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12 June 2006
Do you sell something on the web solely through PayPal? If so, you are leaving money on the table.

The problem with PayPal is that it does not support a lot of countries and customers from these unsupported countries will not be able to buy from you. As I am Bulgarian and Bulgaria is not a supported country, I am unable to submit my sites to paid directories, which take payments only through PayPal. They lose sales.

If you sell on the web, don’t rely 100% on PayPal. You need to accept credit cards. I have seen numerous reports on webmaster forums that adding credit card support increases revenue compared to only accepting PayPal.

I sell a software program and have sold copies in 52 countries with a lot of them unsupported by PayPal. If I relied on PayPal, I would have lost a nice amount of revenue.

I really do hope Google’s GBuy would support all countries worldwide. PayPal is great, but is not enough to cover all customers.

09 March 2006
Here is a very important factor for your website success: “How much time does a user spend on your site per visit and how often does that user come back?”. The more, the better. When your visitors spend a lot of time on your sites, a bunch of cool things happen…

1. Search engines will increase your rankings. One of the hottest new directions in search relevancy is tracking user behavior (time spent on sites, clicking on search results, bookmarks etc.). “Usage statistics” as Google calls it, is a substantial part of user behavior.

The more time a user spends on your site, the better your site must be, right? When users go around reading all your content, it means your content is interesting, relevant and of high-quality. It also means your content is not just a bunch of stuffed keywords.

Google, for example, talks about using user behavior and specifically usage statistics (traffic data) for ranking purposes in at least 2 patents – “Methods and apparatus for employing usage statistics in document retrieval” and “Information retrieval based on historical data”.

2. The more a user stays at your site, the better are your chances of making a good impression. That means more incoming links, more repeat visitors, more bookmarks etc. This in turn means more repeat traffic, more traffic from incoming links and more search engine traffic (better rankings).

3. The more pages a visitors sees, the more times your advertising gets shown (more ad impressions). More ad impressions will turn into more revenue.

Some time ago, I thought the best thing for AdSense revenue was to make simple pages with very few links and put AdSense all over. These made-for-AdSense kinds of pages get a higher CPC per visit BUT…

If the visitor is directed to read more of your content, you will get more ad impressions per visit, more repeat visitors, more search engine traffic, links etc. In the long-run, making a valuable, usable and easy to navigate content site will make you much more money than trying to monetize users on the very first visit by overloading with AdSense and providing no usable navigation.

How do you make your visitor stay at your site longer?

1. Make your site load fast! In a recent thread on WebMasterWorld, there was a very interesting discussion that when sites were moved to a faster server, ad revenue jumped. It seems that a lot of visitors don’t wait for slow websites to load. They just go away. I personally, associate slow-loading sites with sites overloaded with advertising. Surfers tend to stay more at fast loading sites.

To make your website load faster:

- Get a better hosting provider located in the area where your primary traffic comes from (example: USA). Don’t fall for the cheap oversold hosting that guarantees slow response time for scripts. Shelling out a few more bucks per month will be compensated by a higher revenue.

- Use faster scripts

- Use gzip compression

- Minimize unnecessary images

- Take off all advertising until your site gets established and ready to monetize heavily

2. Provide a more useful navigation. Make it really easy for your visitors to follow links to other content on your sites.

- Put links to related articles / blog entries / forum threads below your content

- Put links to the most recent articles / blog entries / forum threads below your content. Showing links to your most recent articles / blog entries on every page is a neat idea because you can also take advantage of topical queries as I have explained in a previous blog entry about the v7ndotcom elursrebmem seo contest.

- If you have a rating system in place, put links to Top Rated content on your site

- Cross reference your articles within your content. Place longer and more descriptive anchor text links, as there is research suggesting that when longer anchor text links are given more value than shorter links, relevancy increases. The authors of the paper speculate that longer links involve more editorial vote in them than shorter links which are most often parts of the site navigation.

- Place navigational links below your content (not only above your content).

How do search engines know website traffic details? Toolbars, ad network statistics, browser history, purchasing web logs from the biggest ISPs etc. etc. Search engines can spy on user behavior. If it weren’t true, they will not file patents and develop tools that make this spy job easier.

04 February 2006
I would like to share a very effective content building strategy with you. It can bring you search engine traffic and profits much faster than you would expect from brand new sites.

Before I share the specific strategy with you, I want to say something important about Content Building. So listen up.

Quality Content Building is the most important SEO strategy. Most people don’t consider Content Building to be a part of SEO, but I disagree. To me, SEO is anything that helps you get more organic search engine traffic and Content Building helps tremendously, especially with Google.

Now let me ask you a question: consider two sites that are of the same age, the same link popularity, keywords etc. everything being equal, except that one of the sites has 10 times more content. How much more traffic will the bigger site get in the next few months? 10 times more? Sorry, you are wrong. It will get much more than 10 times the traffic of the smaller site, if you do it right.

I will talk about the specific reasons in an upcoming SEO book that I am writing at the moment. The book will also discuss the recommendations that I will lay out in this article.

The strategy is simple. Team up with 2, 5, 10 or whatever other trusted people that have good knowledge in the chosen field. Start building a content site and share the profit.

Consider this fact. If you write one good article per week, you will end up with 52 articles in a year. If 5 people write one good article per week, you will end up with 260 articles in a year. That is a tremendous leverage for getting lots of natural links and getting traffic from Google.

What kind of articles?

Long articles will always outperform short articles for SEO, conversions, getting natural links etc.

Long articles can and will rank for much more keyword combinations.

Long quality articles can impress your visitors way better and make them want to link to you.

Most of the articles that get linked to for years are high quality, long and comprehensive articles on a given topic.

Posting short, controversial, flamy or newsworthy articles in a blog can get you links short-term, but in-depth long articles covering some specific topic will get linked to long-term.

Treat the articles as sales letters. Make them long, interesting, in-depth. Start with a catchy title etc. Focus on content, not keywords.

Trust me, long in-depth articles, covering the full aspects of a topic will outperform short articles any time. Don’t break your articles into smaller ones. Doing so has the only advantage of getting more keyword rich title tags, but long articles will still outperform the short ones.

How to split the profit?

That is the easy part. Every author can place his AdSense, YPN code on his articles (that is a good incentive to write more articles). The same can be done with AdSense channels. Profit from other sources can be split in any way you like. One person can take care of webmastering and SEO.

All members of the team can post at forums and blogs with links back to the shared-profit-site. All members can actively monitor forums for questions about the field, hot news etc. and write about them etc.etc.

Teaming up has a great leverage advantage that will easily outperform the competition.

How will a single person produce more content, links and buzz about a single site? It is impossible.

17 January 2006
If you have ever stopped to think about your online / offline money making strategies, you have probably wondered how to structure your time / efforts into your business. It is extremely important how efficiently you spend your time. I have been thinking about this issue lately. In my opinion, the two most important factors are: short-term vs long-term revenue streams and the daily / weekly time needed to run your long-term revenue streams.

What is a short-term and a long-term revenue stream? Let’s say you are a web designer. When you design a site for a client, you get paid let’s say $500. That’s not too bad. But that’s a short-term revenue stream. You are investing your time into one-time paying projects. How about making 100 pre-designed website templates and selling them on your site? You can sell these for years! That is a long-term revenue stream. You are probably very good with Photoshop? Then why not write and sell a Photoshop guide ebook? You write it once, and sell it for years to come (you’ll need to update it only when new Photoshop versions come out).

Do you now get the difference? Every minute you put into short-term one-time paying projects is a wasted minute. Why not invest your time into projects that will bring in revenue for years to come?

I decline job offers almost daily both online and offline. I have absolutely no interest in coding scripts for others, because these are all one-time paying projects.

One-time paying projects are needed when you are low on cash. In such cases, you’ll need to take one-time paying projects while you are concurrently working on the long-term projects.

I personally don’t think I can get rich doing one-time projects, be it as a programmer or a fitness coach. Most of my friends are content working for other companies. Unless I am very low on cash, I will never work for a monthly / weekly / hourly whatever salary.

Most of the time you invest, should be invested in activities that help long-term. There are many tactics that work long-term.

Writing Articles / Content
Once you write an article, it will bring you revenue for a long-time. If you submit the article to directories, it will probably get published/reused (in exchange for a link to your site) for a long time. If you put it on your site, it will attract search engine traffic for a long time.

InfoProducts (EBooks, DVDs, Videos, Audios)
This is a great business. You write an ebook once and sell it for a long time. You shoot a seminar you gave, and you can sell it online for years. You get the idea?

Selling software is my major income stream. I spent a year writing it, and have been selling it for close to 3 years now.

PPC campaigns
Optimizing your AdWords / PPC campaigns takes a few months. Once you’ve found what works, once you have optimized the ad copy, once you have made the campaign as profitable as possible and you are now just running the campaigns and they bring in revenue long-term.

Viral Strategies
You can write free tools / scripts that can get you links long-term. My SEO-Board script constantly generates links for its site. I can divert this traffic to my related websites. You can write a free ebook / report with give-away rights once and you will benefit long-term (links, traffic etc.)

The second important factor is what amount of time / money you’ll need in order to maintain / run the long-term revenue streams. If it is a content site, you’ll need to pay the hosting and domain name. If it is an ebook or software, you’ll need to answer emails (something you can outsource). If it is a free script, you will need to make improvements over time. For PPC campaigns you will need to spend time monitoring the success of the campaigns.

The really great thing about running profitable long-term businesses is that you can outsource most support. After all, the rich make money long-term, while at the same time exploiting the poor who work for them for short-term per hour / month whatever salary. If you want to make money and have time for family and tequilas, you may need to reconsider your time-spending strategy. Invest your time in long-term profits.