Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Christmas Break

I'm in Ohio for the holidays. Ohioans: Nice state. I like it. (Not the first time I've been, but the first time I've had this blog with which to tell you.)

It's been pretty cold, but not cold enough to keep me off the four-wheeler nor intimidate the kids I whipped around behind me on an inner tube. Maybe I'll get a picture or two up here later.

The paintball games were today's main activity. Good stuff.

In the realm of affiliate marketing I will return to my review of 7Search.

The advertiser interface is decent. It is not quite up there with Adwords, but it's way, way better than Tygo. The 'Edit Bids' screen allows you to alter your current bid on any or all of your keywords/phrases. It also displays your positions on 7Search and on it's system of partner sites. The position information tells you if you're top 5 or not and how many searches were performed for each term during the previous month. It's easier to get top 5 (the good spots that most people would see) on 7Search than it is for the partner sites. This screen allows you to edit your ad. There are also some utilities there to help you do bulk submissions or get all your terms into top positions.

The bulk submission option might be a wise choice. This is because 7Search, unlike Adwords, does not allow you to 'expand' you keyword 'matches'. If you bid on "dog sharks" your ad will be shown when someone searches for 'dog sharks' but not for, say, 'fat dog sharks'. If you want the second term, you need to bid on that too. You can see how your list might grow pretty quickly. Especially when you're adding in things like misspellings.

The 'Edit Bids' page also leads to 7Search's Keyword Suggestion Tool. This tool does just what it sounds like and a little extra. It's kind of like Overture's tools ('Keyword' and 'View Bids'). It shows related terms, the number of times those terms were searched for last month, as well as what others are paying for them. It's a fairly comprehensive system, though it won't show you all possible terms (of course). You'll want to look into Wordtracker for a much more thorough keyword research solution.

The stats offered by 7Search are pretty good. I haven't got time to get into details at the moment (I'm sharing the computer with the rest of the family), but I will say this: They're certainly good enough for all but the true data junky. Though not as accessible as Adwords, they are there and you can see them (a novel idea that Tygo has not yet mastered). The entry page displays your total clicks over the last week or so and you get more detailed stats on all your words. You can even have them e-mailed to you.

So that's what I've got for now. I'm off for an evening of movie-watching and junk food.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Random News and Stuff

Google's latest beta toy, Google Suggest, can be fun to play with. It may also be a useful way to do some keyword research. Here's two conversations about it.

Here's another interesting conversation from AssociatePrograms.com Forum. It's about outsourcing the creation of your websites. The idea is that you come up with the concept for the site and then pay freelance writers to do the content. You could also pay a web designer to do the site itself.

Personally, I think that this is a good idea. It all depends on how much your time is worth. If your time is valuable, it may be in your best interest to pay others to do the work that would take you the most time.

Along those lines here is a link to some business funding options available through the SBA if you think you might get serious about your online business.

More later...

Friday, December 10, 2004

I'm back...

I've been a little bit busy lately (and by a 'little bit' I mean 'very'). Sorry about the large gap between posts. But now I'm back. Never fear.

So, I pretty much hate Tygo. I have no reason to believe that my ad campaign there was anything but worthless. I guess that's what happens when you try out new things on the internet. Sometimes they work and sometimes they don't. Tygo does not appear to work.

I still think that it can be profitable to try new things though. Take 7Search.com for example. I'm not entirely sure how new their program is because they don't say on their site. However, the fact that they don't say how new/old they are probably means that they started pretty recently.

I have been quite pleased with my experience at 7Search and recommend their PPC services. They do not, of course, generate as much traffic as Google does, but they do generate traffic. That traffic is also significantly cheaper than it is on Adwords. That's really the only advantage they have over Adwords, but for me that's enough to make it worth my while.

In other news, I am happy to report that my latest site looks like a winner. I have been advertising it with Adwords and 7Search as well as trying to get it into normal search engine results.

I think that getting traffic through natural search results will be the key to success with this site. It is generating enough commissions to stay ahead of my ad spending, but not enough to make me happy. Free traffic would really help my bottom line.

So now we're all back up to speed. I think for my next posts I'll give some more details about 7Search's system (like the stats reporting, bidding and so forth), brainstorm some ideas for free traffic, and let you in on the plans I have to get higher conversion rates out of my new site.