Absolute Beginners Guide To Internet Marketing

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Free Link Cloaker

I've just finished the first release of my free link cloaker and wanted to share the good news with you. I will be adding lots more features in the future but wanted to get it released and start getting some feedback.

Current features

- Easy automated installer (only takes a few minutes)
- Easy link cloaking (only takes a few seconds)
- Everything happens on your server so there's no Javascript to screw up and you won't have to send traffic through my servers
- Keeps track of the number of times each cloaked link is clicked
- Replaces links with http://www.yourdomain.com/recommends/keyword

So if this is of use to anyone please check it out and let me know what you think.



Saturday, November 25, 2006

Start with something you know well

If you're reading this post then you probably have an interest in Internet marketing. If you have an interest in Internet marketing then you've probably heard it said that it's best to start in a niche you know a lot about. It's finally occurred to me just how good this advice is.

For the last couple of weeks I've been working on setting up a niche site targeted around a load of stuff from easynicheproduct.com. I really think there's every chance for it to succeed but it's been an uphill battle the whole way and if I didn't have an excellent content writer working on blogs and articles for me, then it would definitely have flopped before now. So don't get me wrong, I'm still going to pursue this niche, try to build a list and create the site but this morning I had a bit of an epiphany.

I returned to a forum that I have been posting in regularly for a couple of years and you know what? There were Internet marketing ideas absolutely everywhere. I posted in a couple of threads and thought, "Wow, I could so make a product for this." I posted in a couple more and though, "Wow, these people are all hungry for information on this topic." So as well as working on my existing niche site I think its time I started working in an area that I know really well.

So next time you read that little bit of advice, don't just dismiss it and think it doesn't apply. Go and read a forum related to a topic you know a lot about and see how many ideas go off in your head.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Prelaunch Starts Tomorrow

I'm afraid its another progress post today and won't contain anything particularly useful. I've managed to stick with the whole motivation thing since Sunday and I'm proud to say that I've finished my namesqueeze page complete with free ebook and viral, refer-a-friend system.

As of tomorrow evening I'll be starting to promote the site and building my list. I'll be making use of the forum promotion techniques described below as well as submitting articles to a number of directories.

Hopefully over the next few days I'll be able to bring you some more interesting content and not just updates about how my project is going. So, wish me luck!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Domain Name System

I just posted this explanation of domain names, IP addresses and DNS to CYN and thought it might be useful to someone else. Its very raw and unedited due to being a forum post rather than a well thought out article but the content is reasonable I think.


Here's a quick explanation of the domain name system (although a quick Google search will probably explain better than I ever could).

Let's start with a couple of definitions -

domain name - the name people type into their web-browsers or email software.
IP address - the numeric address (in the form of a computer on a network connection (in this case network can mean Internet)
DNS (domain name system) - the system of the Internet that allows domain names to be converted into IP addresses.

Basically, think of domain names as people, IP addresses as phone numbers and DNS as a phone book.

You want to call your friend John - you want to go to www.google.com
You look in the phone book to find his phone number - you (or rather your web-browser) looks it up in the DNS
You now know the phone number to call John with - your web-browser now knows the number it needs to contact to show you www.google.com

So it works like this -

You register a domain name with company X and, by default, they will set it up to point to an IP address of their's which will have a load of advertising on it. If you have signed up for hosting with them then it will be the IP address of whatever server is going to provide your hosting.

This new information is then submitted into the domain name system and eventually propagates to all the other name servers. This bit can take a little while which is why you're told to be patient. It can happen within 5 minutes but can take up to 24 hours or so.

If you haven't signed up for hosting with company X then you edit the DNS information for yourself to tell it where your hosting is (by providing an IP address for it to point to). This is called the A record. There is a separate (MX record) for the mail server that will handle email sent to name@domain.com.

So what does all this tell you?

Basically that you can find a new hosting provider and update the DNS entries of your domain names to point to the new host and (within 24 hours) be back in business.

As ever, your mileage may vary, but that's a simple round up of how this stuff works. If anyone has any questions or wants a hand to deal with any of this stuff feel free to let me know and I'll see what I can do.

Saturday, November 18, 2006


I was planning to start work on my prelaunch stuff today but preparing a presentation for work got in the way. This means that I'm going to have a very busy day tomorrow getting everything in place ready to begin my prelaunch on Monday.

That's not the topic I want to talk about in this post though. What I actually want to discuss is motivation. This is a pretty interesting topic for me because I'm usually a reasonably highly motivated person but getting started in Internet Marketing is proving a real challenge for me. I've spent a few weeks reading everything I could lay my hands on and asking questions of anyone that would stand still long enough to listen. Now its time to take action for myself I keep seeing potential failure looming at every step even though I know that the only real failure I can actually suffer in any of this is a failure to act and missing out on this great opportunity.

I have all the technical skills I need (I'm a software engineer by day and outright geek by night), I have an excellent content writer turning out brilliant articles for me and I have a reasonable grasp of how to combine this with Internet Marketing techniques to produce traffic and hopefully a list. So what is the X factor, the voodoo magic, the evil beast that makes it all seem so distant from where I'm at now?

I think the answer is motivation to really work at it. To take all the knowledge I have and keep putting it together in different ways until stuff finally starts to stick. Rather than fearing the way I've engineered my prelaunch is doomed to failure I need to just get in there and try it. I'm not proposing that everyone go off half cocked without any kind of plan but now I've acquired sufficient know-how I really do need to roll up my sleeves and get my hands dirty.

Tonight I'm going to chill out and play in a poker tournament but starting tomorrow I'm going to really focus on getting everything setup ready to start driving traffic on Monday. Hopefully in the future I'll have the opportunity to work smarter rather than harder but right now its all about getting stuck in and just giving it a try. As I've mentioned before, I'm not actually doing this to make money (although it'd be nice) but to learn about how this all works. With that being the case the only way I can fail is to do nothing and look back on this post in a couple of months and wonder what might have been.

I invite anyone that reads this post, whether it be today, tomorrow or a year from now to really start working at something you want. Cast aside your fears that if you try you could fail, cast aside your doubts that you don't have it in you and cast aside that little voice in your head that tells you to slack of and not bother. So come join me and make it happen today.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Getting Comments

Yesterday I received the following comment -

"Andrew, can you tell me why it is just so darn difficult to actually generate COMMENTS in the blogosphere?! Even on a sweet blog like this one, I see that comments are scarcer than hen's teeth. I. for one, really like this blog and have read every post on the first page with interest. Check out my blog at [url deleted] Will you let me know what you think, Andrew?

What does it take to get people to COMMENT on blogs? That is my burning question of the day.

P.S. I originally spotted you over on the Conquer Your Niche Forum. "

Firstly I'd like to say how flattered I am that someone would take the time to post me a comment and ask me something. I think the only fair response is an honest one and I can sum it up by saying, "beats me", so I went and did a little Googling to see what other people thought.

This seems to be a reasonably untouched topic so obviously contains a certain voodoo magic and X factor that its hard to nail down. The best article I found dealing with the topic was http://www.problogger.net/archives/2006/10/12/10-techniques... and even that seemed to basically turn, "respect and value your readers comments" into an entire article on the subject.

As a result I'm going to throw this open to anyone who happens to stop by and check this blog out. Traffic is low at the moment so its up to you to do your bit and answer the question. Take a couple of minutes and leave me a comment here. I'll leave anything (legal) up so take advantage of it. Tell me what makes you comment on things, call me a jerk, post a link to your blog or send a spam bot my way.

So before you leave, say something in the comments section of this post!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Introduction to Forum Marketing

I was very surprised by the reaction to my first article. I was expecting to receieve a lot of mediocre response (if any at all) but everyone seemed quite taken with it in the IM forums I posted it to and the IM contacts I showed it to loved it. On the flip side of the coin I also received a load of responses asking me what forum marketing was, if it was really worth it and, if so, how on earth to go about it. So, without further ado, I give you my introduction to forum marketing.

Getting Started

So you've found yourself a niche to promote. You've read tons of guides on sales pages, viral strategies and all that jazz but now you need some traffic. There are loads of ways to generate free traffic, so don't for a minute think you can get away with doing just this, but if you get it right then Internet forums can provide masses of targeted traffic.

Step 1: Finding Forums

Its not just about finding forums targeted at your niche (after all, if you can't do that with Google then you're in the wrong business my friend) but finding the right kind of forum. For starters you want to find the ones that have the most traffic but fortunately Google is likely to do that for you by having them at the top when you search.

What to look for in a forum -

  1. Traffic - A good indication is number of registered users (usually shown on the front page).
  2. Signiatures - If you can't get your link in there then you're wasting your time.
  3. Community - If threads often go unanswered or only receive a couple of replies then you'll have to put in a lot more effort for less return. Find somewhere people keep good threads going and do more than just post up their own stuff.
The easiest way to find out if a forum is suitable is to watch it for a couple of days before you waste time signing up. Check out how long threads can be expected to hang around, how many views popular threads get and generally how much attention people pay to each other.

Step 2: Signing Up

Now that you've identified several forums that you're going to target you need to make an account on each and get posting straight away. Don't bother filling in your signiature yet just get in there and introduce yourself. Create a thread, or post in the one specifically for introductions, and say hello. Then go post in as many threads as you possibly can just to get in the swing of posting to that forum. Say hello to other newbies in their intro threads. Offer congratulations to people who have announced something great. Commiserate with anyone posting about something bad. Don't think about it, don't worry about saying the wrong things and certainly don't start advertising yet. Just get in there and get posting.

A lot of people feel awkward posting in a forum to begin with. A lot of the regulars have created a sense of community and newbies feel like outsiders when confronted with it. Don't be daunted by it. Do you really think these people signed up to an Internet forum because they are anti-social types? Seems unlikely doesn't it. They're eager to socialise with new people and you should be too.

Step 3: Create Threads To Get More Sig Views

Once you're settled into the forum and have posted a few times in other people's threads you need to get in the habit of creating your own. At best people skim read the replies to other people's posts but if they've clicked on the topic itself then they're going to read the opening post. Don't spam the forum with any old rubbish (its not going to stay on the front page long anyway if you do) but aim to create interesting discussion that people want to be involved in.


The most important thing to take from this article is the need to get invovled in the forums you join. Get to know people, post often and generally become part of the community. The more people get to know you the more curious they'll be to check out your signiature link. So don't be afraid of it, just get out there and start posting.

Bonus Tip

Before I go I want to share one last bonus tip for creating fantastic threads with very little extra effort on your part. Since you're going to be a member of several different forums, simply take the topics of the best threads from each and repost them to the other forums. Some of the time the interest level just won't be the same but generally if it was interesting to one forum it will be to the others as well.