Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Did Google just get Slapped?

Internet marketers live in terror at the possibility of offending Google and getting banished from its graces - better known as the Google Slap. Did Google get a taste of its own medicine today when Microsoft and Yahoo joined forces to take the world's largest search engine, Google, head on.

In the virtual wars of the internet today’s announcement of a sweet deal between Microsoft and Yahoo has certainly chalked up a win for the Redmond based software giant. The new alliance between the two rivals gives added punch to Microsoft’s search engine BING and much needed relief in R & D expenses to the beleaguered Yahoo.
The combined muscle power will go head to toe against the world’s largest search engine Google in an effort to woo away advertisers and attract publishers.

Full article here

No shrinking violet, Google has invaded the sacrosanct waters of Microsoft’s sizable grip in the operating system world with its introduction of Chrome OS, a free open source project which is still in beta mode. While years away from becoming a viable threat to Microsoft, you can bet your bottom dollar that the current OS world leader is not taking the introduction of Chrome OS lightly.

What does all this mean to you and me – the independent internet marketers mere specs of cyber dust on the radar screens of the giants? But important specs nonetheless for it is you and I that drive the profits of the likes of Google et al.

What I am thinking is that the newly formed behemoth is going to have to really get aggressive. The current combined statistics of the freshly minted partnership is a mere 11% worldwide share compared to Google’s 67%. The recent introduction of Microsoft’s Bing may hold clues. Buoyed by a hefty 100 million, Bing opened with a slick, jazzy and sexy campaign. Reviews have been positive to date and Microsoft has already picked up some traffic. Watch for continued innovative marketing techniques to steer you and me towards using Bing as our search engine.

But what about the bottom line? Will we switch?

Granted added traffic will form a case for switching your ads from one billboard to another and moving online real estate ad space on websites and blogs to the not so new but impressively aggressive kid on the block. But I think that won’t be enough. Bing and Yahoo will have to dangle another carrot ... money. How that will look is left to conjecture but an obvious first step is higher commissions to the publishers (that would be you and I) and lower advertising costs.

Don’t hold your breath for this to happen overnight though. The “deal” still has to pass the antitrust regulators and it is anticipated that it will be at least the early part of the coming year before the giants move forward, plus a two year “merging” of the minds, wills and cultures of the two former oponents – no easy feat to accomplish.

Add to all this online intrigue the thorny presence of Twitter which is the latest and hottest entry in the social media corner of the virtual world. Google it seems is an ardent suitor. Rebuffed but not rejected I wager that the big G will continue its efforts to win over this latest phenomena. Should it be successful Google will once again go under the microscopic scrutiny of the antitrust laws ... the very same set that deep sixed its courtship and proposed alliance with Yahoo in the first place.

Star Wars? This is far more exciting. Stay tuned for further developments in the virtual wars of the internet as the big guys duke it out for your business and mine.

Happy Blogging

Valentina
Blogger for money

PS... Any Grande Fromage I may have alluded to previously is instantly eclipsed by this big cheese!

Quick Links:
Microsoft, Yahoo announce search deal

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Networking with other bloggers

Why Network with other bloggers?

Blogging for money is a business and just like in the offline world it is important to throw out your tentacles and network. Too many mistakenly think that to make money online all that is needed is to sit at the computer and just blog away. Your results will be immeasurably higher if you partake of some good old fashioned networking.

Think about it.

If your business was offline, you would attend Chamber of Commerce luncheons, join an association in your industry, attend conferences and conventions. Why? To promote your business of course, but also to network, to learn about what others in your industry are doing to move their businesses forward and to form strategic alliances. Why should blogging be any different?

Good news.

You can network in your pajamas if you want. Actually I like to network both online and off for my blogging businesses. I think that a mix of the two is important. Let me explain.

Lets start with the obvious one: networking online. There is a saying that no one reaches the pinnacles of success alone. Ask any guru out there. Cheering peers and colleagues were an integral part of their success. Did these colleagues and peers materialize out of thin air? NO. They were cultivated. This is an important strategy and there is nothing subversive about it. Here are some ways you can network online:

#1. Source out other blogs in the same niche as yours. Follow these blogs and post comments on their articles. Make sure they are quality comments.

#2. Select your favorite blogs and ask if the owner is willing to consider a guest article by you. If the offer is accepted, submit an original article. There is no guarantee that the owner of the blog will post it but chances are that if the article is well written it will eventually appear. This is the beginning of a relationship with that blogger. Treat it well.

#3. In your own blog give some link love to the blog and blogger that you are now cultivating. The blogger will be aware of your support – trust me on this.

#4. Join forums in your niche, follow for a while before posting, then post quality comments – comments that are helpful. Others will begin to take notice of you as will the owner of the forum.

#5. Review the blog that you are following. Tell your readership what you like about that blog, maybe a little bit of advice/critique as to what you think might make it an even better blog and summarize the highlights.

I can bet you dollars to donuts that over time you will have developed a good relationship with the owner of this blog. Rinse and repeat. This is the online version of networking.

I think that offline networking is equally important. Meet other bloggers or internet marketers in your area. Attend “meet ups” and other scheduled internet marketing functions. Some of these functions are free, others have a nominal fee. You will meet people in different disciplines of internet marketing and you will be surprised at how generous they are in sharing their knowledge.

Surprise, surprise. You might even be one of those who is able to share your expertise with a newbie. I recently attended a function that was not internet based. Everyone present was a small business owner. They were intrigued about my online marketing business and wanted to know more. We talked about blogging as a good way to begin their online marketing efforts. Of course I pointed them to my free e.book ABC’s of Blogging for Money.

A word of caution; when networking seek what you can do for the other person before asking them to do something for you. This will differentiate you from 90% of the attendees and will do you more good in the long run. When you meet someone for the first time, ask them what you can do for them that would help their business. Be sincere. Maybe all you can do is introduce them to someone who can be of help. Maybe at the moment there is not much you can do, but you never know when you will run into someone or a situation that is just right for your newly acquired contact.

One other thing when networking offline – its not about how many cards you give out or collect. Make two to five meaningful connections and begin to cultivate a relationship. Be open but be selective as to whom you decide to invest your time with.

Networking is an important component of any business – whether you are selling flowers to the corporate market or blogging for money cultivating relationships is what will take your business to the highest pinnacles of success.

Happy Blogging!

Valentina
Blogger for money

PS.... There’s plenty of cheese at the pinnacles of success.

Quick Links:
Blogging for Money
ABC’s of Blogging For Money

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Is Tweeting for Bucks the New Blogging for Money?

Is anyone out there tweeting for bucks? Is anyone making money in social media?

That was the subject of a newsletter I recently received.

Is blogging for money being edged out by its sexier cousin tweeting for bucks?

I don’t know.

It seems that social media marketing is the hottest subject on the internet today and everyone is suddenly an expert and weighing in with their opinion – in my opinion it is highly misunderstood, misused and definitely abused.

I confess to not “getting it” when the hullabaloo first started – I mean, who cares if I just had sausages and toast for breakfast or if I’m packing to go and visit aunt Millie? It's a lot of noise about nothing, I thought, and ignored the phenomena for as long as I could.

Interestingly I began to receive emails from people in the internet marketing industry whom I respect. Successful internet marketers. Without exception they were extolling the power of social media marketing and how when applied properly, it can put dollars in your jeans.

HUH?

Adding dollars in my jeans always gets me attention. I began to read more.

Then I attended Frank Kern’s Mass Control in San Diego where Ed Dale made a compelling presentation on the power of Social Media and Perry Belcher followed up with conclusive evidence that yes, there is money in social media marketing, but, and here is the big “but” you really need to know how to apply it properly or you’ll be ignored; worse yet, you could be banned.

Social media sites are popping everywhere – they number in the thousands. Each has a purpose for its existence and the application or participation format vary from site to site. The most popular ones are Facebook, LinkedIn for the business crowd and the one that has all the internet atwitter is ... well Twitter!

First things first. As mentioned, each social site has a purpose. Delicious for example is an excellent venue for generating backlinks to your site. Search engines such as Google look at backlinks as a vote for your site so the more backlinks you have pointing back to your site, the better the likelihood of getting both a higher ranking on your site and generating increased traffic. Traffic is the holy grail of internet marketing – we all want it, lots of it.

Twitter on the other hand is the online equivalent of a blog sound bite and most importantly, the information is live. Why is that so important? When managed properly the internet marketer has up to the minute information on a subject of her choice and use it intelligently to leverage her marketing on the subject. Say your topic is celebrity dogs and you just learned that the Taco Bell chihuahua has gone on to its taco in the sky. Immediately you could post on your blog this breaking news content giving you front of line placement with the search engines. Rinse and repeat ... and soon you are the number one celebrity dog blog.

To go into details on social media marketing here is not within the scope of a single post. What is important to understand though is that it is not social media marketing that puts dollars in your jeans – it is a tool that used properly will definitely impact positively on the bottom line of your bank balance. Lets take the Taco Bell chihuahua as an example. With frequent "breaking news" postings traffic to your blog will increase and with increased traffic you are likely to have more clicks for ads, affiliates and if you don't have any paid advertisers on your site yet, this gives you leverage to attract them.

In this year’s Thirty Day Challenge, Ed Dale is going to be giving extensive coverage to social media marketing. It officially kicks off August 1 but the pre-season tools are being uncovered almost daily. To be better armed for a more successful blogging for money career, register today – hey, its free. See you there!

Happy Blogging!

Valentina
Blogger for Money

PS ... get your own cheese with the Thirty Day Challenge.

Quick Links:
Frank Kern’s Mass Control
Ed Dale
Perry Belcher
Follow Me on Twitter
Register for Thirty Day Challenge

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Blogging - a valuable marketing tool

Blogs are sprouting up faster than a new growth of bamboo shoots. Suddenly everyone is jumping on the expressway to wealth and its called Blogging for Money – or so they think. It is definitely a growth industry. But as an industry is it really making money?

In this fast paced world of the internet, blogging is not a new phenomena. It’s been around for some ten years now – I know, because some of the bloggers that are pulling in the big bucks have been blogging in one form or another for that length of time. It is exactly the financial success of notable bloggers like Darren Rowse, Yaro Starak, Nathan Hangan, and Alvin Phang to name just a few that has captured the attention of the young and old alike and suddenly it seems that blogging for money has become the online version of the Klondike Gold Rush.

So, yes there is money in the industry but statistically that money falls to a very small percentage. There are millions of blogs. Most are not monetized nor were they ever put up with the intention of making money. Many more have been abandoned either because the initial flush of creativity died an early death or the promise of money failed to materialize.

Therein lies the challenge. Making money blogging. Manuals on blogging focus on finding a niche and then blogging about it. Plenty of attention is given to the fact that unlike traditional brick and mortar businesses it does not cost much to start a blog.

In my view many newbie bloggers are missing an opportunity that is right under their own noses. I am often asked by eager would be bloggers what it is that they should blog about. The first question I ask is whether they already have a business of their own. Often they do. I have spoken with dry cleaners, bakers, bike shop owners, florists and many other small business owners. When asked if they had given any thought about blogging about their businesses I get a blank stare. They've bought into the notion of unique and niche and their business, in their mind, is neither unique nor niche.

You see, blogging is just another marketing tool and a valuable one at that. It can be an effective way to promote your bricks and mortar business. I had a long conversation with the baker. His bread is to die for – all whole food type of ingredients and so delish. The quality is definitely high end and customers gladly pay the premium price. He wants to expand as a supplier to high end restaurants and local specialty grocers of natural and organic foods.

We chatted. How could a blog help him? Tricky. Go for the business to customer or business to business market?

“Could you handle more walk in traffic?” I asked.

“Absolutely” he said.

"In fact walk in traffic is the most profitable part of my business as the bread is sold at full price."

I happen to know that there are customers who drive an hour each way just to stock up on his bread. What if he blogged as part of his marketing mix? He could start with his story. He can write about what makes his breads different. Talk about some of the ingredients. The origin of some of the breads he bakes and much, much more. Do you think that he could create a continuously increasing stream of traffic to his store? Do you think that maybe those high end grocers just might begin to notice him. If he rolled up his baker's sleeves and employed even just a few online marketing strategies, could the effort pay off with more money in the bank?

I think so.

Now here’s a thought for you. You write. You want a blog. Topics elude you. Are you already a small business owner? Are there stores in your neighborhood that would pay you to market their businesses online? Is there a successful baker who's too busy to blog but has bigger ambitions for his business who would be willing to pay you to do so?

You could approach one store – preferably a friend – and offer to help market their business online for free as something to cut your teeth on while learning how to blog. Could you monetize that blog so that not only does the business get added traffic but makes money off of the blog? Do you think your friend would give you referrals to his small business buds? For pay? Could you become a professional blogger writing for established bricks and mortar businesses – and they don’t even have to be where you live, not if you learn how to market your blogging service properly.

Now there’s something to think about. Is that a possibility that can be a probability?

Happy Blogging ......

Valentina
Blogger for Money

PS... Now there’s a completely different spin on “a brick of cheese”

Monday, July 13, 2009

Time Managment

Time management is the bete noire of productivity – or should that be, lack of time management?

I run three businesses.

None of them on their own provide a livable income. One is a mature business in network marketing which provides me with the biggest chunk of change for my livelihood. Another is one that I fell into less than a year ago: marketing a pet product to the retail pet industry. It is growing. The third is internet marketing. It is at once the most time consuming and the least profitable, yet, it is the one I am pursuing with unfettered enthusiasm.

None earn enough so that I could outsource some of the more tedious tasks

Conventional wisdom dictates that I work only one business, build it up to extraordinary success and only then turn my attention to a second one. And as they say: rinse and repeat. Indeed, I give that very same advice to others.

Why do I not follow my own advice?

Frankly, I enjoy the diversity. It keeps my brain active.

The question I am often asked is how do I manage to run three businesses. The answer is with great difficulty. But I have adopted a system that seems to work: time blocking.

Time blocking is a management system where you take blocks of time – in my case I use a one hour block - and you allot so many blocks for a certain activity. Each day I allot several blocks to each business. Neither the number of blocks nor the sequence is uniform for each day. For each business I have a monthly and a weekly goal. The daily blocks are then focused on making the weekly goal. An example might be:

July:
Internet Marketing: Increase traffic by 10% to each blog/site
How?
- Publish 10 articles in Article Directories
- Blog daily (I have several blogs – so not each one gets a post every day)
- Each week take the best blog posts and repurpose into an article to be published in Article Directories
- Visit “Do Follow” blogs and comment as appropriate

Those are not the only internet marketing activities I engage in, but they are the bones which are then fleshed out.

As I am still very much a student of Internet Marketing and spend a good deal of time reading, listening to or watching videos of a course or a subscription I block time for that as well. This keeps me growing, increases my knowledge and improves my skill sets. I do not implement everything I learn – indeed, sometimes I feel that something is beyond my current grasp, and I leave it, to be returned to later.

I decided on this model because the previous one, which was based on task oriented results as a measurement of time for each business, was not working. An example might be to write up 4 new retail orders for the pet product that I market for the day. Sometimes even after hours and hours of following up by email and calls to my key contacts, it just did not happen. It was frustrating. Now, I have flexibility as to how many blocks I assign to this project on any given day – and there are days when one of the businesses may not be assigned any block at all. At the end of the month I have measurable results which include new customers, repeat customers and added prospects in the pipeline. Adjust as necessary

You may have a regular day job. A family to raise. A fitness routine to fit in ....and, you have decided to enter the world of internet marketing by blogging for money. How do you do it?

Ewen Chia, author of How I made my First Million on the Internet had all that to juggle – well not sure about the fitness regime. He blocked 4 hours each night to work on his internet marketing, but get this he did that between 11.00 PM and 3.00 AM. It’s a wonder he did not keel over from sleep deprivation. Now that is what I call driven and many would term that as being extreme, but what it has done is delivered extreme success to him.

You may not want to follow in Ewen’s footsteps (heck, I would drop from sheer exhaustion myself), but do take a page out of his book ... block some time for your success, daily. Turn off the TV and use the weekends to chunk in some real quality effort, say four or six hours straight, you’d be surprised how that escalates your results.

I use this system for my businesses, but really, it can be used for anything. Managed well, with systemic time blocking you will see incremental progress. I love comparing where I end the month with where I began that month. There is always progress. Progress built on progress eventually takes on a rocket ship trajectory.

Believe it. It's true.

Happy Blogging!

Valentina
Blogger for Money

PS... How do you cut your cheese?

Quick Links:
How I Made My First Million on the Internet

My network marketing business

All Natural Pet Balm

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Google Alert - a useful tool for bloggers

The 30 Day Challenge pre-season is in full swing. New “tools” are introduced on a regular basis. Some of these tools are not new to me yet I decided to invest the five minutes or so to view the videos. Amazing. Even though I thought I knew how to use these tools, I found something that I was not fully utilizing from each video! It's always good to review!

One tool however was new to me – Google Alert. This is different from Google Reader. It made sense to check it out so I registered for my Google Alert account.

What Google Alert does is send you freshly minted content on the keyword phrase you want to be kept up to date on. You can put as many such phrases as you want and Google will send you the aggregate list of articles on the topic within the time intervals you choose. What I like about this service is that I don’t have to go searching for fresh material on my topic. I also become better informed on my subject and therefore more of an authority on it. One of the phrases I submitted was blogging for money.

In this morning’s serving there was an article that I thought was very interesting ... talk about “niche” marketing. A blogger in the UK has decided to blog about his very unique house as a way to market it to buyers. The blog has been up for two months or so and already he has had 10,000 visitors and a few who expressed further interest in possible purchasing it. The article’s title is Sold to the Highest Bidder and you can read it on Times Online

The real point of this little soupcon on Google Alert is that if you want to get returns that are exactly what you are looking for then you need to put quotation marks around the phrase, like so: “blogging for money”. Clearly the article in question about the house for sale by blog, while it met the criteria of blogging for money, was of a different stripe than what I am looking for.

Now the dilemma. Do I go and manage my Google Alert and change the instruction by encasing my phrase with quotation marks or, do I leave it? Reads such as above are interesting.

To make my decision I asked these critical questions.

Am I looking to expand my general interest knowledge or am I looking for targeted information? Which choice takes me towards my objective of making money online?

The answer is targeted information. I am an easy pushover for good reads. It is one of my biggest “distractions.” I could easily lose myself in this type of activity and spend precious little time on the real activities that make a difference to my business.

What about you? Is the time you spend on internet marketing put to productive use or are you just visiting in your own business?

Happy Blogging!

Valentina Bellicova
Blogger for Money
Free download ABC’s of Blogging for Money

PS. The cheese is not in the wheel.

Quick Links:
30 Day Challenge
Blogging for money
Google Alert
Sold to the highest bidder

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

June Statistics - into the summer

Holding steady, well almost. Bloggers I am following and who also frequently post their results for the previous month ... haven’t, yet! And I must say, that I am blogging away towards the close of day. Today is Canada Day – Canada’s birthday and today we celebrated Canada’s 142nd! Yup. As countries go, we are still just a babe in the woods - which is how I often feel about my own internet marketing career. Many years ago I came to this country and officially became a Canadian as soon as I qualified. Took my test. Was so proud to be sworn in. Am so proud to be a Canadian.

So, how did June pan out? A small downturn from May which is a bit disappointing ... I am looking for growth after all. But I have been told that the summer doldrums hit even the internet and my postings are not frequent enough to counteract.



As usual there are some peaks in the month. The two posts that drew the most traffic were

The Dot Com King
Ed Dale Kicks of 30 Day Challenge Pre-Season



The bright light is that it seems that the search engines are beginning to find this blog – at 15.93% it’s the highest to date.

The only earnings to report are Adsense at $6.83 ... no affiliates this month.

There were 46 downloads of my ebook ABC’s of Blogging for Money

Overall growth seems to be eluding me. I’ve looked at how I could improve the stats, get more traffic and have more people subscribing to my RSS feed (not sure I have that set up right), the newsletter or the “follow me” group. I checked to see what my more successful compatriots are doing:

John Chow who reportedly makes $40K per month really works hard at his blog. I just went over the past month and not only does he blog daily, but several times a day! And it’s all good stuff too ... some of it on his daily life, some of it on internet marketing, some of it on our buds in the biz. He’s got several products as well. He enjoys over 200K in traffic per month. Much of his revenue is from the paid sponsors. Not bad for someone who started to blog in 2006 “just because”

Yaro Starak who is known to have taken $100K to the bank at least one month – but more importantly, consistently pulls down over $35m monthly. Yaro has been blogging on one blog or another for nigh on ten years now and brings a lot of experience to the table. Not only does he post kick ass info but is now successfully joint venturing with other successful internet marketers -that's striking the gold vein in the mine!

Caroline Middlebrook – a software professional who started her blog some two years ago. Modest - compared to the two above - monthly income that hovers at the $2000 mark, but she’s been a rare presence on her own blog due to the time she is spending in developing a new software program.

How did I spend my Internet Marketing time blocks this past month?

- published 9 posts on this blog
- submitted 2 articles to one article directory
- kept up to date in the 30 Day Challenge pre-season
- researched niche topic for the 30 Day Challenge (I think I have one nailed)
- working on the beta project that Dan Lok put out
- Read my RSS feeds
- Read my favorite blogs and posted comments (got backlinks)
- Visited some forums
- Working on my postings for July which will be on linking.

Thoughts to Ponder: Now that I am much more familiar with WordPress I am seriously considering migrating this whole blog to that system. I am also seriously scared – scared that I’ll mess the whole thing up in the process techie type stuff not being my strong suite. But I now understand why the top dogs in the internet marketing scene choose Wordpress.

Soon I will unveil my project in the beta program which I think will work in good stead with the niche I am considering for the 30 Day Challenge. These will be covered in this blog in the future as each will have something to contribute to my progress and hopefully yours.

Happy Blogging!

Valentina Bellicova
Blogging for Money

PS. Another top notch blogger, Alvin Phang baked a cheesecake for his first anniversary. Pictures and recipe on his blog.

Quick Links:
The Dot Com King
Ed Dale Kicks of 30 Day Challenge Pre-Season
John Chow
Yaro Starak
Caroline Middlebrook
30 Day Challenge
Alvin Phang