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How I Made Extra Money during the Current Economic Uncertainty

April 9, 2009 by · 138 Comments 

If you’ve been trying to learn how to make money online, I am sure you’ve came across claims like making money on the Internet is easy, you can become a millionaire overnight using a “fully-automated” or “turn-key” system. All you have to do is sit back and wait for the money to roll in.

But if it’s that easy why hasn’t everyone become an Internet millionaire by now?

Good for me that I started with no money at all so I couldn’t afford to buy every marketing product that claimed to have the answer to the secrets of Internet riches. I had to and still exercise good judgment and common sense when it comes to spending money on how to make money products.

At the same time, I knew there were many real people and those that running websites that became popular enough that their owners have quit their day job. I always wondered how they did it, how they got started and what they were doing differently that made them successful while others failed.

Once in a while, a product came along that really captured my attention. While money was still an issue, I strongly felt that using it as an excuse not to buy the product would mean that my curiosity on how some people become successful would remain unanswered.

Don’t get me wrong though as I doubt an ebook that has all the answers to the secrets of Internet riches exist. For me, an ebook is good if it doesn’t just dish out theories but proven ideas about specific ways of making money online.

I needed to treat what I do like a real business.  That means I needed to invest money in order to make more money. That seems obvious now but many newbies fail to see that including me when I first got started. And there’s nothing better than investing money in a good marketing education.

Spending money on improving your knowledge is one of the best investments you can do as you try to make money online. Your readiness  to invest in yourself shows whether you are really serious about becoming successful.

OK, let’s get straight to the point. If you want to learn how to make money from pay per click, the product that I am going to recommend is a must have. But…

  • If you are unwilling to risk losing some money in return for the opportunity to make even more than you can stop reading now.
  • If you want an easy way to make money, this product is not for you.
  • If you want to become a millionaire over night, this product is not for you.
  • If you want a fully automated or turnkey system, this product is not for you.

Anyway, this is what I’ve made from just ONE website in the first week of January (in USD) a few weeks after I implemented the methods. I made fantasy becomes reality because I took action, I didn’t just learn but I put what I’ve learned into practice.

income-black-ink1
Click image to enlarge

I used the extra money to indulge myself in my other newly found passion and got myself a Canon EOS 50D DLSR camera. Then I flew to Singapore for a couple of days for some shopping.

I am not telling you this to boast. I am just trying to show you the possibilities. Personally, I still need to work harder before I can say I’ve achieved my target, which is to make USD10,000 profit consistently monthly.

Can I guarantee that you’ll make money after reading this guide? I don’t know because I don’t know you. But what I can say for sure is that the methods really work for me.

The creator, Jeremy Palmer is using this exact technique (his personal way of making money online) that has made him millions of dollars in affiliate revenues annually.

Want to learn more? Check out The Black Ink Project

PS: Check out the bonuses. Jeremy is giving away PPC Classroom for free. I own this course too and paid USD500 for it when it was first released, serious…

How Two Underground Affiliates Generate $109,151 In 30 Days From Just One Clickbank Product

December 16, 2008 by · 47 Comments 

I was trying to come up with an attention grabbing headline and thought the headline for the sales copy for Commission Blueprint would do the trick.

Commission Blueprint is a training guide for anyone wanting to make real money from Clickbank or any kind of digital product using AdWords. It consists of a series of instructional videos and written guides in PDF format.

I purchased the guide recently and I have to say that it’s one of the best purchases I’ve made as far as making money online guide is concern. While I am aware that the topic has been the subject of discussion for countless guides and ebooks out there, this little guide is a bit different.

The main content is presented in a video format and for me, consuming the content is like attending a one on one training session with the author. I just have to sit back, watch and listen as the author unveiled the exact steps he did to make an insane amount of money with Clickbank.

If you are trying to make money online using pay per click, here are several things that you may have to consider if the products you are promoting do not bring the expected return.

  1. Instead of promoting physical product such as books, try promoting ebooks or audiobooks.
  2. Instead of trying to promote audio CDs, try to promote online music service.
  3. Similarly, downloadable software will convert better than boxed software

It has been showed that digital products such as ebooks, downloadable software, MP3s and so on convert better because they offer instant gratification to the customers. They are relatively cheaper compare to their physical counterparts and can be delivered directly via the Internet.

From the affiliate point of view, selling digital products offers higher profit margins and therefore you can afford to spend more with your pay per click (PPC) campaigns.

While Commission Blueprint focuses on Clickbank products, you could easily adapt the formula to any other affiliate networks and still make good money from it. 

This guide is not perfect for everyone. Beginners will likely face a rather steep learning curve ahead but it’s not impossible for them to master all the necessary skills as long as they put an effort to it.

The author goes through several crucial subjects rather briefly which I think is important for everyone to understand them fully. The discussion on Google Quality Score for example is rather brief and without the full understanding of this subject, it could cost you in the end.

Secondly, some keywords selected in the example are too general. The readers should be aware that selecting general keywords to start a campaign with may bring tons of traffic but this can put a hole in their pocket faster than they can top up their credit card.

That said, the guide touches almost everything you need to know about how to make money from Clickbank or any other digital products via pay per click search engines.  All you have to do next is continue to educate yourself by further reading all the relevant topics online.

One of the most useful pieces of information that I’ve picked up after I went through the videos is that it made me rethink how I research, launch and manage my PPC campaigns. All the other ebooks that I’ve read recommended me to work systematically but they stop short of sharing their exact system when it comes managing the business.

Commission Blueprint does not stop there, for instance, it recommends you to stop your campaign if

  • You’ve reached your budget and no sales were made
  • If overall conversion rate is less than 0.025 after getting over 500 clicks
  • If after getting over 500 clicks, you’ve spent more than 4 times what you made in sales.

 

You have a reason to hang in there before you ditch a campaign if it’s in the borderline. For example

  • You wait about a week (or at least 500 clicks) to “settle” the campaign down
  • Your overall conversion rate is over 0.025
  • If you’ve spent less than 4 times your sales
  • Keep optimizing and get at least another 250-500 clicks

 

After weeding out the bad campaigns and you find a winner, you should

  • Scale the campaign (something that people don’t do enough of)
  • Constant tweaking to increase profitability
  • First 30 days, tweak the campaign for every 2 to 3 days
  • Second 30 days, tweak the campaign once a week
  • After 60 days, you may tweak the campaign only monthly

 

If you are new to the game, these might not make much sense to you right now. But  I am telling you those points provided a crucial guidelines for anyone doing PPC marketing on how to arrive at a correct decision in order to move forward.

But of course you can adjust them according to your own needs.

Finally if you are a veteran pay per click marketer, you may discover some gems here and there, if not, the training provides a refresher on things that you may have forgot to do or stopped paying attention to.

How does the training affect me so far?

I started spending around US100 per day for one of my campaigns as an experiment. That doesn’t worry me much as long as I know I’ll not only breakeven but will make a tidy profit after adapting what I’ve learned from the training.

If you’ve been wondering what other successful PPC affiliates know that you don’t, well this training will help you understand the secret to their success. Read more about Comission Blueprint here.

Miscellaneous Ramblings of My Pay per Click Marketing Effort

April 4, 2008 by · 16 Comments 

For the past weeks, I barely had time to check my RSS feeds, a daily routine that keeps me up-to-date with the latest trends and happenings around the Internet.

Instead, most of my time was spent reading, listening and learning new things about pay-per-click (PPC) marketing and actually doing it. Some of you may recall that I’ve been working on my PPC campaigns and the goal is to create one new campaign for every two weeks.

While I am not new to PPC marketing, I’ve never put as much effort into this as I am now. Thanks to the business plan that I’ve created earlier, I am frequently reminded that in order for me to advance to the next level, I got to take action and put theories into practice.

Of course, intellectually most people are aware of that. However, procrastination seems like a nice place to be at when we are comfortable with where we are now and that’s exactly what I’m trying to avoid.

So far the results have been encouraging. It has added an extra USD2000 to my bottom line. To some, that may seem tiny, but it helps me move closer to my goal of reaching the USD10,000 monthly income before the end of this year.

The downside is that, my PPC spending has skyrocketed alongside and sometimes it’s painful to spend over RM1000 in a week or so to test a niche and still fail to make money. Nevertheless I understand that one must be prepared to lose money in order to make money.

The most valuable lesson that I have learned is, since I know what works, I am going to replicate those success in other niches. Successful PPC marketers are not those who have never failed. Instead, they have experienced enough failures to know what works and what doesn’t.

When it comes to keyword research, I typically gravitate towards the free tools such as Google AdWords Keyword Tool and Yahoo Search Marketing Keyword Selector Tool (no longer available) and my own research.

But I always knew I needed something extra so I did a research and settle for a tool called KeyCompete.com

instead of the more well known Word Tracker.

KeyCompete is an online keyword research tool that identifies the keywords your competitors are using in their pay-per-click campaigns. It basically spies your competitors to help you discover what keywords they are bidding on.

If they have been bidding on certain keywords for a while, you can be sure that those keywords are likely to be profitable. So instead of trying to invent the wheel, you can add those keywords into your existing campaigns to improve your ROI.

The “Watch Report” feature in KeyCompete shows which keywords your competitors’ are adding or removing to their campaign on a daily basis, but I am not certain how accurate this is. So far I find that KeyCompete works well for searches done on established competitiors but new domains do not always return reliable results.

I particularly like the “Long Tail Keyword Report” which could potentially supply me with a larger but cheaper list of keywords in any niche.

So far I am amazed by its ability to discover keywords that I would have never found using any other tools. One gripe I have is the interface is a little too simple for my liking as I like to see more advance options made available. Also, the number of keywords found is often larger than it actually is because of the duplicates that crop up every now and then.

In addition, there’s no option to group keywords based on related terms like what Google AdWords Keyword Tool does. But I think this is a minor complain since it can be done using AdWords Editor’s Keyword Grouper function which breaks up my keyword list into groups of related terms.

Minor gripes aside, I think KeyCompete is an invaluable addition to any serious PPC marketers’ keyword research arsenal.

Obviously, KeyCompete is not cheap. The annual subscription costs up to USD499. I am currently on the USD299 plan. What sealed the deal for me is, I know Amit Metha the millionaire PPC marketer is using this exact tool in his PPC marketing effort and I often heard he recommends KeyCompete each time someone asks what keyword tools he is using.

Check out his blog at SuperAffiliateMindset.com. While you are there, check out this interesting post about a letter from a reader.

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 🙂

10 Tips to Improve Your Google AdWords Quality Score

September 5, 2007 by · 7 Comments 

In late 2005, Google began testing a new algorithm for AdWords to improve the quality of AdWords landing pages when Google realized that some advertisers were sending visitors to sites with low quality content or duplicate content.

Now, imagine yourself clicking on an AdSense ad and landed on such sites, you might not click AdSense as often because your may perceive the ads as low quality.

When users stop finding the ads useful, Google, AdSense publishers and AdWords advertisers will stop to make money.

To avoid this problem from plaguing the system, Google introduced an ad evaluation system called Quality Score.

The official definition of Quality Score is:

Quality Score is the basis for measuring the quality and relevance of your ads and determining your minimum CPC bid for Google and the search network. This score is determined by your keyword’s clickthrough rate (CTR) on Google, and the relevance of your ad text, keyword, and landing page.

We believe high quality ads attract more clicks, encourage user trust, and result in better long-term performance. To encourage relevant and successful ads within AdWords, our system defines a Quality Score to set your keyword status, minimum CPC bid, and ad rank for the ad auction.

Any advertiser using Google AdWords extensively know that their Quality Score can make or break their business. After the scoring system was introduced, many advertisers found that some of their best performing ads were suddenly deactivated.

The only way to reactivate them was to increase the quality or increase their bid to an unreasonable amount, often $5.00 or $10.00 per click. Unless you are selling products with large profit margins, I doubt anyone can afford to pay $10.00 per click and still make a profit.

Here are 5 tips to help you avoid the Google slap and improve your quality score

 

  1. Improve Your Pages Organic Ranking

    While there’s no official words from Google that say better site’s ranking in the organic search result will improve your quality score, I often find that most of my pages that have good organic rankings enjoy better quality score than those that aren’t ranked as well.

    So the best landing pages are those that not only do well in paid search but in the organic search as well.

     

  2. Improve Your Keywords and Ad Text Relevancy

    It’s important to offer exactly what your ad says it’s offering. The keywords that you are bidding on should present in the text ad.

    To improve the relevancy between your keywords and ad text, you should organize your keywords into tightly related categories or 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

    I know this looks like a lot of work but it’s worth taking the effort if you want to improve your quality score.

     

  3. Improve Your Keywords and Landing Page Relevancy

    You should put your keywords in the domain name, URL, page title, meta tags and sprinkle them throughout the content of the page.

    When your keywords are prominently featured on your landing page, AdWords bot will see it as more relevant and reward you with a better quality score. This will also improve your conversion rates because users perceive your page as more relevant to their search.

    For example if you ad says you are offering a 10% discount of the blue widget, make sure your landing page offers exactly the blue widget discount, not red or green or 5% discount.

    Don’t simply link to your home page and let the users hunt down the product.

     

  4. Offer Quality and Original Content

    I often stressed that it’s important to offer good quality content to your users if you want to increase your blog’s readership and ultimately make money from your blog.

    It’s no different when it comes to getting a good quality score in paid search where writing good quality and original content is a must. The AdWords documentation explicitly mentions that you should provide relevant and substantial content.

    Ideally you should write your own review and create resource pages that are linked from your landing page. Avoid shortcuts like copying and pasting product’s description from the vendor’s page. If you do that, it should not be similar or nearly identical in appearance to the original.

    Co-branded affiliate landing pages may means less work for you but it’ll score poorly in AdWords Quality Score.

     

  5. Create About Us Page and Privacy Policy Page

    In addition to selling your products or services, your aim should be to create a trusting relationship with your users. So apart from providing useful content, you should create an About Us and Privacy Policy page and link them in the footer or sidebar.

    This allows you to openly share information about your business and inspire user’s trust. You should also create a shipping and delivery page or refund policy.

    You are collecting email addresses; make sure to follow the CAN- SPAM guidelines.

     

  6. Let Your Users Add Content

    Allowing users to rate or review products or services is a good way to generate content for your site without any work from your part. User-generated content is free and it can make your site sticky and trustworthy because of the transparency it creates

    It also helps in developing unique content that differentiate your pages from your competitors.

     

  7. Don’t Ask Users to Register

    Try to provide information without requiring users to register. If user’s registration is necessary, provide a preview of what the users will get. Also ensure that the registration requires no more than the user’s name and e-email address.

     

  8. Provide a Disclosure Statement

    Pages that contain advertising or ads should have them distinguished from the rest of the page content. You may consider including a disclosure statement somewhere on your site.

     

  9. Offer Easy Navigation on Your Site

    This is self explanatory. Good navigation lets users know where they are on your site. It helps them find what they are looking for easily and quickly.

    Adding a search box in addition to your navigation menu should improve your site usability tremendously.

    If you can’t provide all your good content on your landing page, consider linking them from your landing page.

     

  10. Improve Your Account Performance

    Improving you click through rates (CTRs) will improve your quality score. So you might want to start bidding higher than what you would normally be comfortable with.

    Do this for the first few days to get your ad into a higher position to attract more clicks. Once your CTR has increased, you can then lower your bid amount to a profitable level.

    If you have campaigns that perform poorly in you account, delete them or try to improve their quality by following my recommendations outlined above.

    This ensures that they won’t affect your overall account performance. Google considers your account’s historical performance to predict if your new campaigns are going to be good.

    So, it helps to get good Quality Score if your have a proven track record.

How to Setup AdWords Site Targeted Campaign in 5 Minutes or Less and Start Attracting Traffic to Your Blog

August 1, 2007 by · 14 Comments 

Setting up an AdWords site-targeted campaign is a good way to promote your blog either to a large audience or to a precise audience without burning a hole in your pocket.

While AdWords can be a good source for high quality traffic, for the uninitiated it can be a frustrating experience especially if you continue to get low CTRs for your ads while spending more than what you’d like.

Getting the right results with AdWords campaign doesn’t have to be a wild guess as long as you know how to do it correctly.

As promised in my previous post, I am going to share some tips how to setup AdWords site-targeted campaign the right way.

For a site targeted campaign, you’ll be charged by the impressions (CPM) your AdWords ads get rather than by the click. You can handpick any sites in the Google content network where you want your ads to appear.

Here’s how to do it step-by-step. This article assumed you have signed up with Google AdWords, if you haven’t, then


 

Create a New Site-Targeted Campaign & Target Customers

Once you’ve identified the site you want to target, click the “site targeted” link to create a new site-targeted campaign.

site-targeted.png

Next fill out the necessary information such as your campaign name, your new ad group name, target customers by language, and target customers by location. If your blog is in English, be sure to select “English” only. Otherwise, you’ll be wasting valuable ad impressions if your ad is shown to someone from China who doesn’t read English.

Since this is a site-targeted ad, I tend to select All Countries and territories under the “Target customers by location”.

site-targeted-2.png

Click Continue .

In the next section you can specifically target readers from certain countries. If you are selling something from your blog, select the US, Canada, UK, Australia, and other major English speaking countries to improve your conversion rates. If all you want is traffic, you should select the English speaking readers from “All Countries and Territories

by-countries.PNG

Click Continue.

 

Creating Your Ads

If you are creating a keyword targeted campaign, it’s important to show you major keyword in the ad’s headline. The second line should include a benefit that you think most people are looking for and the third line should contain a feature.

However since we are creating a site-targeted campaign, you have to think in terms of what the site readers are looking for. Remember, the ad is not about you but what your potential visitors will get when they visit your blog.

create-ad.png

 

Click Continue

create-new-ad.PNG

At this stage, most AdWords advertiser will target a site and set the campaign off on its own.

select-url.PNG

However, before we get there, there’s one more important thing to do, that is to create a second ad for split-testing purposes.

How do you know the ad you currently have is the best ad it can be? Well you don’t. That’s why you need to do split testing as it allows you to get a clear idea what actually work in real time.

If done correctly, you’ll make steady improvements in your ads CTRs, and ultimately attract more traffic at a lower cost. This was demonstrated clearly in my John Chow Dot Com AdWords experiment where I showed a gradual improvement in my ads CTRs.

You can split test as many ads at a time as you like but I personally like two at a time. Google will rotate the two ads evenly. Later you can pick the winner, delete the loser and create a new ad to beat the winner.

split-testing-adwords.PNG

However, in order to show your ads more evenly for split-testing purposes, you need to change the Ad serving option under Edit Campaign Settings to Rotate: Show ads more evenly as shown below.

rotation.PNG

Click Continue

 

Set Pricing

I usually set a relatively high daily budget and the maximum CPM initially and reduce them later once the ads performance has improved. The amount depends on your budget, and how much traffic you expect to get from the site you are targeting.

set-pricing.PNG

 

Click Continue

In the final stage, you’ll be able to review and edit your campaign. Click Save Campaign if you are satisfied with everything and your new campaign is now active.

 

What to Do Next?

Just keep an eye on your ads performance and continue with the split testing process. I usually start removing bad performing ad when I get 20 clicks or more for both ads.

I’ve written several posts about AdWords recently which I hope will give you some ideas how to improve your AdWords ads performance. Check out

7 Critical Mistakes New Advertisers Make When Setting Up Their AdWords Campaigns

While this post is written primarily for keyword-targeted campaign instead of site-targeted one, you can adapt the ideas into your site-targeted campaign as well.

Keyword targeted campaign is where the advertiser selects keywords (as oppose to a site) that will trigger ads from the campaign, keyword-targeted ads can appear on search results pages, on content pages, and on other properties on the Google Network.

For more split-testing ideas check out 10 AdWords Split Testing Ideas For Better CTR

Another post you can check How “Statistical Significance” Can Help You Optimize Your AdWords

 

After my AdWords experiment at John Chow Dot Com, it seems that John no longer allows me to target his blog. That’s funny because that’s exactly what had happened to him when Darren Rowse banned him from site targeting ProBlogger.net. I guess he didn’t like the idea I am revealing too much of his ReviewMe results.

If you have any questions, or suggestions, please leave it in the comments.

My AdWords Site-Targeted Ads at John Chow Dot Com – Here’s the Result

July 31, 2007 by · 13 Comments 

About a week ago I started an AdWords campaign targeted at John Chow Dot Com. I hope this article answers some of the questions people may have as to whether it’s worth spending money on AdWords to attract traffic to your blog.

The campaign centered around a review that I wrote about my experience having Sabahan.com reviewed at John Chow Dot Com.

 

Some Background of the Experiment

For those who are not familiar with AdWords site targeting feature, it lets AdWords advertisers choose individual sites in the Google content network where they’d like to show their ads.

As long as your site or blog display any AdSense ads, it’s already part of the Google content network sites and can be targeted by any AdWords advertiser.

Advertisers who participate in a site targeted campaign are charged on a cost-per-thousands (CPM) basis and not cost-per-click (CPC). Therefore they’ll pay a fix amount per thousands impression regardless of how many clicks their ads get.

Actually I had been experimenting with site targeted campaigns where I targeted several local sites such as LiewCF.com, PetalingStreet.Org, Kahsoon.com and several others. However, none of those gave me better results than my campaign at John Chow Dot Com.

I’ve also experimented with site targeted ads to promote affiliate programs but that story is for another day.

 

My AdWords Ads & The Results

I’ve created several ads and rotate two ads simultaneously to find what’s actually working in real time. This is called split testing where I run new ad against the old one evenly at 50/50 each.

After certain number of clicks, I keep the one with a higher CTR and remove the lower performing one. Then I put up a new ad in another attempt to beat the better performing ad and the process continues.

I ran the campaign from 26 to 28 of July and spent $51.11 over the course of 3 days.

When I created each ad, I tried to come up with something that John Chow readers could relate to that grab their attention. Since I’ve just written a review on John’s ReviewMe, I thought many people would like to know that so the ad centered around that article. I didn’t spend too much time brainstorming as you can see from the ads.

 

First ad

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% Served: 18.4%
Clicks: 41
Impression: 1,864
CTR: 2.19%
Cost: $9.34
Cost per click: $0.228

 

Second ad

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% Served: 32.2%
Clicks: 80
Impression: 3,253
CTR: 2.45%
Cost: $16.28
Cost per click: $0.204

 

Third ad

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% Served: 29.4%
Clicks: 74
Impression: 2,967
CTR: 2.49%
Cost: $15.19
Cost per click: 0.205

 

Fourth ad

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% Served: 20.0%
Clicks: 52
Impression: 2,023
CTR: 2.57%
Cost: $10.31
Cost per click: 0.198

 

It’s normal to have a new ad with really high CTR. Soon after its novelty factor wears off, the CTR will start to drop gradually as the same visitors are exposed to the ad repeatedly. The first ad had received close to 6% CTR initially before it settled at around 2.19%.

The above examples clearly demonstrate how split testing could help improve your CTR steadily when done correctly. Notice how I increased the ads CTR from 2.19% to 2.57%. With higher CTR, more people are clicking my ads while I continue to pay less and less per click.

At an average $0.21 per click, clearly spending on AdWords at John Chow Dot Com offers a much better value for money compare to paying for a ReviewMe review if all you are looking for is to attract traffic.

In contrast, the ReviewMe cost me $400 and attracted 535 visits, which works out to be about $0.75 per click. However, since half of the readership comes from RSS feed the number of actual visits was higher if I take into account those via RSS.

So If I received a total of 1070 visits from John Chow both from his blog and RSS feed, that works out to be about $0.37 per click, still costlier than my AdWords campaign.

 

How Does It Affect My RSS Subscriber Count?

This has increased the number of RSS subscribers to my blog as you can see from the graph below. I am sure there are many visitors from the campaign who continue to visit my blog directly even though they haven’t subscribed to my feed, at least not yet.

 

Before my AdWords campaign

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After my AdWords campaign

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The result proves that paying for an AdWords campaign is one of the best ways to attract targeted traffic to you blog. Like ordering a ReviewMe, getting traffic to you blog via AdWords is just the first step, how you retain that traffic and convert the one time visitors into subscribers should be taken into account when running any AdWords site-targeted campaigns.

Ordering a ReviewMe at John Chow Dot Come has its own advantages, one of them is that your blog will be placed in the spotlight without much effort from your part. In contrast, with AdWords, you’ll compete with other advertisers for a spot which could drive your ad cost sky high.

If you are new to AdWords, there’s a steep learning curve ahead of you unless you have someone to guide you around. It can be a frustrating experience if you can’t seem to pull down your CPM and can’t get good CTRs for your ads. (Well actually it’s not that hard once you know what to do. Just copy what works and improve from there)

In my coming post, I’ll write a guide how to easily create a site targeted AdWords campaigns the correct way, save money and get good CTRs for your ads.

My AdWords Experiment at John Chow Dot com – Could It Attract More Traffic At a Lower Cost?

July 27, 2007 by · 9 Comments 

Some of you may have noticed that currently I have an AdWords campaign running over at JohnChow.com. I wanted to see whether AdWords could drive me more traffic at a lower in comparison to my previous ReviewMe order.

So far the result has been encouraging. I’ve also noticed an increase in my RSS subscription.

In addition to running my ads at JohnChow.com, I am also testing them over at several other blogs such as BloggingTips.com.

If you’d like to read the result of my experiment and get some insight as to the effectiveness of using AdWords to drive traffic to your own blog, please subscribe to my blog via RSS or email.

I’ll post the results here once I have enough data to analyse.

See Google Search Results By Country with Google Global Firefox Extension

July 14, 2007 by · 5 Comments 

RedFly Marketing has released a Firefox extension that let you see what searchers in other countries are seeing for a particular search.

You can also use it to compare organic search results in different countries or if you want to see how your AdWords PPC campaigns appear in different regions.

Previously, I’ve been manually appending &gl=country to the query string in my search URL to view the search results in a particular country. For example, if I want to see who are paying for the keyword “free stuff” in the US, I constructed the following:

http://www.google.com/search?q=free+stuff&gl=US

In contrast, the local search returns only one or no AdWords competitor for that keyword.

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=free+stuff

This information helps you get a better feel how the competitions are in other countries and adjust your AdWords campaign accordingly.

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10 AdWords Split Testing Ideas for Better CTR

July 9, 2007 by · 8 Comments 

If you are using AdWords, it’s important that you test multiple ads at the same time to help you understand your particular market better. The secret to a long term success with AdWords is to keep your bid prices down and to do that you’ll need to do split testing.

Split test two ads at the same time, then delete the low performing one. Then create a new ad to try beating the best one. When you have two or more ad in a single campaign, Google will rotate them simultaneously. It may take sometime before one ad emerges as the winner.

You can read more about split-testing your AdWords ads here.

I’ve listed ten AdWords ad ideas that you can use in own split-testing efforts.

 

  1. Use Numbers in Your Ads

    People love numbers especially ones that relate to your product’s benefits. Using the correct numbers in the headline and some in the body can create a powerful attention grabbing ad.

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  2. Create an Arrow Ad

    Create your ad and place your keyword in such a way that they form an arrow like shape > when they are bolded.

    Arrow Shape AdWords
    Can You See The Arrow
    Arrow Is Bolded

    Alternatively, you could try putting your keyword on the far right hand side, or the far left hand side.

    Arrow Shape AdWords
    Arrow That Guides Your Eyes
    Arrow Is Bolded

     

  3. Use Capitalisation

    This is one of my favourites AdWords tricks. Capitalising the first letter of each word in your ad can make it more readable and more effective. In addition, you can even capitalise key letters in your URL to draw more attention to it.

    adwords3.PNG

    Compare the above to the one below, can you see the difference how the first one is more impactful?

    adwords3-2.PNG

     

  4. Use Punctuation Mark

    Using one or combinations of punctuation marks helps differentiate your ad from the rest and attract attention.

    ! @ # $ % ^ & * ( ) : ; “ ‘ , . / ?

    Using punctuation marks in your ad essentially force you to write a different ad than you would have.

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  5. Flip Your Headline

    You can try rearranging your headline and see how each performs.

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  6. Use The Product’s Name In The Headline

    Only use this method if you are not breaking the vendor’s copyright requirements. This can be very effective when used to sell products or services in a highly competitive niche market.

     

  7. Create A Sense of Urgency

    While including a deadline dates are seldom seen in Google, they can be highly effective if used correctly “Used While Stock Last

     

  8. Use Feature & Benefits Properly

    When you write your ad description, fill the second line with a benefit. Think of what your visitors can gain from it. In the third line, write a feature of your product or service. Remember, features always come after benefits. Here’s an example of a good ad description:

     

  9. Reference Well Known People In Your Niche

    Obviously you have to do this legally and appropriately. This can be effective way to drive clicks.

    As an example, when JohnChow.com was banned from Google for the search term “John Chow”, several bloggers took advantage of this and created the following ads.

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    google9-2.PNG

     

  10. Use “This Is A Scam” Method

    The idea is to create an ad that says your competitor’s product is a scam or ineffective then point the ad to your own product or service as an alternative. Such ads attract clicks from curious searchers. However, keep in mind that there may be legal implications to this.

    Now this is not one of my favorite tricks but I include it here for educational purpose only. Your competitor may use this method against you.

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