With the increased uptake in mobile internet enabled devices such as tablet PCs and on-line services as LinkedIn (aka “Facebook with Ties”), the classical printed résumé is quickly becoming a thing of the past, with many next-generation job hunters opting to leverage the power of social media through completely digital-media based résumés.
Services such as LinkedIn provide a searchable platform for prospective employers and recruiters to find you based on your profile skillsets, however more exciting again is the use of video résumés which adds a whole new dimension to the on-line application process, with many (new age) employers embracing social media tools such as Google’s video streaming technology (Google hang-outs) to facilitate interviews of geographically remote applicants.
But as with any formal process, there’s generally a right way and a wrong way of going about it, so in the interests of getting you started on the right foot, check out the below infographic for some useful pointers in going completely digital in 2012!
Google has just announced that the speed / performance of a website will not be factored into the search ranking position. While the relevancy score will still be the main ranking factor, attention should definitely be given to ensuring that your websites are performing well.
You can verify how your site is performing via your Webmaster tools, under Labs, Site performance – with the key threshold being 1.5 seconds as the determining factor in establishing if your site is a fast or slow performing site.
Google has made a tool available for establishing site performance and providing recommendations as to how to improve this. This tool hooks natively into Firefox (3.5 and above), and you can download this from their code.google.com site at; http://code.google.com/speed/page-speed/
Here’s Google’s official video introducing this;
How can I improve my Website Performance?
While good coding practices will definitely help improve page load times, some additional steps webmasters can take to speed this up is to remove any references to non-local domain hosted code. As a common example of this, those people using the default Google analytics code which refers to the ga.js file on the google-analytics.com domain may wish to create a local copy of this and reference it there instead.
Another quick-win is to enable gzip page compression on your site. The simplest way to do this is to add the following into your .htaccess file under your website’s root directory;
php_value output_handler ob_gzhandler
Alternatively, add the following code to the header and footer of your site to do the same via PHP code;
// In the head:
// At the bottom:
You can then check whether this is working successfully or not by entering the URL into the following site;
It may also be worth reviewing WHERE you are hosting your website from. While hosting abroad (in the US for instance) will save you a lot of money in the short term, the page load response times will typically then also include up to a 2.5ms lag. This in turn will impact significantly to your site site performance and now also consequently on your page rank which will ultimately mean less traffic and less sales through your site.
Performance aspects aside, it is also important to note that your site will also not rank for geographic specific “regional searches” (ie; pages within Australia) if your site is not hosted on a server recognised as having an IP address local to that region. To check where your website is being hosted, you can use free online services such as;
Check your Google Results; the number of listings returned by Google is an estimate only. Quantity of listings is one thing, however for most search terms you will find that many of the results will contain little to no SEO (low quality). Market Samurai provides an awesome insight into the top listings for terms and their associated onsite and offsite SEO – very handy for performing this sort of analysis. Poor SEO sites can easily be trumped with your own tuned sites to gain high credibility organic traffic!
Use the google results figures as indicator only for competition in that term (ideally under 1 million results), then use Google Keyword Research tool to gauge market interest.
Check for competitors who have your keyword phrase in their title by entering into Google “title:keyword“. Anything less than 5,000 results will give you a decent chance of ranking well for such a term. Keep in mind that Phrase matched terms will tend to rank higher than broad matched terms!
allinanchor:”keyword” – This is a powerful reason for ensuring you use effective internal linking in your site designs! Anchor texts provide Google with insights into search term / key word candidates for sites (both internally and externally). Searching based on anchor text will ignore page titles in favour of returning sites which contain the anchor text you are looking for, when contained in a website link.
Examine the Page Rank (PR) of top ranking site for your keyword. The google toolbar offers this information, or alternatively Market Samurai does an excellent job with this also. Focus specifically on non-optimised (on-site / offsite SEO) sites to see what elements can be improved upon in your own site. If your search results return a lot of PR 5+ sites with lots of backlinks, these will be very difficult to compete with. If you are considering competing with such sites, you will want to get lots of high credibility backlinks from othersuch high PR sites such as the following;
… you can do this either by providing comments on existing articles or submitting your own. You can also google top PR sites to see what ranks well atm. One site I discovered on this was; Top 1000 Google Page Rank Sites.
Domain age; are the domains old? Older domains tend to rank better in search engines. Tools such as Market Samurai will give you this information fairly easily.
Search Volumes; is anybody actually searching on that keyword? Some keywords have too much competition to justify the traffic. Use the Google Keyword Research Tool to find out approximate traffic vs competition volumes. A popular methodology on doing this is to use the following “Money Word Matrix” for assessing keyword candidates to use.
When used in conjunction with a Google Search and Google’s Keyword Research tool, the matrix provides a good indicator for keyword “sweet spots”, where the ratio of competition to searches is more (or less) favourable for focusing your Search Engine Optimisation efforts. There’s an excellent video offered by Niche Profit Classroom which explains all this in more detail.
The moral of this story being that instead of trying to compete head on for “big ticket” key terms, it is often easier to rank well for more peripheral terms or possibly even micro-niche phrases, which collectively may provide just as much traffic as those big-ticket search phrases. These long-tail key phrases may even be more profitable as they may more closely target your intended market. By example; “Learn to play guitar”, than just “play guitar”.
Is there money in the market? Or rather, is this a keyword or keyword phrase which has commerciability? If there’s a keyword which seems to be good to be true (that there aren’t any paid advertisers for a particular term), then maybe it’s just not a term people will pay for as the traffic it offers isn’t the type to convert into sales. Once again, Market Samurai offers a very comprehensive insight into this information, allowing you to see how much people are willing to pay for certain terms. Here’s a video on how you can do this if you’re already own this;
And finally, something else to keep in mind when performing online competitor analysis, is the regional variations when searching in Google. For instance, you will find that results from www.google.com.au vs www.google.com will vary in the results sets returned. Likewise when you specify “search pages within Australia”, the result set will vary again. You can force Google to use a non-geographic specific search by using www.google.com/ncr – which is handy when checking how you rank generically in the online market.
Let’s recap on lessons learnt over the past few months endeavours. In what I will only attribute to my “youthful exuberance”, I have come to learn two rather expensive and ultimately fatal (amateur) mistakes of niche internet marketing.
Referring (in the below example) to the niche of Bonsai tree care – which I discovered using Google Products which provides insights into what products people are searching for right now; I did my competitor analysis to discover 393,000 competitors / pages were returned in Google, most of which not well Search Engine Optimised, with not many paid advertisers. Using Google trends, I also learnt which demographics were searching for information on this, from where, and when they were searching for this through the course of a year – overall, things looked fairly promising!
And so then it began. I jumped immediately onto oDesk to log jobs for the creation of the ultimate ebook on Bonsai tree care, along with 7 unique articles which I could later use for article marketing. Total cost, $120USD.
I purchased a domain name (approx $15USD) and set out on creating a high quality score website, templating the layout and content structure from established IM gurus’ sites such as Frank Kern’s Email Tricks site – for which I logged another job for this website design ($50USD). With the jobs logged, I set off to research what information my niche would want to know about – this later formed the outline to my ebook.
So things were progressing very well, or so I had thought. As it turned out, my Internet Marketing friend who had also been pursuing a number of different niches at the same time (he was doing this full time whereas I was only doing this part-time around my full time job), discovered that of the 5 information products developed and launched using this same methodology, 4 of these had failed to commercialize – even though the initial online competitor analysis proved favourable!
So we had to go back to the drawing board. Where did we go so wrong? Discovering niche markets was fairly easy. Assessing the number and quality of competitors was also fairly straight forward, especially when using such tools as Market Samurai which provides insights into not only competition on differing keyword terms but also adwords advertisers (I highly recommend this application to anyone interested in Internet Marketing)! So conditions appeared favourable, but then why weren’t we rich yet??
This brings us to current day and a couple of very unfortunate realisations that ultimately led to us kulling 95% of our niche marketing ideas as potential (viable) candidates. We ended up developing a niche marketing checklist, or flowchart rather, including a fairly comprehensive test plan that we’re expecting will drastically reduce our strike out rate.
Referring specifically to my Bonsai tree care niche specifically, this failed on 2 criteria;
1. it doesn’t solve any immediate problems, 2. alternatives were too readily available, and worse yet, FREE!
… we had failed on two aspects of classical marketing which we had overlooked while we had our Internet Marketing blinkers on. The following isn’t a comprehensive listing, but for those who don’t want to sign up for the full checklist, I’d STRONGLY RECOMMEND asking yourself the following 3 questions before throwing yourself into a prospective niche market to attack;
1. Is my prospect experiencing pain & urgency or irrational passion? 2. Is my prospect proactively searching for a solution? 3. Does my prospect have no or few perceived options?
So in conclusion, my Online Marketing income is now officially in the red, but valuable lessons have been learnt along the way. It will be interesting to see how these new discoveries will translate into profitable niches for our future endevours.
Those on my mailing list will receive the complete Niche Marketing Checklist / Flowchart shortly 😉
As a final BONUS for my readers, I found the following two video posts very informative on the subject of Niche Marketing. The first is a post by Frank Kern on the subject of “Finding something to sell” – Frank Kern is definitely one of the industry’s experts in Niche Internet Marketing. He’s also got a lot of very informative other posts on his site which may also be of interest to you.
The 2nd bonus video is by Steven Clayton and Mark Ling, who talk in depth about keyword research and competitor analysis. They go into a great deal of details, however the important things to note here is the information on the money word matrix – the video’s quite long, so it may take a little while to load. Enjoy!
And so the quest continues! All the best till next time! 😀
The formula for Internet Marketing is pretty straight forward. Whether you’re promoting your own product or that of an affiliate, your online marketing campaign should basically go along the lines of the following, in approximately the following order for development;
1. Identify the Niche Market or Product to Promote 2. Do your Keyword Research 3. Create your squeeze Page with an “ethical bribe” to collect your visitors email details 4. Then on the final product page, deliver a compelling sales letter to complete the sale.
Sounds simple enough right? Well, more or less. Probably the most complicated component of this entire process is the initial learning curve! (1) There are literally thousands of Niche markets out there; everything from the mainstream online dating and latest miracle fat cures through to the more specific (and crazily enough, proven to be lucrative) niches of tatoo design, how to build chicken coops and pumpkin carving! (2) The next step is Keyword research; this typically follows a fairly specific criteria also in order to establish the correct long tailed keywords pertaining to that specific niche which generate enough traffic per month without excessive competition. Your keyword research will play an integral role in both your Google Adwords campaign and site’s search engine optimisation (which feeds back into your page rank and ultimately cost-per-click overhead).
(3) Your squeeze page (or “lead generation” page) requires a special mention as this is the component which is by far the most important in your online marketing promotion. Generally speaking, there is only a 1% conversion of people who hit your site that actually go through to complete a purchase. Through the giving away of something of value (an “ethical bribe”), in exchange for a visitor’s name and email, you are able to build a list of potential buyers within that niche market. As has been reiterated to me countless times by MANY of the Internet Marketers I have met and spoken to; THE MONEY IS IN THE LIST! … and I cannot emphasise this enough. Through effective back-ending, your online marketing campaign can potentially convert as high as 20% or even 50%, through email marketing directly to your niche-specific list. I’ll go into the specifics of settings this up in detail later on.
(4) Finally there is the sales letter leading to the final product sale itself. When dealing with affiliate products, the affiliate themselves will more than likely already have a sales page in place for your to send your traffic to. This isn’t to say you’re completely at the disposal of the affiliate’s sales copy, as your preceeding squeeze page can (and should) also be used to further incentivise the sale through perhaps a post-sale bonus of sorts. If you’re promoting your own product (and I will step you through this process in later posts), then the creation of your own sales letter will be key to the success of your campaign, and unless you’re a professional sale copywriter, I would strongly recommend outsourcing this task.
So you now have a brief outline of the Internet Marketing formula. In the following posts I’ll be going through the various components of this in more detail. I’ll also be opening up my own newsletter shortly which will give you additional how-to’s and guides on such things as correct website submission techniques to search engines, search engine optimisation tips as well as guides on information production creation, setting up your own payment gateway and more advanced guides on back-link generation techniques!
My Internet Marketing journey begins, officially I suppose, on Wednesday 22nd July, 2009. But before I get into the details of this allow me to give you some personal background on me first.
I graduated from University with degrees in Business Management and Computer Science and attained my first employment at an Internet Marketing company Dark Blue Sea where I worked initially as one of their lead PHP / MySQL programmers, and then later on as a project / operations manager looking after a number of the company’s concept products. Unfortunately for me, I wasn’t too interested in Internet Marketing at this stage, as I’m sure I could have learnt a great deal more about Internet Marketing during my time there, however I did get the opportunity to meet some VERY talented online marketers whom I still keep in contact with today.
Since then, I have also worked as a senior SQL Server DBA (specializing in performance optimization) for the Queensland government, looking after more than 100 SQL Servers – something which I’ve always enjoyed the task of doing. However as with any job over a long enough time frame, there’s only so far you can go (personal development wise / financially) and so I caught myself looking for the next big challenge in my life.
This takes me to July 22nd 2009, when a friend of mine whom I first met at the internet marketing company, Nick Peall, invited me along to a 4 day seminar he signed up to, hosted in New Zealand, called the World Internet Summit. My first impressions of this, looking at their site, was that this was more than a little dodgy. Their “sales letter” struck me as extremely amateur. The website promotions had almost an Amway feel about it; buy our CDs, then sell them our product as your own (??)… but then figured what have I got to lose? People all too often close doors of opportunity without ever exploring beyond their own comfort zones. Besides, my friend was pretty keen to go and so in the end, I went along with him to check it out.
Long story short; I met a large number of extremely talented, well known and (ridiculously) wealthy Internet Marketers, each of whom promoted very consistently that ANYBODY could do this. Still perhaps somewhat skeptical, their various techniques and approaches did strike me as being more than plausible. Furthermore, with my technical and marketing background, if “anybody” can do this, then I would think I’d at least be on the positive side of the probability bell curve so far as “Internet Marketing Millionaire” potential goes.
And so I decided to put my money where my mouth is, and signed up for 3 courses; Simon Leung’s Google Insider program ($3k – specialising in Adwords / CPC marketing), Mark Ling’s Affiliate Marketing course ($2k) and a 3rd course ($2.5k) – and arguably most interesting – a life mentor program which offered an “Iron Clad, money back guarantee” that I will succeed at achieving whatever goal I set for myself within 17 months.
Armed with these three programs, I set myself a “breakthrough goal” of $85,000 per month “passive, residual” income (which for those not so hot at maths, comes to about $1.02 million a year). And it is this journey that I will be journaling over the coming months.
Whatever your media of choice, please be sure to add me if you’re interested to see how this story unfolds. Laugh and learn with me at my failures, and hopefully take away some effective and lucrative Internet marketing techniques along the way!
I will try to post every few weeks with update on my progress, the things I’ve tried and the lessons I’ve learned along the way!
They secret to an effective online marketing solution will always comprise of two parts; getting quality, targeted web traffic (ie customers) to your website, and having a website which converts those visitors into customers. Search Engine Marketing is the process of creating quality content with the purpose of generating targeted, commercial web traffic to a conversion optimised website, using techniques such as Search Engine Optimisation, Online Advertising and Social Media Marketing.
SQL Server DBA
SQL Server database administrators specialise in the performance tuning, maintenance, (high) availability, recoverability, migration and upgrades of Microsoft SQL Servers. Particularly for larger organisations whose business intelligence systems are time critical and driven by large data sets, the difference a DBA can make in delivering a high performance database environment (vs an environment that is unmanaged) can be quite drastic.