the character width of any text …
vitally necessary for e-mails, where you'll typically aim
for 65 characters, else your beautiful e-mail can end up
looking like amateur night, with page breaks where there
shouldn't be any, 1-word lines, etc. You can keep snippets
of text in a separate library and import them wherever you
want; and you can download extremely useful macros that
strip blank lines from text, strip those aggravating
>> characters from forwarded e-mails, and so on.
With keywords, Textpad is useful as a basis for getting
exported files from Wordtracker (more on this in a minute)
and storing them in a comma-separated-variable format (csv),
which makes it very easy to import them into Microsoft Excel,
for analysis and sorting.
Textpad is simply a great workhorse, it's almost always open
on my PC. And it's inexpensive.
3. OK, now for
The ultimate tool for keyword research is an online service
Now, you’ll find a lot of people pointing you to Overture (a
Pay-Per-Click Search Engine) as a free keyword research tool.
And you’ll find a wide variety of other keyword analysis and
keyword research tools out there, new ones arrive at a fairly
regular pace, and the functionality of the new ones can be very
valuable indeed (which is why they’re so pricey). I have a
couple myself, and I’ll be buying at least another one soon. If
I like it, I’ll add it to this list.
The problem is, Overture itself (of course) and most of
these other tools use Overture's data as a basis for estimating
the volume of traffic searching for a keyword; and I simply
don’t believe that Overture’s data is an accurate indication of
the traffic you’ll find for any given keyword. I believe
Wordtracker’s data is. You might use the other tools to
generate keywords, to show the pay-per-click performance, or
number of Adwords Ads, or … etc; but this one thing, a
usefully accurate picture of keyword search volume,
makes Wordtracker indispensable for any of the opportunities
that need keyword research. This is also why a year’s
subscription to Wordtracker isn’t cheap; but you can subscribe
for a single day, week, month or year, so you don’t have to
spend a lot.
To illustrate a point: Dr. Andy Williams, A Search Engine
Optimization (SEO) expert tells a story where Overture
indicated 47,000+ searches on a certain term in recent weeks
(meaning, there should be many times that volume from all other
search engines). He created web pages, optimized them
successfully and earned #1 positions with first MSN, then
Google. Which should have been pure gold ... so he prepared for
the millions to roll in! 2 days later... he had received only 6
visitors. How could this be possible? He checked with
Wordtracker, and discovered that Wordtracker’s projection was
for 41 searches a month. I hope the moral is clear. (I
recommend visiting Dr. William’s site, where you
should subscribe to his EZSEO Internet Marketing Newsletter –
which is superb – and you’ll get a couple of free reports
including a Wordtracker Tutorial that is excellent; you can
also download a free report on search engine
Another Pro, Guido Stiehle, has a site called Jungle Marketer where he offers a
newsletter and if you become a subscriber, you get
access to some very valuable videos, including a Wordtracker
video tutorial. Highly recommended.
I thought it was tough to go wrong
here, but there are some registrars that make it difficult to
do some necessary things. You'll find that prices vary a lot.
And as you get deeper into some of the opportunity paths (not
all) you might find your requirements of a web host change
I have some sites hosted with a huge company called
1&1, they've been an excellent host
(but see my comments in the next section, Hosting), and they
provide domain registration for US$5.99 a pop which is
pretty darn good. They also provide a FREE anonymous
registration service that hides your information from anyone
wanting to know who owns the domain. This can be useful, it
cuts down on Spam too, but there is a rumour that Google
penalizes (or is going to penalize) anonymous sites in the
rankings. Who knows whether there’s any truth in that
I have a bunch of domains registered with Misk.com, they're US$9.95 a pop, I like
their ability to check dozens of domain names simultaneously
to see if they're available, a function which you may not
need or value at all; and it’s extremely simple to set name
servers to point individual registered domains to whichever
host you choose. There are cheaper alternatives (1&1 for
one, that sounds like a confused musketeer, sorry) but I
keep renewing at Misk because they make everything so easy
for me to leave my domains there. But one thing they don't
do is, offer private or anonymous registration. Of course,
that shouldn't bother most people.
For anyone wanting to work with hundreds of domains, another
factor comes into play; how easy a registrar makes it to work
with lists of domains at a time, rather than individual
domains. Registering is one thing, but then going in and trying
to change the name servers for 100 or 200 domains to point to
the actual host is a tiresome chore.
I now have a problem here; I've used Godaddy for this and they've been
excellent but I am doing my damndest to get all my sites off
there as soon as possible because they have at least a
couple of policies that are problems for me. One has the
potential to cost me thousands per year. The other has the
potential to almost put me out of business based on 100% no
fault of my own. Neither is acceptable.
But is does leave me hunting a registrar with
mass-registration and management capability. I just hope
1&1 add this soon.
Last issue: when you're looking at choosing a domain name,
should you aim for dot com or dot net or dot info or … what?
From my perspective, it HAS to be dot com for an individual
site you want to do well. If you're into the mass-domain game,
generating scores of quick and dirty sites, however, you might
find the others more appealing; there’s a wider selection of
names, and some of the dot info registrations are dirt cheap.
At the moment, registration of dot info sites with 1&1 is
free for the first year! But that might change by the time you
read this, of course.
Here’s my only contribution, for what it’s worth; I
registered a couple of hundred domains, of all kinds except dot
info, within an hour of each other; created web sites of almost
identical sizes for each, within hours of each other; and did
the same traffic-generation activities for them all,
simultaneously (or close to it). Without exception the dot coms
were indexed first by Yahoo and Google, the dot orgs were
indexed WEEKS later and never fully indexed, either. And I
mean, EVERY dot org. The dot nets were in between. When you're
talking 200+ sites, the difference in the income between the
dot coms and the dot orgs over the first few months from this
discrapancy was significant, at least it was for me.
5. OK, to
I've had a long-term “Just so you know I exist” site (meaning,
it’s never been any value as a marketing tool per se, just
existed for basic credibility) with a particular host, paid
US$30 a month for it for years, and never really thought about
the whole hosting issue until I got deeper into Internet
My first Internet Marketing sites were with
1&1 and as I say, I like them a lot.
For less than US$20 a month I get enough disk space and
bandwidth to host 30 or 40 independent websites with 100 to
3000 pages on them, collecting a fair few visitors each. Not
bad, considering I've not even made a serious bite into my
allotment of disk space and bandwidth. And their service, on
the rare occasions I have needed it, has been excellent.
The only problem I have is that they don't use a form of
Control Panel called Cpanel. This is no big deal by itself, but
I am very much into Blogs as an Internet Marketing
tool; and if you're going to be into Internet Marketing,
you too are almost certainly going to have to be into Blogs.
Specifically, Wordpress Blogs. I'm not talking about Blogger,
here; these are Blogs you can place on your website (or they
can be a website all to themselves) and they are very Search
Now, Wordpress Blogs have a “famous 5-minute installation”
which involves editing scripts and uploading them to your
website with FTP and changing file permissions and stuff like
that … which is as ugly as it sounds, if you're
non-techie. Or else you can choose a “Wordpress friendly”
web host with a neat tool called Fantastico, as part of a
CPanel control panel, which makes the whole thing pretty
much a 1-button set-up. Also, there are pieces of software that
will create dozens of WordPress Blogs simultaneously ... but
again, only with CPanel.
So, HostGator comes into play. These folk
offer unlimited domains, sub-domains, and MySQL databases,
for under $10; you'll see why I like them when you review my
criteria below. They're not perfect ... they don't meet
all my criteria ... but they're pretty darned good. Better
These are some of the factors influencing my
- Unlimited domains. I expect to have
more than 1000 sites up in the very near future, I don't
want to have 1000 different hosting accounts, so I go for
“virtual server” or “developer” style hosting accounts
where I can put as many domains up as the space
If you're going to be putting up 1 or 2 or 3 sites, if for
example your preference is to develop content-rich theme
sites packed with content and promoting affiliate deals …
this is not a big deal. When you have 100’s of domains to
set-up, this is a major issue. I might want to spread
them over 2 or 3 hosts but still, I want lots of domains
- Unlimited sub-domains, or at least, a
lot; I don't use sub-domains very much, but they can be
very, very useful for all sorts of things (including search
engine optimization, improving Adwords click-through rates,
and a basis for some cost savings over registering new
domains) and I will use them more in the future.
- Lots of MySQL databases. I simply
don't get why some hosts limit you to three, others to 10
or 15 or 25, while others offer unlimited MySQL databases,
for essentially the same price.
- Quick set-up. Typically for each site,
you have to go through a routine of creating the folder
with the site name on the server. Again, if you're going to
be putting up 1 or 2 or 3 sites, for example, over a 6
month period, this is not a big deal. But when you
have a few hundred, a quick set-up is really valuable. I've
not yet found a good host for this, incidentally.
- Statistics. I want to know as much as
possible about my sites … and not all statistics packages
that come with the hosting are useful. I want to know the
number of visitors and unique visitors, where they came
from, where they landed, where they wandered on the site,
if possible how long they stayed, where they exited from,
- Unique IP addresses. Here’s something
again that most 1,2 or 3 –site people will rarely need to
worry about; but as an Internet Marketer building multiple
web sites you are probably going to want to have sites that
link to each other in some configuration, and having
separate IP addresses implies to a Search Engine that the
sites aren't under common ownership.
This is important … Search Engines (Google in particular)
rank sites more highly that have other sites linking to
them; there is an assumption that if lots of sites link to
another, it must have some good stuff to offer visitors.
And therefore deserve a good ranking. However, if all the
sites in a linked network have the same IP address, Google
could suspect that the links are from sites owned by the
same person or company, artificially attempting to create a
perception of value, in effect Google might suspect the
owner is trying to manipulate Search Engine rankings (as
if!). Google is reputed to not like this very much, and so
is reputed to penalize sites it suspects of doing this.
So, there is a case for unique IP addresses for any sites
that are to be linked together in any kind of mini-net. Not
many Hosts can do this for you.
So if you want unique IP addresses for each site, be
prepared to pay for it. US$1 per month per IP address is
common. This might not sound much but when you have 1000
sites … it stings.
I've used one host for a lot of my big-volume hosting, and
they've done mostly a good job with all of the above except
statistics, where I have to download the raw data and analyze
it myself. But man, these guys are expensive! I've been
shown a new option, and I'm exploring it, so I won't recommend
either my old or the new big-volume host just yet.
So … 1&1 is great if you're not into
multiple Blogs (I'm talking dozens, or even hundreds).
Hostgator is great whether or not you are
into multiple Blogs. And less expensive.
By the way, one option is to have my own (dedicated) server
… and I'm close to the point of doing this. Nevertheless, I
still have a need for other hosts, so 1&1 and Hostgator
will continue to see business from me.
Site creation, editing and management software
There are many factors to consider here, including personality
One bit of terminology up-front; unless you're experienced,
you need a WYSIWYG editor, "What You See Is What You Get,"
meaning that you can actually see what the web page will look
like as you edit it. This is a big deal; when you construct a
web page you are writing in a programming language called html
that's gobbledegook to most sane people. With a WYSIWYG editor,
you don't have to know the language; you can build a web page
pretty much as you'd write a Word Processing document. You say
what you want, the editing software creates the html code for
you and you need never see it.
First, there ARE some free editors that aren't bad.
You can download an editor called
Mozilla, for example; go to http://www.mozilla.com/, choose
“products,” choose “Mozilla Suite,” identify your operating
system (for example, Windows), and download the suite. When
you install the software and open the browser you'll find an
option (under the Windows function on the menu bar at the
top of the screen) for “compose.” This gives you a
What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get (WYSIWIG) editor that does the
basic things reasonably well.
You can also wander along to a site
called Nvu (or N-view, for new-view) and download
their software. This too is free, and provides a perfectly
good WYSIWIG editor, too.
But you can get more functionality if you pay … just be
aware, it takes different shapes.
I used MS FrontPage for years but
there was a time long ago when I was a programmer, I have a bit
of left-over technical snobbery, and the html code that MS
FrontPage generated (up to FrontPage 2003, at least) made me
vomit. Yes, it was often easy to use. Yes, I still turn to it
when Dreamweaver gets the better of me. But if I bought it
today, it would be as the most user-friendly “tweaker” of
existing web pages … FrontPage makes it very easy to open a
webpage, and tweak it. You know, add an image, change the
colour of the background, change a font or text size, add a
link, etc. It’s great for that.
The technical snob in me demanded
that I try Dreamweaver, and I did. It’s beautiful. It generates
superb html code. But I haven't had the time to learn it … so I
can only appreciate it’s beauty from afar. Occasionally I'll
open a web page and try to edit it using Dreamweaver, sometimes
I'm successful and go into smug mode for a while, but most
often my attempt is the precursor to some growing frustration,
with consequent cursing, followed by the embarrassed opening of
FrontPage and a quick fix to whatever was bothering me. I see
Dreamweaver as a bit like golf, I love it but won't play it
again until I take lessons because the frustration level is
just too high.
But then there’s XSitePro. And if I had a webcam, you'd see
me drool; not a pretty site. XSitePro is a piece of software
that makes it easy for me to open it up, have a decent
design for the basic website in about 5 minutes, bring any
pre-written content in, and have a website ready for upload
in an hour or two. I can create attractive landing pages for
my GoogleCash campaigns and for Adwords arbitrage campaigns
in literally a couple of minutes.
If what you want is the website, attractive but plain, no
fancy buttons or animated flashy stuff or navigation bars that
light up like a pinball machine … if what you want is the
ability to get a decent looking, fully-functioning site up and
on the ‘Net ASAP, XSitepro is incredible. It’s not perfect, for
example it doesn't make it easy to place web pages in
different directories, and some tecchies complain that you
can't edit the CSS file … but it’s getting better
all the time, and it’s already very, very good.
What I most like about it is that it is aimed at people who
want to be Marketers, not website developers. It places the
minimum technical barrier in front of your web site development
- people with ZERO web site experience can build an attractive
and effective site in hours - and it places a whole host
of tools in front of you to help you with your marketing
For example, it offers Search Engine Optimization help and
advice as you build the pages and the site. It stores your
domain registration information in a handy place. It stores
your web hosting information in a handy place. Once you've
set-up an Affiliate link, it’s available to any other website
you build within XSitePro with a single click. You set-up
Adsense once, then place it wherever you want with a single
click. You can store snippets of code, or scripts, and insert
them in any site in your XSitePro with a single click. And
much, much more. It automatically creates a Sitemap for you. It
can create a Google Sitemap for you, and walk you through the
submission process. You can import a series of articles, and it
imports the series automatically and creates a new page for
each – formatted perfectly. It creates pop-ups for you. You can
load a long document, and have it automatically split into
multiple pages … with each page automatically linking to the
If you are really into web site development, or want
something fancy, by all means use FrontPage or Dreamweaver, but
be prepared to invest the time to learn the software thoroughly
or you'll waste a lot of time.
But if you want the quickest route to a basic money-making
site, buy XSitePro. It's awesome.
And you have the option of taking both tacks, by the way;
develop a quick and basic site with XSitePro, export it to
FrontPage or Dreamweaver, then add any fancy stuff you choose.
What you cannot then do is work on it any further with
XSitePro. But that may be OK.
6 months ago this would have been a
painful topic for me.
I own a lot of very expensive graphics software. I LOVE it.
I love what it can do. I can lock myself in the bathroom for
hours flipping through the “Mastering your Graphics Software”
manual, with fantasies of recreating those beautiful graphics.
I've watched the tutorials, and become determined to master
this stuff. But my reality is that I have been able to do
almost nothing useful with it whatsoever. I don't have time to
learn it properly; and my need for it is infrequent so what I
do learn, I forget by the time I need it again.
Unfortunately, there is a need for SOME graphic output with
most web sites.
The single most common requirement is for the header
graphic; the graphic at the top of every web page. Sometimes,
there’s also a need for some “buttons,” or bullets or other
What I'm looking for, as a marketer, is to get from “not
having a header graphic” to “having a decent looking header
graphic,” in the minimum time possible.
And for me, the equivalent of XSitePro for graphics is a
piece of software from Netstudio called Easy Web Graphics. It offers some
beautiful full-page and full-web themes … among the best
looking templates you'll find anywhere … but most
importantly, it enables someone like me, who'd struggle to
draw a pension, to create entirely acceptable and even
rather good web graphics in minutes. My wife, my daughter
and I have created several websites since we bought Easy Web
Graphics and we've not needed to open ANY of our expensive,
powerful drawing or painting software since.
Easy Web Graphics is not cheap. And it’s a real pain that
you can only install it on one computer (many vendors permit
two). But if you're going to develop more than just a couple of
sites, it’s pure gold. You'll probably use it for an hour or
two a month at most; but the alternative is to spend hours
messing around with some complex stuff, or to pay someone else
to do it for you. (Not a bad option, incidentally, but if
you're like me you often don't know what you want until you see
it; so even when I do hire outside help, I first use Easy Web
Graphics to help me work out roughly what I'm looking for.)
8. FTP Software
(File Transfer Protocol)
Even if you use MS Frontpage or Dreamweaver or XSitePro, each
of which includes FTP functionality, the time will come when
you'll need some independent FTP software. You'll need it for
WordPress Blogs, most likely. To install tracking software, or
Adsense tracking software. To install scripts of various kinds.
And so on.
There IS some free FTP software out there; in fact, almost all
the professionals seem to advocate using free or inexpensive
- Filezilla, which you can get from http://www.downloads.com/, is highly
recommended; just look at the user reviews. It’s easy,
and it works.
- I have used AceFTP from the same source, I don't
understand why some user reviews are less positive than for
FileZilla, I thought it worked great. It’s powerful,
reliable, and genuinely free.
- SmartFTP (same source) has an interface that can take
some getting used to, but it’s certainly powerful when you
Should you consider buying FTP software? If you just a have
a couple of regular sites … I don't think so.
But if you're into the site generation game … I think you
should consider it. Long ago, before I gained a dim sense of
what I was doing, I bought a software package called WS-FTP
Pro. Today, it'll cost you (best price) US$55 or so. I've tried
all the others but when I'm uploading two or three 3000-page
sites, each of which can take 20 or 30 minutes even with my
broadband connection, I still rely on WS_FTP Pro.
Of course some of the Pros will tell you there’s no place
anymore for such large sites anyway!
9. Getting Good Rankings
with the Search Engines!
You can have the most beautiful, most valuable site in the
world, but if you don't get any traffic, it’s worthless.
And by the way, 99% of all websites get almost no traffic,
because the site builders knew not what they were doing. Most
web developers haven't a clue about getting traffic; their
focus is on making it look snazzy and “neat.”
Search Engine optimization starts with the selection of the
theme, and keyword research that tells you which keywords will
give you the best chance of initial traffic, which give you the
best chance for high volume traffic later on, which pages
therefore need to exist, and which keywords they should be
optimized for. Dr. Andy Williams’ free reports on keyword
research and Niche Sites explain a very useful way of looking
at this (so, sign up for his newsletter; I mentioned it
earlier, it's called the EZSEO Internet Marketing Newsletter).
Then there’s On-page optimization … there are some important
basics in terms of the Page Title, and Description, and
Keywords, all in the page header; then in the body of the page
there’s the use of keywords in headlines, and the keyword
density in the paragraphs and especially the first and last
paragraphs; using bold to emphasize the keywords throughout the
page, using keywords discreetly as the alt description for
graphic images, and so on.
But in reality, on-page optimization has to be balanced with
the readability of the page. If you wrote the page to be the
most appealing to a visitor, or to be the most effective as a
sales letter, you'd write it very differently than if you wrote
it for Search Engine optimization. So you compromise,
The real issue, though, is that the rank your page will
receive in the Search Engines is greatly impacted by what’s
called off-site optimization; essentially, by:
- How many links come into your site from other web sites
(implying that your site is perceived to be valuable, by
other web site owners)
- The topic of the sites linking to you
- The relative ranking of the sites linking to you
- Whether the link is 1-way or reciprocal (do they just
link to you, or do you also link to them, suggesting that
the link is less an indication of value than of an
agreement to help each other)
- The actual wording used in the “anchor text” that
contains the link to you
This leads to two different tactics.
Tactic number one is, to get as many links from other
relevant sites as possible; and make sure the links have the
appropriate anchor text. This leads to mostly reciprocal links
- in return for linking to you, the other sites want you to
link to them. This is better than not having links, but not as
good as having 1-way links into your site.
Tactic number two therefore is, to write articles that
include a link to your website, and submit them to Article
Directories where anyone interested can download your article
and use it on their website or in their newsletter. This leads
to 1-way links, the best kind, both from the highly-ranked
article directory web sites, and from any other web sites that
publish your artticle (which is what you want them to do).
The problem is, both tactics are exceedingly laborious. The
first one means tracking down sites you want links from,
finding out who to contact, putting the link to their site on
yours (this is customary), crafting an e-mail, sending it,
waiting for a response, checking they have actually put the
link up, etc. The second one means writing articles, putting
them up on your web site, then submitting them to numerous
article directories ... which is very, very tedious.
So, that’s where two marvellous software packages come
The first of these is SEO Elite by Brad Callen. His basic
strategy is so obvious it’s brilliant, and his software is
superb at helping make the strategy happen. The strategy is
simple: see who’s number 1 for a given keyword, find out
what they are doing on-page and off-page, then do it better
To do this, you find the top page(s), using SEO Elite, and
manually check on their on-page optimization and match or
exceed it on your page, then the software really kicks in; you
use SEO Elite software to go and find every site that links to
the #1 site; note what the anchor text is that they are using
(this is important); dig-out what the contact e-mail address is
for the site; automatically craft an e-mail requesting they
link to you, and optionally offering a reciprocal link; and if
they agree, to add the link automatically to your site. In
fact, the software does much more than, but this is the heart
of it. This is truly the Elite of SEO software. It can get
you from nowhere to a top-10 position in the Search Engines, as
quickly as the Search Engines make possible. With a fraction of
the effort associated with doing it by hand (probably 100th of
the effort, or less). And that’s worth gold. I have never seen
anything but praise for SEO Elite.
The next piece of software is Article Announcer Article Marketing
System by Jason Potash. He calls it a system because this
course teaches you pretty much everything you could hope to
know about how to write and use Articles effectively; this
is THE course.
As for the software itself ... while it cannot 100% automate
the submission of articles to each Article Directory (nothing
can, unfortunately, because they are all so different in their
requirements, formatting, and quality) it can take about 80% of
the labor away, and that’s a huge boon. Most especially because
using articles effectively in this way can give you dozens,
even hundreds, and in theory even thousands of incoming links
in a relatively short time, when we're talking about the right
topics. The leverage of a single article can be enormous. And,
links translate into higher rankings. Which translate into more
traffic. Which translates into more money.
10. Autoresponders are vital – if you
want to make the move from pocket money to serious money with
most of the opportunities on this site - because the
serious money most often begins with a properly-maintained and
serviced Opt-In List.
The autoresponder products give you a mechanism to capture
subscribers who Opt-in to receive a newsletter or EZine or to
download some bribe; to e-mail them in a planned sequence after
you’ve nabbed their names, initially with the intention of
establishing a relationship of sorts, later to present them
with opportunities to transfer cash from their account to
yours. And also to handle regular or occasional mail-outs,
perhaps newsletters or just a breaking-news opportunity of some
There are freebies available; Free Autobot.com is a useful product,
for example. And, some hosting accounts provide good quality
autoresponders, too, as part of their package; 3rd Sphere comes to mind as a highly
recommended host in this regard, although I really, really
dislike their “hypnotic marketing” style copy on their home
page “As you read every word of this page you will
understand without a doubt ...” Sorry, just not my cup of
But the professionals have their own favorites, and chief
among these are AWeber, 1shoppingcart, and GetResponse. Now, you can compare AWeber
and GetResponse head-on-head; they are genuinely direct
competitors, both have passionate followers, and if you
wander along to their websites you’ll get a sense of just
how much they offer. Theirs is a world focused on effective
capturing of information, effective delivery (no small task
with all the spam filters out there that kill Opt-In mail as
easily as Spam), and ease-of-use.
There is no simple apples and apples comparison between
either of these and 1shoppingcart, though. 1shoppingcart
is an integrated Internet Marketing system that includes the
sign-up capture and follow-up, but also offers shopping cart
software, tracking, integration with merchant accounts,
download e-Book management, and etc … many sub-systems that all
work beautifully together.
Yer pays yer money, yer takes yer choice, as my folks used to
11. If you’re
interested in the Affiliate Marketing route, one resource you
really need to get to know is Commission
Wander along to the Commission Junction site and click on “Our
Clients.” Choose a category such as “clothing/apparel” from
the drop down list. Click “Search.” You’ll see a list of
companies who have registered with Commission Junction to
handle their Affiliate program. These are all companies
which really, really want affiliates to promote their
products. They are looking for YOU! The list tells you
the commission they offer.
When you register, you can see a lot more; you can search for
companies that pay per lead (instead of commission per sale).
You can even see approximately how much you can expect to earn
for a 1000 visitors for any merchant.
There are other Affiliate directories (and you should
explore them), and Commission Junction can be a pain to deal
with (be aware when you sign-up that you're a "publisher," for
example; not exactly intuitive), and their system occasionally
“goes down” at inconvenient times but all in all ... they're
very good, and definitely a good starting point.
12. One of the
many different business issues that separates the Pros from the
amateurs is the topic of Tracking.
For example, I have a bunch of sites that send traffic to
one particular site; one that makes me money. Knowing which
site sends the most traffic, which the least, and even which
specific links on which pages send me the most and which the
least, can make a tremendous difference to my income from this
network. I now have a rational basis to make changes; and, by
tracking the impact of changes, almost every improvement
translates into a pay raise.
Another example: I have a site with 100 pages, each has
Adsense on it, different locations, different ad sizes,
different number of occurrences. Learning which ads, on which
pages, pay off the most is huge; it can literally enable me to
double or triple my Adsense income from a site. And again,
every improvement is a pay raise!
Or, I’m not sure which headline on a selling page works best.
With good tracking software, I can have both sales letters up,
pass visitors to different pages alternatively, and track which
letter outperforms the other in terms of conversion.
Hands down, the Adsense tracker I recommend is Adsense Gold. I’ve used it for
months, and it works exactly as it’s supposed to. And by
doing so, it enables me to take an hour or so each week and
give myself a pay raise (Thanks, John Reese, for this
perspective on testing).
I use Adtrackz to track all the others stuff ...
and I like it a lot, it has some extremely useful features.
The only thing that bothers me is that I see a lot of the
Pros using Hypertracker... and I’m weak minded enough
to sometimes wonder what I’m missing. But I have to say,
Adtrackz has worked exactly as they said it would, I’m
delighted with it and the reports I get from it ... and most
of all ... it, too enables me to take a bit of time each
week and, literally, give myself a pay raise.
I have now started to use GoTryThis, and love it; but
there's a white-hat and a black-hat version and I missed the
black-hat version (sold out) and the advantages of the
white-hat version over Adtrackz aren't very large.
13. Moving away
from the mainstream … there’s a very good chance you’ll want to
install WordPress and do some
You can get the software directly from the Wordpress site; it's free, and
installation takes 5 minutes (but is a bit messy if you're a
complete non-tecchie). Or, if your web host has
Fantastico, you can log-in to your hosting account, go to
Fantastico, choose WordPress, key-in some basic information
about the Blog and Press “go” and it’ll create it for
Why would you want to get into Blogging?
Well … at a standalone level, you can simply create a Blog on a
“hot” topic, add Adsense to the Blog, stir-up some traffic, and
enjoy a nice stream of income for a while. Probably not a lot …
perhaps just a few bucks ... but it’s not unusual for a “hot”
Blog to generate more than $150 a month in Adsense.
But Blogs have other, more strategic uses.
A network of Blogs that include links to each other and to
your web site can do wonders to create the perception in the
Search Engines that your Web Site is indeed worth noticing. And
worthy of a higher rank than it would otherwise have. These are
called Blog farms; and I have to warn you, we're edging a
little towards what's called "Black Hat" Search Engine
Optimization. From a practical perspective, the difficulty with
this strategy is the time it takes to install so many
Blogs, and set them up correctly to look legitimate and to
be Search Engine optimized. Two excellent software
packages take care of this for you; WordPress Builder creates hundreds of
Blogs for you in minutes, each in whatever domain you
choose; and, WordPress Elite provides a way to manage
them all from a single control point, including making sure
the themes aren't the standard ones and that all Search
Engine optimization strategies are in place. Beautiful ...
if you're into this Black Hat stuff, which of course
And, a Blog on an otherwise static web site can add life to
a site that’s stagnating in the eyes of the Search Engines,
with regular postings to the Blog causing the Search Engines to
become regular visitors satisfied to discover fresh content.
And you can get clever, too; have extracts from the blog posted
on your web site via what’s known as an RSS feed. And, have
extracts from your Web site posted to your Blog. Almost (but
not quite) perpetual motion! This is NOT Black Hat; just, good
Unfortunately, there’s one nasty little catch in all this.
For a Blog strategy to be effective … there must be Blog
activity. There is a need for posts to regularly be made to a
Blog. And that can be a chore, and very, very time consuming.
Unless you take advantage of some automated Blogging
Now, be aware we are beginning to edge even
further towards the dark side here. Because the automated
Blogging options, in truth, provide limited value to a human
Blog reader. They are primarily devices to cause the Search
Engines to perceive that there is “normal” human activity. You
have some ethical decisions to make here. Just to be clear; I
have no ethical problem with trying to manipulate the Search
Engines, these guys are not the Law! They are simply
businesses, looking to make a profit for their shareholders;
and if you think about it, they make money by “scraping” words
from your web site to present on a web page (the results of a
search) where they make money by selling space on that page to
advertisers. Nothing wrong there, the Search Engines provide a
terrific service, just don’t mistake them for being anything
other than businesses out to make a buck. Where an ethical
argument carries more weight in my opinion is if your actions
waste a user's time.
Because you can e-mail posts into WordPress Blogs, one
work-around approach to automated Blogging would be to use
Instant Niche e-mails software, combined
with free autoresponder software from Free Autobot. This enables you to quickly
generate 52 messages (for example) which can then be
mailed automatically to a Blog, keeping it alive with weekly
postings while you have little more to do.
Another more sophisticated approach is to use RSS2Blog software to post RSS
feeds to your WordPress Blogs every day; as many times a day
as you choose. Such posts are likely to be on-topic, and
timely; just, not human driven. The software is quite
astonishing, very powerful. It has one other very powerful
option ... you can use it to post "datafeeds" from
merchants with whom you have an Affiliate deal ... every day
posting another product image, description, and "click here"
button for anyone wanting to buy! Sweet.
14. And as we
edge closer to the dark side of Internet Marketing, we get to
automated web site generation ... for Adsense
income, Opt-In name generation, or Affiliate Marketing.
There are several options here. Traffic Equalizer (TE) is one of the
first site builders, has had a huge following, but it has a
reputation today for being “found out” by the Search
Engines. (Advocates say you can get around that by
customizing your templates, among other things.) Next to TE,
the most popular software for generating keyword-rich sites
that attract attention and generate Adsense income is
probably Directory Generator (DG). If you feed it
templates and keywords, it will generate a web site of 1000,
2000 even 3000 pages in under 45 minutes on a slow computer,
in less than 5 minutes on a fast one -- automatically
including your Adsense code on every page. You can then
upload the pages to your web site using FTP software, do the
magical things that get the Search Engines to index your
site, … then watch your Adsense income start up.
But be aware … the Search Engines don’t think highly of the
pages generated by this software, and they are getting smarter
and smarter at recognizing them. They even hire people to
personally visit sites to confirm that they're legitimate
sites. If your machine generated site is considered to be a
"junk" site ... the Search Engine will simply give you a lousy
rank. Which means almost no-one will find you when they do a
search, which means you won't get traffic, which means you
won't get the Adsense income.
But that's not inevitable; you CAN have
software-generated pages that rank highly and don’t get quickly
dropped by the Search Engines, IF you are prepared to find
ways to disguise the origin of the pages, and to add content to
these pages that the Search Engines consider to be of value to
One way is to use an online service called RSS Equalizer. This takes the
headline and first paragraph from keyword-relevant RSS
feeds, and writes them onto your web pages as static content
i.e. the Search Engines see keyword-appropriate content.
Directory Generator was actually designed to incorporate
feeds from RSS Equalizer. This helps, but it's not
Another tactic is to include code in your Directory
Generated pages from another online service
called Article Burner. This is a service
which enables you to build a pool of keyword-relevant
articles pulled (legitimately) from the largest article
directories on the ‘Net, and add them automatically to your
web site when visitors (including Search Engines) see your
web pages. You might collect a pool of 50 - 100 articles;
Article Burner then rotates them so that someone downloading
a page from your site will see one article one day, another
the next. The same with Search Engines ... they get the
impression that your web page has the article as legitimate
content, and what's more every now and again when the Search
Engine comes back to your site it sees different content,
which Search Engines like ... it suggests the site is
constantly being updated with new content.
And you can go even further … consider adding a WordPress
Blog to your Directory-Generated site, too. And updating it
with the automated Blogging techniques I mentioned earlier, for
example using RSS2Blog.
Now, if all this “dark side” material seems like a lot of
work in order to avoid the work associated with a "real” site…
you are not wrong.
There’s a STRONG case to be made that you are far better off
building a pure-as-the-driven-snow content-rich theme site,
providing high levels of good quality content for visitors and
(almost incidentally) providing good cause for visitors to
click through to the sales pages of merchants with whom you
have affiliate deals; or, click on interesting and relevant
Adword ads on the page. The justification for this is as
- Such a site will probably generate a respectable income
if correctly planned and executed. $1000 a month or more
would not be unusual for a good site after several months –
200 visitors a day yielding perhaps 4 sales, each sale
contributing $7.50 commission on average, and there’s $900
a month. It can be a lot less, but it can also be much,
much more. No promises here, though - what you get will be
the results of your own efforts and behaviour and I've no
control over that.
- It should rank well, and get decent traffic, if the
kind of strategy promoted by Dr. Andy Williams is followed
in designing the site, and the strategies to get links
suggested by Brad Callen with the support of SEO Elite, and by Jason Potash with
the support of Article Announcer, are employed.
- It should carry lucrative and appealing merchandise,
that visitors are genuinely interested in buying, if you
did the research up front as you should. (Dr. Andy
- It should have a good click-through rate if you have
used solid copywriting techniques.
- The site should have a long life, and remain well
placed through all the Google and Yahoo and MSN re-shuffles
(the generated sites don't last long unless you use the
tactics I described above).
- You’ll never be concerned about Google “grey-barring”
your site for “cheating” or warning you that you’re
violating the Adsense terms of service.
- You can sleep well knowing you’re not cluttering the
web with “junk” sites intended primarily to cause people to
click on Google’s ads, offering the minimum of value
necessary to stay in good legitimate in the eyes of the
- You’ll have sites you can proudly point friends and
Potential income: One of the top Adsense
guys claims his software-generated sites make $10 per month per
site, which is about 1/5th of what it was in the good old days
for me. A good site of this type (good choice of keywords for
adsense, well optimized, well disguised) can generate $150 a
month, perhaps much more, but probably a lot less.
15. Software Assisted
Article-Based Web Site Creation
If you choose to go the path of the solid site, a genuine
content-rich theme site, offering value to visitors, one you
can be proud of, one where you don't have to be concerned that
Google will visit and slap you around ... there are some
wonderful tools to help you do so extremely quickly using
articles written by other people, articles you can legitimately
use on your web site without violating copyright. The authors
actually WANT you to use them.
The single best service I know to help you do this is called
Content Desk. It is an incredible service.
You get access to (at last count) 200,000+ articles on every
topic imaginable, that you can search by keyword (and even
by keyword density). You get an online site-building system
that takes the articles you suggest, and a template you
create, and builds you a site. A content-rich site. You get
free webhosting. The software will automatically capture new
articles on your topic and add them to your site, with or
without your perusal, as you choose ... so the web site
keeps growing "organically." You get to use the tracking
software I recommend ... for free. You get to use software
that posts automatically to Blogs, similar to software I've
paid hundreds of dollars for, ... for free. You get header
generator software. 200 training videos on any topic under
the sun. A forum packed with experts who bend over backwards
to help newbies. You get access to a service called Content
Propulsion lab ... that sells all by itself for $67 a month.
You use it to syndicate articles, which helps you get links
to your site, which helps your rankings, which helps your
If I seem to have a favorable view of the service it's
because I do. I bought-in when membership cost $130 a month or
so ... it's now $197 a month, and they only allow 400 members.
Every now and again they have a few vacancies, and open the
gates; when they hit 400, they close them again.
Are there less expensive alternatives? Kind of.
There's certainly a much more expensive service that I
believe does LESS; but it gives you a sense of the worth of
this type of service. And, there are less expensive products
and services that give you the heart of the Content Desk system
- access to tens of thousands of articles, and software to
create web pages from them in seconds, into a template you
provide (or they provide ... but you should customize it, in
These others are good, even darned good, at what they do -
at the "engine." And this by itself is extremely useful, and
valuable. But recognize they don't come close to matching the
whole package that Content Desk has put together.
ArticleMiner is one such; It has a great
reputation that it has earned (I use it, incidentally, as
well as being a member of Content Desk) but it's now off the
market. The authors launched a new membership site with
a very sophisticated site builder ... that was sold out in a
couple of days so I'll not mention it here.
Another is InfoGoRound's site builder. I thought the monthly
subscription at InfoGoRound was a great bargain when what
I got was 2 sets of private Label articles every month for a
piddly membership fee ... but the site builder that uses
articles from their database (and can use your own articles
too if you have some) is quite powerful and well
You may have realized I have a little bit of a leaning
towards the ... shall we say, grey hat techniques. They ARE
fun, they do provide a path to quick and dirty revenue (and
it's not trivial, either). But they aren't building solid sites
that will last for years and actually get better in terms of
ranking and traffic over the years.
Content Desk and ArticleMiner give you the opportunity
to put together a high-quality site in a short time, one that
is Search Engine friendly and visitor friendly ... and see how
the site does while making some money, sometimes very good
money, from Adsense. And perhaps Affiliate deals.
Then, when the site is proven ... you can justify hiring a
resource on Elance to write you 100 or so unique
articles to make your site very, very strong in terms of
on-site optimization AND of-site optimization, using the
articles both to add to your web site AND to release in a
trickle to Article Directories, to get 1-way incoming
links. And, now it's worth your time to invest some
effort in off-site Search Engine optimization, looking
for reciprocal linking strategies. In effect, Adsense paid
for your market research!
16. One almost final “Tool of the Trade.”
Actually, more like a “Service of the Trade.”
- If you don’t want to design your own website, you can
hire others to do it for a lot less than you think.
- If you want a new header graphic, you can hire someone
to do it for a lot less than you think.
- If you want an e-Book writing on a topic, you can hire
someone to do it. Someone with good research and writing
skills. And ask them to “inject” personality in it or leave
it neutral (for you to add your personality as you add to
it). And all, for a lot less than you’d think.
- If you want 100 articles writing on a topic, to conform
to the type of Affiliate Niche site that Dr. Andy Williams
favors, again ... you can get them done by a good writer
for a lot less than you’d think.
Where do you find the people to do this?
You go to Elance, and you register, then you
advertise the job and ask for bids. Within 24 hours you’ll
have many people bidding, typically. You check examples of
their work. Exchange e-mails. Perhaps even chat. Set the
terms for the deal. And say “go.”
17. And last, but not least, of the
Tools of the Trade is an indispensable little tool ... a
freebie ... I urge you to install the Google toolbar; you can get it from here.
It provides some useful information on websites you are
Now, beyond Tools ... let’s look at a few packages that are
more than just a “tool.”
18. Site Build
It stands absolutely alone as a comprehensive package
where a newbie knowing nothing about Internet Marketing can end
up with an attractive and functional site that earns 4 figures
And en route they have access to the equivalent of many of
the Tools I described earlier. The package comes with possibly
the best how-to manual of affiliate marketing ever written.
Domain registration. Web hosting. Keyword research tools.
Market research tools. Web Site building software. Search
Engine optimization advice. Intelligent web page submission to
the Search Engines. Statistics. Tracking. Autoresponders.
Google Sitemap creation. RSS functionality. Linking pools.
Forums packed with great information and discussions, all real
people all doing it, not just talking about it.
The annual fee for Site Build It (SBI) is close to
what I pay just for web hosting outside the SBI system,
which gives you some idea of the scale of the bargain ... if
you're only going to have one major site.
For a newbie, and even people with some experience just
trying to avoid having to buy all the tools, this is an
incredible bargain. I’ve used it, we’ve recommended it to
friends and family, every one has been delighted.
The only time I'd advocate against it is if you know
up-front you are going to be building multiple sites, within
your first year. If you are, you're arguably better off
investing independently in the different elements, and buying
XSitePro as your web page editor.
useful package for newbies is Ian Traynor’s
Newbies Starter Kit. There are a LOT of
starter kits out there, but I have to say that for anyone
interested in Affiliate marketing or Adsense marketing, this
one is genuinely worth a lot more than what he’s charging;
and, he's a solid guy, 100% trustworthy. The newbie kit
actually gives you web sites ready for immediate
publication, with the ability to add your ASdsense (he even
includes the tool to mass-replace his adsense with yours).
But the site is just the beginning ... if you're a newbie
wanting to get your feet wet with the minimum of time and
risk, knowing you WILL earn some Adsense income while you're
dabbling, this is absolutely perfect. You have to wander
along to his web site to see the full scope of what you get
for your money ... it's a staggering package he's put
The site he gives you as a “starter,” while identical to the
sites of everyone else who buys the kit, should genuinely make
you a few dollars. His templates are worth a chunk of the fee,
all by themselves. He gives you header graphics, which are
always a chore unless you’re a graphics expert or buy the
software I use, Easy Web Graphics. You get how-to videos.
A mini-course on creating mini-sites (to sell information
products). Useful bits of software. E-Books with how-to
It’s hard to see how you can lose with this.
late, great Corey Rudl wrote a 2-hefty-volumes
+ 2-CD course called Insider Secrets to Marketing your Business on
the Internet that is an excellent course for anyone
starting at ground Zero and wanting to know, what is this
Internet Marketing thing all about? He covers all the basics
extremely well, provides extensive resource libraries, and
the whole book is packed with great ideas and
Edwards recognized that it’s the nuts and bolts of
building a mini-site that holds back a lot of Internet
So he developed a course, Mini-Site Creator, more than 20 hours
of pure how-to video, packaged in such a way that you can
hunt-and-peck for odd bits that you need, or watch the whole
thing from beginning to end. He built it in such a way that
you can do everything he advocates either with free software
you can download (he tells you where and how) or with
software he gives you as part of the package (for example, a
header graphic generator; it’s not great, but it’s good
enough). I watched it for the first time with a complete and
utter techno-peasant, and he was enthralled because he
actually understood it. Jim Edwards is a very good
communicator, and good teacher.
The package includes templates, too, of course, for several
different types of mini-site; a sales site, affiliate showcase,
Google Adsense landing page, and newsletter subscription
If you’re pretty solid on how to build a site ... and how to
link to Paypal, or Clickbank, build order pages and download
pages, password protect pages, etc ... you don’t need this. But
if any of those things is on your list of “I must learn ...”
get this course.
Reese decided to focus on the life blood of any site
So he put together a course called Traffic
Secrets (currently off the market until he launches his
updated version in summer 2007) with 3 workbooks or transcript
books plus 5 CDs and 5 DvD’s on Traffic generation strategies,
all pure gold, plus CDs on Exit Traffic strategies, on testing
and tracking, and more ... plus bonuses which you might or
might not get, you’ll have to visit his site and check how he’s
packaging it these days.
This is an incredible course. Just one idea from the 10
Disks and 3 books can pay for the course (it’s almost US$1000,
by the way) ... and there are scores of ideas
on each CD or DVD. An amazing product. A few hours in to the
course, my wife popped her head in to my office and asked if
I’d learned anything yet, and I couldn’t stop laughing for 10
minutes ... for me, the course was just one solid idea after
another, even stuff that I knew received a different and
valuable twist, and there was much, much more that I didn’t
Anyway, tool time’s over!