A Day in the Life of JonnyQ888

A Day in the Life of JonnyQ888

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Well That Fixed That Problem

Don't let anyone tell you that your domain name doesn't matter with PPC. Example: While the PPC promotion I am working on was on #2's domain, I would get 30 clicks max in a day. Last night, I changed a majority of the ads over to the new domain that is related to the products. 65 clicks today. I didn't make any sales so I paused it until I finish the landing page changes and the PHP script. If I had just spent the money and bought the domain to begin with, I would have saved a lot of money by having a higher CTR in the beginning and lower bids for my keywords. Live and learn. Those of you who are thinking about PPC, I hope you are taking notes. I'm trying to save you money here by spending my own=)

The PHP page is almost finished. I have it set up to check for an id number in the url. It will process that number and the page will spit out the appropriate product links, titles, names, etc. It is really pretty cool and not nearly as hard as I thought it would be. If I had just done this in the beginning, I would be so much better off than I am now. I threw together a header, too. It looks good enough for now.

This cold has really affected me. I get a comment from Burke overnight essentially throwing down the gauntlet, saying we should race to see who will make it to $100/day first. My initial thought was, "But I'm not making many sales right now and he has a headstart." When I realized what I was thinking, I couldn't believe it. It's not like me to back down like that. So, Burke, I pick up the gauntlet and I accept your challenge=)

Back to writing PHP.

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Tuesday, November 29, 2005

...And PPC 1 was Born!

Yes, my first site that is completely devoted to PPC is up. While I have promoted specific pages with PPC in the past, this is the first site that I have done so with. Now that I think about it, once I finish the Project 10/15 sites I will have 9 sites. One more than my goal for the year. Anyway, I bought the domain and transferred the pages from #2's domain to the new one. I've spent the last few hours making the changes to my ads. This new domain name should help with CTR. The ads look much better with the new domain displayed compared to having #2's in there. We will see.

I did not get back to the PHP page very much today. That will be secondary to getting the ads transferred to the new domain.

The PPC bug has hit Burke, too. However, I have a feeling that he is being more successful at it than myself=)

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Monday, November 28, 2005

I'm Back!

I hope all of you had a great Thanksgiving and didn't miss me too much. I had fun with the family and a friend of mine who I hadn't heard from in about 2 years. It was good stuff.

In my last post I talked about pausing my campaign while I was gone because I needed to make changes. The theory was that I wasn't making enough sales without the changes so why pay for the clicks. Bad move. I turned off the campaign once I made it to San Antonio. Unfortunately I either didn't check for new sales or sales didn't register before I paused the campaign. This morning I decided to resume the campaign for whatever reason. With in an hour I had a sale. Not only that, there had been sales while I was gone; one right before I paused the campaign and another a few days later. I came home from work today to find that I had made another sale in that time. Now I am left wondering if I could have made more money if I had left the campaign running the entire time I was gone. These are the questions...

I want a laptop badly. I may have mentioned it in another post but it has gotten worse since I left for vacation. I wanted to work while I was gone and I kept seeing ads and commercials and laptops in stores, all of them with the intention of getting me to buy. I went to the HP website and customized one. It would cost me about 800-900 bucks for a decent laptop there. Sigh. The Business will buy the laptop as long as I have the will power to resist. I really really want one.

Anyway, nothing breeds motivation like success. With my new sales comes a renewed desire to get things working. This promotion will now get its own domain. Right now it is running off of #2's domain and it has nothing to do with the product. I believe this may be hurting sales because the domain name is displayed in the Adwords ads. I am also working on the PHP script I mentioned awhile back when I discussed how I could have approached this in a better manner. Rather than 300+ html pages, there will be a single PHP page that will display the appropriate product name and link. There will also be improved sales copy on the landing page. Exciting stuff.

I'm still sick so I will be pacing myself a bit. I have made some progress on the PHP page and I am going to buy the domain name as soon as I finish this post. Then I will be going to bed. Until tomorrow.

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Tuesday, November 22, 2005

I Hate Being Sick

I feel like I swallowed liquid razor blades.

I've been working heavily on this PPC campaign and the CTR has been improving. Sales have not, however. I have made a few but not nearly as many as I know are possible. I've changed everything in this project.... except the sales copy. I had deliberately tried to keep the landing page as light and plain as possible to improve clickthrough. In that regard, it has done well holding steady at between 35 and 45% CTR from landing page to merchant page.

The problem maybe that keeping it as light as I have has not given it the ability to persuade people to BUY once they click through. I "cracked open" Ken Evoy's Netwriting Master course to see if it could provide any help. Of course, like all Sitesell stuff, it is mostly a sales pitch for other ebooks and SBI but it seems to have a few things that could help me out.

This is a painful decision but I'm going to pause the campaign until I have the new sales copy finished. The chances of making enough sales in the next few days to break even are slim so why spend the money. I'll work on the sales copy, come back and test it out. Hopefully, there will be some improvement=)

I'll be out of town for the next few days so all of you celebrating Thanksgiving, have a happy one. Those of you who aren't, still have a happy one. Seeya.

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Monday, November 21, 2005

So Close...

That's how I feel right now. I am so close to getting this PPC thing down but so far away it seems. I made 2 more sales this weekend and they got me all fired up. My problem is volume. I need more traffic. That's all there is to it. Today's Adwords clicks were down from usual. I probably average about 20/day but I need to get that to about 50/day. I guess I just need to suck it up and make more ads for more products. Hopefully, I will hit on one that will be a winner.

I am dragging my feet like you wouldn't believe with Project 10/15. The articles for #4 and 7 are finished. The templates are finished for #4. The domains are paid for. The headers are finished for #4 and #8. All of this but the sites are still not up. I don't know, it's hard to get motivated for these ad-based sites when I have this PPC one that has the potential to make $8-24/day if I can just get enough traffic there. It's that promise of hitting that $20/day that really gets to me. While it isn't much at all, it is far more than I am currently making.

I'm out. I'm sick and I want to try to get a few more things finished before I call it a night.

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Thursday, November 17, 2005

Inadvertent Night Off

The computer has been acting funny the last few days. It will restart randomly and I have no idea why. I looked up random restarts and found out that XP is set to restart automatically when an error occurs. That's real smart. Rather than give me an error message telling me what's wrong so that I can fix it, Microsoft has it set so that the computer just restarts and pretend everything is ok.... Idiots.

Anyway, today I decided that I REALLY needed to backup my files, especially my business ones. Right after the DVD was finished burning, the computer went crazy. It restarted itself and then kept rebooting at the "Scan Disk" portion. Finally it stopped all together. I am going to look up some stuff and then get off of here in case to try to do something about this.

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Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Night Off

That's only a half truth. I worked up until 8 when I decided that I was going to end up burning myself out. Can't have that=) I did ad 10 or 11 new adgroups. No new sales today. Anyway, time for me to rest a bit.

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Tuesday, November 15, 2005

More PPC

Thanks for the comments everyone. I still have a long way to go before things really start going but there has definitely been a shift in the right direction. PPC really isn't something to be scared of. You set your budget and Google will not let your campaign exceed that amount for the month. The truth is that you will probably not spend nearly as much as you want to when you are just starting out. I found my problem was/is getting too FEW clicks instead of too many. I can't tell you how much I want to get this profitable so that I can hurry up and move on to the next program. Rinse and repeat as Jscott says.

I spent my time after work working on my campaign. For the last few days, I have added at least 20 Adgroups with anywhere between 50 and 300 keywords each. I also put in more effort into developing better adcopy. I made some changes to the low/no CTR adgroups, so I am interested in seeing if they have any effect. Hopefully they will because these groups in particular have high impressions. If I could raise my volume then the sales will follow.

2 Sales/day would make me happy for this month as long as I came out with a decent ROI.

HTAR finally broke the 50 visitors in a day mark with 56 last night. Unfortunately, Adsense revenue does not reflect the recent surge in traffic.

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Sale #2

Sale #2 came at around 12:55 AM

Gross: $16.63
Expense: $6.80
Profit: $9.83
ROI: 145%

I like PPC=)

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Monday, November 14, 2005

SAAAAALE!!! Continued

The sale today came out to be $8.33. Not much but it shows me that I am not completely incompetent and that I can make this work. The ROI for the day was 52.3%. We won't talk about my overall ROI because I am still learning and learning with PPC costs money=) This sale just reinforces my post from last night. PPC is the direction I am heading for my future affiliate programs.

Let me tell you a bit about how I am doing this. The pages the visitor lands on are extremely simple with only one link; the one to the merchant. It gives a basic overview of what they can expect and lists some benefits. 90 words total, no real graphics. The CTR from the landing page to the merchant's site has held steady at 44% since the 6th. The labor came in the form of: 1) needing multiple pages for each of the merchant's products...over 300 of them. 2) really getting dirty with Adwords.

1) 300+ Merchandise Pages
The multiple pages could have been simple if I weren't so hardheaded and impatient. It could be done in PHP with arrays that would change certain words and links depending on the phrase that the person clicking on the ad used. A certain phrase would be placed in the destination link that you set for the ad. When the PHP script detects that phrase, it selects the appropriate merchandise link and wording before displaying it for the user. This one page would be all I would need....if I weren't hardheaded and impatient. Instead of trying to make that work, I chose brute force and did a lot of copy and paste.

2) Scrapping with Adwords
This is still an on going battle. It is a fight to find the right keywords and adcopy. My adcopy is getting better and I've created a super spreadsheet for this program. It has separate worksheets with the URLs of the merchant's products, one for the keyword generation I posted about last month, an ad tracker to record which adcopy is most effective, and one to track sales. It should prove useful.

I did make many missteps with Adwords, including making a single adgroup with all 300 products in it. I knew better but I was impatient and it cost me in time, money, and precious CTR. Keywords will cost you more as your CTR falls. On the flip side, the better your CTR the better your ad positioning will be.

The moral of this post: Impatience has its price.

Oh, I've been seeing evidence for the past few weeks but didn't want to say anything. It looks like HTAR is starting to peek out of the Sandbox....

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November 14, 2005, I made my first sale in affiliate marketing! The sale was from the PPC-driven affiliate program I have been working on for the past week. More later...

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Sunday, November 13, 2005

Explanation for the Shift

Those of you who have been reading this blog for awhile may have noticed that I am starting to focus more on getting PPC traffic than on the SE variety. Slowly, but surely, the veil is being pulled from my eyes and I can see things from a different perspective.

We all start this affiliate stuff with dreams of making massive amounts of cash and no longer relying on a pay check from some employer. To make the deal sweeter, you hear all the time about people who accomplish this while only paying for hosting, domain names, and any software they may need. We get excited and can't wait to get started. Of course we quickly come to the realization that things aren't going to be that easy.

Now this is not to say that it can't be done strictly with SEO and SE traffic. We all know people who have done well with free traffic. Here's my thing: SE traffic is, in part, an uncontrollable variable. Yes, you can do everything right as far as SEO goes and still not get great rankings for any number of reasons. Whether it's from competition, changes in algorithms, or unknown penalties that may be leveled against your site, SE traffic is never totally in your control.

For the most part, the opposite is true of PPC traffic. You live and die by your efforts and skills in that arena. So far, I have been dying (I told you that you would be privy to my successes and failures) but I'm on my way to changing that. Your keywords, your adcopy, and your bid amount are in your hands. PPC isn't susceptible to as many random factors as SE traffic. Couple that greater level of stability with the virtually instantaneous traffic you receive, PPC has started to look better and better to me.

Now you are probably saying, "What about the money? Advertising costs money." Yes it does but look at it this way, if you could find a program that has 100% return on investment (ROI) then you'd make back your money plus have a profit of the same amount you paid. Pay $5 and gross $10. And I know many who consider 100% ROI to be low. Try that on the stock market.

Anyway, there are just too many benefits for me to neglect PPC as I did in my first venture into the arena. Another thing that it has pointed out to me is that my sales copy is not conducive to making sales. That's a bad thing to have happen but a good thing to know=) HTAR, for example, is more informative than enticing. There is all kinds of home theater and physics knowledge there but the presentation does not hit people with the "I have to have that!" feeling. It is this realization that has prompted me to split the Business into two areas, PPC-driven affiliate programs and SEO-driven ad-barring informational sites. I am hoping that this diversification will prove fruitful in the future.

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Friday, November 11, 2005

Still at It

I'm still working on my holiday promotion stuff. Slowly but surely, I'm adding more adgroups and changinge adcopy. Constantly testing. It feels like I am right there, that all I have to do is walk over on more hill before I really figure out how to get PPC to work. This is crucial because once I get over this learning curve, PPC is how I will be doing my affiliate products.

My author is finished with 2/3 of my articles. This weekend I will finally get myself in gear and get the #4 and #8 finished. I still need to do #7 or outsource it.

It looks like I'm stepping out of my "fog of funk" and am actually doing something about this business situation rather than just feeling bad about it. If it hasn't happened to you yet, you have either been really lucky and successful so far or it's waiting for you around the next corner. The important thing is to work through it and keep going. Till next time.

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Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Too Much at Work

The last few weeks I have been working too much at work. This extra time at the job is taking away from my time to work on what really matters. I don't think that I could get out of working for someone else fast enough. Unfortunately, I can't really pull that off making only 2 bucks a day (on a good day now that things have gone south).

My approach has been haphazard lately. I've been bouncing from one idea to the next. I think this is because I really want to see some results. I need to get back to concentrating on the process that will bring the results.

I'm thinking that I am going to focus on only 2 things for this internet business. Sites that will sport ads and completely seperate affiliate sites. The affiliate sites will rely almost exclusively on PPC traffic, assuming I can get that right. The ad-sporting sites would be of the same type that I am currently creating. The afffilate sites would be fewer in number and of higher quality than the numerous ad-sporting sites I would have.

This approach will depend on me finding someone to build links for me. I will test this out with my friend and see what kind for results the Project 10/15 sites get from her efforts. Hopefully all of this will put me back on track.

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Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Adwords Craziness

No sales as of yet but I have other things to worry about. Today Google disabled 136 of my keywords, holding each for ransom at a higher bid price. This included many keywords that had a CTR of over 2%. I'm really getting tired of all of this stuff that Google is pulling. It is frustrating as hell when you FINALLY get a campaign to start producing traffic and they eliminate your best keywords because they want more money. Overture is looking better and better everyday.

Well, I'm going to go. Let's see if I can get some enjoyment out of the final hours of my 24th birthday.

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Monday, November 07, 2005

50 Adwords Clicks in 24 Hours

That's the best result I have had in Adwords yet. This is for the Christmas promotion I mentioned yesterday. I'm testing a new strategy this time around. I initially lumped all of my keywords into a single adgroup. The keywords that were generating clicks then were seperated into their own adgroup with similar terms added. We will see how this method works.

My author is moving quickly with these articles. I expect her to be finished with all of them by week's end. I will have to get the new templates ready as soon as possible. Sorry this is short. You know how it is.

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Sunday, November 06, 2005

Project 10/15 - #4 & the Articles

It's been a few days, let me get you back up to speed. My author moved far more swiftly than I anticipated and finished all of the articles for #4. She did this so quickly that I haven't even built the template for the site yet. I'm falling down on the job=)

I have been in the process of creating a promotion for Christmas. I've been building the pages and everything associated with that as quickly as possible. I almost decided not to try to get it all finished because I felt that I would not have enough time. After swaying back and forth on the issue, I finally decided to go with it. If I fail, it won't be the first time=) If I succeed, it's money in my pocket. Either way, I will learn something from it.

I have also decided that I am trying to do too much. After the final site from Project 10/15 is finished, there will be no more sites built for an undetermined amount of time. I will have 8 sites up (my original goal to have by year's end) and my entire focus will be to get each one profitable (profitablity standard will vary for each) before moving on to anything new. No matter how promising the next shiny, new idea may be.

$54.15 - Not so hot. I'm not entirely sure what happened but the beginning of the month was very rough. November isn't starting out so great either. We will see how it ends up.

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Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Night Off

Taking the night off.

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Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Project 10/15 - Directory Submissions

After not getting any word from Google about what to do about my account, I started doing some directory submissions. It had been months since I submitted HTAR to directories so I did so for it as well as #5 and 6. I was able to do about 12 each before the tedium finally got to me.

No luck with my link building project I posted. I thought about it and I have a friend that I can at least get to do directory submissions. She doesn't know much about the web but she can cut and paste and that's all I do when I do my submissions. I could give her my spreadsheets with the info for my sites on them and a list of directories I want her to submit them to. I told her about it and she is seriously considering it. Having her do that on a regular basis would help me out a lot and I'm sure she wouldn't mind a little extra spending money=)

I'm having trouble staying focused on my direction. #2 and its lead form does not look like it will be ready before Christmas. I was considering trying to pull off a site to sell things that would do well during Christmas. Between Project 10/15 and the lead form, my resources are tied up. I should have prepared the seasonal stuff months ago. Live and learn.

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