Home | Archive | Contact

Archive for the 'Adsense' Category

How To Make Money With An Automated Blog & AutoStumble

Wednesday, August 13th, 2008

Welcome to another “how to” post. If you follow the recipe here, you’ll be onto Stage 3 = Profit in no time. This ties quite nicely in with the Blackhat SEO Tools post and the AutoStumble post, for those who haven’t read them. It’s a little blackhat, but nothing to lose sleep over (hah, as if!) and this is really, really, reaaallyy easy stuff. Sitting comfortably? Let us begin..

What is the end goal?

The end-game of this post is to have a fully automated blog, which generates shitloads of traffic via StumbleUpon, referrals and Google Blogsearch. In the process, you’ll also gain loads of subscribers and generate some nice easy revenue. Once it’s built, the entire thing is just about hands free.

What you need before you begin…#
To complete this project you will need:

1) Nice clean installation of WordPress

2) The Digerati Blackhat SEO Tool Set

3) A registered copy of AutoStumble

Lets get started
I’m going assume you know the basics of setting up a WordPress blog. If not you can get more detail from Making Money With a Video Blog or if you’re totally new, check out the official WordPress documentation. So yea, if you’re that new, please RTFM.

Once you’ve got your WordPress blog installed and running, do the basics such as setting the permalinks to be the post title, so you get those little extra keywords in the URL. You’ll also need to find yourself a theme. As discussed in Making Money With a Video Blog, the layout is really, really important to get clicks on your ads. You could start with a template like ProSense, although I’ve found the click through ratio to be pretty low, but at least it’s quick. Ideally, have a hunt around so you meet the criteria of showing your content above the fold, centrally and having your ads nicely surrounded and blended in. The key here is to experiment and see what works well for you.

Plugins FTW
There’s a whole crapload of plugins that will make your life a lot easier. We’ll start off with the important one, FeedWordpress, which is part of the Digerati Blackhat SEO Tool Set if you don’t already have it.

Upload the feedwordpress folder, as usual to your wp-content/plugins directory. You’ll need to remove the 2 files from the feedwordpress “Magpie” subfolder, and put these into your “wp-includes” directory, which will overwrite some default WordPress files too. Don’t miss that step…

Once you’re installed and you’ve activated the plugin via your WordPress dashboard, you’ll have a new option on your main navigation.


Just like that. So give that a click and then go into the “Syndication Options” menu. From here you’ll be able to configure FeedWordpress to do your bidding.

You should get an option screen like this:

So lets run through these options.

1) The first thing you want to change is the “Check For New Posts” option. You’ll want to set this to “automatic”. This will go sniff your RSS feeds at an interval you specify to grab new content. You can leave it on every 10 minutes for now.

2) Make sure the next 3 boxes are checked, this will keep your feed information bang up to date.

3) You should set syndicated posts to be published immediately. This will allow you to get your content live ASAP, which is always a plus.

4) Pemalinks. This is basically when somebody clicks on the post, do they go to the original website that you er… Borrowed? The content from, or do they go so a scraped version on your site. For this example (which I’ll give the gonadless among you an ethical loophole for later), set it to “this website”.

5) I always set FeedWordpress to create new categories. I never display categories in the menu, but it gives the post a few more keywords and a bit more relevance for search. So, if someone else has gone to the effort of writing a tag, it would just be wasteful of you not to use it!

Okay, that’s set up… What exactly are we scraping?
To be honest, I’m not a big fan of people scraping content that people have sweated over. However, one thing I don’t mind doing is thieving from thieves.

You’re on the hunt for “disposable” content – generally not text based. Think along the lines of Flash games, funny videos, funny pictures, hypnomagical-optical-illusions – that kind of thing. The Internet is awash with blogs that showcase this stuff. Check out Google blogsearch and try a search like funny pictures blog. There’s hundreds of the leeching bastards showcasing other peoples pictures, videos, games and hypnomagical-optical-illusions for their website. They can hardly call it “their” content. With this ethical pebble tossed aside, we can go and grab some content.

There’s loads of ways you can hunt down potential content. You’re on the lookout for RSS feeds with this rich media. So you could try; Google Blogsearch, Technorati, MyBlogLog – basically any site that lets you search the blogosphere.

Once you’ve got the location of about a dozen or so RSS feeds, you can go to your Syndication menu again and “add a new syndicated site”. Simple matter, paste in the RSS feed location and hit syndicate. Once you’ve added them all, it “update”. Boom, shake the room, you’ve probably got a couple of hundred “new posts”.

New posts, no traffic
You want to of course, set up your WordPress RSS. Something like Feedburner is dead easy to set up and will get Google interested off the bat. Make sure you have a nice big RSS button and offer e-mail subscription (Feedburner does this) for those who don’t have a clue what the hell RSS is.

The cool thing about services like Google Blogsearch is that they’re pretty much chronologically sorted. So as long as you have a steady stream of posts, you’re guaranteed at least a trickle of traffic from long-tail searches.

Hot potato, grab and switch
If you really want to get some serious traffic, you’re going to need some “pillar” posts – content that you know for sure is strong. The easiest way to do this is to keep an eye on sites like Digg and Reddit. Check out on there what is going hot, what’s new and what’s viral. Probably the easiest thing to do is subscribe to the Digg Offbeat / Comedy RSS. This will give you constant updates on what’s upcoming.

Due to the differences in the types of people, there doesn’t tend to be as much overlap between hubs such as Digg, Reddit & StumbleUpon as you might first think. I’ve seen things go viral on Reddit and then take two or three days to make it onto the frontpage of Digg. So, you can grab content that’s going hot from one of these hubs; your proverbial “hot potato” and put in front of the nose of another audience.

Here’s where AutoStumble comes in
This is probably the easiest way to use AutoStumble. Grab your hot potato content from Digg and do a manual post on your blog. Submit this page to StumbleUpon.

AutoStumble costs £20 and is a desktop application, which allows you to automatically pool hundreds of StumbleUpon votes with other users. I.e., this is your quick way of getting your content to go viral on StumbleUpon. If you purchase and download AutoStumble, it is simple a matter of pasting in the URL you want to go viral on StumbleUpon and hitting “AutoStumble”.

A few hundred votes later. Voila. You have traffic.

The value of StumbleUpon traffic
1) The most I’ve had is just over 70,000 unique visitors over a 3 day spike from StumbleUpon. So firstly, you can generate a fairly decent bit of green from your initial CPM ad impressions and clicks on things like Adsense. (StumbleUpon users don’t tend to be as picky about clicking on ads as Diggers).

2) With this volume of traffic, you’ll likely find a few people who really like your content. You’ll get RSS / Email subscribers who will be a permanent addition to your monthly traffic (and revenue).

3) A lot of these social sites are populated with pretty tech savvy people. A lot of these people run their own blogs, forums, websites – or at least add content somewhere themselves on the web. If you get 10,000 visitors from StumbleUpon, you can expect a decent amount of lovely natural links from around the web. Links mean better website authority, better rankings, better traffic and better revenue. The value for me at least, is really long-term.

Making things easy for yourself
You’ll probably want to install some extra plugins such as:

  • WordPress Automatic Update – This will update your WordPress installation as well as plugins. Generally, it will save you a lot of time.
  • Clean Archives Reloaded – I use there on my archive page. It’s a nice way to layout all of your blog posts with clean anchortext to improve relevance with some internal linking.
  • Sitemap Generator – I don’t really bother with Sitemaps, but for those who do – saves you generating one from scratch.

Don’t forget, if you’re going to be switching content onto platforms like Digg or Reddit, make sure you have their native vote button included in the post! You want to make it as easy as possible to grab all of the votes you can. Again, personally – I don’t bother with the generic social bookmarking plugins for WordPress, as I find nobody actually seems to use them.

Oh, and before anyone chirps in trying to be clever saying “(sniffle) won’t duplicate content be an issue?” No! it won’t, fucktard! Get back in your hole. Aside from the dupe content filters being primarily built on shit, you’ll be posting mostly rich media. Google’s not too great at working out the exact content of pictures and videos… Yet. Yes, it will probably change one day in the future, and we’ll all look back on this post and laugh..At the moment, it’s not something they do well, so, well…. Ching..Ching.

Taking it one step further
This whole project should take you less than 30 minutes, from sitting down at your computer to having a fully automated blog posting and promotion system set up. If you like the idea, it would be an idea to package everything I’ve mentioned here together into your own custom install file, so you can deploy new sites in under 15minutes.

If you’re going to do this, you may as well make your cookie cutter solution as good as it can be. Hopefully, if you’re thinking down the right road you can come up with some of your own ideas to improve on these techniques (there are loads).

Why not look at only showing social voting buttons, from sites you know that your visitors actually use? Here’s some code.

Enjoy.

Posted in Adsense, Advertising, Black Hat, Blogging, Google, Grey Hat, Search Engine Optimisation, Social Marketing, Splogs, Viral Marketing | 33 Comments

Will It Make Money? Top 3 Considerations

Wednesday, December 5th, 2007

Every single day I probably come up with three or four new ideas for websites. Every single year, I probably come up with three or four good ideas for websites. So how do you separate “good” ideas from “notsogood” ideas? There’s definitely a process, which most experienced developers/marketers do without even realising it. I’m going to try and outline my thought process and some of the tools I use to judge whether ideas make it to the web or to the recycle bin.

Consideration 1: Has it been done before?
Sounds obvious, huh? I really hate pissing on peoples’ parades, but working as a consultant I’m probably approaching triple figures for the amount of times when I’ve been told about the “next big thing”, only to have to show people a Google search result page with a dozen established websites already.

If you’re planning a fairly large project, it really does pay to load up Google and hammer it with everything you can think of which might possibly be related to your idea. Oh, your idea’s been done before? No, biggie – My mantra here is: Do it different, or do it better!

Different? That doesn’t just mean the core idea! For instance, you could do the basic idea but target it at a different audience. A great example of this is Sphinn.

Sphinn versus Digg?

Well, here’s the thing – there’s isn’t really a “Sphinn versus Digg”. Sphinn isn’t very much different from Digg at all, however it is aimed at Internet Marketers, which is a crowd that isn’t always welcomed with open arms over at Digg. It seems obvious now, but what would your first reaction be in a pre-Sphinn world if someone came to you and said “I’ve got this idea for a website, it’s a social site where people vote on news stories and…”? It would have been very easy to scrap the idea without further thought.

Better? Surf the web looking for opportunities, just how Danny realised that Digg could be better for search marketers, I could go and find a list of 10 sites now which I could use and say “this really could be better if…” – that’s where these “simple but great” ideas come from. Who 2 years ago thought MySpace would be being dominated by other social network site?

Facebook was not designed as a competitor to MySpace, it began it’s life in the halls of Harvard as a way for students to connect with each other. The idea slowly expanded to more ivy league schools, then universities, then companies, until it has reached its colossal size today. The idea started out with similar premise to MySpace, but again a different audience. It just so turns out it performs the function of MySpace, but in a much better way: Greater connectivity and less spam (for at now at least).

This is one of the reasons we can see MySpace’s brand searches suffer in Google as people leave in their droves and head for Facebook. You can see around 2007 MySpace really began to suffer and has started to decline in search popularity, which spells out a bleak future for them. I don’t want to get into a big MySpace vs. Facebook debate, I want to say: it doesn’t matter how big your competitor is, if you can do something genuinely better, you’ve got a chance.

Consideration 2: Intelligent monetisation

There are a whole bunch of ways you can make money from a website and one of the biggest mistakes I see is people just defaulting to the Adsense crutch. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big Adsense fan, but it has its uses and it’s certainly not a silver bullet solution for monetisation.

Before you even get into monetisation, you should ask yourself the question; should you be trying to monetise a site from the kick off anyway? Obvious monetisation can adversely effect the credibility of your site, or worse yet – drive users away as you sell off the traffic that you’ve worked so hard to draw in.

I’ve mentioned before, I don’t use Adsense on this blog – and I think it’s a pretty good example. I don’t do sponsored posts, sell links or show Adsense because all of these things would drive users away from my blog, which I’m writing to get them here in the first place! I want you here to read this information, not con you into coming here for a few vague tips just so I can pawn you off to the highest bidder.

I imagine most of my readers will know about Adsense, so most probably won’t click on it anyway – so I won’t make much money. I guess I could blend it in and maybe get a few misclicks, but what’s the point in that? When I recommend certain products, or schemes I sometimes use an affiliate link, which I mark as (aff) to let people know what it is. This way, I add value to readers, not trying to get them to buy/subscribe/use something that’s not relevant to the post. If they have to look at it anyway, why not use an affiliate link? They would perform that action anyway. Marking the links with (aff) is just my way of communicating to my readers that they have the option of typing in the URL if they really don’t want me to get a commission – that’s their choice at the end of the day.

If you can “build in” a monetisation stream to your site, i.e. make it part of the integral process that 1) does not require the user to do more than they usually would and 2) still sees the user perform the actions you want them to, you’re on a winner.

There are tertiary methods of generating revenue, which can be very lucrative – but will never be core to functionality, such as CPM (cost per thousand impression) banners. If you run a community based website with 1000 uniques per day and an average of 10 page views, there’s a fair bit of money to be had from site-wide CPM advertising. There’s even more money to be had if you can directly sell these banner impressions to interested parties, rather than the sometimes rather low-paying CPM networks.

Do you like banners, though? When was the last time you went to a site and you thought “Wow, I’m really pleased that banner advert is there!” Rarely, probably never. As a rule of thumb people don’t like banners – however, they can pay the bills, so there has to be some kind of balance.

In the above example, we’re talking about building a community site, which is a damn hard thing to do – to reach that “critical mass” of users, where your user count will self-replicate and you don’t have to have your foot on the pedal to keep the thing alive. So, at these tender stages of your website’s life, is it a good idea to expose people to banner adverts? Unlikely.

Monetisation can be a bit of a gamble and there’s loads of examples we could work through, but there’s a few key rules to keep in mind:

1) Can you integrate your monetisation into the core functionality of your site?

2) Should you be using “push” monetisation straight away?

3) How will your users react and interact with different monetisation streams?

4) How do other sites in your niche monetisation their presence?

5) What actions do you want a user to take on your site and does your monetisation work against these?

6) Have you considered:

> Affiliate deals to monetise content
> Contextual advertising such as Adsense, Adbrite, PeakClick? (CPC)
> Cost per thousand impression (CPM) advertising such as TribalFusion, Casale, BurstMedia
> Having other sites or companies sponsor sections of your website?
> Does your site give to voluntary donations?
> What about subscription based systems?
> Can you monetise RSS or syndicated feeds?
> Can you do sponsored content? (Nofollowed of course!)

What I’m tarting on about is that you can’t make anything without visitors, so put them first. Maybe I should have just written that half an hour ago? (:

Consideration 3: Time vs Profit Ratio

Avid readers of my blog (I love you guys), will know I’m a big fan of “quick buck” ideas. These are ideas which are quick and easy to implement and will earn you a bit of pocket money. When building a web portfolio, diversification is the key factor to income stability. Although I have a few “battleship” sites, I’ve also got a million dingys floating about, so if a few Google bombs go off here and there, I’m still in pretty good shape.

A lot of people ask the question “I want to make money online, should I make one big site, or loads of little ones?” My answer is, both! (and everything between them for that matter). Small sites are a great way of testing ideas, monetisation streams, SEO techniques, designs, you name it. You can increase your overall chance of success by lowering risks early on. If you spend all of your time, money and resources on building your first battleship site and for whatever reason, it sinks – that leaves you in a nasty place. If you can get up and running with a few quick wins, you can use this revenue as a “margin of error” to play with when working on larger projects.

My most successful “dingy” site took about 20 minutes to build, about 20 minutes of promotion and it makes about $300 a month, with no work whatsoever. I’d say that’s a pretty good investment, by whatever yardstick you’re using. So what makes a “dingy” site?

It’s not size that’s for sure. Some of the quickest projects may be database driven sites with a million pages that are built just to catch long-tail queries. I generally class a site by three factors:

1) How long it will take to build, design and develop

2) How many visitors it will take to make the site consistently earn money

3) What ongoing maintenance and time will the site take?

The first is fairly simple and easily written off. If you’re confident you can design and develop the site, you’re onto a winner. A lot of the time, it’s easy to pick up a CMS such as WordPress, Drupel, Joomla or Pligg to smack a site together in no time. A real issue is how many visitors is it going to take to make the site earn money? This depends on our earlier points about monetisation streams, if you’re relying on CPM – it will take a hell of a lot, if you’re relying on single high paying affiliate commissions, probably not so many.

The most important by far for me, is what time, on an ongoing basis will this site eat up? As much as I love community type sites, they take a bastard amount of TLC to get off the ground. With many projects on the go, you really need to do some time planning to make sure you’ve got enough spare (or can outsource), to see these things through. An early mistake I made was building loads of sites and not giving them the attention they needed to grow. You won’t be getting a second chance to impress with a lot of visitors, so make sure you’ve got resources to spare to make it work first time round.

If however, you spend a little more time, you’ll see there are loads of drag and drop projects that you can set up and leave running at no more time expenditure.. Quick wins, like Google navigation queries (:

I hope these seeds give you some solid logic to build on. To be honest, I was going to do a top 5, but I’ve just moved house and I’m on “free city wifi” until I get broadband installed here. Unfortunately “free shitty wifi” would be more accurate as I’m getting about 33.6kbps modem speeds (remember them??). Oh, I’ve also got some dingys to inflate (:

Posted in Adsense, Advertising, Affiliate Marketing, Black Hat, Blogging, Community Sites, Google, Grey Hat, Marketing Insights, Paid Search, Research & Analytics, Search Engine Optimisation, Social Marketing, Splogs, Viral Marketing, White Hat, Yahoo | 7 Comments

Making Money With Google Navigational Queries

Tuesday, October 16th, 2007

Today I want to briefly talk about how Google works out what navigational queries are, what a navigational query is, and how we can make money from it. It’s a pretty easy concept to get to grips with, but I like it because it’s a fast way to make some party money.

What is a “navigational query”?
When you perform a search on Google, it has to have some kind of stab at what the motivation behind your search is. Lets say you setup a company called “Beds and Mattresses” and you build yourself a cute little homepage. Now when a user performs a search for “beds and mattresses” Google has to work out whether you are generically searching for some beds and mattresses, or if you are specifically searching for that company.

If Google thinks you are searching specifically for that company/brand/website, then your search will be treated as a “navigational query”, which means that website will be given greater preference in the SERPs, and will rank well (normally #1) regardless of the site’s link popularity and authority.

A little bit of proof
If you haven’t noticed this before, the evidence is all around you! For instance, lets do a search for “property in france” – a query with over 30,000 monthly searches.

You can see that the propertyinfrance.co.uk website ranks #1 with a lower PR and way, way fewer links. As a note, propertyinfrance.co.uk also is not the oldest domain, with some the domains in that screenshot out-aging it by 5 years – so it’s not down to that.

To me, that’s kind of surprising, it’s a real estate search term with a decent amount of monthly traffic and there’s a lot of money in real estate traffic. Google doesn’t like doing corrections “by hand”, so I find it odd that these high volume & value terms are not algorithmically bias towards general search, rather than navigational queries. Cheers, Google.

Making money from navigation queries
Okay, so how can we make money from this? First, lets talk about revenue streams. It’s always important to think hard about the intent of your visitors when you’re trying to monetise your site. For instance, I would never run AdSense on this blog – my visitors come here for information and most of them are techy/SEO types. To me this says that Adsense would add no value to my visitors, most of them are aware of Adsense and so I’d get a pretty low CTR (á la Digg users). I don’t particularly like seeing Adsense on SEO blogs because it makes me suspicious of the motives of the author, it almost makes me feel like they are only writing to make a quick buck. I do however give (normally labelled) affiliate links to products or services that I’m currently using and think are decent, when they are relevant.

The point here is, it’s actually going to be easier using a specific CPA offer, rather than a shotgun Adsense approach and hoping somebody will click on one of the contextual ads. The Google Referrals programme, inside Adsense, allows you to browse through these ads and select a specific one for your page.

Google’s “Referrals 2.0” is basically the CPA part of their Adsense programme – i.e. you get paid when the user performs an action rather than a click. Using Google Referrals 2.0, I set a site up in an hour and within 7 days was making $15 a day from it, with no SEO or extra promotion whatsoever. Here’s how I did it:

1) First off, I scanned through Google Referrals in my Adsense account, looking for a CPA offer. Ideally you want something where you get paid to get someone to perform a free action, as this is dead easy to do.

2) I used the standard keyword research tools to identify how competitive what I thought the “main” search term for this product/service was. I found one with a mere 300 searches per month.

3) Next I registered a domain with the URL exactly the same as this keyphrase.

4) I created a single landing page and made the title, the h1 the key phrase, as well as dotting it around the copy (which must be unique of course). Matching the URL, title, h1 is normally enough to trick Google into thinking the search is a navigational query.

5) I wrote the copy of the page, explaining the product, had a screenshot and put the ad in a nice fat outlined box in the middle of the page – it’s the only external route out of the page.

6) Google can be a bit stubborn when it comes to indexing a single page, so keep at it and build links as you usually would.

The Google Referral TOS is slightly different, allowing you to draw more attention to the advert, since the pay out is CPA, not CPC – read through it carefully and use this to your advantage. I’m achieving a 30% CTR with a pretty poor looking page, and I am converting 50% of these people to the free sign up offer and getting paid $15 a time.

There it is. It’s so simple, it’s so quick and it works. I love these 1 shot quick methods at getting a little extra cash. So 2 hours work should benefit me around $5,000 a year.

If you don’t have an Adsense account yet, here’s a massive affiliate link for you :)


Posted in Adsense, Affiliate Marketing, Google, Grey Hat, Research & Analytics, Search Engine Optimisation, White Hat | 21 Comments

Getting Started: Making Money Online

Wednesday, August 1st, 2007

This is a jumbo post which I have contributed to Jon Waraas’ Blog so you’ll have to pop over there to read it. It’s a bit of a biggie (about 3,000 words).

I’ve also been working on that as well as the next part of Making Money With An Affiliate Empire series, so with a bit of luck that should be live by the end of the week..

I also have a special announcement later in the week, which you’ll like. That’s going to be first come, first served though :)

Posted in Adsense, Advertising, Affiliate Marketing, Black Hat, Blogging, Community Sites, Google, Grey Hat, Marketing Insights, Microsoft, Research & Analytics, Search Engine Optimisation, Social Marketing, Splogs, Viral Marketing, White Hat, Yahoo | 6 Comments

Make Money With A Video Blog

Monday, April 16th, 2007

The first blog post is always the hardest with amblings on who you are and what you have set out to do. I’ve decided to keep the introduction short and jump right into some nice, worthwhile content. So, for those of you who don’t know me, my name is Mark and I’ve moved from zzmarketing.co.uk where I used to blog as “MarkZZ”, as zoomzoom’s Head of Online Marketing. If you’d like to know more, you can have a look here – or if you want to make some money, keep reading! [Update: Now working at Further as Online Marketing Manager]

An Introduction to Video Websites
There’s a lot of them about, a lot. Apart from the old-timers like ebaumsworld, Google’s acquisition of YouTube has really seen them starting to eat up this market. The great thing is, that doesn’t matter, videos are a disposal media – people look at them once, show their mates and then it’s old news. You’re only as good as your last video! What we’re going to look at doing here is setting up a video website with minimal cost & time and maximising our profit.

Now, I’m not claiming this will make you a millionaire, but you can earn around £500 ($1000 to our American friends) per month without too much trouble. So it’s well worth it for the day or two it will take to set up!

Step #1: Monetization Strategy
Okay, for this site we are going to make our bucks from a couple of different sources. Our main income will be made from Google Adsense. Adsense will display contextual adverts which you can neatly blend in with the design of your website, to make them non-intrusive, yet a natural click away. For this website we are aiming at generating a 25% click-through rate while staying well inside the Adsense Terms Of Service.

An important note: I’m going to give you some tips on optimising your Adsense placement and layout later, if you want to take the optimisation further, you may be pushing the limit on what Google does and doesn’t allow. The Adsense team can be merciless at times if they think you are breaking their ToS, which can be quite “grey” at times. So, stick to the guidelines and you’ll be fine, cross the line at your own risk!

Step #2: Setting up the website with WordPress
Yay for WordPress and its many uses! WordPress gives you an off the shelf platform for out video blog (vlog). It allows comments, pings, trackbacks, easy archiving, it’s SEO friendly and has loads of plugins. For this kind of mission, it’s definitely the number one choice.

There are two ways you can go about getting WordPress up and running:

1) You can go to wordpress.com and sign up for a wordpress account, they will provide you with a hosted blog such as myvideoblog.wordpress.com

or

2) You can go wordpress.org and download WordPress and install it on your server. This is really the preferred option as it will give you the power to use some neat features in the future, which will smooth out the money making process! If you haven’t got web hosting, I use Site5 (aff link) and they’ve always been good to me and are fairly priced.

Once you’ve uploaded WordPress to your server, follow the installation guide (it’s pretty simple) to get your WordPress installation and database up and running.

Step #3: Choosing a domain name
Probably the hardest part of building any website is finding a domain name! Don’t worry too much about getting keywords in there, organic SEO isn’t how we’ll be doing the bulk of our promotion, try and focus on getting something short, snappy and memorable. (That means no hyphens!). If you can get something with a keyword or two (funny, video, comedy, humour – reach for your thesaurus) all the better, but as I say – don’t sacrifice the name for it. Once that’s sorted, point it at your server so it will have resolved by the time you’re ready to launch.

Step #4: Plugins Galore
There are some great plugins for WordPress that will save you a hell of a lot of time and coding. I’ve experimented with quite a few and whittled the list down to some essentials.

Viper’s Video Quicktags – This plugin will save you having to rip out all the embed code from videos on major sites like YouTube, all you need to do is paste in the video ID and this plugin will do all the rest of the code & alignment for you. It’s essential to make adding videos as quick as possible.

WP-Email – This plugin adds an “E-mail This To A Friend” option at the bottom of every post (which will be your videos). I’ve been using these for a while and although you don’t get loads of people use them, personally recommendation is the best kind of marketing your website could hope for.

WP-PostRatings – This will add the “rate this video” 0-5 stars function at the bottom of each post. It’s a nice addon to get people to try and interact with your site if the can’t be bothered to post comments. Interaction is good – it’s the first step in relation building with your visitors and ultimately trying to get them to come back.

Sociable – Adds a mini-bar of just about every popular social bookmarking site worth mentioning at the bottom of each post. Digg, Reddit, Bloglines, they’re all there. Optimisation Tip: From experimenting, I found it is best not just to select all the social sites going, choose a maximum of 5 major ones, then rotate to see what is most successful. Having a line of 20 social bookmarking icons looks a bit confusing and seems to ultimately put people off using them.

StumbleUpon It! – StumbleUpon is a really great way to promote sites with entertainment and disposable content. This plugin gives you a “stumble it” button at the bottom of each post, which will play a part in our future marketing strategy.

Did You Pass Math? – Did you? This is just a basic anti-spam measure that puts one of those sums before you’re allowed to comment. Spam is a major problem, so I’d recommend this one, just to save you some time.

Akismet – This should be present in your default WordPress installation, you require a WordPress API key – but this little gem has stopped more spam than anything else I’ve ever tried.

Step #5: Get Feedburnt
Okay, with further promotion in mind it’s time to sign up to Feedburner. RSS is going to be one of the main ways we keep in touch with our readers, letting them know we’ve put more videos on our site and Feedburner offers a load of other ways to let people subscribe to your content.

Step #6: Theme Design
There are loads of great WordPress themes at themes.wordpress.net. Have a good look through them until you find something you like. I would generally recommend going for something fairly simplistic and neat with an either 2 or 3 column design. Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, you could always design your own!

Once you’ve got your theme and uploaded it, I’d suggest tweaking some of the graphics to make it your own. Get your branding up there, design a logo and base your site around the domain name. This is why we wanted something easy to remember and relevant earlier, it’s no good calling your site “Video Hustler” then having www.my-funny-internet-videos.cc and hoping people will remember it.

Some WordPress essentials
There are a couple of other tweaks you can do in WordPress to make your job easier.

1) Add a few categories, I used “Funny Videos”, “Extreme Videos” and “Sexy Videos” just so I could tag my content as I add it.

2) Use custom permalinks! This will make your URLs easier to remember and will help various bots crawl your site. To do this go to the “Options” menu, then “Permalinks” and at the bottom check the “custom” radio button and put /%postname%/ in the field.

3) Change page titles.

What we want to do is to swap the position of “Post Title” with “Blog Name”. This is because:

* Search engines uses your Page Title as the linking text in its search engine results page (SERP).
* The search keywords are bolded for page titles in search engines
* It makes it easier for search engine users to know right away if what they are looking for is correct

Now, this will involve some editing to your template files, which is normally called “header.php”. Find this:

and replace with:

And you’re done!

I’m not going to tell you how to design your layout pixel by pixel, because one of the keys with maximising your profit is experimentation. Here are some guidelines:

Adsense Placement & Optimisation
This is how you’re going to make your money, so it’s pretty important! On your main index page you want to have an Adsense content unit at the very top, below your site header, but above the first video. This for me, is by far the highest click though, achieving around 30-40%, with the right keywords later on we can marry these adverts up with your content beautifully.

In your Adsense control console, under Adsense for content, go into your “Ad Units”. These will get you paid after 1 click, whereas link units require a click to bring you to a results page, then a click on the results to get paid. So select link unit and leave “text only” (default) selected. There is 46860 pixel size which fits perfectly above your standard Google or YouTube Video.

You second biggest earner will be the ad unit which will create a gap between the first video and the rest of the videos on the site. Your first video will obviously be visible above the scroll, but being an average 10-30 second long funny clip, people will never be able to resist at least looking at the other videos on your front page. You must exploit this human curiosity! The 336x280px “large rectangle” unit fits the bill perfectly. Again it will fit in nicely below your video and will give a nice chunk of adverts. This ad unit must only be displayed below the first video as there are limits on the amount of ad units you are allowed on 1 page. You will however, want this ad unit again on the “single post” page. So, if somebody links directly to one of your videos, you still have max Adsense coverage.

I would recommend showing the first 5 videos on the first page. Having less, will reduce the chances of people looking at anything but the first video on your site and will effectively reduce the page size – minimising advert space. Having a lots of videos will distract people from using other parts of your site navigation (well, by this I mean will keep people too amused to click on your ads!). It’s a fine line between wetting their appetite but then keeping them hungry for more.

It’s also worth having a vertical unit (skyscraper) near your navigation. You want both of these units clearly visible without scrolling down, so you’ve got the top of the page and the central part covered in lovely adverts, which is where people�??s mousey clicks tend to go!

It is important to blend your Adsense into your site and there are two schools of thought on this. The default “blue” hyperlinks on websites will get the most clicks, always. This colour has been drilled into our head since the dawn of the www and your brain just says “click”, so if any of your other links on your site use this colour, you will need to use this colour for your Adsense titles. I however, think this colour is ugly, so I refrained from using it anywhere on my site at all. If you follow this approach as well, then you simply want to make your Adsense units the same colour as your standard hyperlinks. If you’re using Firefox there is a great Colour Picker addon, which gives you the hex code for any colour, live on a web page. Since you’re allowed a link unit on the page as well, I tend to put one of these in the footer, just because it looks okay and it does earn a few pennies every now and again.

Beating Adsense Smart Pricing
“Smart Pricing” is Google’s way of trying to keep its advertisers happy by lowering the cost of junk traffic. Unfortunately, they do this at your expense. Having poor advertisers on your site, will lead to you users clicking the adverts, then leaving the horrible site they land on almost instantly. When people do this, Google will think you’re sending out junky traffic, when actually it’s the advertiser’s site that is at fault. This will lead to the money you get per click, going down.

Fortunately, Google offer a “competitive ad filter”, which allows you to block certain advertisers from showing ads on your site. Login to your Google Adsense account and go to “Adsense Setup” and you’ll see a “Competitive Ad Filter” tab. Click this and you’ll be given a box of URLs to block.

Copy & paste this list into your competitive ad filter and this should help you keep a strong amount per click.

Google Coop
Google Coop is a custom search engine (CSE) which basically allows you to click a few buttons and make a custom search engine. The great thing is, you can tie this in with your current Adsense account and it will pay out when somebody clicks on a sponsored result from your custom search engine. So, rather than leave in the standard WordPress search, you might as well make some money from it!

Find the bit of code in your theme that shows the default WordPress search box and comment it out. Create a Google Coop account and you will be presented with if you would like your search engine to search the entire web, with preference to selected sites, or simply search specific sites. Choose the option to select specific sites and just add your own URL. Don’t forget to enter your Adsense Publisher ID!. Google will then generate a chunk of code for you, which you can paste in place of your current WordPress search. Voila! Monetized search! My search box generates around an extra 30% of my site revenue.

Get Feedburner on there
Login to your Feedburner account and get it to give you the code for an e-mail subscribe box. I’ve found I get more e-mail subscribers than RSS readers. I believe this is because RSS is really only embraced by the more “web savvy” user and they will be fully capable of finding videos on Digg, YouTube, Google and are more likely to be aware of the bigger sites. So for your regular Joe Blogs (heh), e-mail a nice, easy to understand way to get them to sign up to updates. If you can squeeze your Feedburner RSS subscribe button in above the scroll, all the better – but I have found people that want an RSS feed will find it.

Feedburner also offer “chicklets” which is a little button that shows the world how many subscribed readers you have. Generally, I’d advise not to install this until you have 100 or so readers, there’s no point showing people how unpopular your site is to begin with! Leave it for bragging rights later. It is quite possible to achieve 500-1000 readers within 6-12 months.

Here’s one I made earlier:

In Green: Our main above the scroll adsense
In Yellow: CPM advertising (we’ll talk about this later, but save some banner space!)
In Red: Our monetized Google Coop box
In Brown: The feedburner subscribe bits

That’s most of the design info covered.

Step #7: Sourcing and adding video content to your website

Okay, so how do we go about getting videos onto your site? Well there’s a quick and profitable way and a longer but more profitable away.

The quick and profitable way
I don’t recommend this method to begin with, even though it’s quicker, this is only something you should be doing after your site is established, or if you are very short on time.

Go to digg.com/videos and see what other people find funny. Follow the link through to the video site, grab the video ID and pop it in a post.

When you are post a video, make sure every 2-3 videos you have the words “funny” and/or “video” in the post title. WordPress uses header tags for these titles and it will help make your Adsense adverts more relevant. Below the video, type a couple of lines explaining the video (without giving too much away!). Be as funny/sarcastic as you like, but keep it short and interesting – and write your own descriptions!

The longer but more profitable way
Okay, this takes a bit more work, but will really, really help you promote your site. One neat thing about Google Video is that they allow you to download the videos. So, go have a search around Google Video and download 20-30 videos that you think are funny. Download them in “PSP” format which will give you a .mp4 format file.

If you have some decent video editing software that can handle mp4 files you can skip this step:

If you’re stuck using Windows Movie Editor you’ll have to convert the file before you can edit it. Now, if you can find a free program, let me know. I’ve been using Riverpast Video Cleaner, which will convert the mp4 files to avi without any real quality loss. It’s $30 but it will be your only expense in this operation. Riverpast will be able to convert all your videos in batch, so go make yourself a cuppa.

Once you’ve got your video in .avi format, create yourself a bitmap image with your site logo and site URL on it. Use your video editing software to show your logo for 5 seconds at the beginning and end of your video, so it’s all branded to you now!

Get your branded videos out there!
Once you’ve got branded videos, you’re really onto a winner. I pull in around 500-800 visitors per day from YouTube alone. Google have a batch video uploader, so your first port of all is to re-upload your newly edited videos onto Google Video.

Once they are uploaded you can add the video information. Generally in the title I again try and get the words “funny video”, “extreme video” or similar in. These help pick up a bunch of generic searches. I’ve found the description doesn’t make a huge difference to whether the video is viewed, as long as the title is good. If you’re uploading to Google, using the batch uploader there is a separate field to link to your website, which becomes an active link, so you may as well type a description. Keep it short and snappy to try and get as many views as possible. For tags, I use a set of standard: funny, video, humour, humor, comedy, laugh, lol, cool, extreme, stupid, insane, accident – then add a couple of video specific keywords on the end.

Repeat this process with YouTube. The only difference with YouTube is that there is no separate field for your own site URL. If you just pop your URL into the description, this will automatically become a clickable link. YouTube is a bit more of a pain because you can only upload 1 video at a time, but you can always do other stuff at the same time! The sheer amount of traffic that YouTube gets makes it worthwhile doing this.

Once you have a “base” of around 30 videos, you don’t need to keep finding new ones. You just create a new YouTube account under a hotmail address every week or so, since you’re a new user and uploading new content, your videos will more often or not appear on the front page briefly which will get you spurts of traffic.

Using your imagination, there are loads of places that accept video uploads that you can use. MySpace anyone? MySpace Video is taking off big-time at the moment, so if you have access to some large MySpace accounts, this can be a great way to get traffic. One other technique is taking a screenshot of your video at 00:00 then posting this picture on a MySpace profile or bulletin, so it looks like an embedded video, but will take people through to your site with the video on. Hey, that’s pretty scrappy – but it works. Make sure you use the border=”0″ attribute on such images so you don’t get a blue border around them!

Step #8: Kick Starting Promotion
Following this recipe so far, you’ll probably make $5-$10 per day. If you want to get up to the $40 per day mark to make your $1,000 a month, you’ll need to give your site a kick up the backside. Here’s how:

Go to www.stumbleupon.com and register yourself with an account and install their browser toolbar.

Once you’re all ready to rock with StumbleUpon, make your way over to www.stumblexchange.com. Stumblexchange is a system where you sign up, stumble a whole list of other people’s sites, then in return they stumble you back. StumbleUpon is fairly simple – the more stumbles your site gets, the more traffic they send you. StumbleUpon has a ton of users and this step will get you 200 more uniques a day for months to come. So login, register your account details and stumble everyone’s site. (If your so inclined, you could script this). Well done, you just added another $200 a month onto your earnings! There’s also a diggxchange and deliciousxchange in this network, however I haven’t experimented with them to comment on this.

Get some links
Everybody loves links, especially Google. There’s a massive list at RSSTop55 of directories and blog aggregators. I would start with these:

Next Steps
Now you’ve got some readers and some regular traffic, you can sign up for a CPA advertiser. Burst Media is quite easy to get into and has a large inventory. Having CPA ads will earn you money for page views, without clicks and makes for an excellent secondary income.

Above all, experiment, experiment, experiment! Let me know how you get on!

Posted in Adsense, Advertising, Digerati News, Grey Hat, Marketing Insights, Social Marketing, White Hat | 109 Comments