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January 25, 2007

Interesting Stuff

I was on the phone the other day with Dave, one of my affiliates back east. Dave and I always have an interesting talk about some of the things he finds online. I was intrigued with a couple of the sites he mentioned, because one of them had the ability to display past snapshots of your website showing you how your site has developed over time. The other site was a great datafeed provider to thousands of other companies, giving you a world of options.

Archive.org: If you visit this site, on the top-center you will find “The Wayback Machine.” This was interesting because when you enter a URL of a site, the Wayback Machiine took you back to snapshots of how the website looked in the past. You get the ability to see the transformations that a website has made from it’s start to current day.

Coldencan.com: Goldencan.com is a datafeed integration website. For you shopkeepers, this is a great way for you to be able to add additional coupons, and products to your site.

Do you have an interesting site that you think people may find of interest? Post here and let us know!

January 17, 2007

Why Digg Works

Digg.com is all about user-powered content. Everything on the site is submitted and voted on by the Digg Community. How it works is that you as the user submit the content in the form of a blog then others in the community read it and comment on it.

A mainstream site with millions of readers, many X10 affiliates have recently used Digg to their advantage to help generate sales. Do you like to write? Better yet do you have an interesting story that you want to share pertaining to your X10 gadgets? Write up your blog and submit it to Digg today. Be sure to provide useful tips and of course include your affiliate links to help people know where they can go to buy them from you. It’s a great way to attract more interest to your site and possibly make a few sales.

January 16, 2007

The Very Basics To Getting Your Site Online

I received a call today from Kevin. Kevin and I had spoken a few times over the past week, and in our conversation, we talked about things that I hear about on a regular occasion from a lot of other affiliates, that being "Now that I signed up as an Affiliate, i've already designed my website. What’s next?"

Usually the first question I’ll ask from this point is "Did you register a name for your site and choose a hosting company?" at which usually the reply is no.

For those of you who have become stuck on what to do next just like Kevin, your next step is to make the website you designed "live" on the Internet. Here’s how to do it:

First, research the Internet for a website name (a URL- for example, www.mybusinessname.com) that you would like to use. When doing so, be creative, but try and keep your website address simple, short, and easy for people to remember. The more difficult it is to remember your site address, the more likely you’ll have trouble attracting returning visitors. There are several options you can use for locating URL’s to use. I like to use Register.com because of their quick ability to inform me of whether a name is already taken by someone, plus they provide alternate names that are similar to what I typed which are currently available. But keep in mind that with the millions and millions of site names that have already been gobbled up, you may have to be very creative or have a lot of patience while doing your research.

Next step is to register your site name through a website registration provider. By registering your site name, this gives you the right to use that name for a certain length of time. Lengths can vary from one year to two years depending on where you register your site through. You don’t actually own the URL, you’re just leasing it for a certain amount of time. I mentioned Register.com as a site to locate website names, but you can also use them to register for the rights to use that name. Keep in mind that there are plenty of site registration companies that all offer a variety of services. Some sites cost less to register while others charge more but will provide more services. Some sites waive the registration fees if you sign up for hosting with them, which is the next step I will discuss.

Now that you’ve claimed your website name, the next step is to locate a hosting company. A hosting company is where you will upload (send) your files to in order for them to store the files on a computer that will make them live for the Internet. Based on how much space for files you will need, or services to assist your site, there are many different types of packages you can sign up for starting from as low as $24 a year to as high as several hundreds of dollars annually. If you are not sure how much space you will require, contact the hosting company to find out. There are thousands of hosting companies available. It’s up to you to do the research to pick the one that best suits your needs. Some familiar names you may have heard of are GoDaddy.com, Gate.com, or 2mhost.com.

Now that you have your site registered and have a selected your hosting provider, if you have gone through two different companies, you will need to "connect" the two together by letting the site registration company know the physical address assigned to you by your hosting company. This can be done online usually by logging into your account with the registration company and filling in the appropriate fields with the information given to you from the hosting company.

One you have completed this task, the next step is to upload the files you have created for your website to your hosting company so they can be live on the Internet.

Why do you need to pay a fee to register a name then pay another fee for a hosting company? Think of it as this: someone pulls up your web address at www.mywebaddress.com, they are then re-routed to the hosting because these are where your files are stored. These are two different services provided by two different types of service providers. But remember what I said earlier? There are companies that have the ability to provide both types of services and offer them as a package deal, thus possibly saving you a few steps with this process. I chose to describe this example in the event you may choose between two differing companies.

Make sense? Ok, let me recap in a more simpler way, first think of a website name then register it through a registering service. Then find a hosting company that will store your files and make them live on the Internet. Lastly, tie your website name to your hosting company and you’re ready to go!

Sure there’s a bit more too it, and if things start to get too technical, I usually recommend to my affiliates that they seek the assistance of a high school or college student for they have the ability to provide you a first hand lesson without costing too much out of pocket. Usually after setting up a site or two, you start to get the hang of it, and you’ll be able to get your sites online in no time.

January 12, 2007

How Effective Is Your Website?

Do you often wonder about the effectiveness of your site? Here are some questions to think about: Are you getting the most of out it that you should be? Are you reaching your target audience? Does your audience have any interest in your site? After all, what good is having a website if it doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do?

I read a great article by Jerry Bader, entitled How To Analyze Your Website. And rather than paraphrase it, I wanted to provide you the link. In it, Bader talks about 10 important questions to ask yourself when it comes to your website. He focuses on important steps to ensuring your website meets its goals.

Nonetheless, these are very important items he covers, so if you are having a tough time understanding why you’re not generating the sales you think you should have, maybe your site just isn’t as effective as it can be?

Any thoughts or suggestions? Let’s hear ‘em!

January 11, 2007

It's Time For Another Contest!

We at X10 love giving stuff away, so we decided that it’s time for another contest!

Every day during the duration of the contest we’ll be giving away our NEW & IMPROVED video sender as the prize. If you’re lucky enough where we use your video, you’ll walk away with one of these bad boys... and we've got a ton of them to give out!

So what do you have to do? It’s simple, just break out the home video camera and record yourself in a thirty second to two minute story telling us how you plan to use your new X10 Video sender then upload your video to our X10 group on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/group/x10contest!Be as creative as possible for the most interesting videos will win! We’ll judge while you just kick back hopefully awaiting your prize!

So what are you waiting for? Get the camera rolling! We’ll be posting the rules and details so stay tuned!

January 10, 2007

Getting The Most Out Of Your Keyword List

I wanted to add on to yesterday’s post by continuing the discussion of keywords, or more importantly, discussing ways to get the most out of your keyword list in order to be more effective for the search engines.

Did you know that there are tools you can use for doing keyword research? These tools are in the form of programs that you can use to measure how many times keywords are being searched on the popular search engines.

The most popular and effective tool right now is WordTracker, a pay-per-service program that provides an estimate on how many searches are made from keywords on the web. A free trial of WordTracker is available to try. The basic concept to WordTracker, is to allow you to input any keyword into it’s database, in which it then returns other keywords similar to what you entered. This allows you to expand your keyword list on the pay-per-click channels. Another nice thing about WordTracker, as I mentioned earlier, is its ability to also provide an estimate on how many times those keywords are searched on the web. This gives you an idea as to the popularity of the keywords being searched.

Another highly effective tool that is very similar to WordTracker is the Overture Keyword Inventory Tool. This is a free service provided to you by Overture, the parent company to the famous Yahoo! Search engine, brought to you in the form of a website search engine. Like WordTracker, the Overture Keyword Inventory Tool also helps expand your keyword lists and provides estimates for how many times a keyword has been searched on the Net.

The nice thing about these tools are their abilities to help you generate concise keywords that people research. Although not always accurate with their estimates for searches, the important thing is their ability to extract a lot of extra words, so exact search numbers are not always as important.

Many people who use these programs swear on their abilities to help them generate sales. If you haven’t looked into either of these services yet, maybe its time you should.

January 09, 2007

Building A More Effective Keyword List

I speak to many affiliates who advertise on the keyword channels without much success. On the flipside, I also speak to many who have a ton of success. Usually those who are successful, are unwilling to give up their secrets, but after all, who can blame them?

I did some research to find out ways that you can have more success on the PPC channel, with the hopes of generating more sales. My search focuses mainly on the Google engine as the bulk of our affiliate sales are generated from there.

According to an article published by the Google Adwords Help Center entitled How Do I Build A More Effective Keyword List? There are 3 main steps to success:

1. When creating your keyword list think like a customer : Google recommends that once you’ve generated your appropriate keywords, expand upon it by including as many relevant variations as possible. Add alternate spellings (lite and light), plurals (modules, receivers, etc.) , and synonyms (a word having the same or nearly the same meaning such as happy, glad, joyful, etc.). [2006].

2. Refine keywords that may be too broad or irrelevant: Google suggests that using words which are too broad can generate too many ad impressions but few clicks. For example, using the word electronics (instead of wireless camera) can generate a ton of impressions, but may not yield the clicks you are looking for because it is too vague. They recommend that making the keywords more relevant to your goods or services can help in receiving more qualified clicks. [2006].

3. Target your keywords using keyword matching options: Google discusses four different methods you can use when targeting your keywords:

a. Broad Match: The use of general terms without restrictions. By restrictions this means the use of quotes, brackets, or minuses to provide more targeted matches. For example, if you use the keyword wireless transmitter, searches on Google can be produced by either term dually or independently, in any way shape, form or order. This means that searches using the following terms can pull up a match: wireless, transmitter, wireless transmitter, or transmitter wireless.
b. Phrase Match: Using quotations marks around a keyword to provide a more targeted but flexible match. (Ex: “wireless sender” can pull up a search in which either term must be present). Searches using wireless sender or sender wireless can pull up a match.
c. Exact Match: By surrounding your keywords in brackets (ex: [wireless sender]), your ads will appear when users search for a specific phrase of this order without any other terms in the query. (Ex: wireless sender must be queried exactly for a match)
d. Negative Keyword: By using the negative sign before a keyword, you can omit certain items from a search. (Ex: wireless –sender when used in a search means that in order to pull up the keyword wireless, the word sender must be omitted from the search) [2006].

By following thess simple pieces of advice, you’ll have a good start to generating success on the Google PPC channel.

January 08, 2007

The Popularity of Video Blogs

Video Blogs, or Vlogs as they are known, are the latest trend generated by the Internet. Popular online video sites such as YouTube, Grouper, & Jumpcut generate millions of visitors to their sites daily, and have even grabbed the attention of such online giants as MSN, AOL & Google. So much in fact, that in October of 2006, Search Engine giant Google.com recently in a rivalry battle, shoveled out $1.65 billion USD to purchase online video community giant YouTube, while MSN and AOL have recently launched their own video community sites with the hopes of competing and taking a chunk of the market share.

With this being the latest in online popularity, you have the means to capture new customers by bringing many video viewers to your website. All it takes is a video camera and a bit of creativity, of course maybe just a few other things also such as a computer with video editing software, but you get my drift.

According to a statistic onYouTube.com, YouTube is currently serving 100 million videos per day, with more than 65,000 videos being uploaded daily. Hitwise.com, a company which measures the usage of Internet users, states that YouTube videos accounts for 60 percent of all videos watched online and people are spending an average of 17 minutes per session on the site. The Nielsen NetRatings mentions that YouTube has nearly 20M unique users per month.

For those of you unfamiliar with YouTube, they provide an online community for people to watch online videos and to be able to interact with video directors or fans of the shows. This allows anyone to be a video director or be the star of a video with the hopes of putting it out on the Internet for millions to see.

So how can you get in of the action? It’s simple. Most video blog sites cater to all independent forms of video. In fact, the only rules to posting your videos on their sites are to not post any copyrighted footage, or anything considered obscene. This means you can create videos to market your products or online shop. Of course every vlog website runs their business different from others, so you may want to check their rules before you start posting your video creations.

So by posting videos, does this mean that you’ll instantly draw an audience? Not exactly. However, if you find a niche that caters to what viewers want you’ll have the ability to send them directly to your sites. Find ways to be clever with your commercials and keep in mind that if it doesn’t appear interesting or look too exciting, people probably won’t watch it. Also keep in mind that the members (especially at YouTube) have the ability to rate your projects for everyone to see, so the lower the ratings you receive, the more likely your video will be ineffective.

Think about some of the commercials you’ve seen on television and what you thought about them. Which ones have captured your attention and made you want to watch? Which ones have turned you off in boredom or disgust? When you use this approach while creating your masterpiece you’ll stand a better chance of drawing a bigger audience.

January 05, 2007

Answers To Your Emails

Thanks to everyone for writing in! here are this weeks questions followed with a response.

Q: Is there a way to disable the popup on the X10.com site.

A: There are several things you can do to remove the popup. First, hit refresh on your browser, this will shrink the popup down. To remove it from your screen, press refresh on your browser again and it will disappear.

Another thing you can do is use the popup disable tool we provide. It allows you to remove the popup from your screen for up to 30-days. Click here for the direct link to the popup removal tool.

Q: I need a tech rep to inxtall my system. Who can I call?

A: You’re in luck! We have an installers database listed on the community site. To locate an installer in your area, click here and enter your zip code.

Q: Please send me a catalog or refer me to a vendor that has a catalog. Thanks. Greg.

A: Greg, you can find a link to our online catalog at: www.x10.com/catalog/cat_cameras.htm.

Q: What is the simple 800 number to talk to a customer service representative?

A: You can reach the X10 customer service hotline number at 800-675-3044.

Q: Please have more for Mac software.

A: We get many requests for Mac software. Hopefully in the future we will be able to release software in this format.

January 04, 2007

The Affiliates Desk Is Back Up & Running @ Full Speed Again!

Happy New Years everyone! I hope you all had a great Holiday season. I just returned from a nice little family vacation overseas and had the chance to re-acquaint with the relatives after over 20 years.

As I get back into the flow of things, you can expect new blog postings by next week. Right now, it’s time for me to catch up. Thanks to everyone who wrote in, I’ll be getting back to you very soon!