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Volume 3 - Issue 4 7-1-08

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Table of Contents for this issue.....

1.    Authors Comments

2.    Q & A, Suggestions and Comments

3.    Adsense

4.    Experiment with Non-SBI Site

5.    GSiteCrawler

6.    SBI Special

Author's Comments

 

Since I bought Joel Comm’s book, Adsense Secrets 4, I have been working to optimize my websites for Adsense.  It is proving to be challenging, interesting, and profitable.

 

Adsense Secrets 4 at $9.95 is a steal.

 

I am creating a new website that is designed strictly to earn Adsense income and use Joel’s teachings.  Check it out at www.best-retirement-calculators.com.

 

The month has flown by as usual.  We hosted my company’s consultant from China and her husband for three days.  They were delightful company and we had a great time.

 

They brought us a gift of a set of beautiful chopsticks.  These were inlaid with shell and the workmanship  was amazing.

 

Chopsticks

 

The miniature eggplant ceramic pieces on the right are chopstick rests.  You place the chopsticks on the holders when you are not using them.  This keeps the tips of the chopsticks off the table so they will not contact germs.

 

Another interesting fact that I learned is Chinese children do not learn to use chopsticks until they are 3 - 4 years old.  This is so they will not poke a stick in their eye.

 

We had great fun using the chopsticks at our meals.

 

I recommend chopsticks as a great diet tool.  You know the saying that your stomach is full long before your brain knows it is.  Use chopsticks.  You eat so slowly that your brain has plenty of time to figure out that your stomach is full.

 

Q & A, Suggestions and Comments 

 

If you have anything for this section or you have a suggestion for a topic for an article, please use this suggestion form to give us your suggestions or your input.  With your help, we can improve the Boomer eZine.  This link will open a new page.  Close the page to return to Boomer eZine.

 

Adsense 

Sign up for Adsense.  Select a 728X90 leader board with the default settings.  Put it at the top of your page.   Write content to attract traffic.  That is all there is to Adsense. – Right? 

Wrong! 

I hate to tell you that was the way I approached Adsense when I first started.  Then I wondered why I was not making any money with it. 

I even tried other types of ads.  In Boomer eZine Volume 1 Issue 49 3-14-07 I discussed replacing the Adsense ads with ads that looked similar to Adsense, but advertised ClickBank products. 

When I finally realized that there was more to Adsense than what I thought, I decided to start working to understand Adsense and make it work for me. 

Adsense is one of the major ways that SBI websites make money.  SBI helps optimize each page for SEO so the pages rank high for their keywords.  This brings the traffic that clicks on the Adsense ads which results in that nice Adsense EFT deposit that appears in your bank account about the 24th of each month. 

Since this is so important to SBI, there is an entire section on the SBI Forums titled 

AdSense & Contextual Advertising Alternatives 

This is a very active forum group with 2306 topics and 13,611 posts.  SBI’ers share what works for them so you learn from them and do not make the same mistake they made. 

I started reading and following the posts and came across a post from Debs Seeber, one of the really great SBI’ers.

I had all 120 x 600 Skyscrapers on the right side of my pages, well-placed above the fold and felt I was getting a great CTR (Click Through Rate) and income from this. But I took just 1/4 of my pages ... to experiment with ... and changed them over to the 250 x 250 Rectangle with no border, matching background to my site, and placed them just under the page intro headings. I then aligned them to the left next to the navigation area so the content text would wrap along side.

Here's the effect...

http://www.debtsteps.com/consumer-credit-counseling.html

This simple change made a dramatic 3-fold increase in my AdSense CTR and income in just a few days! Traffic was stable during this period, no dramatic increases, so I know this one change made a world of difference. What's more, it continues to make a difference weeks later!

My AdSense CTR and earnings for the last 2 weeks of September beat the totals for prior months, hands down! And, October looks to beat September totals easily! I am now changing more pages over to the Rectangle and look forward to what the future brings.

Of course, the "flow" of the page still has to work. So I won't do it for all pages. But...

The moral of the story? Don't be afraid to experiment with a few pages to see how much you can increase your Google income on your site. Track those changes so you can make educated decisions to increase productivity and profits.

Debs Seeber
http://www.debtsteps.com

Using Deb’s advice, I changed my Adsense ads and used the 250X250 rectangle in my Retirement Jobs Online site. 

I did have a 468X60 leader board at the top of the page.  This was not generating much income.  This picture shows the format.  The red rectangle and size have been added for clarity. 

Adsense 468X60 

Here is an example of a page with the new format 

Adsense 250X250

Here are the results from March through June.  You can see that there was a significant difference between April and May when I made the change. 

    Page Impressions Clicks Page CTR Page eCPM Earnings
March Totals  6,372 735       $173.22
  Averages  205 23 11.53% $27.19 $5.59
             
April Totals  6,666 694       $179.93
  Averages  222 23 10.41% $26.99 $6.00
             
May Totals  5,473 907       $282.34
  Averages  176 29 16.57% $51.59 $9.11
             
June 1 - 28 Totals  5,638 1,005     $269.21
  Averages  201 35 17.83% $47.54 $9.57

CTR is click through rate

Page eCPM is the projected earning per thousand clicks

June is from June 1 - June 28.

This also made me aware that there is an entire science to learn about Adsense.  I started looking for books and information about Adsense.

I had heard about Joel Comm being the guru of Adsense, but I had not read any of his works.  I started checking around for his books and lo and behold, I found he was selling his best selling book Adsense Secrets 4 for $9.95.  The normal price for this book is $97.00. 

Why is he selling it so cheap?  To promote a private membership site he is building.  I do not like private membership sites (except for Jim Cockrum’s My Silent Team which I think is great) so I decided to jump on this and buy the book and not subscribe to the membership site. 

One of my best decisions! 

The first major revelation was 250X250 ads are not the best size ads (after I had converted all the Retirement Jobs Online (RJO) site to 250X250 ads).  Joel’s research shows that the large rectangle 336X280 gets the best results and the 300X250 rectangle is the second best. 

I am building a new site www.best-retirement-calculators.com, and I am using the 336X280 rectangle on that site. 

Adsense 336X260 Rectangle 

Another important thing I learned from Joel was to make the color of the URL’s in the ads the same color as the ad text.  This tends to make the ad look less like an ad.  Leave the title blue since people are used to blue links.  When I first converted the RJO site to the 250X250 square ad format, I left the URL’s dark green.  On Joel’s recommendation, I have changed the URL’s to black which has helped the click through rate. 

Here is a picture of the Adsense page where you specify the colors of the ad.  This picture is the palette for Retirement Jobs Online ads. 

Adsense Palette

The border is white.  Since the background is white, the border does not show.  The background is white to match the webpage background color so the two are the same and the ad blends into the page.  The text and the URL are black. 

How Much Can You Make from Adsense? 

When you read that a person is making $500 a day on a website using Adsense, remember this is a factor of the traffic to the website.  Don’t be fooled into thinking that just because you have Adsense on a site, you will be rolling in money.  

The amount of Adsense income that you can earn from a website will ultimately be limited by the traffic that you can attract to the site.  You can optimize your ads to the maximum, but there will be a maximum number of viewers based on the popularity of your keywords and your ability to drive traffic to your site. 

I have read many times that it is easier to build ten sites that generate $200 each per month than to build one site that generates $2,000 per month.  This also diversifies your income streams so you do not lose all your income if Google decides it does not like your $2,000 site any more. 

For this reason, I am working on creating new sites for Google Adsense.  The first of these is www.best-retirement-calculators.com where I am experimenting with the techniques I am learning from Joel’s book to optimize the ads for higher Adsense income. 

I plan to have a few thousand dollars a month of Adsense income flowing in when Linda and I retire.  With this “mad money” we can travel and have some fun. 

Joel’s book is one of the best ebooks I have read to improve my ability to make that "mad" money on the Internet.  Adsense Secrets 4 ranks right up there with Jim Cockrum’s The Silent Sales Machine Hiding on eBay and Chris Chandler’s Google Cash

Joel Comm's Adsense Secrets 4

If you are using Adsense or you are planning to use Adsense in the future, I highly recommend that you grab this book while it is selling for such a low price.  If you do not need it right away, buy it for the future when it will help you make money from Adsense. 

To the many Boomer eZine readers who purchased Adsense Secrets 4 after I recommended it in the June mid-month eZine reminder, I applaud you for taking action to improve your ability to make money online.  Thanks for acting on my recommendation.

Experimenting with a Non-SBI Site 

I have learned a tremendous amount about search engine optimization (SEO) and generating traffic from building Site Build It (SBI) sites.  SBI knows how this works and is very good at it. 

I have previously discussed the functions that SBI handles automatically such as SEO, automatically updating sitemaps, adding an entry to the site blog, pinging Google when a change is made to the website, RSS feeds, etc. 

I decided to build a non-SBI website using what I learned from SBI.  This website is hosted on Hostexcellence.com (same host as Boomer eZine). I use Hostexellence to host almost all my non-SBI website.

This means that I have to add a blog to the site, update the sitemap each time I make a change, ping Google to let the spiders know that a change has been made to the site so they can come and crawl the site, update the RSS feed.  This is a lot of mundane, extra work that SBI does automatically.

I set up the home page for www.best-retirement-calculators.com (BRC).  Then I went to the Webmaster Tools on my Google account and set up my new website with Google.  This requires that you verify the website with Google.  I am not going to discuss this process in this article, but you can read about it on Google at 

http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/?hl=en 

I needed a blog so I added a Word Press blog to the website.  Word Press is free to download and install. 

Learn all about Word Press at http://wordpress.org/.  It is so popular that it has a Word Press for Dummies book written about it. 

Installing Word Press is not too difficult, but you do have to learn how to use the control panel for your web host so you can create a MySQL database to interface with Word Press.  I previously created MySQL databases for a phpBB forum, and for some other application software so this took about an hour.  I am using the "out of the box" version of Word Press without any theme enhancements so it is pretty simple, but it does the job for now. 

I invite you to read the blog at  

http://www.best-retirement-calculators.com/blog/ 

Next, I needed a sitemap for the search engines.  I looked on Google and found GSiteCrawler for generating websites.  I will discuss it in more detail in the next article.  I downloaded it (free) and installed it. 

I then played with it for a while to understand how it worked and how to use it.  I built the sitemap for best-retirement-calculators.com and uploaded it to the website.  I then went to my Google Webmaster Tools account and told Google that the site map was on the website. 

Google took about 24 hours to crawl the site.  This information is on my Webmaster Tools account.  The site was first submitted on June 25.  When I captured this picture on June 29, 34 of the 71 pages had been indexed in Google. 

Sitemap details for www.best-retirement-calculators.com

A few of these pages are already starting to appear in Google results.  When I checked Google last night (6/28) BRC was #11 for “best retirement calculators”.  This morning it was #9.  On the first page in four days!  Mind you “best retirement calculators” is not a super competitive keyword so I won’t get too excited.  However, I have set up the tracking code on each page for www.statcounter.com and Google Analytics.  I am already starting to see traffic from Google search. 

MSN and Live Search are much easier to penetrate than Google.  On June 29 when I took this picture, BRC was in the #1 and #2 position.  As you expect, I am seeing more traffic from MSN and Live Search than from Google right now. 

Live Search Results for best retirement calculators

I continue to build content on BRC so it will be a respected content site.  I recognize that the competition is fierce on the first page of Google for “best retirement calculators”.  Just look at the domains:  money.aol.com, money.cnn.com, smartmoney.com, fool.com (Motley Fool), etc.  However, my research shows that this keyword received 14 times the search volume that my Retirement Jobs Online.com keyword received, so I am going to concentrate on this to create a website with higher traffic potential.

In summary, this experiment is to accomplish two things. 

  • Determine how much work is required to create and maintain a website that performs all the functions that SBI performs automatically.
  • Create a website with Adsense designed using Joel Comm’s techniques to maximize Adsense revenue.

I will periodically report on this experiment  in future eZines.

GSiteCrawler 

Since SBI has always taken care of creating sitemaps for my websites, I never had to work about creating them myself.  I knew what they looked like since I viewed the SBI created XML files so I had some idea of what was needed. 

What do I do when I need to find information?  Google it. 

I found GSiteCrawler and checked it out.  It looked good so I downloaded it and started using it. The best thing about it - it is free.

GSiteCrawler Home Page 

I am not going to do a step by step walk through on this since the site has very good instructions.  You basically download and install the software on your computer. 

You tell it the name of your website and give it other parameters about your site, if you want it to automatically upload the sitemap when it is complete, etc. 

Then you tell it to crawl the site.  It will crawl and create a list of all the URL’s in the site.  When it is finished, you tell it to generate the sitemap files and where to write them.  I then import the files into my FrontPage website and then upload the sitemaps using FrontPage FTP. 

View the sitemap at

http://www.best-retirement-calculators.com/sitemap.xml

GSiteCrawler also creates the sitemap for Yahoo (urllist.txt) which I also upload. 

When I have uploaded the sitemaps, I go to my Google Webmaster account and tell Google that the site has been updated so Google will put the site on its crawl list. 

This is a lot of extra work, but it is necessary if you want high placement in Google search and the free traffic that comes with that placement. 

I have been using GSiteCrawl for less than a month, but I am pleased with the results.  If you have another sitemap builder that you like, please send me the information about it using the Boomer eZine suggestion form

SBI Special 

Site Build It (SBI) periodically runs special promotions where you can buy one SBI site and get another one for $100. 

SBI Sandals Special

The Summer Sandals Sale ends on July 5, 2008 so if you have been thinking about stating an SBI site, here is your opportunity. 

If you have subscribed to Boomer eZine for very long, you know I am convinced that Site Build it is a great web host and much more.  The fact that I own four SBI sites is my best recommendation.

That wraps up this issue.  Until next month, stay tuned. 

John and Linda Howe 

www.boomer-ezine.com

www.the-best-gps.com

www.the-best-HDTV.com

www.the-best-web-host.com

www.best-retirement-calculators.com

www.boomer-marketplace.com

Boomer’s Amazon Store

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