This is a chronology of the step's I've been taking over the last several months in an attempt to create an income stream from the Internet.
I'm starting from nothing and piecing this together from scratch. I find value in writing down the steps I'm taking.
I also believe in helping others, and thought that the documentation could concievably help someone else.
Special thanks to Chris Westmeyer, who remains my "coach" for everything when I get in a JAM.
ICANN stands for Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. As in real estate - if you own the land or not is documented at the county recorders office. In the case of the internet, it's ICANN. They are the oversight agency and official registry of who owns sites, and who is liscensed to buy and sell them.
I reasoned that if I would like to generate money off the internet, my success would likely not be drawn from just one site. I would need multiple sites that draw traffic and have advertising, and concievably even sell products.
I also reasoned that - the products, services, or discussions that are offered must be of interest to me. I need to offer some kind of genuine value in order for people to come to these sites.
Becuase I felt I'd need several domains my decision was 1&1. The simple reason was that their domains are $5.95 each, as opposed to (at that time) $8.99 at www.GoDaddy.com. It also seemed that if a company (like GoDaddy.Com) were on the ball they'd know their competition was less expensive.
www.1and1.com also had an on-line demo of their web-building software. The download of the the WebBuilder software from 1and1.com made the idea of building the site more of a "known". I couldn't find that kind of support from .www.GODADDY.Com several evenings of screwing around on both sites, I finally decided that I'd never make my first dollar without getting started and I need to initiate something.
I opened an account with 1&1 as an internet service provider. It's a $4.99/month HOME package with Linux hosting (visits to several sites online said that MicroSoft hosting was very limited) and pre-paid for six months (through 10/15).
Created first website using the Website Builder and published it to the web. Did this with no programming knowledge (the way it should be).
Review of 1and1.com sitebuilder:
The webbuilding software is simple but I quickly learned that it's not too flexible. For example:
It seems I've been lured by the ease of use but it's extraordinarly limiting. I used the domain name www.debbiesteiger.com. And just put a couple pictures of our family and some text and published it to the web. The keywords and description were mostly gibberish.
I went to google and typed in the name of the site - Amazingly - there it was - a publised site in less than 2-3 hours, with no real brains.... feeling a sense of progress.... I'll be rich in no time!
In order to be indexed by google, you submit the site at www.google.com/addurl . A freind told me to do this, so I went ahead and did so. The name of the game is traffic, and the longer Google knows about my site the better. And who knows, maybe I'll draw in some stray traffic from somewhere!
To date, I've spent $42. This includes:
Domain Names (2 were included with the package)
I'm also shocked at how many domain names are no longer available (i.e. being held by someone) but that are not in use. It appears this is it's own small industry. A free book came with the subscription - James Martell's "Online Success for Non-Techies". As I'm hungry for knowledge - it's cool they sent a book.
It looks like I will own the domain names for 1 year, then I will need to pay another $6 to renew them.
Read the book. Alot of simple points. Get organized, keywords for the site are very importantant. It emphasizes studying what the keywords you're using are
Anylizing Key Words:
Anylizing Domain Names / URL's:
The book also suggests:
These were my main takeaways from the book. Dog got it a week later. Still a good reference up to p. 211... (I LATER RUN INTO PROBLEMS WITH 1&1.. SUGGEST YOU READ FURTHER)
My wife does pet-sitting in the St. Louis area. I decided this would be a great place to start. After I have a site, I can start figuring out how to get traffic to it and make my first dollar and help her get some business.
My guess is that my first dollar will come slowly, and will be made through advertising. As such, next step is to begin checking out advertsisting programs...
Internet Advertising Program Research
Google Adsense and Yahoo seem to be the two best paying advertising programs in the industry. I signed up for Google Adsense, figuring that at least we may be able to make a few pennies and start getting to the $1 short term goal. I knocked around looking for Yahoo's program but couldn't find anything. It can't be that hot of a program if I can't find it quickly on the web. What's wrong with these Yahoo People?
Yahoo seems to focus on recruiting people who will pay for the advertising. Google seems to have two different programs - one focused on each.
Adsense sign up was pretty straight forward. It gave me a block of code that had to be inserted into the site. It pays per "impression" (which I believe is the frequency with which it is viewed) and also pays per "click" (number of times it's clicked on). But here's the kicker - you never know how much!
In order to insert code into your website on 1&1, you MUST upgrade to the WebSite Builder Plus Program.
I Upgraded Service to "Web Builder Plus". The basic web builder program would not allow my to add my own code, which is a requirement to use Google AdSense.This is an upgrade to the Site Builder Program. This cost $10/month. I'm considering this a pretty good size site builder rip-off. I thought the SiteBuilder plus would provide additional functionality - it doesn't. You just get to add your own code.
At this point - I'm feeling there might be a reason why GoDaddy is so popular even though it's more expensive!!!
We've been checking DebbieSteiger.Com daily waiting for Google Ads to come up. Nothing, nothing, and more nothing. We received an e-mail from Google titled "You've got Ads!". We waited three more days - nothing.
Google adsense thankfully has an online troubleshooter. I walked through it until arriving at a screen whcih says the Internet Service Provider must support "JAVA Scripting".
Looks like a bad choice going to 1&1. They support "PERL" and "PHP" but not Java. Their online support in the Phillipines can only tell me that they are not "Google Compatible" - Great.
I asked the guy if he thought that was a good business plan. He laughed. No sense beating up the help.
I've also learned that 1&1 is a German owned company. Germans are generally arrogant and provide a low level of service (I know - I am one). Bad call (again) going with 1&1... my Dollars are going out of the country...I'M THINKING ABOUT GOING TO DADDY.
At this time, one has to wonder what ELSE they don't know.
|5/6/2007||Figured out that I can't post a google ad, but I can put in a Google search bar (which is written in a different script). At least it may pay me something if folks use it. I install it.|
Issues with Google, and Site Title and Description:
By this time we all know that every site has:
.... even though I've updated www.DebbieSteiger.com with my targeted keywords and description the old ones (which were jibberish I put it to publish the first site) still come up with the old Site Title and keywords.
Imagining that I am someone looking for my wife's services - I type in "St. Louis Pet-Sitting" in Google.
I've searched through 1000 results for St. Louis Pet Sitting and cannot find the site anywhere. You can use CTRL-F to do a find for any word on the page in explorer. The best way to do this is to set Google to give you 100 results per page and then use the CTRL-F to find www.yoursite.com.
I continue to submit the site to Google for them to Crawl It and update their records at www.google.com/addurl/
I'm learning to use the Web Statistics in the 1&1 Control Panel. The statistics are an interesting feature. It shows all the traffic you receive on you're site and some basic informaiton on where it comes from.
I can see the site was visited by "GOOGLEBOT" which means that Google Is Indexing the site. The site still displays with the wrong keywords and descriptions, so I continue to submit it.
If I access the site from my mobile phone, I can see the visit in the webstatistics information.
With each submission, I can see that within a day or so the GOOGLEBOT has been back to the site. This affirms to me that google is working. The site description has a line next to it that says "Cached". The Cache is a picture that google takes during it's visit. My assumption is that this is how they present so much information so quickly. A short picture of the sites, Title, Description, and Keywords, is resident on the system at Google. I need to figure out how to have them update the cache in their GOOGLEBOT visit. This is aggravating as there are now several barriers which keep me from getting any traffic and/or revenue.
|5/10/2007||If I'm going to make my first dollar, I have to be able to use google Adsense. If 1&1 cant do it, I'll have to change services. I'm spending alot of time looking at varios ISP's (Internet Service Providers). I'm interested in their Site Building Tools, what "scripts" (another word for programming languages) that they support. It has to support JAVA if I'm going to use Google.|
Becuase I couldn't do the google Adsense, I added in the GoogleSearch Bar - it doesn't require JAVA, and per Google is written in HTML. HTML is the basic language of the web which all programs seem to understand. THE SEARCH BAR APPEARED Instantly. Now I've confirmed that the JAVA thing is in fact the issue.
1&1 did not really give me much for my money on this one!!!! Looks like the same old tech business plan. Take the money and provide poor service. Going on vacation next week. Total spend is now at $72.
|6/1/2007||Bought two more Domains. www.DogInTheDark.Com and www.DogInTheDark.Net. We have a black lab and if she gets out at night - GOOD LUCK. I'd always wished there was a site the compared ways to keep track of the dog - lighted collars and the like. In accordance with the advice of the book, I bought both sites. Total spend is now at $84.|
Looking for other Tools to get on AdSense
If I want to make money, I'll need to be able to use more flexible tools for building sites. As assumed at inception, it will take multiple sites. As this has been a pain so far to bring one site up, the site software has to let me copy my sites so that I can quickly publish new ones if I would like to get several sites up and drawing traffic.
We'll ultimately need to have multiple sites with Google Adsense which are seeing some good traffic. The sitebuilder only supports two with a limited number of pages. I'm checking out other ISP's and DreamWeaver software (an Adobe product) has been recommended.
The programs (like dreamweaver) which are available on the market let you build the site on your computer and the UPLOAD it to the ISP where the site is hosted. This would allow me to duplicate sites, and provide the flexibility that 1&1's expensive, inflexible site building program doesn't do.
I've also heard quite a bit about Microsoft Frontpage. Microsofts website looks like frontpage is being split into two separate programs... too complicated. Downloaded free trial of Dreamweaver. I was able to quickly walk through the tuturial. Bailed the tutuorial after an hour or so and started working to build a site. Looks reasonable to build one. This appears to be a powerful program and will be an investment of time to learn.
The other positive is that you have the code from you're websites, which right now, I don't. I'm also not sure how to get the code from 1&1 or how to move my domains from 1 ISP to another. Lot's of questions are opening up.
1&1 - even with the advanced WebSiteBuilder is only letting me build two sites. Right now that is this site and the DebbieSteiger.Com site.
A friend has recommended www.ehostpros.com as an ISP. He has several sites and claims they allow him to do everything.
Splitting Domain Hosting and ISP Hosting
Talking to more folks and doing more research on the web - each internet service has a strength. The business plan is that (like 1&1) you're lured in with low cost domains and get ripped on the ISP service - or vice versa. The "pro's" keep all their domains registered in one place and host their sites in another. This is working "both sides of the fence" and keeps your overall costs down. Another point on the to-do list.
This confused me at first, but going back to the illustration relative to ICANN and RealEstate: (concentrate on this for a moment.... it's a key point!)
If you own a home you know that that ownership is kept on record at the county recorders office whereever you live. It states that the lot on 111 Happy Lane is owned by Mr. and Mrs. David Smith.
Your "domain registrar" is like the county recorders office. They hold the information that states that www.yoursite.com is owned by David Smith. As a part of that registration each site also has a pointer called a <<<>>>>. That pointer says the the site is actully on the server of company XYZ. So like the real estate example - your domain "registrar" is like the county recorders office. The recorders office and 111 Happy Lane are in two differen locations. They do not need to be the same.
Ultimately, I'll split them. Right now I have bigger fish to fry with getting some ad revenue running and getting around the fact that 1and1.com is a pain relative to Adsense.
Google Page Rank:
In the efforts to get Debbies site up and running, I'm begining to learn about Google Page Rank. The Debbie Steiger Site is still coming up with the wrong title and description on Google and the only way I can get to it by searching for DebbieSteiger.Com.
Maybe there's another program besides Adsense?
I've tried checking into other advertising programs to avoid the Hassle of having to take my little sites down, move my domains to another registrar, and move the sites (which I don't know how to do yet).
It looks like no luck. I can't find any information on other advertising programs which look reasaonble to save my life.
I am however learning that there are other "affiliate programs" that pay as much or more than advertising. With affiliate programs, you don't get paid for the traffic, but you get paid on the SALES. It's a "commision" type of program. The customer pays the same amount , but if they are routed to the purchase through your site - you get paid. Just like with Google, there is no way (except the vendors honesty) to know if you are getting paid for your contribution or not. This may alleviate the need for moving the sites and actually create a better cash flow.Some of these programs have residual sales - so you continue to get paid into the future. If a person returns in a month and buys more products - you get a commission on that too.
It's also looks like a site would need a mountain of traffic to get to the $3,000 per month long term goal with advertising - something I'm a long way from. Taking inventory of where I am on my way to $1 of income:
Success is not for the weak of mind or heart. I'm excited about the progress, and all that I'm learning and going to keep on going. Everyday I'm spending more time on the web after work and looking at the tools and learning little tidbits. The affiliate program may be a way to get the first dollar. My wife is going to look into affiliate programs and see if we can find one that will work with her site and 1&1.
Long term it's evident that I will need:
Getting re-Cached with Google
Wen't back to the google URL submit page. This time I put in a note about my problem and resubmitted, we'll see what happens. I never saw the box for the note before. I put a one line description of my issue into the box that the site had been cached in May, the keywords and description had changed, but didn't seem to update in Google.
"Optimizing" the site to get more traffic in Google
To ease my frustrations with the other topics - I decide to go in a new direction to start creating traffic. From what I've learned so far, Google indexes once a quarter and re-assigns a PR rank for each site. The next "index" is coming up in July. Obviously my goal is when a person types in "St. Louis Pet Sitting" that my wifes site will be #1.
It's not known how Google determines the PR ranking for a site (their trade secret) but the entire world is trying to figure it out. Based on the book I read, discussions with people I respect, and material I've read on the internet, the key factors are:
There is not much I can do about #1, and #2 (this is a new site so the content is fresh). I'm in a quagmire on #3, so I'm going to work on #4. I did a search for sites on pet-sitting and looked for sites that would allow me to enter my wifes site and get a link to it. I found 2-3. It was quite a bit of work.
I would like the site to have about 1,000 links to it with high Google PR values. I won't be able to get their entering them all manually.
Researching further, there are a thousands of sites called "directories". Directories are sites that simple index other sites. An example is www.discoverdirectory.com. The site has little original content, but simply serves as a rescource (like the yellow pages) the help people find other people or businesses that can be of service.
The value of the directory is that they provide links to your site. When Google finds a link, they "chalk-up" a point for your site. Each site is a "Back-link". A "back-link" is a link that links to your site, but your site doesn't provide a return link. If your site provides a return link, this is called a "reciprocal link".
There are thousands of directories, and of course, I'd like to have a link from all of them. This would be an intense amount of work to submit to all of them. You can go into a googe search bar and type "Link: " and any site name, and google will share with you how many links it has "on record" to your site. When I type "Link: www.debbiesteiger.com" it again has a whopping zero. This has to be fixed to begin getting page rank.
Automatic Directory Submission
A freind told me about a service that would submit our site to hundreds of directories, where each entry costs 14 cents. I think I'm going to give it a shot to see if I can start building some links to www.debbiesteiger.com.
Purportedly - there are several important points about directory submissions:
I decide to look for some kind of an autosubmission program or service to get into the directories.
Submitting to Search Engines
Next lesson is that there are more search engines than Google and Yahoo. Worldwide there are thousands of them. As our site is for a local service, the interest in submitting to other serch engines is that they may drive some traffic to the site. Who knows what search engine that someone is using?
Reading the book, I find that there is a simple way to do this with 1&1. They have a tool that automatically submits the site to a number of search engines. Like the sitebuilder....it gives you so much for free and then you have to "pay" for the "higher level service".
I decide to take what is is free and use the "simple submission tool" to submit the site to 30 different US search engines. These are people like Google and Yahoo, but I was surprised to find there are a number of other services out there which do the same thing. Purportedly clicking one button should have submitted the site to 30 different directories. It was also clear that this was the "entry level" service, and if I want to get the more advanced tools I need to (again) pay more.
As I'm now planning on using an affiliate program to make my dollar instead of Google Adsense, I'm not immediately concerned with switching web ISP's, but I do need more flexibility on the site.
Pulling the Trigger on Directory Submission
I used the directory service recommended by a freind to submit www.DebbieSteiger.Com to roughly 90 different directory services worldwide. For Debbie's site I chose all the directories that have a PR rating of 4 or higher. I reasoned that if we wanted links, we should ask for high quality links. The service says they will have the site entrered into those directories in 7-9 days. That should give her site close to 100 links, including the ones I did manually. My total cost was $12. My total spend is now $96!
Below is the company I used to submit the site to 100 directories. It looks as they can do up to 500+ links, but I'm going to start small for the time being and see how it goes. The research is that the company has to be reputable, and has to screen for reputable and stable directories. This link is an Affiliate program, and if you have received some value for this site, I'd ask that you please do your commerce with Directory Maximizer through this advertisment below.
Evidently, 1&1's "Simple Site Submission" is but a toy compared to the tools that are out there today. There is a program recommended to me called WebCEO. WebCEO submits a site to up to 500 search engines world wide. They have a free download that will do this at no cost.
As my goal is to get as many established links as possible, this seems like a great idea!! This is the site. The free version of the program comes with a walk through tutorial, which was amazing.
It helps do the research on the site, helps optimize the keywords, see where you will rank compared to other sites, etc. I used this software to submit to hundreds of search engines.
I'm still learning to use it, and there will likely be more posts on this software piece. In the meantime, I've also started optomizing the site we use at work - www.barry-wehmiller-company.com.
This site is also an affiliate program and I'd appreciate if you'd use the link below to get the free download. I'll only make money if you later decide to buy the full version, but they ask that in return for the free download that you drive traffic to their site.
The program has had some sporadic issues with crashing, but other than that has been excellent. Sitting back and watching the program submit to hundreds of search engines worldwide is a feeling of Power. This is what it should be like to live in the information age.
If you imagine having 10-15 sites this would be a tremendous amount of work to do by hand.
Google Title and Description Cache Corrected
We're getting there... Google now responded and the site is coming up with the right description and keywords. You can check it out by typeing www.debbiesteiger.com in the box below. We finally have the right descriptions!!!
Of the four above (which I understand are part of googles criterion)
Getting Up on an Affiliate Programs
Now we've done some site optomization. I need to wait for the links from the directories and traffic from the search engines to begin to take hold. It's time to get working on affiliate programs (especially given that AdSense isn't compatible with 1&1).
There are directories out there which are indexes of affiliate programs. In addition, if you have a company you like, their site may contain the details about their affiliate program. The most important element from a a financial stanpoint is the residual income. To get to $3,000 per month, with the least amount of traffic, you want that program to keep paying you for more than the first sale.
For Debbies site, one example is the PetSmart Affiliate program. These are the programs payment details (exacted exactly from the site):
Seeing as how my goal is to make $1, and I've spent nearly $100 trying to make that $1, it's time to get rolling! I've asked my wife to surf for affiliate programs which:
Her site is only one page, so we will likely only need one for that site, and then we will be complete.... let's see what she finds!
Buying More Domains
I've become an addict. Everytime a great URL comes to mind for something which I believe I could build a good site... I check it out. If it's open, I buy it. Tonight I bought:
Maybe I need to get hold of myself! But each of these are great domains about topics that I'm interersted in. .COM is clearly the most popular name on the net, and the names won't last forever. I've also thought about buying URL's for all my nieces and nephews. I can park advertisements on them, and give them as gifts (with the income) for wedding presents, etc. in 20 years. The ideas are popping!
I started this site to have a personal reference and daily reminders of my goals. I know plan to transition it over to www.mywebjourney.com - a more suitable title.
4th of July
Using FTP Files:
In order to transition the site from the existing URL to the newly purchased URL www.mywebjourney.com, I reasoned that the easiest way to do this would be to see if I could find the files which support the site and move them under a different domain name.
It appears that each ISP provides an area on their server (which is just a fancy name for Their Hard Drive). Just as we all have a C: drive on our computers, the ISP has a massive drive. Instead of it being called C: or I: or any other "traditional" drive name, in this case at 1&1 it is under my account name - the URL that was given to me when I signed with 1&1 - www.s202980469.onlinehome.us
Of course after entering in my user name and password, I was allowed onto the Drive at the ISP where my files are kept. You can open each of the files and see (bit by Bit) the contents of the site. I can also see the sites which we've begun to build on their drive. Becuase I'm using 1&1's WebBuilder software - I see two files which start with WSB. These are the two sites I've been working on.
It appears that all the domains I own point me back to the same drive. In other words, if I type in ftp://www.debbiesteiger.com the same view of the same drive and the same files pop-up.
These are the contents of your ISP website space. When you sign up for an ISP account it typically comes with a certain amount of drive space (such as 100 MB). This is the space the ISP is monitoring. If you follow the instructions on Explorer (in this case I'm using Explorer 7.0) You can change the view so that the drive can be navigated just as your C:drive can.