Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Goals for 2010

I can honestly say I had a great 2009. We took two decent vacations and over a dozen mini vacations. I enjoyed the Oregon coast, Disneyland twice, Knottsberry farm, Great America, Fisherman’s Wharf, Pier 39, Enchanted Forrest, Oregon Zoo, OMSI and various other interesting places and things to do. Even coming out of the year with year round passes to Disneyland that will probably save us several hundred dollars in 2010.

Not bad for a freelancing poor web guy. Now is the time where I stop looking back on all this awesomeness just long enough to set my goals for 2010. Life has to have goals and challenge or I just wouldn’t feel alive. Now I scream my life’s ambitions into the storm of the coming year…and all that philosophical garbage.

I did good in 2009 as a freelancer. In 2010 I will do good as an internet marketer. I made a couple thousand dollars in 2009 as an affiliate marketer. I will make a year’s wages in a single month at least once in 2010. I took at least one trip every month through spring and summer of 2009. I will take vacations in 2010 that I haven’t even dreamed up.

I’ll put those in my list of broad goals. Specific goals would be…

  • six figure profit in PPC
  • learn media buys
  • build 20 niche ecommerce sites
  • build a real blog the right way
  • quit freelancing and go full time IM

Some of the list is actually pretty easy. Building the niche sites and blog is just a matter of doing it. PPC and media buys will take care of the full time IM thing as well. They could also cover all of my broad goals. So this huge list of goals could be conquered by mastering PPC and using it to build a budget large enough to master media buys. Doesn’t sound too bad eh?

To your success,

adam

The whole web 2.0 thing came and has kind of fizzled out since then. Everyone wanted the goofy looking web 2.0 starburst, rounded corners and a subtle gradient to adorn their various web sites with. It’s not that web 2.0 has died necessarily, just that it has kind of settled into it’s place on the web. All the various usability and accessibility rules that we labeled with this buzz term have found their wings in becoming standard. People expect sites to have all this stuff now – minus the goofy starburst things that is.

With “web 2.0″ social networking and social media came into power. One very big effect social networking has had is that it contributed even more to seeing new people come online. Everybody and their third cousin is now on the internet, getting connected to old friends and family members and even throwing up their own pages on various social networking sites. Kids and teenagers now know rudimentary HTML and CSS. Senior citizens are cropping images and arranging them into online image galleries for friends and family to view.

With this has come serious opportunity and growth in the number of people working online. This has begun to affect the way people think of “work”. Just a few years ago work to most people consisted of a steady schedule of 8 hour (or more) days. Paychecks would come weekly, bi-monthly or monthly and be set by the employer. Sick days, vacation days…all that crazy stuff. The mentality of most people was that this was the way to live unless you were rich. Social security and possibly a 401k might get you of the hook at 72, right?

The new definition of work is rapidly becoming alot more flexible. Work online, pay your bills, schedule whenever you need to as long as you make enough money to live on. This Work 2.0 is so dynamic compared to the set paychecks and hours. It really does scare some people and many still don’t believe it’s possible but the benefits make it worth pursing for those courageous enough to step out of their comfort zone.

Today, for instance, I’m receiving $600 down on a $1,200 project that will probably cost me 15 to 20 hours of work. I bid on a $1,600 to $2,00 project, took on quick $80 and $160 projects that should cost me 3 or 4 hours total, and got a $3,000 project that should start in about 2 weeks. I’m finishing a $550 project and I just finished an $80, a $100 and a $60. I’m not an uber PPC/affiliate marketing guru yet but I make a living online. My time is mine to charge for and manage. If I goof off too much I lose work but other than that I call the shots and stick to email communication. I get paid through Paypal because it makes my life easier.

I started working online years ago and I’ve made a living since then. I’ve had several opportunities to become a full business and make bank but I’ve chosen to keep things simple and flexible. If you have problems believing someone can make a living online and even decide their own hours and pay then you really need to do some reading. More people are subscribing to the “work 2.0″ line of thinking. It’s time to get a handle on it while people are still trying to figure it out.

To your success,

adam

As of late I’ve been trying different stuff on Adwords, Yahoo SEM, Facebook and a couple of other places. No Adcenter yet but I’ll get there.

Apparently the name of the PPC game is to just keep trying things. I feel my brain absorbing bits of information that I can’t readily identify. The fact that I don’t know exactly what I’m learning is a little crazy but whatever it is it’s translating into better results over time. It’s making a difference in finding offers, landing pages and impressions/clicks.

It’s been awhile since I’ve had a conversion through PPC but I’m trying new stuff so I expected this. I’m getting much better CTR due to improving creativity in my ad writing and a campaign this morning is getting about 25% of the visitors to the last order page. I’m hoping that a percentage of these will actually turn to conversions some time today. The click throughs are all minimum bid so I could probably run this for awhile to see if it can be profitable.

All in all, I can’t help but be excited about all this. I have a good amount of online technical skill and I know how to use the interfaces for all these PPC search engines…including most of the advanced settings. I have software for keyword research and campaign building ready and source for finding good traffic streams.

I can’t help but feel I will be successful at some point. I’m trying to go for negative optimism to make sure I’ll keep trying if I end up without results after a year. Even from that mindset I can’t help but feel much closer.

Freelancing for a Living

Disneyland fountainThe internet is full of so much potential for making money online. More and more I dedicate my spare to time learning and testing different avenues of affiliate marketing, site building and blogging. The reason I have the time to really dive in is because I don’t have to work the typical 8 hour work day. I work from home as a freelance web developer and have for the last few years.

Some people come into knowledge of internet marketing and throw all their chips on the table. That can be fine except many of those same people hit a wall when they can’t turn an instant profit and need to look elsewhere for quick cash to keep them afloat. Don’t discount the power of working freelance from home. It can give you the time you need to take your online business and marketing efforts to the next level.

As I was reading through some popular blogs that I follow I couldn’t help but notice how much some of these guys are making. Some of them hit several hundred thousand a month and a few others actually break one million. That’s insane money that would let me actually start all the projects and ideas I have. I can’t help but be jealous.

The one benefit I have in common with these guys though is flexibility with my time. I do have work I have to get done, just as they do, but I typically work no more than twenty hours a week. Much less when things slow down. I have to be thankful for that and recognize some of the opportunities it affords me. I can focus on learning and testing many of the methods I’m reading about. I have no doubt I will be successful.

My affiliate income is really only short a couple thousand a month when I consider quitting freelance programming. I’m sure I can find a way to get that 2k rolling and then leverage my development skills and contacts in web design and marketing to change my life forever.

To your success as well.

Will Twitter Get Burned?

FireGoogle recently made a deal with twitter to show twitter content in the Google SERPs. Bing was actually first on this so Google isn’t the innovator here. I’m going to try to keep my tinfoil hat off so bear with me. I believe this signals the possibility of either a total buyout of twitter or a Google based replacement that will soon run competition with Twitter.

I know there are a lot of people that would disagree with the competition thing. I only say this because anything Google wants that Google doesn’t buy outright Google will eventually compete with. Google seems to be displaying the “use them and lose them” mindset in dealing with business partners quite often recently. Some examples then…

Google Adwords and Affiliates

I believe a massive portion of Adwords success was due to affiliates. Larger affiliates easily dumped several million a month into the Adwords system. I know that Adwords and the clean simplicity of the Google search interface is what really drew me into Google so long ago. I am an affiliate marketer and, while I spent nowhere near several million a month in Adwords(or 10 years for that matter), I allowed myself to become an active Google marketing tool through word of mouth. My friends and family have all used Google for years and I was among the first.

Recently Google began cracking down on affiliates. Not just the shady one’s either…read “Are there any types of websites that merit low landing page quality scores?” and note “affiliate sites”.

Read “Google Shuts Down $Million Affiliate Account” to find cases where seeming quality affiliates are getting thrashed.

At the same time Google begins testing its new CPA service which effectively turns Google into a giant affiliate. Google pushes its CPA service above Adwords results (making its Adwords advertisers compete more bitterly for the top spots and thus spend more per click) and even gives itself images and other niceties to further trounce its Adwords advertisers. Read “Is Google About to Become the World’s Biggest Super Affiliate”.

Is this all coincidence?

Google and Firefox

Google gave much to Mozilla but it was a two way street. The agreement was Google would pay if Firefox would use Google as the default. The added advantage for Google is that it could build extra market in search while undermining Microsoft’s hold on the browser market.

Now we have Google chrome and Mozilla finds itself with solid competition from yet another company with unlimited resources. Chrome has a much easier time breaking into the market due to better branding (in part because of Firefox as it gained browser share) and Microsoft’s not so iron grip on the browser market anymore. This looks to me like Google maneuvered Mozilla into running interference with Microsoft until markets lined up to give Google the opportunity for dominance. Interesting to note that a portion of Microsoft’s operating system domination a few years ago was based on Internet Explorer as well. Google is now moving into the operating system arena.

Is this all coincidence? Are the Google business moguls really this smart?

Google Android and Cell Phones

Google released Android to much fanfare and linked up with many phone manufacturers and providers. Many companies bit on the opportunity and, as a result, enjoyed great popularity with their Android based phones. It hasn’t really been that long and Google is releasing it’s own Android based phone as well…turning many of it’s partners into competitors. Read “Google Phone May Rankle Android Partners” for more info on this.

Is this all coincidence as well? How long does it take to plan and execute entering into the cell phone market? Could this have been on Google’s map all along?

What Am I Getting at Anway?

It looks to me like business partnerships with Google tend to result in more competition and severe disadvantage. I wouldn’t be surprised if, while Google is wheeling and dealing to add Twitter to it’s search results, Google has a hoard of engineers and experts working on a piece of software to one up Twitter.

I know it’s just business but in the long run practices like this will hurt innovation. The innovator is going to get tired of getting ripped off by the faceless corporation. Companies with practically endless cash flow can rip off an idea and put unlimited resources into it. I think Twitter will either sell out or get burned.

What do you think?

Just a thought out of nowhere really. Currently, article spinners and the like really don’t do a good job of rewriting content…thankfully. I’ve seen a few of my articles posted online without any backlink or reference to any of my sites but at the very least the text was horribly mangled. I could take comfort in the fact that Google and other SEs could not possibly be dumb enough to grant sites with that kind of content the rankings they don’t deserve. I was also glad there was no backlink as it would have been nearly worthless anyway and I didn’t want my sites associated with that.

What happens, however, when article spinners come to the place of actual decent grammar. It is closer than I imagined…read a comment by someone on just using something like Google translate to take an article through Spanish and then back to English. This would effectively change the wording of the article. What happens when this method is truly perfected?

What if an article spinner could select a particular personality and even education level to rewrite the articles? They may even be able to literally build a virtual journalist eventually. A bot with a pen name, category settings and some personality settings pulling content from related sites and then rewriting it. Editors would probably be required to add relevant images and videos where necessary and manage comments.

I can see the web being flooded with half-decent, ripped-off content. I’m guessing heavily branded sites and blogs would still fare OK but smaller blogs and sites might get drowned out by a new wave of spammy content that doesn’t look spammy at all. It might even look pretty professional.

Thoughts or comments?

PenniesA couple of my sites use Adsense as one of the forms of monetization. It was easy enough to add the code and style the goofy looking ad boxes to not look so ugly and gave me a way to test what kinds of traffic I was really getting. “Cool” says I.

After months and wildy fluctuating CTRs there is really only one thing I’m sure of. I’m sure that every month I’ll see a few pennies in Adsense revenue, at the very least, from the cost per 1,000 impressions payout. My overall clickthrough rate is over .4% but only because I get someone actually interested in the ads every once in awhile. Pay per click is actually very decent at least but sometimes I have to wait over a month to get those couple of clicks.

Where does this leave my retirement? Using CNN Money’s When Will You Be a Millionaire calculator I entered my income in at $1 per year (the minimum) and opted out of as much of the tax calculations that I could. Entering 5% as my annual growth and submitting gave me 236 years and 8 months. Must have done something wrong?! That’s definately not right. I’m guessing I would be lucky to hit $300 in 236 years.

Turns out it is right…I think. That 5% rate of growth gets pretty powerful after about 100 years. All I need to do to hit millionaire status is hold out for a bit under 240 years. I find that strangely comforting. I’m getting one of those “I’m closer than I thought” moments out of this.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.