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Google Reducing Blogs PageRank Doing Paid Reviews to 0

November 19, 2007 by · 30 Comments 

For the past few days, a couple of blogs that were laden with paid reviews have experienced a major setback when their PageRank were removed completely.

PayPerPost CEO has voiced his concern claiming that it’s part of some sort of attempt by Google to deny the competition. Google has so much power in that when they change something, the repercussion could put some other companies out of business.

Then again Google has the right to act on something that could affect their search engine rankings unnaturally, such as selling and buying links.

Obviously, Sabahan.com wasn’t spared for selling text link ads when my PR reduces from 5 to 3. If your main income comes from selling text link ads or writing paid reviews, there’s no better time to start looking into other money making opportunity.

New Advertising Units at Sabahan.com

November 16, 2007 by · 23 Comments 

As you may have noticed, I’ve started adding a couple of new advertising units on Sabahan.com. Obviously one that’s making a come back is Kontera.

I tried signing up with Nuffnang but stopped short of completing the form when I was asked for my IC number. May be I am used to giving out only basic personal information during any online sign up and when more is required, I’ll feel a little hesitant to proceed.

I once tried registering with one of the forums for one of the popular reality TV program at Astro.com.my but never did so when they asked for my handphone number, occupation, age, IC and every personal detail that you would prefer to keep private. And they made everything compulsory.

Having a privacy policy did little to alleviate my concern. I wasn’t trying to buy products and services that worth thousands of dollars which may justify the need for such information. I was just trying to be a member of their free, highly moderated forum and that’s a price I wasn’t willing to pay.

Then there’s this download site called Skali, a company based in Malaysia. I was trying to register as a developer and submit my software to their download site. You would expect they offered a simple sign up form, but that wasn’t the case. I think it’s one of the most privacy intrusive registration form among the online download sites. I hope things have changed for the better today.

Regardless, I think I’ll sign up with Nuffnang anyway. At least their form isn’t as bad as that of Astro or Skali as they made some info optional. Update: It appears that the website is currently being upgraded and I wasn’t able to register. Do they actually ask you to validate your email DURING the registration process even before you submit the form? I kept on receving the error: "You have not validated your email" huh? OK will try again later.

From today, you’ll start seeing more ad units from different companies here. If you find some of them a bit too much, I hope you bear with me while I run this “experiment”. 🙂 I might start selling ad inventories directly soon if there’s a demand, let see how it goes.

A few days ago I was trying to sign up with WidgetBucks via the affiliate link supplied by one of my users. Strangely, I found that my email was already registered. Then I recalled an email from Jim Kukral who told me that I and a few other bloggers were preregistered into the program during the prelaunch.

I never did find the time to promote the program, otherwise would be paid $5 per signup during the prelaunch period! So sorry Ahmad, I guess I am unable to register under your link.

Yesterday someone from Google gave me a call. Initially, I thought I was selected to be part of some kind of special program, or they decided to increase my AdSense payout percentage… I wish lol.

Sadly it was none of those. They called to ask if I have received the email about a bug in Google Website Optimizer and reminded me to implement the fix as soon as possible.

It was a surprise to find that Google is willing to take the time to call each user of Website Optimizer individually to get their message across. If you are one of their users, you should have received the following email:

On November 7 (PST), we became aware of a bug in Website Optimizer that makes your experiment pages vulnerable to tampering. We have now identified the problem and created a fix (information below). However, to correct this problem you must modify the control scripts on all of your experiment pages. The control script is the Javascript you added to the top of your experiment pages. This script must be changed on all pages involved in past and present experiments. This will eliminate the risk of tampering from this bug.

For a detailed explanation of how to modify your control scripts, please visit this page: https://adwords.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?answer=80544.
We apologize for the inconvenience that this likely will cause. Please let us assure you that Google takes the security of our users and our advertisers very seriously. Keeping you informed and providing timely fixes is our number one priority.

Again, we urge you to implement this fix for your control scripts as soon as possible.

7 Reasons Why Newbies Fail to Make Money from AdWords

November 14, 2007 by · 22 Comments 

Those who have been using AdWords for sometime know that it takes some trial and error to achieve some level of success. Newbies may find their AdWords experience frustrating when they continue to get low CTRs, losing money.

Then, having their campaign slapped which results in a low quality score increases their minimum CPC bid to $5 or more. Often this could mark the end of their plan to make money with AdWords.

So they wonder if there’s a well guarded secret used by all the other affiliates who have been making tidy profit from AdWords. What did I do that was not right?

The good news is, (or bad news depending on how you see this), there’s no secret to crack. Everything comes down to trial and error and doing enough testing to find out what works and what doesn’t.

So if you are not making money promoting products or services, here are 7 things you need consider:

 

1. Are You Promoting the Right Products and Services?

Often, successful affiliates suggest that you should start with a product or service that you are passionate about. Your interest will keep you going when things don’t go exactly as planned. However, you also need to be realistic in that you have to make sure the products and services are in high demand.

For example, there’s no point selling refrigerators to the Eskimos no matter how passionate you are about the new line of refrigerators coming out from South Korea.

Try to find top selling products or services to promote instead of trying to educate the market that they need a new product. Focusing your effort to promote popular products and services will make your job easier. You don’t have to invent the wheel, just identify the market leaders and focus on promoting them.

Sure, the competition can be tougher in some niches but the demand is already guaranteed. You just need to be a little more creative and offer something that differentiates you from your competitors. Keep in mind that the number of competitors is not as important as the quality of their sites.

 

2. Are You Creating the Right Landing Page?

In certain niches you may be able to do direct linking to the vendor’s landing page. However in most cases when you are promoting a popular product or service, you’ll need to create your own landing page.

Creating an effective landing page is a big topic in itself. This is something that I’d like to write more about in my future posts. Suffice to say that you will need to create a landing page that offers exactly what your AdWords ad says.

If your ad says you’re offering a Free MP3 Download, your landing page must offer exactly that, and not free MP3 player, or cheap MP3 songs. Your landing page must focus on a SINGLE call to action. A call to action is an activity requested of the visitor, it could be buying a product, download a trial software or subscribing to a newsletter.

Remove all unnecessary choices such as AdSense ads, unwanted banners and excessive content. Remember your goal is to convert the user and depending on the price of the products and services, having more content may hurt the conversion rates especially if you are selling low price items.

Once you have identified what your visitor wants to do, you need to lead them down the right conversion path. If you give too many choices, they will end up choosing none.

 

3. Optimize Your AdWords Campaign

This is one of the thing newbies often neglect to do. It’s better to have many keywords in many ad groups than having many keywords in fewer ad groups.

For example if you are promoting handphones (a.k.a. cellphones or mobile phones), you may come up with the following keywords:

Nokia Nseries
Nokia N90
Nokia N-Gage
Samsung E700
Samsung SGH-X820
Samsung Mobile Phones

In order to improve your keywords and ad text relevancy, you should create two separate campaigns; each contains individual ad groups for each handphone model so that you have the following:

Campaign 1 – Nokia
Ad Group 1: Nokia Nseries
Ad Group 2: Nokia N90
Ad Group 3: Nokia N-Gage

Campaign 2- Samsung
Ad Group 1: Samsung E700
Ad Group 2: Samsung SGH-X820
Ad Group 3: Samsung Mobile Phones

So the keywords for the Ad Group 1 (Campaign 1) could be “buy nokia nseries”, “nokia nseries website”, “where can I buy nokia nseries”.

Similarly, the keywords for Ad Group 2 (Campaign 1) could be “buy nokia n90”, “nokia n90 website”, “where can I buy nokia n90”. I know I could have targeted better keywords but you get what I mean.

Once that’s done, remember to link the ad to a landing page that offers exactly what the ad says; Nokia NSeries and Nokia N90.

 

4. Improve Your Landing Page Quality Score

Instead of repeating what I’ve written about this in my earlier posts, check out my earlier post here: 10 Tips to Improve Your Google AdWords Quality Score

 

5. Identify the Best Keywords to Use

The keywords you use can make or break your PPC campaign and thus finding the right ones is crucial. You can start with the low hanging fruits, i.e. keywords that include the exact product names, brand names, model number and so on.

Depending on the merchant’s policy, you may or may not be able to bid on brand names. Start small and when you know what keywords convert well, start branching out to find more related keywords.

Depending or how much you get paid for each conversion and your conversion rates, you many be able to expand your keywords list by including more general terms that relate closely with the products and services.

In addition, you can start adding long tail keywords, which are multi-word keyword phrases, typically four or more words and very specific. When a searcher uses long tail keywords, they are actually looking for something very specific and often can be converted easily if they find EXACTLY what they are looking for. Thus, long tail keywords can be the best ones to target.

As an example a searcher using “free dating site new york” is more likely to become of a member of a dating site targeted towards New Yorkers than someone who may search using “free dating site”.

Check out a related post here: 5 Tips and Tools To Help You Create A Killer Keyword List For Your AdWords/PPC Campaigns

 

6. Use Negative Keywords Effectively

Negative keywords are those keywords that prevent your ads from showing up when used as part of the search queries. For example if you use -serial code as the negative keyword, someone whose search query containing the terms serial and code won’t see your ads.

In many of my campaigns where I promote Windows software products, I usually add the following as negative keywords

code
crack
crackers
cracks
crackz
free
freeware
gratis
key
keygen
linux
license
serial
serials
serialz
warez
rapidshare

Adding negative keywords into your campaigns can reduce click cost and improve your CTRs.

Like normal keywords, negative keywords can also use different keyword match types (broad, phrase and exact). If you are using broad match for your negative keywords, you may accidently filter out too many potential queries including the ones that you would have wanted your ad to show on. You can learn more about AdWords keyword matching options here.

The following table better illustrates my point:

negative_new.gif

You can find the full explanation about this here.

 

 

7. Split Testing To Identify the Best Performing Keywords, Ads and Landing Page

The most important elements you could test are your ads, landing pages and keywords. Ok, you don’t split test your keywords but through split testing of your ads and landing pages, you’ll know which keywords convert the best in a particular situation.

Split testing, sometimes called A/B testing helps to determine which elements are helping in improving your conversion rates and which aren’t.

Creating multiple landing pages, each with a different layout, colour, headline and so on will help you further improve your conversion rates. Begin by testing the obvious such as using a variation of headlines, copies, images and so on.

Check out the related post about split-testing here:

10 AdWords Split Testing Ideas for Better CTR

How “Statistical Significance” Can Help You Optimize Your AdWords

You may want to learn more about Google own landing page testing tool here

 

The checklist is by no means definitive and I can’t guarantee that you will become successful overnight by following them. However, I’m sure that you’ll have a better chance of becoming profitable over some of your competitors who probably have no idea what they are doing 🙂

Will I Make More Money By Placing More Ads At Sabahan.com?

November 13, 2007 by · 27 Comments 

After reading an interesting post by Sha over at Shamoneymaker.com, it struck me that I’ve probably been leaving easy money on the table by not realising Sabahan.com full advertising potential.

What Sha did was calculate how much of the content are advertising space. The calculation was based on a method devised by Serverdome where they took screenshots of the visible portion of some of the top blogs and counted how much of that was paid space.

In the article, Sha asks “Does it mean that the more ads percentage has some correlation with the amount of profit can be gained from monetizing your blog?”

I believe so, but only until a certain point where it will start to get annoying for your readers. Instead of putting more money in your pocket, it’ll drive your visitors away. The level of tolerance as far as the readers are concern would be different from one blog to another of course.

One blogger that’s well known for pushing the limit is JohnChow.com. Not surprisingly, he tops the chart at 27.86% content to ads percentage.

  • Johnchow.com – 27.86%
  • Stevepavlina.com – 20.30%
  • Problogger.com – 17.76%
  • Shoemoney.com – 14.69%
  • Dailyblogtips.com – 13.01%
  • Copyblogger.com – 11.37%

Sha finds that their Asian counterpart tend to display fewer ads.

  • Chanlilian.net – 15.15%
  • AdesBlog.com – 14.75%
  • LiewCF.com – 13.98%
  • ShaMoneyMaker.com – 8.52
  • Gbalakrishnan.com – 7.64%
  • xiaxue.blogspot.com – 4.77%
  • Sabahan.com 1.94% (now I don’t understand why some people still say I have too much ads here LOL)

OK, I know that I could have made more money by displaying more ads, but then if you have been reading this blog for any length of time, you know that I’m not a fan of making my blog looks like a giant billboard for the sake of making money – at least not at my main blog. My principle is that if something isn’t beneficial to the users, it probably doesn’t belong in this blog. You can see this from the experiment I did with Kontera ads.

That said, I think it’s still acceptable to display more ads as long as they don’t compromise your blog’s content and usability.

To tell you the truth, I don’t make much from this blog. If you don’t know this already, my main online income comes from selling my own products and pay per click affiliate marketing. That’s probably why I don’t bother placing more ads here. Then again, wouldn’t it be interesting to see how much more money I can make by allocating more space for advertising?

Yea, I thought so too and that’s exactly what I am going to do 🙂

So starting from today, I am going to sign up with Nuffnag or Advertlets, put back Kontera links, sign up with Widget Bucks, and whatever advertising companies that can have a place here.

Lets allow this “experiment” run for a month or two and see how much more I can make. At the end of each month, I’ll report my income here. Just so you know, I’ll probably reduce my blogging frequency towards the end of December because of all the holiday, Christmas, New Year stuff going on. So let see how that will affect the blog’s income.

To get the ball rolling, I’m going to reveal Sabahan.com income for the month of October. Since this is for one blog only and I purposely exclude income generated from my seven or so other blogs, they are far from exciting and rather disappointing. I didn’t do any affiliate program promotion or tracked how much money I made from my affiliate links signups during that month.

 

 

Now I got an interesting offer for you. If you are a member of an advertising network like Nuffnag or WidgetBucks, I’ll sign up under your affiliate link. To qualify, you should

  • Be the first to leave your link (in addition to your comment) for the program in the comment.
  • I only accept one affiliate link per person.
  • I’ll only join programs that I am not already a member with
  • I won’t join get rich quick schemes or programs that promote spamming.
  • I am looking to join blogger’s friendly programs

So what are you waiting for? Leave a link and let me make you some money 🙂

Did You Encounter Any Problem When Trying to Leave A Comment Here?

November 12, 2007 by · 17 Comments 

Technical problem that is… I suspect this happens to everyone who’s trying to leave a comment here. When you tried to leave a comment, did you experience longer than normal delay before your comment appeared?

Or perhaps the post didn’t load properly after posting your comment and you had to manually refresh it.

This question is for those commentators who are pre-approved, and don’t go into moderation process.

Please leave your comment below and tell me if you encounter any problem. I suspect this might have to do with my server security setting which checks for any attempt to compromise the server security.

Note that if this is your first time leaving a comment here, it will be automatically go into moderation.

ShoeMoney Reveals How He Made $132,994.97 From AdSense In a Month

November 8, 2007 by · 44 Comments 

I couldn’t help but felt totally in awe while reading a post over at ShoeMoney.com where he answers several frequently asked questions about the AdSense Check in his Gallery that showed him holding one worth over $100K. Keep in mind that the check was for August 2005.

Sure, it’s a link bait post but a good one at that, so it’s worth linking to. If you are looking for a real life example of publishers making insane amount of money from AdSense, check this one out. Posting the picture again will continue to “resurrect” readers’ interest and certainly create an opportunity for him to promote his sites.

adsensecheck-shoe.jpg

I quote the FAQ in full below:

  1. What site was it for? What does the site do?
    The site is nextpimp. The name was kind of a joke at first… next-pimp like pimp out your nextel phone. It started as a wallpaper site for nextel phones which grew into ringtones and other stuff. All content is 100% user generated.
  2. How much of the check was profit?
    At the time my expenses were 1 server @ 299$ per month for hosting. I would say atleast 130k was profit.

  3. How much of the traffic was pay per click?
    None of it was pay per click. Back then I did not know anything at all about pay per click.
  4. Where did all your traffic come from?
    About 70% of the traffic was direct 15% from search engines and 15% from referrals.
  5. How much traffic did the site get to get that much money?
    About 75k uniq per day.
  6. Why did you get a paper check and not wire?
    Back then Google did not do wire transfers for amounts of $10,000.00
  7. Do you think its possible to still earn that kind of revenue? (most often asked question)
    Yes.
  8. How long did it take to make revenue?
    I never tried to make any money the first 1.5 years it was running. I just concentrated on providing a good service. About 2 years after I started the site It started to do good revenue from AdSense
  9. Can you show the full month report from AdSense for that month?
    Sure.

 

He even includes a screenshot of his AdSense report for that particular month. With permission from Google, he discloses his CTR and CPM. Can you imagine making such insane amount of money while only spending $299 monthly on web hosting? Check out his daily income below. Now convert those to Malaysian ringgit, are you thinking what I’m thinking? 🙂

adsense-august-copy.gif

And that’s not even his main income, according to him, AdSense has accounted for less than 5% of the incoming revenue for his companies. In addition to that, his blog at ShoeMoney.com is pulling just under $30,000 in October from direct ad sales, 30% from affiliate programs and other sources. Obviously more than the amount John Chow made from his blog. It made my head spin just thinking about those seriously mad figures.

But it doesn’t stop there, in March 2007 he made USD709,626.81 in commission from Commission Junction. I hope that’s a typo because I started to feel a little depress right now LOL. Just joking, it’s great inspiration for everyone. I don’t know if he earned that amount as a vendor or affiliate, regardless, it’s just insane to make that much monthly.

commission-junction-shoemoney.jpg

So did you notice a running theme here? He doesn’t make money by serving AdSense or selling paid links on his blog. While creating a blog can make you rich if it’s done correctly, I believe you’ll have to explore other monetization options in order to go to the next level.

You’ll need to create sites that serve certain purposes like PlentyOfFish.com or NextPimp.com, then learn PPC and do affiliate marketing. Remember Ashley, the 17 year old teenage girl who pull in over $70K monthly from AdSense by offering free MySpace templates on her site?

That goes to show that offering a service or products that lots of people are interested in will help you make money online faster.

Now I‘m not suggesting you drop everything you are doing now and start brainstorming similar ideas and hopefully get rich next year. I am aware that there are tons of other ways to make money online and not everyone can be as successful as those above even when they create the next free dating site, or free ringtone download site or give away free Myspace templates.

Often people become successful because they are able to offer the right products/services at the right time. Some may call that luck, but I call it knowing when to act when opportunity presents itself. If we can do that, we’ll be the next ShoeMoney.

You Can Now Update Your AdSense ad Unit within Your AdSense Account

November 7, 2007 by · 8 Comments 

Google AdSense has started to roll out a new feature which allows publishers to save the settings of their ad units within their AdSense account.

So what so good about this you ask. Well with the ability to save your ad settings, you can now change the colours, channels or even the corner styles for your ad units directly in your account without the need to generate and pasting new code into your blog or site.

The only thing that you can’t change is the size of your ad units. To do so, you’ll have to generate new ad unit. You are also not allowed to delete ad units created, so as to prevent active ad units from being deleted accidentally. Ad units that have not generated impressions for 7 days will become inactive and will be hidden automatically so it’s good to remember that you must use newly generated code on a site that have some level of existing traffic.

If the “Manage Ads” and “Get Ads” options are available under the “AdSense Setup” tab in your account, you are ready to go and use this new feature.

getads_naming.gif

How to generate a code that takes advantage of this feature?

On the “Get Ads” page, under the “AdSense Setup” tab, you’ll find the familiar code generation wizard that you’ve been using to generate codes. The only different is that, in the end of the process, you’ll be prompted to create a name for the ad unit.

It’s recommended to use descriptive names that include information about the location of the ad unit, its size and so on. Example “Post Entries – 300×250”. You can later refer to the name of a particular ad unit if you want to make changes to it later on the “Mange Ads” page.

 

Do I have to change my old ad code?

You don’t have to as they will continue to work as usual. However, in order to take advantage of this new feature, you’ll need to generate new codes. There’s an option to import your old code and save the new settings. To do this just follows the following steps

  1. Find and copy the code on your site that you’d like to update.
  2. Sign in to your AdSense account and visit the AdSense Setup tab.
  3. On the Manage Ads page below it, you’ll see the option to Import your old AdSense code . Click this link.
  4. On the resulting page, paste your existing ad code into the box and give it a memorable name (we suggest including the site, page, location and/or appearance in the name).
  5. Click Save and get code to create a new AdSense unit with the exact same settings.
  6. Replace the old code your pages with the newly generated code and save your pages.

 

Since I do not modify my ad units frequently, I’ll continue to use my old codes. However, when it’s time for some testing and optimization, I can see how this feature will become handy. It’s a time saver as you don’t have to go through the entire process of selecting ad settings and colours again.

Sabahan.com Final Contest Winner for Group 7

November 6, 2007 by · 10 Comments 

I’ve waited for over 3 weeks to see if there’s anybody else would send their contest entries, sadly nobody did. So as I wrote in my earlier post, this will be the last draw for the contest due to the lack of participation. The contest is now officially closed.

I guess it’s about time anyway as the contest iwas losing its momentum, a signal that the end is near. Up till today, it has attracted over 35 entries from various blogs including JohnChow.com. OK, I have to admit that I paid John US400 to give this contest a mention in his blog but that still counts as an entry 🙂

While the contest is running, I gave away 7 free domain names. One winner get the free-for-live WordPress hosting package. I’ve been making a living working online full time since 1999, and have no plan to quit anytime soon. So the winner is assured to enjoy his free hosting for a while as I continue to grow in the future or until something that’s totally out of my control dictates otherwise.

In the mean time, it’s time to announce the winner from the four entries I’ve received for Group 7. I asked my assistance to pick a number using a random number generator and the lucky winner is blogger number 4 in the list.

So congratulations to NoorizamShah.com. If you are reading this, I’ll be in touch with you to request for your PayPal email address.

I’d like to thank all the bloggers who took part in the contest. Without your participation, the content won’t be as successful as it is.

Here’s the good news, this isn’t the end for Sabahan.com contest, there will be more to come in the future, hopefully ones that will offer better prizes and more excitement to everyone!

 

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