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Archives for November 2008

Thanksgiving Links

We don’t do thanksgiving in the UK quite like our North American cousins overseas, but I like the idea of it anyway, so here goes:

  1. I am thankful for my family, pets and friends,
  2. That my work is something I love doing and am passionate about,
  3. and my wonderful clients who keep life interesting and a roof over our heads!

Here are some links to share the love:

Got any links to share or things you are grateful for? Have you written up a thanksgiving post with a twist? Add yours in the comments, and the best one or two in my extremely biased opinion will win a copy of the ProBlogger book!

Partnering+Profits Launched – Plus Bonus from Me

Partnering Profits has now launched, and there are great bonuses for anyone who moves fast. Previous products from Brian Clark and co have rushed out the door, so you don’t want to miss out on this one.

Can I recommend Partnering Profits? 100%, you will see on the Partnering Profits landing page that in a way I have put my name behind it already, Darren Rowse and I are going to feature on one of the calls!

Seriously though, a great deal of my income has been generated through the partner opportunities that blogging has brought me, and the more partnership projects I work on the more opportunities that come along.

Partnering has helped build million dollar businesses from scratch. Brian makes over $100,000 a month because of his partner businesses. At only $97 this course is a bargain, I am sure you will agree, but as an extra incentive, I am going to discount my blog critiques by the same amount for anyone who buys Partnering Profits through my link.

Don’t hang around, grab your seat and bonuses now, you will not regret it and it could actually be the best move you ever make for your business.

Search, Segmentation and Silos

Knowing who and what your site is for is key.

As important, is knowing who and what your site is NOT for.

Consider this site, there are lots of things I can and do talk about, but in most cases I try to bring it always back to the main themes of boosting your authority and business via new media.

Pictures of my cat are more likely to appear on my personal site. Photography stuff goes on my photography blog.

What about when a topic does have relevance to your audience, but only a small subset?

That is when segmentation comes in. This is where you get people to opt-in to a more focused site, list or feed, so that the rest of your audience are not bothered by it and where you can comfortably lavish the full package on just those people.

Sub-lists though are not the only way to do it. You can create off-shoot websites, as I did with Authority Blogger. These satellite sites can attract their own search traffic through creating highly targeted content and some kick-start links from your main site.

This traffic will also be funneled to join your niche email list or feed, and will not be distracted by your broader content outside of that silo because they will not get to see it unless you intentionally link it up.

Yes, creating new sites is additional work, but often a highly focused site does well both with audience and search, much more easily than a broad, cumbersome and disorganized monolithic site. A domain and ten pages of killer flagship content might be all you need.

Worth a try?

Partnering Profits – Free Teleclass and Ebook Downloads

Partnering Profits is both a true statement and the name of Brian Clark and Jon Morrow’s new training where you can get free cool stuff!

If you have read my free ebook, Authority Alliances, you know I believe that partnering has been a huge factor in me being able to make an income online. For those of you who haven’t read it, you might want to subscribe now and grab your copy. Existing subscribers just go to the download page.

Already I have had feedback that my small free ebook has helped people put together joint ventures and team projects. Just think what you could do with a detailed partnering blueprint?

Once you have read it, go grab the free Partnering Profits ebook and live teleclass. Believe me, the stuff Brian and Jon have put together goes way further than my introduction to the topic and it will blow your mind with the possibilities for your own business.

Partnering Really Does Produce Profits

Right from the start of my online career I have been collaborating.

Rather than try to do everything yourself you can gain the benefit of key resources from those best able to provide them. It’s the most efficient route to success.

You will likely already be aware of some of my past collaborations, such as co-authoring books like the ProBlogger Book, and startups such as Performancing. Right now as well as working on several websites with business partners, I am partnering on a banner ad network, a web application aimed at small businesses and a competitor analysis tool. Several more projects are in discussion. On top of that I have partners who refer me consulting work or send me Authority Blogger customers.

Each collaboration or joint venture leads to more opportunities. So as well as my income far exceeding what I would have been able to create alone, in addition it is through these projects that I have met cool people like Brian Clark in the first place.

Partner Up and Profit Now!

Why struggle to do everything on your own? People are out there ready, willing and able to help if you can approach the right people and cut the right deal. You can learn the full strategies and how to approach it with their course eventually, but even if you just take the free stuff I am sure you will have enough ideas to take you to the next stage of your business.

Sign up and get your Partnering Profits freebies now!

Why Internet Marketing is Like Driving Supercars

There are often unexpected perks to being a blogger and this Sunday was one of the best I have experienced. On top of having a great day out, I realized something about internet marketing that can benefit you in your business.

Me and my Ferrari

What put this goofy expression on my face? Read on …

6th Gear Driving Experiences had invited a bunch of online geeks, Al Carlton, Dave Naylor, Kieron Donoghue, Patrick Altoft and me, for a day of thrashing supercars around a race circuit. This involved us driving £1million worth of posh motors at bowel-shaking speeds, all the time wearing grins like the one you see above.

What Supercars and New Media Have in Common

As the day went on I did improve marginally in my driving ability, but it made me think of how driving supercars and success in the activity of marketing online are related with the following three factors:

  1. Power of the setup – Is your site, marketing campaign or content holding you back or providing the power and momentum you need?
  2. Skill of the operator – If you or your team are holding you back then you need to update your skills to maintain competitiveness
  3. The field of operation and environment – You might have everything you need but still be held back by your niche and environmental factors, in which case change direction. There is no good in having a supercar capable of 650bhp that is trapped and constrained by conjestion, speed bumps and potholes – take your whole package to a place where you can really let rip!

Obviously in my case with the driving, number #2 let me down. I was in brilliant and expensive machines, in an ideal environment (purpose built track on a clear, dry day), but the instructors showed how someone with actual driving skill could really do the business.

Now if in your business something is holding you back, you can put these essential elements back on track:

  • First ensure you work a niche with sufficient potential, or redirect your efforts and audience targeting into a related niche that offers more room for growth and acceleration
  • Bring your skills and knowledge up to requirements by taking courses, attending seminars and putting in the study hours.
  • Develop your site, content and marketing campaign to make sure it attracts, retains and converts paying customers

Have you got the whole package? It would be worth taking an honest look at your setup then putting right any deficiencies now …

Would You Be Up For It?

We were all so buzzed on the day I am sure there will lots of ideas percolating amongst our collected brains so let me know in the comments if you would be up for taking part in a supercar event next year.

It’s impossible for me to adequately describe how cool it was, so I won’t even try, it is written all over my face in the picture. Suffice to say I would totally recommend the supercar driving experience to anyone, and if you don’t want to take my word for it, check out the reports of the day from Dave, Kieron and Patrick who have wasted no time in blogging the event, and my flickr gallery here.

Aweber Popup Email Subscription Form Test Results

For just over a week now I have been testing the Aweber “lightbox” popup email subscription form. I wrote about the experiment here, and now I wanted to share some results.

Aweber Email Subscriptions

Google Analytics Traffic for Same Period

As you can see when I placed the form up I actually got a small dip in subscriptions before it corrected to become an increase to eventually settling down to a 5.9% conversion rate, up from 2.4%. A client is trying it also and is getting a 5.5% conversion.

Why the dip? There is a weekend lull, but I looked at my analytics and I believe it is because of traffic source. Referral links and search traffic seems to convert much better than social media and my regular visitors.

Aweber Report Key

Aweber Report Key

What I need to keep my eye on is the unverified and the unsubscribes. It’s hard to tell at the moment but I think some of the people signing up were just looking for the freebies and nothing more.

Thing that surprises me is if you take a wider view, the results are not terribly dramatic:

30 Day Lead Growth Aweber Report

So what is the conclusion?

It’s worth a try for newer blogs to get that early momentum, and certainly others are gaining subscribers at a better rate, but for me I am not entirely convinced the results justify the damage to credibility and longevity.

I want my content to sell my subscription, and I want people to stay subscribed because they see value. Like I often say on this blog, it is not worth burning up your long term value for the sake of some short term gains.

To test this I am going to look at segmenting people who join via popup and see if there is a difference in engagement before trialling my alternative.

Make sure you stay subscribed so you don’t miss those results or what my alternative subscription idea is!

Increase Your Website Conversion Rates with this Landing Page Optimization Ebook

Conversions are where websites pay off. A blogger might want to gain more subscribers, an ecommerce site more sales. You might want more leads for your business. Whatever the action you most want people to take when they arrive on your site, you are going to want to tweak and optimize to squeeze the best results out of the traffic you have.

My friends at Invesp have released a great book that tells you exactly how to do just that. It’s called “Landing Page Optimization: The Complete Guide” and when you consider how much difference in profitability just a small increase in conversions can make, it is fantastic value for money at only $95.

The book covers a good introduction to the topic, followed by information and tactics such as target market,  persona development (which I call Pen Portraits), gaining trust and confidence,  engagement and more. While the bias is sometimes towards pay per click, you will pick up great tips for any site.

Invesp achieved 238% increases in conversion rates for their clients just in 2007, see how they did it and how you can too by grabbing a copy of their ebook.

To Trust or to Test?

You might have seen, if you are visiting my site and not reading in email or feed, that I have one of those pop-over email sign up forms appearing right now.

Yes, it’s because of Darren. Blame him, heh.

Thing is, I don’t actually like these pop-overs much. While I think the way I am doing it with only showing it once per person is not as bad as every visit, I still believe people have popup blockers for a reason, and that reason is people don’t like popups, no matter what the technology used to deliver them.

So why on earth would I inflict on my own readers something I don’t like myself?

The good news it will only be a couple of days and I will be replacing it with an alternative approach. My reason is simple, I try to not make statements about tactics unless I have tried and tested them to my own satisfaction, and if I am going to offer an alternative I will need data to back up my arguments.

Another reason, and the title of this post, is “should you trust or should you test?”.

There is a lot of advice out there, some good, some bad. Some of this advice is based on experience, some is based on gut-feel, some of it pulled out of … thin air.

As I was just saying on my blogging forum, have you spotted how many “make money online” tips blogs there are now started by people with no money? I don’t think the “my diary of trying to make money” type are bad, it’s the “here is how to make a fortune … just ignore the fact I haven’t got one” style that make me cross. Why would someone take money making advice from someone who is broke?

Don’t ever just take someone’s word. Test.

It’s one thing to take the advice of Darren Rowse, problogger and monetization guru to the stars, it’s quite another when advice comes from random folks off the internet. But even so, Darren can and does only give you the benefit of his own experience, and that is all anyone can do. Your own experience will be unique because you attract your own unique audience, for your own unique niche and in your own way.

I talk a lot about authority from the publisher or business-owner point of view, but on the recieving end, as you learn and experiment authority can only go so far, you have to use judgement and your own testing to tell you what works for you.