Writing Experiment

I’m doing a bit of an experiment in blogging.  (And I also wanted somewhere I could just write for pleasure, about me and mine.)

One of the things that marketers always want more of, is traffic.  The idea is, the more traffic you have, the more sales you’ll do.  Hmm, yeah, okay, not always true, but a good general principle to adopt.  (What you actually need is well targetted traffic, but even so, any traffic is good.)

I’ve always said you can get traffic just by writing, and that you also don’t need to go out and get loads of backlinks either.  The concept is, if you write about anything and everything, you’ll start to get search engine traffic because some of what you write will end up on the first couple of pages of Google.  (The power of WordPress and the pings it sends to the highly spidered global update servers.)

So I took out a new domain a couple of weeks ago using “Frank Haywood” with a .me extension.  (Work it out, okay?)

I don’t want to link to it just yet as I want to see how much search traffic it will get just by me doing nothing but writing about stuff that occurs to me, and that I want to write about there and then.  (It’s good practice for writing other stuff.)

This is proof of concept that just using a self-hosted WordPress blog and then writing every couple of days or so will start to pull search traffic.  No backlinks, article marketing or ANY kind of marketing, just writing about stuff that happens to me or pops into my mind, with no thought for good taste or any of the marketing stuff.

As a result, I’ll begin to see the kind of things that people are searching for, and I’ll learn this almost randomly – it’s based purely on what I decide to write on for pleasure.

There’s absolutely no monetisation on the site whatsoever yet, and there are only links out to stuff that I find interesting, and NOT marketing related.


So three weeks ago I took out the domain, and a week ago I got my first two visitors via Google search for a write up of a cheap camera I bought from Tesco on an impulse buy because of the price.  (It’s a good camera too – I’m pleased with it.)  The camera itself is small enough to fit in my coat pocket, so it’s great for taking with me wherever I go, and I can pretty much forget about it until I need it.  It took me about an hour to do the write up.

Since then I’ve had another 7 visitors to the site, all from Google search, and all for that camera.

Now while I didn’t write about the camera to make money from the review of it, I did write about it for pleasure and lo and behold, I started to get traffic.  I could monetise it by sending people off to the Tesco site using my aff link, but I’m not going to bother as that’s not what that site’s about.

For now.  😉

But you tell me.  How hard is it to get traffic?

Isn’t this proof enough that if you pick a product that looks like it could be popular, and do a little research and a write up about it, that you will inevitably get visitors?

Now here’s the thing.  People agonise over how to get traffic and then more traffic.  It’s the one thing I get asked about more often than anything else.

I’ve proven to myself again that it isn’t that hard to get traffic, and yet people still seem to have a difficult time getting the right traffic to their sites to match their topic.  That’s what I get told.

But maybe, and this is a message to everybody who’s interested in earning a living online, you should be looking at it the other way round.  Maybe you should instead be looking at what people are searching for, making sure there isn’t too much competition, and then supply them useful content based on their interest, and then use your affiliate links to monetise it.

See the subtle difference?

Many people choose a topic that’s either too broad or too competitive.

The learning point here is if you want to make money from blogging, then choose a more tightly focussed topic and make sure there’s some interest, but also not much in the way of competition.

You’ll then find if you write about the subject and because you’re filling an empty content gap, Google etc will be interested and take notice of your site.


I’ll continue to write for pleasure (and to blow off steam every now and then) on that site, and maybe sooner or later I’ll come across some niche or another that gets a lot of interest, purely by accident.  Who knows what it might be, and when that might happen?

I won’t lose any sleep over it because that’s not what that site is for, but it’s certainly an interesting experiment to do, don’t you think?

-Frank Haywood

Posted by Frank Haywood in internet business, traffic

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:-

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.

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:-

And you can also do something similar at:-

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

Posted by Frank Haywood in internet business

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

Posted by Frank Haywood in internet business

Monetise ANY Website

18 months ago in January of 2007, I had a chat with a friend of mine about how to easily monetise web sites and increase revenue to our internet business.

Most people just use Google AdSense, but I’ve never been convinced that was a viable method as the rewards were too low. I like to see tens of dollars per day, not cents, so it’s never appealed to me, and you’ll never see AdSense on any of my sites.

I know lots of people agree with me on that one, and I read just a couple of weeks ago how someone said they were “blind to them”, and how she filtered them out without even thinking. I’ve even seen AdSense written as “Add Cents” which just about sums it up.

Anyway, in this chat, we had a few ideas, and I even asked one of my developers to have a think about one of the methods, but nothing came of it at the time and it got put away.

Then in about November of last year, there was one of those breakthrough moments. Suddenly we had a method that would work and was almost as easy as AdSense to use.

But instead of Google getting the lion’s share of the advertising revenue, we could have it all instead. That’s MUCH more appealing to everyone.

After all, these are our web sites so why should we share the advertising revenue with a third party? That doesn’t really make sense does it?

Why would you want to give 80% of the advertisers revenue to a middle man? Okay, 5 or 10 percent maybe, but not most of it. That’s just taking the mickey.

You might say “AdSense is easy”. So what? The ease of use should mean you give up the majority of the income? I don’t think so.

Food for thought eh?

So anyway, work started on a script that has changed names a couple of times, and has ended up as being called AdSpurt.

Just like AdSense, you paste a couple of lines of javascript code onto your web site. Once you’ve done that, there’s a little bit of extra work to be done in the admin panel of this site liberating script.

This is how it works.

You enter your keywords into the admin panel, enter your affiliate link to the product you’re promoting, and specify which style of ad is to be shown, there are two to choose from.

Now, wherever the keywords appear on your web site, it automatically gets turned into a link. One kind of link is a “normal” link with your affiliate ID embedded inside it, and the other is a “hover ad” which you can easily identify as a double underlined link.

This means you can take any site you own with content on it, for instance a blog like this one, and monetise it with the high performing ads that you choose.

You earn ALL the commission, there’s no middle man to take your share of the advertising revenue.

Excited yet?

It gets better.

We’ve added the ability to search the ClickBank market place from within the admin panel, choose a product, enter your keywords, click “Create New Ad”, and immediately include the ads on your web site.

AdSpurt will ask for your ClickBank ID during install, so all the ads automatically get generated with your own affiliate link embedded.

For your convenience, we’ve also included a clever proxy script which will allow you to run multiple sites from the same AdSpurt installation and admin panel.

In addition, if you’ve created several ads using the same keywords, then they get automatically rotated so that different ads are shown each time. And looking at it from the other direction, you can also create multiple keywords for the same ads.

Simply put, that’s multiple ads per keyword, and multiple keywords per ad.

Finally and for good measure, to tie this all up we’ve also included a stats page where you can see how well each ad / keyword set is doing, allowing you to split test and find the best performing products. You can download this data as a CSV for further analysis.


NOW are you excited? I am!

The possibilities are limitless, and I’ll be working on a bonus product for this that’s almost as good as AdSpurt itself. I know the method works, I just have to write it up.

Imagine this. Create a blog on your niche subject. Populate it (completely legitimately) with brand new articles on your niche topic from article sites. Write a few of your own articles and submit them yourself to article directories. Add your keywords to AdSpurt, and watch the traffic come rolling in.

Keep adding articles from article sites, and over time your blog will be recognised as an authority site. It may take a while, although there are a few short cuts you can do.

Rinse and repeat with your next niche.

Sounds good? Yeah, I know the finding and adding articles is a bit of a pain, but what if you knew how to semi-automate that process? Well, there is a way, and that’s the bonus I’ll include. Actually there are several ways, but they all involve buying extra scripts – I’ll show you how you can do it using software you already have on your PC.

Now although AdSpurt is complete, I won’t be launching it for another month or so, and when I do it will be at $47 for a short while, eventually rising to $97.

But of course, I need some testimonials and a bit of feedback about the product, so here’s what I’ll do.

I’ve just received the final working version of AdSpurt which I’m playing with right now, and in return for some feedback from you, I’ll give it to you for a short time for a much lower price.

I’ve yet to decide when and how I’ll do it, but you’ll be the first to know about it here on this blog.

ONLY subscribers to this blog will get the details as I’ll be putting them in a good old password protected post. If you want to subscribe, go to the home page and over on the right near the top you can enter your name end email address.

-Frank Haywood

(DO I have to say it? Oh okay then. DON’T use your ISP or a free email address to subscribe. The chances of you getting a business email through your providers mail filters are next to nil. Use an email address off one of your web sites instead.)

Posted by Frank Haywood in internet business