Seth Godin On Internet Based Social Networking For Business

I think this is a first for this blog.  A video.

I’ve never been a fan of internet based social networking as anything that is useful for business, but never quite had the words to describe why.  Seth Godin has done it for me.

Networking is always important when it’s real, and it’s always a useless distraction when it’s fake.  What the internet has allowed is an enormous amount of fake networking to take place.

That’s why you’ll never find me on sites like FaceBook or LinkedIn, and I never respond to invites.  Internet based social networking works properly when you know the person you’re a friend of, and you really are a friend of theirs.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking about all of the web 2.0 style sites.

Twitter, the micro-blogging platform, can certainly be useful if used correctly.  But it seems to me that 99.99% of marketers use it the way it was never intended.  You have to ask yourself, is there really any use (or sense) in following people just because they follow you?

The phenomenon I’ve noticed on Twitter is that a spammer will follow me, and a couple of days later they unfollow me, I guess hoping that I will have followed them, and not noticed they’re no longer following me back.

Pointless distractions.  We don’t need them do we?

And not being at all ironic here (as this isn’t pointless) this video sums it all up nicely for me in words I couldn’t quite express myself.

[hana-code-insert name=’seth-godin-social-networking-01′ /]

-Frank Haywood

By |September 27th, 2009|internet business|7 Comments

AutoBlog Plugin Nickel Sale Now Live

The nickel sale for the WordPress AutoBlog Plugin is now live and has started at just $1.97.  The price is increasing by 5 cents with each sale and the first 20 buyers will get it at under $3.

The report I wanted to bundle with it isn’t complete, so I’ll add that to the download page tomorrow morning.

Make sure to bookmark your download page!

You can get to it here:-

[sale over – link removed]

-Frank Haywood

By |September 26th, 2009|internet business|20 Comments

AutoBlog Plugin Questions Answered

After all the interest in my last post about autoblogging, and all the questions too, I’ve had a bit of a rethink about it.

I now realise that for most people, just releasing the plugin and docs isn’t going to be enough.  It also needs a short report explaining a few things in more detail.

So after wrestling with that one yesterday, I decided to sleep on it and I’ve just made the decision that’s what I’m going to do.

I’ll now release the plugin (plus a short report I’m going to write today) on Saturday (26th September) afternoon.  That will also give more people a chance of grabbing it in the nickel sale as I know that some of my subscribers are currently in full time jobs.

I’ll start the nickel sale at 4.00pm GMT, that’s 11.00am EST I believe, if the US is still on daylight saving time.

So I’m sorry about that, but I reckon that’s the best way to approach it.

I’ll just cover a few of the questions raised in that last blog post now, and I’ll try to put more detail in the report.  Of course I’m a little pushed for time right now so we’ll see how far I get with that – I’ll likely continue to update the report until I’m happy with it.

I can also see there’s probably a need for something with a lot more detail in it, so I’ll release that as a separate product at a later date.

Elise asked some interesting questions about original content, sourcing articles, and posting frequency – here’s my reply to that.

Yes the blogs are profitable, but that’s really no big achievement when you stop to think about it.  If you get traffic and you select the right monetisation method that’s appropriate for that niche, then you’ll make money from it.

By that I mean that if your chosen niche is a physical product such as footwear, then it makes sense to monetise the site via Amazon / eBay.  If your niche is about fish care, then you may be promoting ClickBank products.

I’m not a big fan of AdSense, but I understand that in some cases it’s easier to use that method of monetisation.  You might want to do that initially but it’s always worth investigating to see if there isn’t a trick you’re missing, and there’s better money to be made using a different monetisation method.

Also, maybe the product is your own and you’re running a blog to draw traffic.

Next, concerning the time it takes.

If it costs me 4 hours of my time to do market research, register a domain name, install WordPress via Fantastico and add the various plugins and queue the articles, then my time is well spent.  I have both reseller hosting and also a dedicated server, so those are fixed cost overheads for me anyway, the only real cost apart from my time is the .com (if I can get it) domain registration of $9.69 from NameCheap.

As soon as the blog passes that $9.69 (which sometimes happens quite quickly), then I consider it as in profit, ignoring the value of my time, but even if you cost it out as $30 / hour then it might take anything from 6-18 weeks to make my money back, and then it’s in the black.

Learning Point: Have plenty of niche sites all earning you a little money.

Now for sourcing articles.

It’s not as difficult to grab a pile of on-topic articles as you might think.

You could spend an hour of that four hours and end up with enough to last you a couple of years with two posts a week.  All you need to do is use one of the many article directories out there and just enter keywords in their search box.  Then copy and paste, copy and paste and so on.

It really doesn’t take that long once you get into the swing, and there’s the side benefit that you’re scanning and vetting the articles for suitability as you go.  I mention that as for instance I grabbed a pile of articles about lawn mowers (using an automated method I’ll mention in a moment) and about a quarter of them were off topic.

Learning Point: It’s well worth checking out the content of the articles and not just blindly posting them.

There’s a quite useful $10 tool called Article Gatherer which will scrape articles from two of the biggest article directories and output them as text files.  You can get that here:-

http://www.frankhaywood.com/go/ag/

About the SEO plugin.

Yes I’ve been using the SEO All-In-One plugin, but I don’t bother tagging the articles or writing descriptions for them, I just let the plugin do its thing.

An alternative to that plugin is Headspace 2 which will auto-tag via Yahoo, and also attempt to add keywords for you based on the content of the article.

http://urbangiraffe.com/plugins/headspace2/

I normally post several articles over the first month, maybe 3-6 a week to get it all started, then 1 or 2 a week after that.  Sort of like when taking a course of antibiotics, your first dose should be a double dose to quickly build up the antibiotic in your system – well that’s what I always do anyway.  That’s advice from my mother who is now a retired nurse.  😉

BIG TIP.  You can also get full article email notifications from one of the article directories when any new on-topic articles are posted, so once you’ve set up all the post-dated articles, you could just add those new ones immediately as they appear in the article directory.

Here’s the page you’re after:-

http://www.submityourarticle.com/articles/publishers.php

And you can also do something similar at:-

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/article_announce/

Either sign up to Yahoo, or join the group if you’re already signed up.  You’ll then start receiving full article emails from there too.

Once you’re receiving those emails, if you use something like Outlook Express that will filter emails on keywords, you can get it to take the strain by moving the emails into relevant folders, or I guess even just discarding them if they don’t meet your keyword criteria.

As the related emails start appearing in your niche folders, you can just copy and post them directly and immediately on your niche blog.  Alternatively, if you’ve enabled blog posting by email, you could reformat them and forward them to your blog, which is probably faster.

Okay, that’s it.  It’s also worth reading my replies to other questions in that last post, as there are a couple of other tips in there too:-

Installing and configuring WordPress and plugins, and also cloning existing WordPress installations.

The penalty for duplicate content myth.

Finally, I’m sorry for delying the release of the plugin, but I think it’s the right decision to make, and together with the report will make it a better product purchase for you.

Here’s the launch time again.

Saturday 26th September, 4.00pm GMT (11.00am EST).  The starting price is $1.97 and will increase by 5 cents with each sale.

-Frank Haywood

By |September 25th, 2009|internet business|9 Comments

Autoblogging, Bottle Sterilisers and Mankinis

Way back in February… no let’s go further than that.  A couple of years ago, I began investigating autoblogging as a potential earner.  In February I actually started doing something about it.

You might now be saying to yourself “what’s autoblogging?”

Autoblogging is a method of legitimately using other people’s content and building a niche specific blog which you then monetise in any way you see fit.  AdSense, AdSpurt, Amazon, eBay and so on.

You can get as much content as you like for almost any niche you like just by going along to one of the many article directories out there and lifting the articles for your own use with the authors blessing.  As long as you leave the authors link in place.  That’s the deal.

Or of course you may have purchased some PLR articles which you can use without having to link to anywhere.

There are lots of methods of autoblogging, some quite expensive, some quite complicated, and some just a waste of time.  I’ll give over some detail to all the various methods another time.

One nice and simple (and very effective) method is to let WordPress take most of the strain, and queue up a pile of posts by future dating them.  It can take a while, but the trade off is you’re creating a niche specific content rich site, naturally and over time, that you can forget about.

When you’ve completed one and set it up to post articles for the next two to three years, you can move onto the next one.

Here’s the wonderful thing, thanks to WordPress.  You get your pages indexed in the search engines wihout any additional effort other than posting, and then you get traffic.

In fact, you can’t stop the traffic once it starts, even if you stop posting articles to your blog.

This happens because you’re building a site with lots and lots of words – Google LOVES words and is as good as handcuffed to them and the search spiders just can’t help visiting to see the new words on your site.

This is because every time you make a post, WordPress sends a message out to the blogging community global update servers.  The search engines are all over these servers constantly looking for content and sites that are being actively updated.

I’ve seen that within minutes of placing a post on one of my blogs, Google turns up, courtesy of WordPress and the global update servers.

And once Google knows about your site, the traffic is inevitable.

You may not get traffic for the *exact* search terms you’d like, but you certainly get enough related traffic to make your efforts worthwhile.  And the surprising thing is, you never know what people are going to buy once they’ve clicked through to Amazon or eBay via your affiliate link.

Such as 50 Borat Mankinis or 20 Baby Bottle Sterilisers.

I’m not kidding.  We’ve seen those exact products purchased via our link on Amazon, which gave us a bit of a chuckle here – so much so that we bought a Mankini for our eldest son as a joke.  But that’s another story.  😉

Let’s just run over that again.

#1 – You choose a niche after doing a bit of market research and then set up a niche specific blog.
#2 – You fill it up with future dated posts using free articles from article directories.
#3 – You monetise your blog in any number of ways, including affiliate links off to Amazon and eBay.  (Don’t overdo it.)
#4 – You forget about your niche blog as the job is now done.
#5 – Goto #1.

Now in this process, I’ve found that the most time consuming part of it is adding each article to your blog.  It takes a couple of minutes for each one as you have to add the title, copy the content, and then *remember* to set the date and time into the future.  While you’re doing this, you have to keep a record of the date so you don’t release too many posts around the same time and then none for several weeks.

While I think about it, you also have to have the “Ultimate Plugins Smart Update Pinger” installed and active to stop WordPress from notifying the global update servers with a “ping” as you add each article.  It’s either a WordPress bug or an oversight, but even with future dated posts, WordPress will still ping the servers multiple times even though the content isn’t due to appear on your blog for weeks, months, or even years ahead.

If that happens, your site will get banned for “ping spamming” and you may as well give up there and then.  Smart Update Pinger fixes that bug and will prevent the pings taking place until the date and time that each post is released.

Problem solved.

Now let’s go back to the other problem of scheduling your posts.

What’s needed is an automated method of future dating the articles so that you don’t have to do it all manually.

Guess what?

I’ve finished testing out my WordPress plugin that will do the job for you, and will automatically schedule the posts for future release, and now I’m just about ready to release it.

What I’m going to do is release it in a nickel sale on Friday 25th September and then just like I did with WordPress Affiliate Pages, make it a 100% commission product.  Money generated in the nickel sale will go towards enhancing the plugin to make it better.

The starting price of the nickel sale will be just $1.97, which means the first 20 people to buy will get it for under $3.

The eventual sales price will be $27, and this is a chance to get it at a fraction of that price for a short while.  I’ll probably close the nickel sale after the weekend.

I’ll release more detail on Thursday 24th.

-Frank Haywood

By |September 23rd, 2009|internet business|28 Comments

Updated Blog Software

Just a quick post to say I’ve updated this blog using this theme and software:-

http://www.frankhaywood.com/go/slp/

I’ve had my eye on it for quite a while now, but it seemed that development had stopped and the company was being sold, but not any more.  Now development is full steam ahead with lots of point releases coming out all building up to a full version 6 release.

It’s relatively expensive, but you can get it at the lowest price for at least the next few days – the word is the price is going up when v6 is released.

It’s well worth every penny at any price, and I’m gradually upgrading all my niche blogs to this new platform.

When I’ve got to grips with the over 70 plugins that come with the theme I’ll do a proper review of it, but that could take some time as there’s so much in there.

In the meantime, the theme itself comes with 27 skins, and I’ve chosen one that is clean and simple and is very similar to the previous one, so it shouldn’t all come as too much of a shock to you.  :roll:

Update: v6.0 RC1 has now been released, so if the price is going up when the full v6.0 is released, now would be a good time to get it.

-Frank Haywood

By |September 17th, 2009|Check This Out, internet business|3 Comments