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Archive for December, 2009

List of Canadian MPs in Calgary To Vote Out if They Don’t Push To Get Our Troops Out of Afghanistan

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

OK. Enough.

You can help get our troops out of Afghanistan by sigining this petition, or use the info below to contact your MP and make your feeling known.

We need to get ALL of our Canadian troops out of Afghanistan ASAP. This has gone on way too long, as we go on supporting a defunct American political machine. Below is a list of the MPs for the Calgary area who need to be emailed around the clock (click here for the complete contact and email list of all Canadian MPs you can write, email, and/or phone). The best way to apply pressure on these MPs is to use snail mail.

List of Calgary Area MPs To Contact

  • KenneJ@parl.gc.ca
  • AblonD@parl.gc.ca
  • AnderR@parl.gc.ca
  • ObhraD@parl.gc.ca
  • RichaL@parl.gc.ca
  • HarpeS@parl.gc.ca
  • PrentJ@parl.gc.ca
  • Shory.D@parl.gc.ca

Prime Minister of Canada’s contact information;

House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A6

Telephone: (613) 992-4211
Fax: (613) 941-6900

eMail: HarpeS@parl.gc.ca
Web Site: www.pm.gc.ca

Constituency Offices

1600 – 90th Avenue SW, Suite A-203
Calgary, Alberta
T2V 5A8

Telephone: (403) 253-7990
Fax: (403) 253-8203

I have begun a campaign to have these MPs removed from office if they are found to be promoting any further activity by Canadian Armed Forces in Afghanistan. We never should have been in Afghanistan in the first place, but thanks to weak-kneed politicians in Ottawa, we followed along with the Bush administration (and now the Obama administration) into war.

Canadian politicians (starting with the ones in my home city of Calgary) need to be voted out if they support any further wars just because the USA says it is required.

Canadian voters need to apply enough pressure on these MPs to reverse their stance on this issue.

SEO in 2011 – Artificial Linking Is Dead

Sunday, December 27th, 2009

I can hear the chorus of the SEO specialists now. First of all, natural, REAL linking is never going to be dead and I’ll explain why in this post, but “linking for the sake of linking” is very much deceased in my opinion.

Here is a rather long post explaining why I believe this. This post got a little out of control at over 7100 words, so if you want to read the entire piece, you may want to print it for later.

The theories on SEO in 2011 (primarily linking) are shared by many bloggers and SEO specialists that reign supreme, but would not want to share some of these theories with their clients (or risk going out of business).

Nevertheless, a new Internet is upon us and we will sink or swim by the new algorithms and by the choices we make going forward. I hope you enjoy the read.

This is the index of this post as follows (please add the word “my theory” to precede each of these bullet points) :-);

  1. Why reciprocal linking is dead.
  2. Why reciprocal linking software is a waste of time and money.
  3. Why 3-way linking is dead.
  4. Why article marketing is dead.
  5. Why link wheels are dead.
  6. Why link spamming is dead.
  7. Why blog commenting is dead.
  8. The nofollow tag attribute.
  9. Why trackback links are dead.
  10. How link aging effects your web site.
  11. Stop listening to Matt Cutts.
  12. What is the safest method of linking?
  13. One more on the old SEO methods.
  14. Examples of successful web sites.
  15. Our site blog niches.
  16. What you should do to succeed.
  17. Final comment.

Why Reciprocal Linking is Dead

Old school reciprocal linking is certainly passe because simply swapping links is so readily and easily discounted by Google, Bing, Yahoo!, and all other major search engines. This old style of linking was very effective for a very long time, because webmasters were creating many hundreds of links from different websites, convincing the search engines their domains were popular.

Well over a decade ago the Google algorithm began discounting many of these kinds of links. Basically, this kind of old-school reciprocal linking only showed Google that you had a lot of man hours put into link requests, and you were a hard worker.

Now I know that many people who are in the Internet business find this to be the most frustrating thing about Google and all other search engines these days. The very fact that you can work, and invest in, creating links to your website by doing trades is not rewarded. You would think that Google would reward those who work the hardest, which is what everybody has been led to believe since we were born.

The simple fact is that just working hard, and investing hard, doesn’t mean Google gives you any benefit in their search engine results. What Google cares about the most is ideas – the modern search engines don’t care how hard you work, but more about the unique ideas and compelling content you have on your website. By discounting most of the linking strategies webmasters and companies/corporations are using, the search engines are making sure that a particular page on your domain is truly, and absolutely, popular because of the natural inbound links going to it. If your domain has thousands of inbound links that were created in the most natural way (from other webmasters linking to you) then the search engines can tell the page is truly compelling. This is “old hat” to experienced webmasters.

Furthermore, the search engines are sophisticated enough to recognize any kind of link strategy and scheme using any kind of modern linking software. Even three-way linking, which I will get into next.

Google can see that there is a relationship between different domain names, hosting IP’s (or Class C-Blocksif you prefer). There are only so many IP’s out there that you can manipulate as you create artificial inbound links, and this is why the traditional link exchange software applications worked for so long. The requirement now, if you want to create any meaningful inbound links to your domain, is to let go of the idea all together.

Search engines can tell (especially Google) what kind of links you have coming in, and if those links were created because the webmasters who linked to you were genuinely interested and compelled by your page. I know that many so-called SEO experts and software gurus will disagree vehemently, because they base their entire SEO strategy (or Company/Business) on creating artificial inbound links between web sites. In the long run, we will see who is right and who is wrong. (OK, I’ll just come out and say it…..I’m right)

Reciprocal Linking Software

We (well most of us webmasters) would spend hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars on reciprocal linking software and then hunker down for many hours a week requesting links, approving links, submitting links, and checking links. Most of us hated it (I know I really hated it), wondering if it was just a waste of time. In the back of my mind I always thought the link swapping game was going to be a dead end endeavour some day.

The major search engines can see these scripts in action, and they discount most of these kinds of links. Most of the links to your site are placed on pages that are not even cached, or have very little PR value. The end state of all these hundreds of hours of linking is not good – it truly is a waste of time these days.

This kind of artificial linking will get your site “found” by the search engines, so for the very short term you could call this a positive thing. However, if you are using blogging software or some kind of content management system, you never need this in the early stages of a domain. Blogging software Pings, so you will “get found” very quickly. With a WordPress blog, you will be found after half a dozen posts, and that is right out of the box before adding extra pinging services to the list in your WordPress Dashboard.

The next phase of reciprocal linking was Three-Way Linking.

Three-Way Linking Is Dead

Many so-called smart SEO specialists and webmasters soon discovered that simple link trading wasn’t really that effective anymore. They put their heads together and discovered an ingenious way of creating artificial links that Google (and competing search engines) would see as unique and natural. They came up with three-way linking, which means that you have Website A, linking to another webmaster’s domain or page, and that webmaster returns a link to your Website B. It is as simple as that.

Webmasters who had the means, and were fairly highly ranked (with enough green bar showing in the Google page rank information tool) were in a position to leverage one highly ranked website for the purposes of three-way linking. The problem is that Google has figured that one out too. Google’s algorithm engineers and coders simply added a plug-in (if you will) that recognized three-way linking based on IP’s, and relative patterns.

Even further, if you are using any Google application (such as Gmail, Adsense, Adwords, etc.) Google can see what IP you are working from. Once again, I can hear the skeptics of my theories here screaming that there is no way Google can see what IP you’re working from, uploading files from, and blogging from. Their algorithm obviously sees this information, and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to put this kind of tweak into their algorithm(s).

So now Google can see what you’re up to and what is going on in your little Internet business. Of course these technologies are not perfect and they can’t be absolutely accurate in regards to what you are doing, especially if you are using proxy IP’s when working online. Still though, they can see the activities of the IP’s and the domains in play, and even that is enough for them to make a judgment call on the kind of a web property you are running.

Like all artificial link strategies, the three-way linking scheme works for a short time, and maybe even for months, but that is not good enough when it comes to the Internet. Everybody wants a piece of the ultimate income, and the competition is coming at you fast and furious. You are up against corporations and large, small, medium businesses who are outsourcing their SEO and I’m sure you sometimes think that “little ‘ol you” is never going to compete. But don’t get discouraged, there is a sparkling silver lining in this cloud.

So what do you do if reciprocal linking, and three-way linking, is a waste of your time and money? Many of us turned to Article Marketing.

Article Marketing Is Dead

Article marketing has two basic schemes that come into play. One scheme is that you have other webmasters put up a piece of content in the form of an article on their site, and create a quality link in the article back to one of your domains. As of March 2011, I still believe this is a viable linking strategy, but I rarely even go there.

The second way of article marketing, which is very popular, is when you submit articles to article directories such as Ezine Articles, with an inbound link to your web site in the article. Both article planting schemes must be done in such a way that the link created in the article uses your target keyword(s) as the anchor text. Update: as of March 2011 EZA may be going to nofollow.

It doesn’t work very well unless every article you write is perfectly 100% unique, original content. That is the first problem, and using content spinners and article re-writers doesn’t work either. I will get into why content spinners and re-writers don’t work on a another post, but you can take my word for it (or not at your peril) for the time being. So basically, just putting your articles up on article directories (spinning them or rewriting them if you wish) doesn’t do much at all for your web property anymore. Google knows what is going on and discounts almost all of the links you are getting from these directories.

When the search engines see hundreds of links going to your website from one directory, which is running on one hosting IP, they begin discounting links. It’s a simple case of diminishing returns. Just the IP aspect of the Google algorithm discounts these links, let alone the fact that the search engines are now discounting links from article directories – period.

The best way to do article marketing is by writing unique, fresh, 100% original content, and having it put on thousands of different domains with different links, using different text anchors. This could work if all criteria were put into play, but now you are in a Catch-22 situation. If you are going to create 100% pure original content on other websites and blogs, would you not be better off putting it on your own domain(s)? My belief is yes, you are better off putting this kind of content on your own domains and letting other webmasters link to you over time.

So what do you do when traditional link exchanges have gone by the wayside, and three-way link exchanges have gone by the wayside, and article marketing has gone by the wayside? I guess the answer that most webmasters have these days is Link Wheels.

Link Wheels Are Dead

I know that my opinion on link wheels will perturb many webmasters, because thousands of SEO gurus think that link wheels are the modern answer to search engine ranking. Sorry – Link Wheels were dead coming out of the gate, and I would have to say that if we want to keep using the life and death metaphor, Link Wheels were stillborn.

Why are Link Wheels fairly useless in the long-term? Because once again, when you create artificial inbound links using blog farms and other third party sites, you are getting your links from a small pool of IP’s. The same problem you have with Article Marketing essentially. Blog farms, and their usual counterparts (Link Wheels) use third-party domains such as Blogspot, Hub Pages, and Lenses on Squidoo are all part of the same animal, and I can guarantee you are wasting your time in the long run. How do I know this, because I’ve tried every black hat technique known, and I was a damn good link spammer too. Oh….I walked hand in hand on the dark side for a few years. I am in the business of making a profit online – NOT being a saint.

Link Spamming Is Dead

Link spamming is dead and I don’t say this because I fancy myself as some kind of “purist” expert (I just established that right) – I say this because all my tests showed one outcome – limited and temporary gains with the possibility of huge losses.

You may as well be a bank robber I suppose. If your market niche is something like pornography, gambling, or drugs, then I can see why link spamming is you’re only option for getting inbound links to your domains, but get ready for a long hard battle spamming forums and blogs everyday of your business. Get ready to spend a stupid amount time changing IPs, and IP locations, as your sites will soon enough be banned.

Link spamming has reached new heights because of some fairly clever software developers around the world who create scripts that entice competitive webmasters into investing hundreds of dollars on applications that spam forums, blogs, etc., creating hundreds and thousands of inbound one-way links to their domains. All in the hopes of wiping out their competition and rocketing to the top of the search engines.

These software developers, and black-hat tool creators, will swear up and down how wrong I am about the futility of this activity, but go ahead and try it for yourself – you’ll find out how temporary this kind of linking is. Sure, you can temporarily get a domain ranked high for competitive keywords, and make a quick buck because of the traffic you get, but that buck is getting smaller every year, and these domains are getting banned quicker than ever before. The gig is up when it comes to black-hat techniques and a new day is now upon us.

Not only are the search engines becoming more sophisticated and wary of these kinds of links, and this kind of IP activity, the platforms for managing and running blogs and running forums and directories are more sophisticated, and are managing to block these kinds of spam linking tools in their tracks. Furthermore, users such as you and I are learning to use our scripts and software on our platforms more effectively and we manually check for spam on a daily basis. In the time that I wrote this post, Askimet snagged over 2 dozen inbound spam comments.

With the more advanced technologies for stopping spam, and the change in behavior as far as webmaster vigilance goes, it’s making the ROI (return on investment) for spammings a dwindling effort, and the point of diminishing returns comes “quick like” – yonder she comes.

The very fact remains that the world is recognizing the ultimate income is made on the Internet. When you have a web property that makes money around the clock 24/7/365, it is much too valuable an asset to be risking with outdated linking techniques and SEO schemes. Even if using black-hat techniques guaranteed your website had a three year run ranking high in the search engines, it still isn’t really worth it, when you consider having a real white hat quality web property, running safely and indefinitely, is by far the more prudent endeavor.

All of the SEO specialists and so-called black-hat artists are understanding this, even if they won’t admit it to you, and fiercely argue that their techniques will always be around for manipulating the weaknesses of search engine algorithms.

So if traditional reciprocal linking is dead, 3-way linking is dead, article marketing is dead, blog farms and link wheels are dead, and link spamming is dead; what works now? I guess the old commenting on blogs is OK still right?

Commenting on Blogs for Google PR is Dead?

Commenting on other blogs was a fantastic way to create high quality inbound links to your web site or blog, but that too is going by the wayside thanks to the Google invented “NOFOLLOW” tag attribute. Google soon realized that we (us webmasters) could created PR on our domains by commenting on related blogs and creating inbound links of quality. The blogging platforms soon added the nofollow attribute to all commenter domain addresses (URLS) and that put an end to that game.

Major web properties such as Wikipedia soon followed with the nofollow tag attribute as well, and the rest joined in to stop link spammers from using them for easy links. This includes ALL major sites like Facebook, Myspace, Youtube, etc. etc. There is of course the exceptions like Squidoo, Hubpages, and Ezine articles, but these “true links” (without the nofollow tag) don’t really help your domain much more than just letting the search engine robots know your web site exists. A great way to get your site or blog found of course. Nothing wrong with that, and I have a short list of place to drop links for that purpose.

If you want to know more about nofollow tags and structure, read here. (you’re welcome Yaro)

So this commenting game was over on all user-hosted blog platforms (listed below), and 3rd party hosted platforms as well;

List of User Hosted Blog Platforms

  • b2evolution
  • blosxom
  • Django
  • Dotclear
  • DotNetNuke
  • Drupal
  • Frog CMS
  • Elgg
  • Habari
  • HelixBlog
  • Jaws
  • Joomla!
  • Livejournal
  • LifeType
  • Movable Type
  • Nooto
  • Nucleus CMS
  • PivotX
  • Serendipity
  • SimpleLog
  • Slash
  • Subtext
  • Textpattern
  • Thingamablog
  • Typo
  • WordPress

So now what does the savvy webmaster and so-called SEO expert do to artificially create inbound links that pass page rank to a domain? We’re quickly running out of ways to game the search engines here and it feels like we might as well pack up our laptops and throw them in the river right? Nope – this story gets better, so hang in there.

The Nofollow Tag From Deep Inside Blog Posts (OUCH!)

Even some blogs are not passing PR to your domain anymore when they give you a REAL and NATURAL link. Why? Because they may have a plugin running on their blog platform that adds the infamous “NOFOLLOW” tag to the link going to your site. These bloggers don’t do this to be stingy or anything, it’s just that some plugins for WordPress (like SEO Smart Links) gives the blogger an option to add the nofollow tag to ALL outbound links. Many platforms enable bloggers to do this now.

BUT, if you have a web page that has some very compelling content, you will still have hundreds of other webmasters linking to it that don’t use the nofollow tag. You will still be golden.

TrackBack Spamming (Linking) is Certainly Dead

TrackBack linking, or spamming, no longer works and never really did for very long. About the same time that the nofollow attribute was added to blog platforms in the comment sections, the same thing happened with TrackBack links. TrackBacks used to be a great way to show that one blog was referencing another blog, and would link them up accordingly.

The WordPress system is really simple for creating TrackBacks because all you have to do is link to another WordPress user’s blog page and the TrackBack was automatically created. Of course, the spammers ruined this too because this became nothing more than a tool used by manipulators of the system to create powerful inbound links to their websites, and the websites of their clients who they were performing “SEO services” for.

Even with the new spam protections that blogs have incorporated as per the norm, you don’t see very many serious bloggers with high-quality web properties approving TrackBacks anymore. When I link to another blog or website it is because I believe that their particular page has perfect relevance to the posts I am writing (or I just like them or they are a friend of mine). I believe this to be true for all serious bloggers.

If the blogger allows the TrackBack, that is just great, but I know that the TrackBack link has a nofollow tag applied so there is no sense in trying to link to another blog just for the sake of a link. Google’s idea of the nofollow attribute was brilliant in that it stopped people from linking just for the sake of linking. So that was it for TrackBack spamming.

Thank god that all the work we did getting high quality links in the past will help our web sites indefinitely. Hmmmm……you guessed it.

How Link Aging Effects Your Web Site

Here is the really big ugly that drives home my theory later in this post. This makes any webmaster want to throw up after all the work they have done over the years begging for links and investing countless hours learning how to use link exchange software. There is a time limit on the value of inbound links to your domain. Once again, we will hear all of the naysayers scoff at such a theory, but in my opinion, this is exactly what is going on.

The search engines are now looking at how old the inbound links to your domain are, as well as the value of where they are coming from. Basically, the websites that have the most recent inbound links and the most valuable inbound links, will win the rankings game. This may not seem fair if you consider the work aspect that I described above, but if you really think about it – this makes sense.

If a URL address has a consistent flow of new high quality inbound links pointing at it, it’s obviously the “latest and the greatest” as far as the search engines evaluate page rank. Just because some domain has thousands of inbound links pointing at deep pages within the site from years ago, doesn’t necessarily mean it is still the authority website anymore.

This one aspect of the page rank algorithm will makes most webmasters shudder at the thought, but it is something we have to deal with. Even though this will greatly affect web properties everywhere, there is still a way to make things work for you and beat the competition any time, and any day of the week. We will get to that soon enough here if we just listen to Matt Cutts — right?

Stop Listening To People Like Matt Cutts

Webmasters have been listening to people like Matt Cutts for a long time now, as they try to decipher what he is saying and it’s getting to be ridiculous (and pathetic) over the last few years. The truth is that the Google algorithm has so many sets of criteria involved that no Google employee can truthfully tell you what effect their algorithm is going to have on your website, except to say “if you build a quality website you will do well”.

As far as the way the Google algorithm ranks the pages of your website’s and blogs – Matt Cutts might as well be speaking in parables. He says something vague regarding the Google algorithm and all of his minions instantaneously begin analyzing his every word hoping it will give them a window into how the Big G is ranking pages. It is a complete waste of time.

And on top of this, there are thousands of self titled SEO experts that claim to understand what Matt Cutts is “really saying”, and what Matt Cutts “really means”, and they will usually have so-called test sites to prove the new theories they have about the Google algorithm. Webmasters like myself used to spend hours each week hanging on every word that Matt uttered in the hope that he could shed some light on what direction we should be taking with our search engine optimization strategies.

The whole term “search engine optimization” (or SEO) is misleading to the newcomer. Suggesting that you can optimize your site, is synonymous with saying that you can manipulate search engine results. This is why Larry Page is famous for creating his Pagerank model.

No matter how you try to optimize your website with artificial linking, and internal linking, you still have to deal with the fact that you have to have hundreds (thousands usually) of inbound links to the pages of your domain that were created naturally, and you have to have enough of these inbound links coming from “good” sources to eliminate the possibility (in Google’s eyes) that the links are not artificially created for search engine manipulation. If you take into account the way Google judges incoming links from different IP’s, you can see how futile it is to create simple Blog Farms and Link Wheels to get around their algorithm.

So do yourself a favor and remove Matt Cutts’ blog from your favorites and move on to the only safe and sound method of maintaining your domains. Let us now discuss what successful web property owners have done to succeed beyond their wildest dreams without using any of the old and new search engine optimization schemes we have been discussing.

So What Is The Safest and Most Powerful Way of Linking?

Their really is only one method left if you want to rank high in the search engines indefinitely and enjoy the traffic and the income that traffic creates. The smart webmasters have understood this from the time they launched their very first website and/or blog.

They wrote compelling content (articles and posts) that were irresistible to search engines and human readers. They wrote content that was compelling enough that other people wanted to link to it. Even if you had only one stellar article (bloggers often call them Pillar Articles) on your website or blog, but enticed thousands of other webmasters to link to it, that would make your website a high value domain in the eyes of the search engines and real people.

So some so-called white-hat webmasters and domain managers who understood this, only published unique and original content on their domains and it paid off.

However, you can imagine a webmaster’s disappointment when even writing big, fat, juicy posts this didn’t put them ahead of their competition. Even if they have a decent number of inbound links from reputable IP’s, and their content was 100% original, they stopped ranking for most of their competitive keywords. So what could that be? The answer is simple – quality content that is in definition 100% original and unique is still not enough to beat all the competition.

You have to have all of these factors and your articles have to be so compelling that other webmasters are linking to them in a flurry. Of course this is very difficult to do unless you have something special to say on your blog and/or websites. I hope that by now in this article you don’t feel like throwing your laptop or desktop into the river, off a cliff, or into the ocean, because there is hope.

Hope is Dead

Just kidding 😉

Yet More Of The Old Linking Theories and Strategies

When I was taught how to build websites I was told to create (or have somebody create) 300 to 500 word articles and publish them on my domain over time, covering most of the keywords you are targeting for traffic and search engine attention. Then it became 500 to 700 words, and now some believe you need to have 800 words to win with the search engines. There is some validity to this theory in my opinion. I do believe that if you have a longer article, or longer piece of content,  due to visiting commenter submissions, and visiting trackbacks, you will do better than much of your competition that has a smaller and less significant post as their piece of content. But even this is no guarantee of winning the battle for search engine superiority.

You must have an article that is extremely detailed and complete, which shows the search engines that you are really covering the subject and providing more information than any competing page on the Internet. Most importantly, this content must be so compelling that others will link to it eagerly to show the interesting slant you have on the subject. The combination of these two factors is what works on the Internet and always has. I seriously doubt that if you cover these two critical factors you will ever see your traffic disappear and your online business model fade into oblivion.

Examples of Successful Web Site Owners

You can see my theory on this for yourself any time you go on the Internet and see the most successful websites and domain properties that are succeeding in demolishing the competition every day, week, month, and year. No linking software or scheme will ever make your domain name appear above theirs for long. These kinds of blogs and websites have extremely useful information and they have inbound links from hundreds and thousands of different hosting IP’s, which no linking software will ever imitate in the long run and for the duration.

So in 2011 I see the only way to succeed in the long-term is by writing substantial pieces of valuable and compelling content on a well designed blogging platform such as WordPress (or any other dynamic content management system). If you are working alone you are going to be maxed out at two blogs/domains – maybe three of the most. If you have a writing team and financial resources to exhaust, you could manage more blogs, but you are always limited by your manpower.

You can use some helpful tools if you can’t type very fast, such as speech recognition software which I’m using right now to create this post. This will help you maintain a couple of good blogs, if you can’t type very fast and don’t have the money to hire good writers to write your content. Furthermore you can use automation to create blogs that run on their own. In early 2010 I finally finished coding, tweaking, and testing a functioning autoblog system/formula. I made the system available for purchase in late December, after I had thoroughly tested it out on over a dozen domains and niches.

The corporations and the large companies can afford to have a budget for writers and webmasters to create compelling content on a frequent basis, and they will always be difficult to compete against, but if you write articles that are extremely compelling then you can beat a complete team of writers any time you want. You can throw all the money you want at writers, but if they don’t have the unique ability to write compelling articles you won’t be getting the flood of inbound links to your domain. This is why the Lone Wolf bloggers out there can succeed where corporations don’t. They have the time, freedom, passion, drive (like succeed or don’t eat), experience and the know-how to write such powerful pieces of content that they wipe out Fortune 500 companies on a regular basis.

If you want to be in this business for the long haul, you better learn how to do this. Of course this means you will have to be writing about something you know fairly well and have some kind of passion for. (How many times have you heard that one?)

Our Market Niches and Strategies

Our money making blogs are on subjects we never “rarely tell the world about”, and cannot be found using Whois or any other reporting system to track the domains we manage. We see visitors to Zulit browsing through all of our different domains that are hosted from this particular hosting company’s Class C Block, but the truth is that the blogs we make the most money from are with different hosting company servers in different areas of the United States, using private domain hosting.

The sites that we share in the blogs that we talk about making money, make an extremely small percentage of our overall income. Quite simply put, we like to have some sort of example to point at to show visitors how to make money online, but we can’t take the chance of advertising our main money making domains. We learned this the hard way about 4 years ago.

These real money making blogs make 90% of our income, and they are on varying subjects, some of which are very lucrative, some of which are moderately lucrative, and some of which are modestly lucrative. They all have one thing in common though – they have over 1500 words added to them every second day, every week, every month of every year, whether it be manually created or autoblog created.

This content is researched and written on in length, and the subject matter is highly searched for online. I can’t stress enough how important using your own keyword research methods are (I detail our “little tricks” on this in our autoblog package). You just simply have to imagine what people would be looking for on the Internet to find the lucrative niches out there. Most of our niche blogs have a high demand for traffic and an extremely low competition level. 

What Should You Do To Succeed Online

There is one particular way you can succeed online and will never fail over the long run. You will never see your hard work get flushed down the drain by the latest search engine algorithms that are designed to filter out manipulative webmasters and domain managers. There is only two aspects to this proven method of working online.

a) The first thing you need to do is use a content management system that is advanced – preferably free and open source coding . I suggest using the WordPress blogging platform on your own domain, but you may want to use a hosted blog like Blogspot. You can use different content management systems, but make sure that all of the spam protections, updating systems, and plug-ins work seamlessly. The only reason I suggest WordPress is because that is what I know, and I can tell you that they have come a long way, making it easy to manage your web property.

b) The second thing you need to do after you’ve chosen a content management system, is work in the right way. Completely disregard everything you have ever heard about so-called SEO techniques, and put an end to using linking strategies, reciprocal linking schemes, and black-hat SEO traps. Even better, just quit thinking about linking altogether. All you want to do is write compelling content. The old days of just throwing up quick posts into your blog for the sake of pinging servers is over. That just won’t do it anymore. Take a look at any good article, on any subject, and you’ll notice that it’s always a lot more than 500 to 600 words.

The search engines have taken this into account as well. They know that generally speaking a short little snippet of content is not really doing itfor the visitor. This is why writing long and in-depth articles will put you in a better position with the search engines when compared to article directories, and other bloggers who write small little trifles just for the sake of putting something up.

But keep in mind, even if the article is extremely lengthy (like this one is becoming) this doesn’t mean you’re automatically going to win the search engine war against your competitors. You still have to have others linking to the article on a regular basis if you hope to keep your position in the search results.

If you look closely at the search engine results, you’ll notice that the pages that rank high have a few things in common;

  1. the page is on a highly ranked domain with a good reputation, or;
  2. the page has more inbound links to it than other competing pages focusing on the target keywords (or subject), or;
  3. the page is on a domain which has some directly related inbound links to the actual keyword(s) and the domain is extremely narrow in scope (niche), or;
  4. the page has more content on it regarding the requested search query

So what you want to have on your websites are pages that have a great amount of content on a particular subject (obviously longer than five hundred words) that are compelling and add another slant to the subject matter. Even if you have a brand-new domain and the search engines are just beginning to spider your site, and the search engine robots are beginning to index pages, and you have no inbound links from other web property managers, your end state goal should be in play already – making sure your articles are interesting and compelling enough that others will want to link to them. This ensures that your website or blog is covering all of the above criteria listed.

  1. the search engines will notice that your content is in depth, 100% original (not spinner or a re-writer content), and that your article is lengthier than most all of your competition.
  2. the search engine will notice that your domain is new and they will be excited (well as excited as an algorithm can get) to see this new domain and this new content for themselves.
  3. if all the content you load to your website or blog is of high quality, the search engines will notice and this goes to creating a good reputation with them.
  4. the next thing that will happen is that the search engines will give you that chance to be seen (and believe me if you write decent content they will give you that chance) and you will be found for particular search engine queries made from real people – the all-important users, and webmasters.

If your content is adding something, to the ongoing discourse on the Internet, that is unique in approach, and other webmasters see it as compelling, you will slowly begin to gain real and valid inbound votes (links). The search engine algorithms will see this slow building inbound link pattern, and you will gain even more ranking with the search engines, solidifying your so-called “good reputation”.

So as you can see above, all of these most important attributes of a successful web property automatically come to pass if you follow one simple rule – write in-depth content that just has to be taken seriously.

More Tips

From what I have seen watching my competitors blogs, and my blogs in action, you are better off writing longer, in-depth articles of discussion, then simply out doing your competition in frequency. You can see this if you look at the other high ranked web properties out there.

I usually don’t waste my time looking at blog posts that are only 200 words long, unless there is an important nugget enclosed. I will only link to an article that I believe covers a subject in depth. Even if I don’t agree with the blogger in question I will still link to their post because it covers an in-depth idea and opinion. Often, I will try and link to two diametrically opposed blog posts that completely contradict each other, showing the diversity of the subject in question.

So don’t worry about the old adage of creating three articles a day on your blog. Take the time to think about a subject you want to sink your teeth into and write about it in-depth. Surely you will spark the imaginations, the minds, and maybe the hearts (hmmm) of other bloggers who either strongly disagree with you, strongly agree with you, or at least see the value in your thought processes. Either way you slice it – they will begin to link to you. You will begin to get a good reputation with real humans and real algorithms 😉

Patience becomes the all important factor if you are a simple Lone Wolf webmaster. Perhaps you and your spouse working (this describes my online business). You have to realize that you can’t compete in multiple markets and subjects ALL the time, unless you are using quality automation.

In the beginning you have to focus on one particular subject and stick to it for a couple of years, so it had better be on a subject that has a fair amount of interest, and it better be a subject matter that isn’t over-the-top too competitive (like gambling for instance). This is not to say that you can’t compete in the long run with the most competitive websites on the Internet – it just means that you have to be that much more patient, diligent, hard-working, and creative.

The days of going from 0 to 60 in six months time are over. Big time over. You will have to learn to enjoy creating content, whether that be by typing, or using some sort of speech recognition software to lavish your blog with heaps of original content that you feel passionate about. Of course, you can become passionate about a subject if you start to research it and find the beauty in that topic of interest.

For instance if you found a great subject that had a lot of traffic from real users searching it on the search engines, you could read up on the subject until you were well versed and could add to the discussion online. There is only so much to know about any topic, and you would be surprised at how quickly you can become an expert. I go to this extent when I create new niche blogs. I order books online, videos, etc., to learn all about the subject so that I can write about it in my own words and then dominate that niche with a blog.

Even the people who have been studying that topic for years will respect your website and link to it because you have done your homework and you know what you are talking about.

In Closing

If you are like me, and have been in the Internet income business for awhile now (8 years), I suggest you consider these theories I am writing about today. The time that we spend using linking software, and scripts, designed to trick the search engines, could be used to simply write compelling content for our visitors, and the visiting search engine robots.

You can see clearly now how this theory is true with some of the big money making blogs on the Internet these days. If you focused on writing one 3000 word article, with unique and compelling content, once a week, you will be further ahead than any linking, article marketing, or auto blogging scheme can get you. This is why concentrating on one or two blogs is so important when you start out.

Please take a look at these blogs to see what I mean by this;

http://www.stevepavlina.com/

http://www.entrepreneurs-journey.com/

http://www.problogger.net/

Once Self Employed – Always Self Employed?

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

golfingpalmspringsI was having an interesting discussion with my brother-in-law the other day. He was telling me about one of his good friends who used to be self-employed and made millions of dollars doing so. Recently, because of an addiction, this friend of his lost all of his money (almost his life), and had to look at getting some work as an employee again. This guy is a good guy (like most right), and extremely talented in many different ways, so it makes sense that he would be a fantastic employee – yes……no?

Well this guy, who I will leave nameless for privacy reasons, went to work as a salesman at my brother-in-law’s company, and things seem to be coming along quite nicely for the first couple of months. Ironically, at the same time I was working for him too on a temporary basis. I had decided that I would lend my hand with some computer related stuff, and I we’ll get to that story soon enough here on a different post. I am 46 years old, and my guess is that this fella is close to 50 years of age. We both have one thing in common in that we were self-employed recently, and now were trying to work as employees again.

So the other morning I asked my brother-in-law how his friend was working out as an employee in his company. He said that his friend wasn’t working there anymore, and then went on to mention his theory on self-employment versus being an employee.

He said something to the effect of, “Once self-employed – Always self-employed”.

Well his language struck a chord in me for a couple of reasons. One, I had recently quit working for him on a part-time basis, and deep down inside I realized that I didn’t like working for somebody else (no matter who it was) and I felt like I had failed my brother-in-law and myself by slowly disengaging from his company. Of course, it never dawned on me that there are millions of people my age who have been self-employed, and try to work for somebody else again with damp results.

So this poses a question I have for myself, and for my readers;  “Once we are self-employed, are we never to be employees again?”

dadI hope not. The reason I hope not, is because it is a frightening thought believing that you could never be happy working for an employer again. When you are self-employed there is always that nagging fear, which is subdued in the good times, and greatly heightened in the bad times (good times being high profits, and bad times meaning negative profits), and you are always thinking about what you would do if your business model completely collapsed. I am sure there are self-employed people who would disagree, and claim that they never have these fears, but I seriously doubt it they would never let some fear drift through their minds at some point in their carreer.

My brother-in-law said that he believed once somebody has been self-employed they are “ruined” and can’t be told what to do. They can’t be coerced, empowered, inspired, driven, or led anymore. He said once you have had a taste of “running your own show”, you never want to look back. I have to admit, that as much as I don’t want to believe this, I have a sneaking suspicion that he may be right.

Like I have said before, here at Zulit.com, if our current online business model(s) one day failed, we would sell our house, our motorhome, and completely leave our traveling days behind us for a few years while we built up our new business model. We would be in a position to sell our house, and buy a smaller house and be mortgage free, but we would be really tight on cash if our current business model ended. Luckily for me, my wife agrees with me that she would rather be free and self-employed, than have the so-called security of being an employee again. I would be much more anxious if she insisted on maintaining our current lifestyle no matter what happened in the future.

palmspringsUp until this experience (working again on a part-time basis) I’ve imagined myself going back to work for somebody, or some company, earning some money to pay the bills. I naturally figured that it would be no problem for me to do that and get right back into the rhythm of going to work each morning. I’m not so sure about anymore. I think my wife and I (and our dogs) would rather live in single wide trailer, with no vehicles were expenses, and nothing but our laptops with a high-speed Internet connection. We know that the Internet is here for the rest of our days on this earth, and somebody’s website has to be on top. Somebody’s website has to be in second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth, and 10th place in the search results. We know there is room for us in the sea of Internet websites and blogs. We have never been worried about being rich or living carefree lifestyles – we only wanted to be free, not rich. As it turns out, we have made a lot more money than we ever imagined we would, and we are extremely grateful for that every morning we wake up. It’s really easy to get used to getting up in the morning and working on whatever project you feel like at the time.

In the past when I’ve mentioned this scenario (“living in a trailer park with nothing but an Internet connection”), deep down inside I truly wondered how miserable I would be if this scenario ever came to pass. I guess I really don’t know the answer to that, and I may never know the answer to that. One thing is for sure though – we will stay self-employed regardless of whatever lifestyle we end up living. I really think that “we drank the Kool-Aid”, as my accountant put it when I first started working at home.

momanddadI have been concerned over the past five years about getting too used to the lifestyle we have. This last year I only worked 2 1/2 months where I scheduled posts in our different blogs just to keep things fresh and keep our traffic levels up throughout the year (Zulit – not so much because it’s not in a great niche, and it’s never been pushed that hard). Outside of those 2 1/2 months, we didn’t look at any different avenues of traffic, didn’t build many new blogs, and didn’t even pile on a whole bunch of new content. In short – he got lazy.

Now perhaps this is all it takes when you have an Internet business established. All it takes is to have some fresh content on each one of your web properties every few days, every week, or even as little as once a month. Perhaps this lifestyle will continue for many years, and who knows, maybe this lifestyle will continue the rest of our lives. More will be revealed.

The Realization of Freedom, and Where I Came From

I remember three years ago all of a sudden realizing that I could go buy some golf clubs and afford to pay 80 – 100 dollars for a green fee twice a week. I really felt like I was living in a dream when I was on the golf course with my friends on a beautiful summer’s day. The last time I had ever slept at night (I usually worked night shift when I was an employee) and was up during the daytime, and playing golf, was when I was 17 years old. As soon as I was no longer a junior member of the Gorge Vale Golf and Country Club in Victoria British Columbia, I couldn’t afford to play. I suppose that since I worked as a pizza delivery boy and a dishwasher when I left high school, that didn’t help much either.

momI got pretty darn good at being a dishwasher, and a floor mopper, and eventually I graduated to higher aspirations and became a pizza cook. For the longest time I wished I could say that I gone to University somewhere (anywhere), or had worked in some IT department somewhere. I also wished that I had some kind of credentials in business so that I could say I came by my current lifestyle “honestly”. I don’t know why I felt that way, but I suppose I was ashamed to tell anybody that I was a very poor student in school, had no post-high school education, and was working jobs at the lowest levels of society.

Even when in later years I had a job as an aircraft engineer (really just an aircraft mechanic, but they use that “engineer language” to try and convince young, big egoed, men and women to work night shifts for garbage money) I felt that I was “less then” the other mechanics because most of them had gone to college or school to learn for three years, before they ever walked on to a hangar floor. I still felt like the “bad student and dishwasher” no matter where I went and no matter what I did – and no matter how hard I worked.

I suppose the one thing that my life experiences have taught me – is that if you have a passion for something, whether it be a dream, a job, a lifestyle, or whatever, you can overcome almost anything to succeed. The key word here is “almost anything” (I don’t believe in the tripe marketed in the book “The Secret” – sorry) But, I don’t believe we can reach great heights in any field or endeavor if we are not satisfied and grateful for the baby steps we take in the beginning. We have to be satisfied and grateful when we accomplish our first tasks, and see our first meager results. Satisfied – but not to the point of “resting on our laurels”, as they say.

Now I look back on my meager beginnings as a dishwasher and floor mopper with a strange kind of pride. The first five years of being out on my own (18 — 23) I lived far below the poverty line. I had a dream of being a musician so I never even worked these extremely low paying jobs for more than a few evenings a week. I had no vehicle, no spare change, and lived a reclusive existence except for the odd gift of a roommate here and there. Two of those years I lived alone with the same kind of income and I have to admit that was extremely difficult. I did become very depressed, and thought I was actually going out of my mind at some point.

Maybe I am so frightened by the prospect of ever living so poorly again that I work my butt off to avoid it, or I am NOT afraid to live on the cheap and I’m willing to take my chances with self-employment. Just swimming in the currents of the economy at large. But let’s face it, it’s probably fear that keeps me going. I wouldn’t be happy if I couldn’t work with a computer for a living. This is a factor as well – I LOVE doing this. I love watchin text go up in a screen, and I love the feeling of a quality keyboard tickling my fingers as I type. (using a SONY VAIO now which I highly recommend if you must us a PC and not a Mac)

priusSo there I was three years ago realizing I was able to afford the purchase of a brand-new set of golf clubs, and afford the cost of playing golf again, pinching myself in disbelief at what my lifestyle has come to. It actually caused me some weird sense of anxiety because I must’ve feared losing this privilege. But no, the business has continued onward and upward. Next thing I know, we are buying a much nicer vehicle to get around in, and then purchasing a motorhome to travel in most of the summer months between places like Palm Springs, the California coast, and good old Coeur De Alene, Idaho. My wife and I have the freedom of a retired couple living comfortably off their pensions. Most of our neighbors are much older than us, and most of the people we meet and greet when we are traveling are much older than us. I suppose this would be called financial freedom at this point. I don’t talk too much about our lifestyle anymore when I talk with friends, family, and stangers (well I try not to anyway) because it sounds like obnoxious bragging, and I honestly think it makes people want to puke. I reserve these kinds of discussions on our business progress for this blog.

What this realization has taught me is that self-employment can be the ultimate way to live your life if all is going well. When the bad times come and your business model is in the dumps (or in a deep valley) it’s time to get back to work and in a big way, but there is a certain FUN in those times as well, because now you are challenged again. The challenge of maintaining a successful business is extremely exciting and this is why I’m always encouraging people to go out on their own, and eventually become self-employed.

There is something about that feeling of satisfaction when all of your hard work comes to fruition. It’s even sweeter when you begin making 2 to 3 times the amount of money you made when you were at the top of your pay scale as an employee. When you have a good accountant (preferably a CA) and a good bookkeeper, and you play by the tax rules, you soon realize that self-employment is the way to go. When you can write off so many different expenses legitimately you begin to wonder why you ever decided to be an employee in the first place. For me it was natural to become an employee because nowhere down the line of my family tree did I see a big push for self-employment. In so many ways we are born into our lifestyle, and it’s tough to leave the employee mindset. I had being raised with the example that security was found in a corporate carreer.

Raised With The Employee Mindset

I know that my parents were deeply concerned with my choices throughout my life, and when I quit working for the airlines I think they were worried that my vision of working from home was nothing more than a pipe dream. I suppose if they had been self-employed their whole lives and their parents and their parents were business owners, they would have been happier to see that I was taking the chance of leaving the so-called security of a job for self-employment. I know that when I spoke to other people who were self-employed during my early years of trying to get this business going, they were very encouraging and supported me in my efforts. Don’t get me wrong on my parents – they have always supported me in any endeavour I’ve taken on.

I remember my father dabbling with self-employment when I was a kid, and I think that this little bit of dabbling he did must have affected me to some degree. I remember him speaking of friends he had who were working out of their basements to make an extra income (besides their employee income), and he would speak of these people with great respect and passion. The look in his eyes when he would talk about the smart and enterprising ideas these people had must have left that impression on me.

My father looked at different ideas, and he actually did act upon them sometimes, but because of the very early age he took on the responsibility of a wife and two children (my brother and I) he decided that he didn’t want to take any big chances. I have often wondered what my father would’ve done if he hadn’t been married and had children at the age of 21. He is extremely passionate and very smart – let alone a perfectionist and capable of working insane hours on a project. He has built his own airplanes, built his own classic style kayaks, maintained aircraft and machinery, was an electronic technician for his carreer, and on top of that was one of the best managers that B.C. Tel (before Telus) ever had (think some family pride is eeking it’s way in here now – sorry if this making your gag reflex go off).

hockeyWhen he used to be involved with minor hockey (and like usual as all men in our family, became very serious about it) he saw an opening for a self-employment idea that would create more income for the family. He discovered, at the time, that there was only a couple of decent places in Terrace, British Columbia where you could get your skates sharpened. Being the perfectionist that he was, he was often not satisfied with how well these businesses sharpened our skates. He decided to buy his own grinder and system for sharpening skates in our basement. We, as a family, were charging people around $1.50 for every pair of skates that we sharpened. I think that we charged two dollars to sharpen figure skates (it’s to foggy now). I remember him teaching me how to sharpen skates and I tried to make sure I did as good a job as he did. Of course, I never got as good at it as he did. My father is the craftiest and smartest man I know, and have ever known. This doesn’t just come from the love of the son, but from what other people have told me over the years growing up in my parents house.

The reason I bring up the self-employment idea is because as a child I really didn’t think that getting paid a buck-fifty (this was the mid-1970s which I can’t believe is so long ago now) for every sharpened pair of skates would add up to any substantial amount of money. Years later, I remember talking to my Mom about our little family enterprise and she told me that it did wonders for our family income. She said that the profit margin was really fantastic and it made a huge difference to the family. I honestly think my father created this small business to pay for all of the hockey expenses that my brother and I had.

Not only did he create an extra income for the family through this business model, but he was very good at what he did. I suppose he could have kept on doing the same thing, but for reasons I don’t know, he let it go. I think now that this must’ve left a lasting impression on me, and finding out years later from my Mother that it turned out to be a financially fruitful venture, left an even greater impression.

I have often seen these small businesses operating throughout my life and I have always wondered how they could possibly make a profit when they don’t seem to have many people in their stores and shops. What I have learned from my small business is that it comes down to the pennies every day that trickle in, and as that volume increases and decreases all those pennies add up. As long as your expenses are under control and you don’t go completely insane with spending on personal luxuries, you can be your own boss. This is how I look at any business now. You don’t have to be the best of the best, but if you consistently provide a reasonable service at a reasonable price, the world can be your oyster.

I don’t know what kind of small business I would start again if I couldn’t use the Internet for my income, but I have slowly grown a small list of ideas that I would consider “just in case”. They would all involve the Internet but some of them involve teaching people how to blog, and how to create their own trickle of income. I think it’s very important for people starting off in an Internet income business to appreciate the trickles. In the end these trickles really do add up, and they are what our complete profit model is based on. When you have a website that’s making a small trickle of pennies everyday, it must be looked upon with great respect and gratitude. It is a residual stream of income that has to be appreciated fully, and then sprinkled with a little bit of attention once in a while to keep it going. I better stop talking about websites or I will be going right off track again. Besides, you don’t need to hear yet “another dude’s theory” on how to manage Internet income streams (we can continue that on another post, and you know I will).

So Is It True

So is it true that once we are self-employed we will always be self-employed? I ask you to think about this if you are self-employed right now, or have a strong desire to become self-employed. As I said above, I really don’t know what I would do in the future if I couldn’t be working at home on my computer and living the lifestyle I am right now. I speculate on the “single wide trailer” scenario and I speculate on the “going back to work as an employee” scenario, but unless that day comes when I have to make a change, I won’t know.

I know that I could become an employee again, and that is not a problem, but what kind of employee would I be? Would I be nothing but a miserable pain in the backside? Would I challenge all authority as did as a young employee? Would I quit soon after I started? Would I be productive? Would you – could you.

Confessions of a Webmaster

Monday, December 21st, 2009

Every time, at this time of year, I look at our business model(s) to see if I can make some major improvements in our income. I look at the pay per click models, the organic natural traffic models, and I weigh out all of our options for the new year.

I know that for some of the visitors to this blog, it may be confusing in regards to what I believe is the best way to make money online, and which methods we really use to make money online. I know that many visitors see the earnings reports that I have at the top of every page, and the first thing they wonder is;

“How is he making that much money, and he can’t be telling us the whole truth”.

Some will believe that it is all from using a pay per click model, and that there is no way we could be making any substantial money from natural traffic. I want to clear up, once and for all, any kind of confusion in this regard, because without clarity there is no way my readers will feel that they are being told the truth.

As of 2009, 30% of our income comes from natural organic traffic. 70% of our income comes from using the pay per click model. Most of these sites that earn our income are on private hosting accounts (or I should say private domains) so as to avoid what has happened in the past with people simply copying our ideas and our niche models.

When we first started I was an open book in regards to what my niche websites were, because I really didn’t believe people would waste so many hours of their time simply copying somebody else’s niche ideas. I was extremely naïve in this respect, and to be fair to myself I have seen this happen to too many of my mentors. One thing I can assure you, is that there is nothing fancy about our websites, and there are no big secrets on how we get our traffic.

One thing I want to clarify, in a crystal-clear fashion, is the use of black hat techniques. SEO is something that I talk about allot here, and all of my comments are simply my beliefs from my own testing, and of course you can take it for what it’s worth. One thing I firmly believe now; is that black hat search engine optimization is dying quickly, and it is not a very good way to secure your online income going forward. Now I would like to talk about some of the techniques I have tried in the past. Some of these techniques are what you would call “gray hat” techniques, such as the use of particular website builders which I will discuss.

HyperVRE Website Creation Software

HyperVRE has been very successful for us in the last few years, and we are still making money from the domains that are using HyperVRE mini-sites. Unfortunately, these mini-sites get hit by the search engines (Google) every so often, and it is like you have a few weeks (or a month) of downtime. Is that really the kind of business you want to have?

It is like the search engines (Google I mean) see this content as suspicious, and they de-index hundreds of pages every once in a while, just to have those pages return into the Google index, and search results again. Basically, Google can’t make up its mind what to do with these mini-sites. For those HyperVRE users, keep in mind that I use custom templates that nobody else is using on the Internet, and I use random descriptions and definitions (A TON!) to make my pages appear fresh and updated all the time. I create my content from other web pages, and I use macros and scripts that I have had coded for me (custom Perl applications) that parse down, cleanup, and organize the content in a neat fashion for use in the websites that I build with HyperVRE. It takes approximately 4 hours to build one of these mini sites, and yes, they make residual income for years. So why would I stop doing this? Because in the long run, I am not so sure about the health of these pages in Google and Bing.

So what I am saying, is that I don’t recommend going the route of website builders in 2010 and forward. This does not mean you should abandon the HyperVRE websites you have – because if they are making money, then great. Just update those domains every once in a while to keep them alive in the search engines so you can continue to make money with this model as long as it lasts.

This gray-hat model works very well in all search engines (right now) so I can’t completely dismiss it. We will continue to update our domains that are using this model, but; I will not be creating any more new sites using this method, and I am moving on to a more white-hat SEO models.

Extreme Black-Hat SEO Techniques – I.E., Xrumer

Using software applications like Xrumer is obviously the blackest form of SEO you can employ. You are simply spamming forums and blogs on a large scale, and it is very risky for your domains (and your business altogether). As I have mentioned before, and will mention again, this kind of optimization is extremely short-term. Your short-term gains, are always followed by a complete loss of traffic, and if you don’t know how to use a proxy (or proxies more like), you could really mess up your business. I purchased the Xrumer software, and as I have spoken here before, tested it thoroughly.

I have to say that it gave me an uneasy feeling using the Xrumer software application, subjecting other website owners to spam and being “one of those guys. I suppose the reason I did it is because I just had to know how well that worked. It works – like I said – temporarily, but it is not worthy of future consideration. So much for that $540 USD I flushed down the toilet.

Using Synonyms and Content Spinners

Using synonym generators, and content spinners is a complete waste of time as well. I have used some of these applications server-side and on my own machines. The time you spent spinning a small 500 word article, which has diminishing returns, you could have easily created over 5000 words of fresh content – if you were using speech recognition software like I am right now for this post. Once again, trying to cheat the search engines, and their users, takes a lot of hard work for short-term gains. Especially now with the new SE algorithms that are in play. These content spinners and synonym scripts cost money, and using them requires a lot of work to get an article to pass a Copyscape test. I also believe that the Copyscape bar is not good enough. I believe the search engine algorithms of today have a higher bar set for duplicate content. All conjecture, I know, but I believe this to be true from testing pages.

I know how tempting it is to try some of these techniques to improve your website traffic. I look back at the last five years now, and I will be in the next couple of posts, with regret that I didn’t just simply close my eyes and learn how to create a ton of compelling content for my readers. Why did I take the path that I took? Simple – I was desperate for success and wanted to work from home without ever having to have a job again. Plain and simple and for what it’s worth, this post IS entitled, “The Confessions of a Webmaster”.

If I knew then what I know now, I never would have dabbled on the dark side of SEO. Obviously, I was smart enough to make sure 80% of my work went into legitimate business models, and that is why we make a good earning online, but if I had spent that other 20% of my time working on proven techniques, we would be making much more money today.

The whole reason for this post is to present to the absolute beginners what not to do. All you want to do is choose one subject (or market), install a content management system (i.e., WordPress) and start writing fluidly.

When I look at the webmasters who did exactly that, it’s amazing to see how successful they have been. They have surpassed all of their expectations, and many of them have so much traffic (millions of unique visitors a month) that they remove the typical advertising links from there blogs and websites. They began selling their own products and end up making more money than they had ever made before. It is not unusual to have a successful blogger make more than $30,000 a month. When you hear a number that big it makes most people shake their heads in disbelief.

For all of you who have been gaming the system to some degree, try not to beat yourself up about it. Let’s face it – it’s just too tempting an idea to find some simple little bit of software that can create free money. Besides, I have to admit it has been a lot of fun playing with the search engines over the last five years. I guess I would have to say that it taught me a lot about how search engines work, and I guess this would be an education in understanding what to do, and what not to do.

SEO and The Cheating Husband Metaphor

I guess I could use a metaphor for the black-hat/white-hat SEO dilemma. How about the difference between a loyal middle-aged husband and the cheating middle-aged husband? One middle-aged man spends all of his 20s and 30s sowing his wild oats, and having many different sexual experiences, while the other man didn’t because he was married at a very young age. The experience of being single for that many years makes the single man realize that it’s a lonely existence, and finds out for himself that one night stands can leave you feeling empty, cold, and very alone. He makes a good choice in a woman, because he has lots of experience recognizing a good woman from a troublesome woman, and gets married – never to cheat because he knows what he is missing.

Meanwhile, the second middle-aged man, who gets married at 20 years of age never has these experiences of sowing his wild oats, and the rest of his life he wonders what it would have been like, and has fantasies of free-wheeling sexual escapades. He wonders what it would be like to meet that pretty stranger and sleep with her that same night.

The man who has experienced this will tell you that it is not what it is cracked up to be – the point is that sometimes it’s better to learn the hard way (from your mistakes). So webmasters can learn something from walking on the dark side for awhile – they can learn never to be tempted by the so-called easy and sexy fruit.

Black-Hat SEO Takes More Work Than White-Hat Seo (and the Organized Crime Metaphor)

I can say that when it comes to SEO (search engine optimization) I have certainly sowed my wild oats. I have used the software, gamed the system, and now realize how futile it is going to be in the future. The most glaring thing I have noticed with these black-hat techniques, is how much work it takes. Just because you get some fancy piece of software, written by some pretty clever people, doesn’t mean it’s easy. When you get right down to it, and involved in the actual details, it is a tremendous amount of work. If I could use another metaphor – we always hear the same thing said about organized crime.

With all of their smarts (SOME criminals) and all of their cleverness, along with their hard work, they could succeed in a legitimate business instead of being in the business of organized crime. They would be safer, and would feel better about their business in the long run.

I would even go one step further for this example with search engine optimization. It is far easier to do it the right way! Far easier! If you just create a simple blog on one domain, and work it for two solid years, all you have to do is use your imagination and your typing skills. No complicated scripts to figure out and configure, or software to figure out. No question marks in the back of your head whether or not you are going to succeed making money. Once more, all of those years you spent trying to game the system with software, could have been years of learning how to produce a lot of good content. It takes time to learn the process, as far as creating oodles of content for your blog, and it takes practice.

What I Tell Beginners Now

I used to speak to beginners about the amazing world of online income, and how it was the ultimate income. I still believe with every ounce of my being that online income is the ultimate income, but what I don’t believe anymore is that it’s easy or even attainable for the light of heart. To many millions of people want this ultimate income, and this ultimate lifestyle, which my wife and I have become accustomed to. Because of this competition, there may be a day when we can’t do it either. Believe me, I will be working my backside off in an attempt to keep the lifestyle we have.

The reality is that if you are a beginner, and you have dreams of having the ultimate Internet income, get ready to work your ass off. Get ready to make critical decisions early, like whether or not to dabble on the dark side, or whether to do it the right way straight out of the gates. I hope you make the right decision.

What is relative in all of this, when I discuss the ultimate Internet income, is the question marks surrounding what is ultimate. I suppose the ultimate Internet income would be tens of thousands of dollars made every month without ever having to lift a finger again the rest of your life. That is not likely to happen my friend.

What is likely to happen is that with a lot of hard work you can create a wonderful income which is more than what you make as a employee right now, and you can maintain it the rest of your life with some smart work. If you have dreams of making over $30,000 a month for the rest of your life, get ready to work very very hard. I have said it many times before, the ultimate Internet income is a work at home job, and the key word in that phrase is work. But it doesn’t mean you should work hard and stupid. It means you have to work smartly (work smarter not harder).

Pace Yourself On Your Quest to Create The Ultimate Internet Income

One of the things that has struck my wife and I over the last five years is how hard we have worked. I have worked ridiculous hours (up to 16 hours a day) and many of those hours were a waste of time. If I knew then what I know now I would not have spent that many hours, and I would have learned to pace myself sooner. I am still having trouble learning how to pace myself, because I love the work so much, and I love the lifestyle so much.

You can learn to pace yourself very easily, and put yourself on the track towards making a fantastic income. This is what I would do if I was you (I am talking to the beginners right now).

Choose two different subjects (markets) and find two short domain names (no dashes in the address, and one for each of your markets). Create a WordPress blog on both of these domains, and begin your journey. Don’t worry about any fancy software to manipulate the search engines, or any linking schemes. As a matter of fact, completely disregard any linking schemes altogether. Simply research different ideas for articles on your two blogs, and write something substantial every couple of days. If you can’t type fast, then try speech recognition – or you can simply teach yourself to type quickly. Either way – find out a way of creating gobs of content quickly. You’ll figure this out, so don’t worry about it. You can do this!

Once you are up and going and adding content in the form of articles, posts, and pages, you are on your way. Don’t worry about keyword density and all of that crap. Just write compelling information that your eventual users will find useful. Everything else will come to you. Because you are using a WordPress blog, search engines are going to see your content, so don’t be worrying about that. Don’t bother with stat counters at first, because you won’t be seeing a lot of traffic in the early days. Just keep writing and watch what happens.

The reason I tell you you should create two blogs, is because you will be able to create enough content for both sites. As well as that, it is easy to get bored with one blog and it’s subject material, and you will need a change to keep yourself from getting bored.

Don’t worry about frequency (how many posts a day or week you publish). Just write when you have a good idea, that you know your visitors will appreciate, or at least find interesting. Save your breath in other words. Publishing a post just for the sake of publishing a post in an attempt to keep the search engines happy is no longer a valid strategy. If you don’t believe me, you can research this using Google (or your favorite search engine) to see this for yourself. The most successful bloggers and online money makers only post content that they know will have some sort of value for their visitors and readers.

On the 27th of this month I have a rather large post that discusses the different ways that linking is dead. I am sure that many will agree with some of these ideas, and many of you will disagree, but the fact remains that I am adding something of value to the ongoing conversation in regards to search engine optimization. It doesn’t mean that the post will have more people linking to it than other posts, because it’s really just a hit and miss thing if the truth be told.

This is why it is so important to have a passion for what you are writing about. Even if you aren’t making any money off of the blog, but you are passionately involved in the subject matter, it won’t be long before you ARE making money. The Google algorithm has been designed in such a way (in an ingenious way) so that the truly passionate people with the ideas succeed. I know that my old friends in the black-hat world would scoff at such a notion, and they like to think that they can outsmart the search engine algorithms, but you can see examples of successful bloggers for yourself, and it is painfully obvious who is right and who is wrong on this matter.

Example of a Old Niche Site That is Really Really Ugly (but successful)

I am going to give you one example of a particular niche site that has always succeeded (we have hundreds of these) over the long run. It is a nasty, ugly little website with about 20 pages of 500 word articles in the site map. It is called http://www.bridesmaid-dress-only.com and I don’t mind giving up this little niche, because it generally only makes about $30 a month, and these days it’s not so easy to copy something. The funny thing is that I just checked out the site and the home page index file is not even there!!! I have no idea how long it’s been broken, but it still gets traffic every day on the other pages.

This simple little website makes about a dollar a day, and there is nothing fancy about it as you can tell. It was built with a chaotic old website builder that I haven’t used for years. What is good about this little website though, is that all of the content was written by me, and it is not using any content from any other source on the Internet. Because it is just fresh unique content, the search engines have rewarded it with it with traffic and an average of a dollar a day for over four years. I used some link machine software to do a little bit of reciprocal linking in the beginning, but that is not why it is where it’s at. The search engines are able to see fresh unique content for what it is, and whether or not you do any aggressive linking isn’t coming into play as much. If you create a simple little niche website, with 100% original content, you are going to make something. You have a choice – build hundreds of these little niche websites with 100% original content, or build two major blogs with tons of content. I suggest to you that the latter is the most prudent way to build your business.

Closing Up

Well, I have been talking into this little digital voice recorder for 58 minutes and 20 seconds, not that anybody’s counting. I think I have made my point as far as the confessions of this webmaster. From this day forward, things will be different with our business model. No longer will I be wasting one precious moment trying to gain the search engines. My focus will be only on content, and lots of it, going forward. I don’t really care how long it takes for my new blogs and ideas to take off, because at least I know that they will indeed make money one day. Like my first mentor told me a long time ago (James Martell) – “we are in the business of creating content”.

It’s not over! The dream of the ultimate income is still very much alive, and there are many different ways to create an online income. As you can see, all of my income methods are built on search engine optimization. That is the only pony your humble narrator knows how to ride. There are many, many, MANY different ways to make an online income, and I hope that you find the one that works best for you.

As one webmaster to another webmaster, I encourage you to take the same path going forward in 2010 and furthermore. I encourage you to stop wasting money on short-term gains, and wasting time on futile efforts. If you are using the HyperVRE software, I would encourage you to leave those websites alone and maybe just update them once in a while if they are still creating a profit. I believe that it won’t be long before they stop working altogether. Spend your time and money putting up original content on your niche websites and blogs, and you will be much further ahead in the long run.

Sincerely,

Terry

Volume Blogging – Using Speech Recognition Software

Thursday, December 17th, 2009

This is a post I did tonight from the car in a grocery store parking lot dictating into a digital voice recorder. I have highlighted and bolded most of the places I had to edit from the dictation which you can see played in the video below. The text below is not perfectly aligned with the video, because the videos were yanked into Mac iMovie willy-nilly. Kind of a wacko post really, but some of my beliefs on blogging, and search engine success are in this. Please comment whether or not you agree with my theory on “volume blogging”

Terry and Houston

Terry and Houston

So this is my post which I guess is a video post as well as a typical text post. I have trained Dragon NaturallySpeaking (detracted) now so that when I make a post in this fashion it knows what I’m saying pretty well. I have to do some edits though and I would say I have to edit between a dozen words to maybe 25-26 words if I’m doing a post that’s about 2000 words. So that’s pretty darn good. I figured out that my typing speed normally when I’m doing it with my fingers is about 35 words a minute if you include thinking about what I’m going to say and everything. If I’m using speech recognition software my speed can be upwards of 110 words a minute. On this post it will be nowhere close to that because I am the doing this and filming with the camera at the same time, which is kind of weird. But usually I speak like this and I am very careful how I use my diction. In the backseat you can see I got the boys again Houston and Bentley over there and if I flip this around you can see them.

So I’m starting this again because I pushed the button when I was showing the dogs in the backseat. We can see that it’s -25°C here right now so it’s just a perfect day for a walk (edited). This guy just leaves his truck running at the big old Superstore. Okay where was I going with this….

Terry Being Goof Ball

Terry Being Goof Ball

We use nothing but (edited) WordPress for all of our blogs. We use the WordPress blogging platform on our domains which are on different niche products. I know that very often people look at my latest Adsense earnings screenshot (edited) which you can see at the top of my blog on the top right-hand side. And they always wonder how I’m making that kind of money blogging, because they can well understand that Zulit.com isn’t making that kind of money. As a matter of fact….Zulit.com…..well, now it makes about $15 or $20 a day because I have the odd weird article page getting traffic.

I have some person looking at me like I’m a freak and I guess they wouldn’t be exactly wrong. But anyway, back to blogging. All of my blogs are on niche subjects, for instance I just started one on farm equipment. All of these blogs start off the same. I do some keyword research on the least competitive, but high traffic keywords. If you understand Internet marketing and Internet traffic you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about, and if you are completely new to the game it basically means I find out which keywords are being searched for a lot, but at the same time don’t have many people putting up websites and pages on these keywords. It’s so competitive now on the Internet that there really isn’t too many extremely niche subjects that you can talk about. The truth is, that no matter how competitive your subject matter is on your blog, you can succeed by simply writing, writing, writing, and writing until you’re blue in the face, or you can just talk until you’re blue in the face.

Okay so that’s enough of this post I’m going to turn this off now (detracted) I’ll continue this on text for the next five minutes.

Daily Blogging Schedule (title added)

The Olympus WS-500M

The Olympus WS-500M

I start blogging about nine o’clock in the morning and then I stop about 3:30, four clock, sometimes as late as five o’clock, but if I do go till 5 PM I am burned right out of my mind. Today I dictated over 20,000 words of fresh unique content which went on different blogs, and different websites. What I do is a turn on my speech recognition software and I have WordPress open in the edit window. So there is no dragging and dropping text from the speech recognition software or a desktop, or a text file, or a word file. All of the words simply dictate into my WordPress backend dashboard in the edit box area and I fix corrections as I go along. With a post like this one where I am doing it inside of a car, there are more edits that have to be made, the more corrections that have to be carried out. Why? Because I can’t see what’s going on to the screen when I’m doing this and when you can’t see what’s going on the screen your accuracy isn’t quite the same.

For instance, if I make a mistake I can see it immediately on the screen and I will usually fix the problem right there and then at the next period. When I’m out here, outside in a car for this example, I can’t see what’s coming on the screen, so of course there are more edits and errors to look after. But I would have to say that my accuracy is now about 90%, or better.

So today was a typical day in that I worked from nine o’clock to three o’clock, then went and had a nap, woke up and had a shower, and got ready to go out with my wife and my dogs. In the evening when we are going out to get some errands run I usually stay in the car with the dogs and do some more dictating and do a post for Zulit. You see, Zulit is nothing more than a hobby blog which has been sort of my diary during these years of learning how to make a living online. It doesn’t really matter how much money this blog makes. It’s just a hobby, and my way of communicating with people who make their living the same way. One thing for sure, it’s a really great way to live, and a great way to make your money, but you no longer socialize with co-workers and people very often. Well, I never socialize with co-workers.

zulitbeingsillyagainSo now, I am near the end of this post and I’ll turn the camera around one more time and we can do the finish – so hello there fellow bloggers. This has been fun and strange all at the same time. There’s not really much to say, because let’s face it, you have got the point. We can blog a lot faster, and get a lot more work done in our daily, weekly, and monthly lives. I do believe that if you want to succeed in blogging you need to be thinking in terms of volume. There are many different theories on how to get high traffic on your blog, but I truly believe the most effective way is to have volume. A great example of a guy who understands this is Steve Pavlina, and you can see his blog @ StevePavlina.com.

He has always been sort of the master, I would say, of blogging with great volume. His blog post about making money blogging is over 7000 words. I know that Steve was involved with dictation equipment such as I’m using right now, but he types very fast so he actually went back to typing. For me it’s not really an option because I can’t type as fast as he can. (detracted)

I have noticed that the blog posts that have over 1500 to approximately 2000, 3000, 5000 words succeed much more than short little throwaway posts. Truthfully, I would have to say that I never saw any serious results on any blog until there was a least one longer post upwards and over 2500 words. The search engines seem to respond to having a good chunk of content that size going up onto your domain. They can see that it’s purely 100% original, which I’ve talked about many times before here, and that there is no other piece of content on the Internet that has this exact signature to it. Basically when we take 5 – 6 words and put quotes around it, you won’t find any results on the Internet on Google, Yahoo, or MSN, just like it. That is something else that experienced bloggers will understand obviously. Newcomers will scratch their heads perhaps.

There are many theories about linking and how important linking is. Yes, linking is important in the long run. Of course it is but it’s nothing that can be rushed. The search engines are very sophisticated now and any time somebody tells you you can use some software to pump up your rankings, is leading you astray. For instance, to clarify myself, I have talked about using link software – linking software, and some black hat tools like Xrumer. These tools do work but they work on a temporary basis. You can get ranked quite high for some competitive keywords fairly quickly using a tool like that, but in the end it won’t last. It’s not even worth if you ask me. I have done some testing with a Xrumer, and I assure you it’s not the way to guarantee any long-term viability with an Internet business.

So that leads us to the people who really do succeed. People like; Darren Rose of Problogger.net, and Shoemaker over @ Shoemoney.com, and of course Steve Pavlina which I mentioned. I do believe that it’s volume that will get you there. I believe that having posts that have some form of originality too, will get you there.

(detracted) Well anyway, I think I’m done here and I’m going to move on to a different post for a different blog. We will see you next time on Zulit.com.

After The Layoffs – The Dawn of Our Online Income

Friday, December 11th, 2009

So after the layoffs were completed at all of our toolboxes were the building and we had all gone home, we of course lost touch with over 95% of our fellow employees from that company. I had no idea what was going to happen and my wife and I began spending away our savings as my unemployment benefits were only $1400 a month, and $400 of that went to my ex-wife for child support. I only knew one thing, and that was I was never going back to working for another company again (a pretty scary thing to tell yourself be easy just never know when you need a job). But this was the pressure I put on myself.

I had been reading on the Internet about a new possible way of making money – online income. I had no idea how it all worked, and I did not even know about programs such as Adsense or Chitika etc., were you got paid just to have people visit your website’s and click on advertising once in a while. I only knew about affiliate marketing, and I was determined to spend as much time as possible working on his new dream. I went to all of the typical places online, such as forums, blogs (which I didn’t have a clue what they were), and websites the promised the freedom of an online income. I contacted some of the gurus in the business and was pumped up about the possibilities, and I began working 16 hour days researching, learning basic HTML coding, building my first rudimentary website which was about golfing. I wasn’t making a cent, but I wasn’t frustrated either because I was seeing and hearing about other affiliate marketers who are making a great living doing it. Literally when I started I didn’t know how to do much more than check my e-mail and browse the Internet. This was about the summer of 2003 I believe when this all started.

I was on unemployment benefits and decided to take a course on running your own business, and of course the students in my class had typical business models, and my model was the only one that wasn’t online venture. I knew that I only had one year in which to get things off the ground and prove to myself, and my wife, that this could be a reality for us.

By the end of the first six months I had managed to get enough traffic using PPC and organic search results to make about $25 a day. This took me having over 20 different domains and over 500 pages of content on the Internet. The 16 hour days were still going on eight months into my layoff – this is how determined I was to make a go of it. Thank God I don’t have to do those hours anymore.

I soon learned about all of the different SEO techniques that were out there – some of them white hat, gray hat, and black hat schemes. I learned about different ways of making money online, such as creating your own digital products (which is still a huge moneymaker for people who buckle down and learn that trade), having contextual advertising on your sites, and having affiliate links on your site, an e-mail marketing. I had to make a decision on which method of income I was going to go after, because competition is stiff and you have to make a choice when you’re first getting going. I chose to go with what I thought was the simplest way and that least hassle over the long run – contextual advertising. Don’t get me wrong, I delved into affiliate marketing with much frustration, which you can read about here, but it always led me back to the power of residual income that comes from contextual advertising.

One of the most important factors was the support of my wife because she believed in me and she believed in the possibilities of an online income model, yet I could tell I had ex-coworkers, friends, and family who secretly thought I was just dreaming – still, to this day some of these people think our businesses days are numbered and it’s really too good to be true. You’re regardless of any of the naysayers online or in my own life, I was determined to make this dream a reality.

Working at home on our computers.

Not my laptop........but my Adsense report.

During this time which was extremely exciting because I was seeing small success and slow growth over the months, I was telling anybody who would listen about this opportunity and how they could also work from home using nothing more than an Internet connection and a desktop computer or laptop computer, in which I am using right now to do this post.

Not to stray too much for the topic but I am not actually typing this, I am using Dragon Naturally Speaking software and talking into a headset. This entire post will take about 15 or 20 minutes of me dictating into this WordPress editing box. I encourage all serious writers and bloggers to consider the DNS software because it is deadly accurate now. And this entire post, and the post before which is going to add up to about 4000 words or so, I have only made five different directions – this is how accurate it is now.

Many of these people (friends, family, ex-coworkers, strangers, etc.) I tried to help and convince actually did try to get started and help them build their first blog using WordPress, or Blogspot. In almost every instance they just didn’t have the time, or the passion to really make a go of it. Perhaps they really didn’t like writing and they didn’t like working on computer as much of someone like myself. As the years have progressed, and I am now in the 60 year of this journey, many of these people are surprised at how much my wife and I take home and net income from the Internet alone. About four months of the year my wife and I make three times what our total income was from past two jobs when we were for other people. The other eight months we make double what we made from our total income when we worked “for the man”.

But, no matter how good he gets, or how scary it gets in the future (because we don’t assume it will always be this good), we intend to stick vigilantly to the plan and stick to the course going forward. Even if this means selling our house, our motorhome, stop traveling, stop spending money like water, and stop driving a fairly expensive car – we intend to work at home even if that home is a trailer. The freedom is that important to us, and the stress of self-employment and standing on my own is much less stress than working for company that manipulates you, lies to you, and lays you off whenever they feel like it. I know I still sound bitter, and perhaps I am a little bit bitter regarding the past experiences I have had being a worker bee, but I guess that’s my little mind game an issue that must be tackled over time.

In some ways I look back on the anger I had towards my employer and I feel bad about the distraction, the noise, and the drama I created in the workplace. Some of these coworkers I had actually enjoy their work and did expect their employer to provide them with cradle-to-grave security. They did showed up for work on time, did their job, were polite to all, and went home grateful for everything in their lives. They didn’t need a mouthpiece and a rabble-rouser raising sh*t every time management came across as ingenuous.

It’s easy to feel that way now because I am free of their control, and those old crews are all long gone now, and even most of the management that I despised has been laid off themselves, moved to another side of the country (or world), left the field altogether, quit working, or died. I would hope that if I ever was forced to work for an employer again, I would be more mature about the whole process and understand that I am lucky to have a job at all, and lucky to live in a country where every to quit a job, leave a job, change a job, be self-employed, move anywhere in the country, travel anywhere in the world, have any religious beliefs, etc. etc. etc. etc. – you’ve heard the story before. But you know sometimes I doubt I could ever be a quiet, faithful, and loyal employee.

I suppose I’m writing this at this stage because so much time is past since I was an employee, and since I “wasn’t quite sure” if we could make it living off of an online income. Our life is living proof that you can make a very good living working at home on your computer, and it’s not just some big scam played out on millions of people who dream of such a life. We are only an our mid-40s to late 40s (I’m 46 as I write this) and we are averaging about $12,000 a month in net income with our online business. My family, friends, and neighbors can’t believe this because they have either seen or checks, or see our lifestyle. My wife and I travel about 3 to 4 months of the year and we don’t do any work at all because our websites are up making money as we sleep and as we spend time just having a good time. I only really work hard during November, December, and January. I were crazy long hours late today which total of two about 12 to 14 hours of work. The big difference is is that it doesn’t feel like work to me. I love working on my computer, building new websites, building new niche domains, and writing right here on Zulit.

It’s snowing right now with HUGE snowflakes pouring down, and my wife and I are having another coffee about 15 minutes before noon. We have two full sized golden retrievers who live us in a house that’s way too big for the four of us. We have a brand-new motorhome which we use for traveling, and were getting ready to go to Palm Springs for 2 to 3 months this winter. Every day we wake up and do whatever we feel like doing, and we may be use our alarm clock once or twice a year because we have to pick somebody up at the airport who is visiting. We are quite literally spoiled beyond belief. My wife also quit her job and works with me full time at home. Now when we see a massive snowstorm like I am watching right now (video below), I think of all my fellow coworkers who were no question driving to work in this, commuting across the country (many still do), and moving their over 40 bodies and over 60 bodies around in the cold, up the ladders, in and out of service trucks, and making very little relative money for their efforts. We are so thankful for the life we have lived these last five years, and I honestly feel guilt because of the life I’m living compared to some of my fellow cohorts I used to work with on the job. I suppose this is why I’ve done so much extra work for nothing except the satisfaction of helping a friend (many times strangers) try getting started on the Internet.

Winter doesn’t really annoy us that much anymore because we only go out when we feel like it and frankly, when you don’t have to drive and work in the snow winter is a very beautiful thing. This doesn’t mean I’m going to cancel my trip to Palm Springs this year or anything, but watching the snow fall has a much different effect on me now.

I have not put up too many posts like this one where I discuss the lifestyle of an Internet marketer, and on a very personal level the lifestyle of your humble narrator, his wife, and his two dogs. But, I am speaking very much to myself right now as I try to take in in retrospect the past five years of change. I do still hope that my words will be taken as reality by those strangers who find themselves reading this post on this website, and have the same dream of working at home for themselves, and putting a job they really don’t like.

Why We Have Made It This Far

The reason we have made it this far is because of one mitigating factor. We have been grateful for the smallest signs of success. In my teaching of others, I have discovered an all too common reality that people considering working at home on their computer; a lack of patience, dissatisfaction with early income, lack of passion for the goal, and most important of all a lack of faith that it can be true.

When we made our first three cents online it was on my decrepit and poorly designed golf website. I had misspelled the word apparel when I use the words “golf apparel” and this resulted in someone using the same misspelling looking for some product. They landed on my three week old crappy website and lo and behold they clicked on an ad. This made us three cents and I considered to be free money. This is crazy of course because I have been working 16 hour days, going to the library, researching on the Internet, talking to successful affiliates, you name it – I did it. But for some reason that three cents seemed like free money. I remember my own mother looking over the computer screen when I show them the click that maybe the three cents, and she laughed because deep down inside at that time she didn’t believe this could be a viable and long-lasting source of income. She believed in what I was doing and she believed in me, but she knew that I had always dreamt bigger than most kids on the block, and she’d see me fall flat on my face with another big dreams before – truly she was as concerned for me.

So the reason we have made it this far in the reason we are netting as much income as we are these days and these months and these weeks, is because we were more than satisfied with the small trickles, and the slow slow slow slow slow procession of new pages being cached and indexed in the search engines.

I remember teaching my uncle this year in mid-2009 and explained that his first goal should be to make about $1400-$1500 a month from his websites. The next day when we were using Skype to do more training he said to me, “You know Terry, making $1400 a month doesn’t really float my boat”. I knew right then that he wasn’t going to make it in the world of Internet income. The fact is that it’s just too competitive now, and there are just too many websites, too many pages, too many URLs, and too many webmasters that are fighting every day for these trickles of income. You have to love it, and you have to think of it almost an extreme terms.

I remember saying to people in 2003 when I first started this, that this was like “life and death” to me. Literally I felt like I was fighting for my life. I was so miserable being an employee that this was a fight for existence. Of course this was an insane thing to say to myself or to anybody else for that matter, because that mindset set me up for the possibility of huge stress and anxiety issues, which I did actually have trouble with, to the degree that I had to use medication, and umpteen self-help books to get me through the year or two. I don’t know what would’ve happened if I didn’t have a wife that I have. The fact was that healthy or not, this was the attitude I had. Can you imagine if you were in a jail cell and told he could never leave it as you work on your laptop and earned your way out. Can you imagine how hard it would work building websites, and building blogs with fresh original content (like this article), if you thought your only chance of leaving a jail cell was making more than $4000 a month online. I guarantee you that you would one day succeed. You may not get out of jail for one year, two years, three years, four years, five years – but you would get out.

I hate to say all of this to those newcomers to Internet marketing who have this dream afresh in their minds – this could be you. Yes YOU! I don’t want to discourage you from the same dream that I have and the same dream I am living, but I want to be factual about what it takes to succeed at this game. You have to want this really bad, and you have to understand what you are up against.

You must love what you are doing, just like any other endeavor in life, if you want to succeed and beat the competition at the game. You have to be willing to spend the ridiculous hours it takes to make a web property eek out some traffic and a trickle of cash. At first this is exactly what it would be like with a brand new domain. It used to be that a newcomer could come along and bang up hundred domain names on niche products, and start making some fairly significant income, but those days are long gone. The search engines are much more sophisticated now, and the competition is tenfold. There is only one way to start to succeed in this game now, and I will share some of these beliefs below.

If you want to make it start with one website, one of the main, and work it, work it, work it, work it, work it! Work for the first year just writing good solid content that is helpful to visitors. Of course you can create the odd inbound link to your new domain from a third-party website such as MySpace, Hub Pages, and Squidoo, just to get the search engines to see your work. I wouldn’t go any further than creating three decent inbound links for the first six months – I just write like I am right now (or speak into a microphone as I mentioned above). It’s preferable that you use some kind of dynamic web platform such as WordPress, Joomla, etc., but it’s not completely necessary. In fact, many of my old straight up HTML pages outrank and outperform my dynamic websites that use all of the modern web technology to their advantage. If you just simply write 100% original pure content the search engines will take notice of you, and they will take notice of you in a hurry. If you look at the Internet closely you’ll notice that almost everything you read has been duplicated by hundreds of other sources on different domains.

When you write fresh and unique content I’m not talking about some kind of article that has some brand-new idea that no one is ever thought of before – I’m talking about words and sentences that have not been duplicated online yet. For instance if you were to just highlight about 10 words in this paragraph and copy it to the Google search engine, with quote marks at the beginning and the end like this;

“highlight about 10 words in this paragraph and copy it to the Google search engine with quote marks”

…..this is the result. (unless someone has scraped this article, in which case I will find them and deal with them later)

googleexactresults

This is what I mean by original content. So many newcomers think that when the so-called gurus keep yapping on about original content they are talking about mind blowing articles that should set you apart like a Nobel winner. Nope! They are simply talking about what I’ve demonstrated above. Just to prove my point, go to E-zine articles and do a search for a topic you want. Select one of the links from your search (and no, not the Adsense ads) in open up one of the articles. Highlight about 7 to 10 words from the article and use “” symbols of the front of the string and the end of the string just like I did above, and do a search in Google. You will see this article has been posted on many different places. Notice above the screen there is a link from the Google results tell you there is more results to see which they have omitted from this screen. Click that link and you will see there is likely 50, 60, 70, 300, 400 other places on the Internet that those exact words are being used in that string and in that order. That piece of content has been beaten like a dead dog on a hot summers day. You don’t want anything to do with this.

You want to create an article that is 100% unseen anywhere on the Internet. This is why the bloggers do so well with income and traffic. Most of these bloggers only have one or two or three domains that they work on because you can’t create massive amounts of pure content as shown above if you try to handle 100 domain names. So you want to stick to only one domain when you start. Even if it seems slow, I promise you they will beat your competition over time. You’ll start to get links from other webmasters to your articles because they can tell what you speak of is true. You don’t need to beg, buy, borrow, steal, rob, pilfer, or spam inbound links. The search engines will see your content is 100% fresh and new and they will reward you for it. The other webmasters will reward you for as well, and the search engines will further reward you when they see links coming from other webmasters who see the quality of your domain. A purist approach is not a bad thing in this new Internet we have filled with spam, splogs, etc. This is what is known as White Hat SEO. I would not even worry about using some kind of a link machine or linking software. I would just use the WordPress blog like this one.

Of course there are the Black Hat fans out there, many of whom I can relate with, because I have tried every trick in the book myself – I just had to – I couldn’t help myself. I had to see if this stuff really worked, and yes, it did work on a very temporary basis, and then all my work was flushed down the drain with all the other gamers out there. In the long run, the domains that I own but have always brought in money and continue to bring in money are purely White Hat projects.

Anyways, I’m getting off the subject a little bit too much here, and I’m sure I will find other times to write about all of my theories regarding search engines, inbound links, site navigation, software platforms, etc. etc. etc. – but not today. This was just a recap of what we have experienced over the past five years, and now I must go shovel some snow.

All the very best you this Christmas season.

Terry Zulit

When The Layoffs Came

Friday, December 11th, 2009

layoffnoticesWell, it is now December 2009, and I have been in the business of Internet marketing and online income for close to six years. In May of 2003 I was laid off yet again from the company I had worked for for 15 years, and something snapped in me, wherby I was willing to take any risk as long as I could be free of working for the heartless and cold blooded bastards we called upper management.

I saw the way people were treated in the company that I worked in and I remember the anger I had every time I saw an employee being treated like nothing more than the number and the stock animal. There are so many examples of the inhuman way corporations treat their employees, but nothing quite compares with a meeting I was in with the upper management team from our head office shortly before I was laid off.

There were some sizable layoffs coming again in our company, and we all knew it was coming for over a year. Management was always good at making us employees extremely nervous and for good reason. They knew the majority of us would be so terrified of being laid off that we would hunker down and work like dogs to try and impress their direct management in whatever department they were working in. This tactic is used by corporations all over the world and it’s particularly nasty. We would have to listen to each other wine and complain with fear about the possibility of being laid off in the near distant future. It was quite revolting to watch all of us shaking with concern about how we would pay for our groceries, or mortgages, or car payments, our children’s clothing, our children’s braces, etc. etc. etc. etc.

Every time the company used scare tactics whether or not they were legitimate stories are not, it was done in the same fashion. Somewhere in upper management leaks of information were being pushed out through through word-of-mouth to some employee in the country. Of course these rumors ran like wildfire to every station in every department. The result was always the same in that the fear level of the employees dropped dramatically, and the more belligerent and egotistical employees (this includes your humble narrator) would be outraged and call them on it. Sometimes the rumors turned out to be nothing, but sometimes they were very much real. In this case the rumors were very much real.

Anyways, before the story gets bloated way out of proportion, this is what happened.

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We were all called up to the “big board room meeting center” to meet with upper management from the East Coast. We all knew what this was about and I brought my little recorder which I took to all of the meetings I went to, and sat at the front of the table so I was closest to the management team. I wore my black leather biker jacket because deep down inside I probably felt it was one-way for me to pretend I was tougher than the rest. I realize now how young I was, how naïve I was, how silly I was, and how manipulated I was.

The management team swaggered into the room and two of the managers (the two top guys) took center stage and began talking. They said they had brought us all there to discuss the upcoming layoffs and make it official that there would be people losing their jobs.

The board room was your typical swank long room with expensive leather seats and a extremely long and shiny table for all to sit at. All of the high-tech audiovisual equipment was installed, including all of the niceties for food and beverage displayed around. Several different phones were on the table for people to use during the meeting, and of course there was high speed Internet available. This particular room was the one room that us employees rarely ever saw, and you could tell that we were all out of our element.

The two top guys from upper management who were at the end of the room definitely in the physical power positions with full view of every entrance and nothing behind them. You could feel the tension in the room which was stupidly high, as everyone awaited the ugly news about the impending layoffs.

They began by thanking us for coming to the meeting, and you could tell they were a little bit nervous perhaps, because of the news they were about to give us, but they didn’t let that affect their default body language, which was an air of huge arrogance. The man who did all the talking was obviously in his late 50s or early 60s, and someone we had never met before. This is extremely typical because when it comes to big layoffs and bad news these big companies and corporations always bring in a new face that will never be seen again to break the news. I’ve seen it many times before.

He started telling us about how times were tough and how they were going to need to lay off employees in the hundreds. We had all been hearing the rumors for over 6 to 7 months and most of us were expecting this to be the news of the day. Then the questions began from the employees.

As usual, I was extremely vocal and a menacing character in the eyes of management, and most of them knew my name and my reputation for being a rabble-rouser. You could tell they very much disliked me using a tape recorder that I had in full view of all who are in the meeting. I asked them many questions about their poor choices and management decisions over the last couple of years, and pointed out that if it wasn’t for their poor management skills, we would not be laying off a single person, and in fact we would be hiring more employees. Whether I was right or not, it didn’t really matter – they didn’t like my tone, they didn’t like my questions, and it was pretty obvious they didn’t like me.

When I asked the head honcho how much we were going to lose in the way of jobs, he sort of grimaced at me because of the way I was pinning him down for answers. He cocked his head back and scratched his neck with that bottom feeding fish expression on his face, and asked this question to the management team that was standing behind him;

“How many bodies do we have here Dave?”, he asked as he turned around to look at a punchy looking and disheveled manager who was obviously extremely uncomfortable.

“Well we have about 350 bodies here Jim?”, as his eyes darted nervously around the room.

“Bodies!!??!!!!???, I yelled, nearly at the top of my lungs. “So we are bodies now huh – not even numbers, let alone names!!!”

Jim, the head honcho hardly showed that his feathers were ruffled, except for his face turning red with anger or embarrassment – I could not quite tell which. It was too late though for him to try and explain his attitude and his poor choice of words, because the floodgates of anger were open. The other employees in the room which numbered in the 80 to 90 range were packed in tight and my voice was no longer required in the feud. Questions and comments and exclamations were being hurled simultaneously from many of the employees in the room at this point. You could see the upper management team was now very nervous and fidgety, trying to maintain their composure, and their upper hand.

These employees were all men and all mechanics who were all mostly over the age of 35 and up, who are responsible for mortgage payments and supporting families. 90% of us had licensing and over 15 years experience in the field, and though we did not like the prospect of being laid off from a long time employment, we were not afraid to show our anger, our fear, and our frustration. We have had enough.

Jim, Dave, and all of the others in the management team which numbered a total of ten to a dozen men were now trying to wrap things up at the meeting short. They knew they had to get out of there in the board room was designed in a way that the management team could slip out the door they stood beside and be completely separated from our group. Security was certainly looked into with his room was designed. Three of the management team began moving slowly to their exit door they were so nervous with the body language and the tone of the room. One of them was terrified and I felt a little bit bad about him, because the truth was I was just trying to frighten these bastards, and I never really had any intention (nor did anybody else in the room) of causing them physical harm.

The management team soon got things off and Jim announced that he had to get to the airport to catch another flight and bring more bad news to other employees around the country, trying to deflect some of what we were feeling by letting us know we were not the only ones being laid off in the country. He cut it off and said he was sore you can stay longer (yeah right) and that we would hear more from our immediate management team at our base.

When we left the room we were all chatting amongst yourselves some of us with our chests puffed up like juveniles on our way to the entrance way of the roughhouse barroom, and some of us were just shaken. One thing for sure that we all have in common was that we were relieved to finally get some closure on all the rumors that have been swirling around all these past months. The hardest part is waiting and not knowing what your future is going to be. I still think that even with bad news like a layoff being in the mindset of an employee can be less stressful than self-employment. You are with your buddies and your coworkers together and you were never really alone with this kind of big and bad news comes down the pipe. You all have the same problem coming and you have someone to talk to, complain with, whine with, and cry with (sometimes literally).

I remember the we all got our official pink slips in our company mail slots. Seeing that piece of paper made it official, and he could tell that some of us were secretly excited that a change was coming. I for one was excited to be leaving this dull and decrepit workplace that I have despised the last three years. Many employees loved working there and they were extremely terrified at the prospect of finding a new job and losing all of their seniority and benefits.

When the day came that we had to leave to pack up our toolboxes I remember a sinking feeling that it was all over and I would likely never see some of my coworkers again. I remember being disgusted that management had to go and look through all of our toolboxes just in case any of us were stealing anything from the company on the way out the door. I remember walking out the last door to the outside air thinking that I was finally free of tyranny (laughter). I even yelped as I gave my card pass to the last manager as I walked out. I gave my toolbox to another employee, and 90% of the tools that were in the box. I was leaving much more than a job – I was leaving the career.

This is continued on my next post which you can read by clicking here…..