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Posts Tagged ‘online income’

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

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…..