Running A Contest To Build Links

by Mike on February 27, 2009
in Link Building

This post is a part of my ongoing series on link-building.  It’s going to seem awfully short but with good reason. 

I have a lot of ideas on how to run a successful contest and I even wrote up a pretty detailed post outlining my thoughts.  But since I’ve never actually run a contest as a blogger its all just theory. 

So I decided to ditch the post I had written for now so I can actually test my theories in the real world.  Then I can write up an even better post and discuss my case-study in detail.  :)

Yes that means I’ll soon be announcing my own contest here at  I’m thinking it’ll run through the month of April (or May?)…depends on how much time I have to work out the details. 

In the meantime, if you have anything you’d like to donate as a prize (a product, service, review on your blog, etc.) you can contact me here.  Anyone who supplies a prize will get a backlink and some free promotion here.

Building Links And Driving Web Traffic Through Directories

by Mike on February 16, 2009
in Link Building

The other day I was reading an epic post on getting backlinks that matter and it really got my brain cells going.  I decided to do my own little mini-series of posts discussing the many link-building methods used by internet marketers.  But rather than writing one long post I’m going to break it up into a whole series so I can go more in depth on each method.

By the way, if you’re looking for some more ideas on how to get links to your site check out my post on 50 Link Building Tips That Work.

In this post I’m going to discuss web site directories.  I believe there’s a lot of misconceptions about directories and I think most marketers and bloggers go about using them in all the wrong ways.

What is a Web Site Directory?

A web site directory is really nothing more than a list of links sorted by categories.  Imagine an online version of the Yellow Pages but instead of telephone numbers it lists websites.

Up until just a few years ago search engine algorithms were not particularly effective and you’d have to sift through a lot of irrelevant results to find what you were looking for.

I remember sitting at work in 2001 going over a list of songs my fiance sent me that she wanted the DJ to play at our wedding.  One of the songs was My Girl, and it had an question mark next to it because my wife couldn’t remember who sang it.  Since I couldn’t remember either I jumped on the web and ran a simple search for “my girl singer”.

The top ranked site for that term back then was called “Spice Girls Ate My Balls”.  Needless to say that wasn’t what I was looking for! In fact there weren’t any relevant results in the top ten and I had to go to the second page to find out My Girl was sung by The Temptations.

Since search engine results were often unreliable many people used directories to find what they needed.  They’d simply go to the most relevant category and drill down until they found what they were looking for.

For example, if I was looking for info on former New Jersey Devils center Sergei Brylin my directory search would look something like this…

Sports -> Hockey -> NHL -> Teams -> Devils -> Players -> Sergei Brylin

Certainly not the fastest way to search…so as search engines became more and more accurate most people abandoned site directories altogether.

Using Site Directories Effectively

I’m going to tell you something right off the bat…do not expect to see a flood of traffic coming from site directories.  In fact if you submitted your site to 1000 different directories I’d be shocked if you got ANY visitors.

So if you’ll never see any traffic from site directories why the hell should you bother? 


Yes, site directories are an easy way to build links back to your site or blog.  More links means more authority with the search engines which can eventually mean more traffic! 

Now its important to keep in mind that individual directory links are pretty much worthless.  Even if the directory’s homepage is a PR 6 the page your link is placed will likely be very low.  And it will be on a page full of links so your’s will only get a tiny amount of authority passed to it. 

Its hardly worth the trouble really, but if you get enough links like this they can actually start to add up to something.  But understand it takes a good deal of volume before you’ll see any return.

Dos and Don’ts

Do submit your site to the Open Directory Project.  Its a long, painful, and frustrating process and you’ll probably never get in anyway…but if you do you’ll hit the jackpot.  DMOZ links pass a lot of authority, plus many other sites syndicate their listings so you’ll get links from all over the place.

Don’t waste a lot of time submitting.  Individual links have little value so you should limit the amount of time you spend getting them.

Do outsource the submission process.  Since the process is simple you can have just about anyone do it for you for a very small price.

Don’t use the same keywords in every directory.  You want the links to look natural so use your main keyword often but mix it up with secondary keywords and semantic phrases.

Do build slowly.  Suddenly getting 1200 new backlinks won’t look very natural to the search engines and it will probably get your site sandboxed for awhile.

What are your thoughts on site directories?  Leave a comment below and let me know what you think and what kind of results you’ve seen.

What Scrooge McDuck Taught Me About Internet Marketing

by Mike on February 5, 2009
in Mindset, Productivity

When I was a kid there was a string of hit Disney cartoons that aired in the after-school hours on weekday afternoons. There was the Gummi Bears, Tale Spin, Darkwing Duck, Goof Troop, and Chip and Dale’s Rescue Rangers.

As a cartoon-loving kid, I was in my glory. I loved all those shows, but my favorite was Ducktales.

image source:

Ducktales revolved around Donald Duck’s nephews and his Uncle Scrooge McDuck. It was a classic cartoon and I still enjoy it today with my own kids thanks to DVD.

So what does watching Ducktales have to do with internet marketing strategies?

Let me explain.

Your feelings about money and work (and everything else for that matter) are the result of many different experiences and influences. Your parents and siblings. Your friends and their families. What you read in a book or saw on tv. All of these influences intermingle and come together to form your opinions and feelings.

And sometimes the littlest of things can have a big influence on your life. I had one such moment while watching an episode of Ducktales as a child.

The episode revolved around Uncle Scrooge in a series of flashbacks to his childhood. (I’m going on memory with this so forgive me if I get some of the details wrong).

One flashback shows Scrooge as a young duck without a lot of money (he would later go on to be the richest duck in the world so you can suspect these flashbacks will show a hint of how that happened). Scrooge found himself a job shining shoes, and wouldn’t you know a customer comes in who looks like he just walked through a patch of wet cement and let it dry.  I mean these shoes were so bad poor Scrooge’s heart must have missed a beat when he saw them!

Well good old Scrooge takes a chisel and starts chipping away at them.  He spends his entire day cleaning this guy’s shoes until you could see your face in them. By the time he’s done he’s out of breath, his back is killing him, and the store is closing.

He proudly stands up and holds out his hand expecting a mighty tip for performing such an amazing service. But instead the man simply thanks him, hands him a single coin and strolls right out the door.

Scrooge is seriously pissed! He busted his ass shining those shoes and he got paid chump change!

He stomps his way all the way home, slams the door on his way in and sulks around until his father asks him what is wrong. Scrooge tells him the story and his wise, old father simply tells him, “Scrooge my boy…you have to learn to work smarter, not harder.”

The next day Scrooge goes back to work with a brilliant idea. He creates a simple machine that allows him to use power he generates by riding a bicycle to polish shoes for several customers at a time.  He’s able to polish many more shoes while doing only a fraction of the work…and his income absolutely explodes!

Scrooge learned a valuable lesson. If you want to make enough money to achieve financial freedom, working hard isn’t enough.  There are millions of people who work themselves to the bone their whole lives and still have nothing to show for it.

Working hard is important, but working smart is more so. You see, there’s a limit to how much any one person can accomplish no matter how hard they work. And working yourself ragged will only leave you frustrated and burnt out.

If you want to take the next step toward financial freedom, you have to learn to delegate or outsource tedious tasks to others.  Automate time-consuming processes and leverage the work of others wherever possible.

Automation and Outsourcing

Let’s brainstorm a few ways you can automate/outsource tasks so you can concentrate your time on other projects that are more profitable (or have more time to spend with your family).

Autoresponders help you build a mailing list of targeted customers and prospects so you can keep in touch with them.  Once someone signs up for your list you can send them helpful tips and articles and build a relationship with them.  When you have a responsive list at your command all you have to do is send out an email promotion and wait for the money to come rolling in.

There are plenty of autoresponders to choose from but I recommend Aweber.  They’ve got a great track record and their delivery rates are the best.  I use Aweber myself so I have no problem recommending them.

What else can we automate or outsource? 

How about graphic design?  I don’t know a thing about designing and creating logos or ecovers and my attempts have always looked rather amateurish.  But why spend hours tinkering with a logo that’s just going to look like crap anyway…instead ask around the Warrior Forum and you’ll find graphic wizards who can do a smashing job for around $50. 

Have trouble writing?  You’re not alone…the demand for private label rights content is booming.  When you buy plr articles you can edit them as much or as little as you want and then add your name is author.  You can post them to your blog, create your own info-product, and more. 

If you don’t want to do any writing at all, just outsource the work.  Its not that hard to find ghost writers who will write quality content for as little as $5 an article.

I know what you’re thinking…I can hear it now…

“Mike, all those ideas for automating and outsourcing cost money and I’m on a budget!”

Yes, unfortunately if you want to build your business the smart way you’re going to have to open up your wallet and spend a few dollars.  That doesn’t mean you have to drop $1000 a month…start slowly and then increase your budget as your revenue increases.  Build slowly and you’ll see that your increased revenue more than makes up for the added expenses.

Be a Scrooge…Scrooge McDuck that is.  ;)

Data Entry Scams Exposed

by Mike on February 3, 2009
in Scams

I got into an argument the other day with a buddy of mine who is looking for a way to make some extra money. He had been looking around the internet in search of a reliable way to make a few extra bucks each month. After spending a few late nights searching he stumbled onto an idea he liked. It was a data entry service that claimed it would pay him to type simple information into a couple of fields. He could do this right from the comfort of his own home and he’d get paid every two weeks.

This immediately set off the alarms in my head. I’ve seen people fall for data entry scams before and I didn’t want to see it happen to my friend. As I tried to explain it to him he got very upset. He claimed I was trying to put down his idea because he hadn’t consulted me first. I strongly suspected he was making a mistake but to keep the peace I kept my mouth shut and wished him luck.

This morning he called to apologize. He told me he had been had and that he should have listened to me. I managed to fight the temptation to say “I told you so” and asked if I could write a short article about his experience. If you’ve never heard of data entry scams then let me explain how they work so you can avoid getting burned by them.

Most advertisements for data entry jobs lead you to believe you’ll be helping one or more companies enter data into a database or other computer system. When you see these ads you probably think its a form of outsourcing like a medical transcriptionist. All you have to do to start earning a steady income is send away for their information package (and pay a small fee).

But when you get the package you realize you’ve been misled. You actually signed up to be an affiliate of the data entry service itself. Your information packet instructs you to sign up for Google AdWords and place ads for their service (this is where the “data entry” comes in). When someone clicks on your link and signs up you get a commission.

Now this in itself is not wrong. There’s nothing wrong with affiliate marketing and you can make a lot of money doing it. But the scam is that this isn’t what you signed up for. Its blatant false advertising because they never told you:

1. You could have signed up to be their affiliate for free.

2. You’re not doing data entry at all. You’re purchasing advertisements.

3. You have to pay for those advertisements.

4. There’s no guarantee you’ll ever receive a single paycheck.

In my opinion these data entry scams are nothing more than a way to take advantage of people who are looking to make a few extra bucks in their spare time.  A year or two ago these services were banned from Clickbank but I’ve seen them popping up with other payment processors here and there.  

Buyer beware.