Archive for July, 2011

Niche Websites Are Still Going Strong

Posted in Websites on July 21, 2011 by wolfwomyn

First things first, what is a niche website? It is basically a site that targets a very small niche, like “pinot noir wines” or “sample resumes.” Such websites usually have a small number of pages, say 10 or 20, and their main goal is to rank in the first page of Google for a specific keyword. Once they achieve that, they will receive a lot of organic traffic (i.e., traffic from search engines), and they will monetize such traffic with CPC ads like Google AdSense or
with affiliate marketing.

I prefer to call these sites “mini websites,” but many people refer to them as “niche websites,” so we’ll be using both terms  interchangeably here.

A couple of years ago some online marketers started to criticize  niche websites, saying that they were doomed to vanish, being replaced in the search results by large content portals that covered a wide range of topics.

Guess what? This didn’t happen, and niche websites are still going strong. In fact, recently Google implemented a change in its algorithm that favored them even more. The change basically made it harder for large websites to rank for narrow keywords with their internal pages, especially if those pages are not content rich.

Want an example? Consider the keyword “starcraft 2 download.” With the change in the Google algorithm it is now easier for a mini website called to appear in the first page for that search query, and it is now harder for a large website like to do the same simply by publishing an internal page talking about that topic.

Another criticism that mini websites receive is that they are more unstable than large, authority websites. In other words, one day they could be in the first page for a specific keyword, and the other day they are gone.

This can happen if you use black hat techniques to get your mini website ranked, but otherwise the above criticism is not true at all.

If your mini website has all the information about a specific niche or keyword, and a decent amount of quality backlinks, Google will consider it an authority inside that small niche, and hence it will give high rankings for the mini website.

This is the point that most people miss. A mini website can also be an authority site, although an authority on a very small niche.

Now don’t get me wrong. Building a mini website that ranks high for a competitive keyword is not easy nor fast. You’ll need to work on the content, promote it and get a good amount of backlinks.

But, if you know how to do these things, developing a mini website when you have some time available could be a smart investment.

Daniel Scocco


Do You Know The Drop Shipping Business Model?

Posted in Websites on July 19, 2011 by wolfwomyn

Under the drop shipping model you’ll basically create a website to  sell products. The main difference from a normal online store,  however, is that you won’t need to create, store and ship  the items yourself. Instead, you’ll use a drop shipper for that,  which is basically a company that will fulfill the order for you.

In other words, once a customer visits your website and makes a purchase, you’ll forward the order details to your drop shipper, and they will ship the item to the customer.

In order to make a profit you simply need to price the products on  your website higher than what the drop shipper charges you.

Let’s use an example to make things 100% clear. Suppose that  you want to sell skateboards. The first step would be to find a company who is willing to drop ship the skateboards for you. You  could start searching on Google for big skateboard wholesalers, and when you find some you would just need to contact them asking if they drop ship or not.

Another resource you can use to find drop shippers is the website . It lists hundreds of companies in all market segments.

Once you have a drop shipping partner you’ll need to setup your website, display the products you are selling and setup a payment method. PayPal is the easiest option here.

After that you’ll be ready to roll, and you will need to start promoting the website. Suppose that one of your visitors purchased a skateboard for $150. You would them pay $100 for the drop shipper and forward him the order details (e.g., product id, shipping  address and so on). Finally, the drop shipper would ship the product to your customer, and you would make a $50 profit on the deal.

Most drop shippers will even put the name of your company/website on the package, so the customer will assume you are one selling  him the goods.

Neat huh?

As I said, this can be a very profitable business model, and not  many people explore it.

If you want to give it a shot, remember that the key to making good money is to target a small niche. For example, creating a website to drop ship archery gear could be a good idea, but creating one to sell clothes would definitely be a bad idea (people just go to Target when they want that…).

Daniel Scocco

Posted in Uncategorized, Websites on July 14, 2011 by wolfwomyn

Your About page is one of the most important pages on your site, says Lisa Banks in a post at the Site Reference SEO blog. Done right, it can help boost rankings and stimulate inbound links, she notes.

Banks’ interest in About pages was recently stirred by influential blogger Chris Brogan’s discovery that most of his site’s readers were visiting his About page. And from Chris Lake’s post at eConsultancy, Banks further learned that missing About pages are a major reason for visitors’ choosing to leave sites without conducting business.

This all makes sense to Banks: You can’t expect people to do business with you without getting to know you first, she argues—and many of them don’t know about you when they land on your site.

To help, Banks offers tips from Web-usability authority Jakob Nielsen on how to develop useful About-page information that draws clicks and keeps users interested. Nielsen recommends presenting your information at four levels of detail:

A descriptive tagline. On the homepage, briefly summarize what your organization does.
More detail. At the top of the About page, offer one to two paragraphs about the organization’s goals and main accomplishments.
A fact sheet. Following the summary, develop a section that elaborates on key points and other essential facts about the organization.
Additional information. Add subsidiary pages providing more in-depth or specialized information about the organization.
To develop useful content, Banks suggests, formulate a list of questions a potential customer might have about you, and address them. A starting point? Answer the journalist’s 5 W’s: Who, What, Where, When and Why.

The Po!nt: Take the time to be transparent. The more information you provide a prospective customer about yourself and your business, the better. You can help site visitors easily learn about you by creating an About page with levels of info.

Source: Site Reference SEO blog.

Split Testing Is A Must

Posted in Business on July 12, 2011 by wolfwomyn

Split testing, also called A/B testing, is a testing method where you compare a base sample with another test sample, changing one specific variable inside it.

For example, you could have a base landing page, and then you would compare it against a new landing page where you changed the main  headline.

If you were selling a product on that landing page, you would then compare the conversion results of page A against page B (by conversion I mean the percentage of the total visitors that ended up making a purchase).

There are other testing methods out there (like the multivariate  one), but the split tests are easy to implement, easy to interpret,  and they can be applied on a wide range of situations.

That is why you should always use them.

If you have a blog where your goal is to gain as many RSS subscribers as possible, create split tests with the location of the RSS icon, with the message that you use to call the attention of visitors,  with the freebies you offer in return and so on.

If you have a landing page where you promote an affiliate product, split test with the sales copy, the headline, the testimonials and so on.

If you use PPC to drive traffic to your website or products, split test with different keywords and bids and always try to beat the top performing ad group.

Here is a practical example with some numbers. Let’s suppose that on top of your sidebar you have a “Subscribe to my newsletter” section, where visitors can put their email addresses to subscribe to your newsletter.

First of you would need to track what is the conversion rate. Just find out what is your weekly traffic, and how many new subscribers you get per week. If your weekly traffic is 30,000 visitors and you gain, on average, 50 new subscribers, then your current conversion rate is 1,66% (50 divided by 30,000).

Now you need to change one specific element on that subscription  section, and then track the result for another week or two. Let’s suppose that you changed the background color of that section,  making it yellow to call the attention of visitors.

During the next weeks your traffic kept stable at 30,000 visitors,  but you got 65 new subscribers per week on average. This means that your conversion rate increased to 2,16%, and you should therefore keep the changes you made. Had the conversion rate decreased, which is possible, you would just need to revert the changes.

This is pretty much the process you’ll need to repeat over and over again, always trying to beat the top performing combination of  factors.

Obviously you should not split test every single element on your site, else you would not have time for anything else. But it is  very important to take the time to split test the important sections ( i.e., landing pages that sell your products, pages where your  you get email subscribers and so on).

Make sure to visit as well, as I have some interesting posts up this week.

Daniel Scocco

Quote of the day

Posted in Quotes on July 7, 2011 by wolfwomyn

I thought I switch it up a bit today.  Here is one of the quotes that I really like.  Quality is important is whatever we are doing. . . .

Quality is never an accident…It is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction, and skillful execution. It represents the wise choice of many alternatives.
~Will Foster

Do You Know What The PPC Quality Score Is?

Posted in Business on July 5, 2011 by wolfwomyn

As you probably know PPC stands for Pay-Per-Click, and it is an  advertising model where you’ll pay a specific amount for each click that the ad network will send to your site.

The largest PPC network around is Google AdWords, and it’s a very efficient promotional channel because it allows you to display your ads directly in Google’s search results for people who are searching for specific keywords. In other words, you can get very targeted  traffic with PPC ads.

The problem is that you need to know how to optimize your PPC  campaigns, else you’ll end up wasting a lot of money and getting no results.

A key concept you need to understand if you want to have success  with PPC campaigns is the “Quality Score” one, because it will affect both how much you will end up paying per click and the position of your ads. In other words, the higher your Quality Score, the higher the traffic that you will be able to buy for the same amount of money.

Basically each keyword inside your ad groups will have its own Quality Score. Once a search query is performed in Google, the AdWords system will gather all the advertisers who are bidding on that keyword, and it will use both the bid amount and the Quality Score of each keyword in the ad groups of those advertisers to determine what ads will be displayed, and in what order.

If you are going to put ads in Google’s Search Network (i.e., in Google’s search results), these are factors that will affect the Quality Score of your keywords:

-the average CTR (click-through rate) of your ad
-the average CTR of all the ads in your Adwords account
-the quality of the landing page for the ad
-the relevance of the keyword to the content of the ad
-other relevance factors

Practically speaking, this means that you should:

1. Create many versions of your ads, with different headlines and descriptions, and then stick with the ones with the higher CTR.

2. Make sure that the landing page for your ads respect Google’s quality guidelines (i.e., plenty of content, no popups, etc).

3. Make sure that you only target keywords related to your ads.

4. Make sure that you only target keywords related to the content of your landing page.

If you try to spend less per click by targeting unrelated keywords, for example, you might save some money in the short term, but over the long run you’ll ruin your Quality Score and the efficiency of  your PPC campaigns will decrease.

Source:  Daniel Scocco