Category Archives: Resources

URL Rotator Script for WordPress

One of my favorite WordPress plugins is GoCodes. It is kind of a personalized TinyURL for WordPress, on your own blog.

Apart from using it to cloak your links in things like blog posts and emails (redirect users through your blog to the affiliate link), you can also use it as a stationary URL that you can change at any date in the future without disrupting your link infrastructure.

For instance, if you were promoting a particular offer for some time, then the offer suddenly went dead, you could easily just replace the target URL with another offer, with very minimal effort. Far better than having to replace all the links in your blog and email campaigns!

Recently it occurred to me that wouldn’t it be great to be able to build some crude split-testing ability into that same concept? This would be perfect for testing CPA offers, as you could send a certain amount of traffic to each offer and find out which converted best.

I know there are URL rotating scripts out there; but I really like working with WordPress, and any manual scripting really slows things down.

So I hired a programmer to build me the newly created URL Rotator wordpress plugin.

Essentially what this allows you to do is specify a group of URLs you’d like to cycle through, then specify a jump key that allows you to reference this group from anywhere.

For example, I want to create a jump key to cycle through three different search engines.

I create the jump group to include:

http://www.google.com
http://www.yahoo.com
http://www.bing.com

I then create a jump key of ‘searchengine’ on my site, so I can send people to the url http://jonathanboettcher.com/searchengine and it will automatically cycle through those three sites. Try it – the link is live.

The plugin also has a hit counter that you can reset – crude but effective way of measuring overall traffic. IE if you’re testing three offers and you send 300 clicks, you know that each offer has received 100 clicks.

In addition, we designed the plugin so that it can pass along any URL variables you send to it. So if you’re trying to do keyword tracking, you can do that.

I’ve decided to release this for free, as it is my first WordPress plugin, however depending on the demand for it I may decide to start charging a small fee for it.

Get it now while it’s free!

Sweet Adwords Plugin for PPC’ers

As an internet marketer living in Canada, probably 90% of my efforts go into marketing in other countries. However, as I’m sure you’re aware, Google likes to serve up local search results based on where you are located. This can sometimes make things tricky, like if I’m trying to analyze my PPC competition in Australia, or the US.

Quite a while ago I came across a site called AdwordsAnywhere, and it let you do a search, then choose which country you wanted to search from. It would then return the results inside a frame.

This was very helpful, if a little cumbersome, but recently I went back to the site and found it didn’t exist any more. I still don’t know what happened to those guys, but it seems as though they’ve disappeared.

Thankfully, that led me on a quest for a replacement, and that replacement is the Google Global Firefox Extension.

It works seamlessly in Firefox, so when you’re searching for something, in the space of about two clicks you can repeat your search in any area of the world. It’s pretty cool.

This is super helpful for any localized SEO work, as well as localized PPC and the like.

Go check it out. It’s free.

5 Cool Ways to Use Quantcast – the Marketer’s Goldmine

I recently heard no less than three different people mention how valuable they had found Quantcast.com to be in their market research, so this afternoon when I had a few minutes to burn I figured I would check it out. I was surprised to see some of my own sites on there with detailed demographic information! It was amazing! 

Pretty soon I was typing in competitor sites, supplier sites the whole works. This blog is a little too insignificant for the likes of Quantcast, so I can’t use it as an example, but just for fun, I’ll use Russell Brunson’s site, DotComSecrets.com. 

Check out the Quantcast demographics here

Immediately, you can see that 54% of visitors are Male. Ok. Pretty even. But wait a second, the next one down shows that the huge majority of visitors are 35-49 and older! That should be some useful information! We then find out that about 77% earn less than 60k per year. 

Understanding your target market is not only important, it is crucial. I recently figured out that 62% of the traffic to a particular health product I was promoting was female. So, because I was just about to revamp the auto responder anyways, I decided to write it catering more towards a female audience. It’s a bit early to tell if this will pay off or not, but without that information I’d be shooting in the dark. 

So take this beyond straight demographics, and let’s see if there are other ways to use this information. 

1. Content Ad Targeted Placements

Well, Quantcast also has an “Audience Also Visits” section on the right side. This could be a goldmine for sites to place content ads on, especially if you find some that have a very high affinity rating. 

2. Discover Competing Affiliates

Ironically, you might not be able to find your biggest competitors through a quick search of Google. For instance, if you were promoting a guitar product, one of your largest competitors might not even mention the product you’re selling, but could be driving crazy traffic through banner ads. Ok, well Quantcast will show this. Do a search for the main page of one of the offer’s I’m promoting, and turns out that my affiliate site has a 466.1x affinity to the mother site. That’s pretty high. I guess that means I’m the closest thing to the real thing. LOL. But, below me, I also see several other sites with affinities well over 200 (I’m the only one over 250 – and there’s a reason for that which I won’t get into here). So I now have a very different perspective of my competition than I did before, because only a few of those sites showed up in my previous analyses. 

3. Find Parallel Keyword Searches

Ever heard the concept of parallel marketing? It’s the idea that your market isn’t necessarily searching for your keywords, but they’re out there and they’d like to find you, they’re just in different thought streams. For instance, someone looking for a car rental in Hawaii might also be in the market for a helicopter tour of a volcano. While it might be true, that would be quite a leap to go on with no data to back you up. So Quantcast provides the data. If you found for instance your customers were also searching for “helicopter in hawaii” or something, you could then start advertising along those lines… keywords, websites, you know the drill. 

4. Discover Your Competitor’s Best Keywords

I did a search for the website that I’m an affiliate of (the mother site), and found I had the highest affinity of any of the sites. That’s fun. Okay, so who’s next? I went through the list, and clicked on the link for each site, to bring up their own stats. I was surprised to find some competitors I didn’t know about also pulling in 20k visits per month with very simple sites. Hmm. Very interesting… then my eye was drawn to the “Audience also searches for” and found one of my competitors had a keyword on there with an affinity of 2693.5x. Now that is pretty freakin high. I think it’s pretty safe to say that keyword is making him money. In fact, I would go way beyond that and venture to say that he’s also advertising on that keyword, and heavily. That must mean that it is a profitable word for him… something I can turn to my own advantage. I know what’s high on my to do list for tomorrow… 

5. Community Finder (Addict Meter)

The Traffic Frequency stat is kind of fun; it will tell you how addicted a site’s clients are to it. This basically just lets you know how often they come back for more. Use this to vet out good spots to advertise – if you’ve got an idea that a site is good, try it out here and see what comes up. Does it match with your expectations, or is it way off? This could show you some warning signs, for instance a community type site that doesn’t really have much repeat traffic when you look at the data. 

Well there are a few ways that I could think of off the top of my head to use Quantcast; I’m sure you’ve got other great ideas, so please feel free to share them in the comments!

The Mechanical Turk Strikes Again

A few weeks ago I wrote a post on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk (mturk.com) and some of the potential I saw in it to get stuff done on the cheap. Well, since that day I’ve been running multiple HITs (Human Intelligence Tasks) on the Turk and I’ve been getting some great results.

If you’ve got a blog or any kind of website, chances are you’d like for people to be looking at it, right? Well, one great way to do that currently is to promote it on social media websites like Digg, Del.icio.us, StumbleUpon, Facebook; the list is seemingly endless. You could spend entire days creating accounts at each of these sites, write a small review of your site and post the link, and in the end you would probably see a small gain in traffic. However, what if you could accomplish all that for 50 cents? Without spending any time on it yourself? Would you do it? I sure would. In fact, I did.

As I’ve previously mentioned, I’m currently in the process of launching a new webstore sand as such I’ve been trying my best to find ways to promote it. So I created a HIT on Amazon’s web services (Mechanical Turk) asking people to bookmark my site on their favorite social network. My HIT looked something like the following:

Bookmark the URL http://www.digitalframeguy.com

Using one of the following sites:
http://del.icio.us/
http://www.stumbleupon.com/
http://www.propeller.com/
http://spurl.net/
http://diigo.com/
http://myjeeves.ask.com/
http://www.connectedy.com/index.php
http://www.myvmarks.com/
http://www.bookmarktracker.com/bt/home
http://www.oyax.com/
http://www.jumptags.com/
http://www.mylinkvault.com/
http://buddymarks.com/
http://linkagogo.com/
http://bibsonomy.org/
http://backflip.com/
http://www.mister-wong.com/
http://blinklist.com/
http://furl.net/

Include in the title or description one of the following terms:
digital picture frame(s)
digital photo frame(s)
digital frame(s)
wireless photo frame(s)

You may use either the singular or plural version of the keyword.
Please provide the URL of the bookmark in comments to receive payment for the HIT.
You can complete this HIT up to 5 times if you use a different bookmarking site each time.

So you can see I tried to make things as easy as possible for the turker to complete. Most of these people already have accounts at one or another of the social networks, so all they have to do is login and link to you. I offered 10 cents for these, only because I wanted a bunch in a hurry. 10 cents is actually a decent price for a HIT such as this. For another site, where I was more patient, I only offered 1 cent per bookmark, and I still got good results, though slower. As such, it is important to decide on your budget. It is worth taking the time to figure out if you only want to spend 25 cents promoting your site, or if you can actually afford a full $2.00. The choice is yours.

So I’ve basically given you a blueprint here for one way to get as many hiqh quality backlinks to your site as you want from the social media sites. If you want, you can specify only Digg links, or whatever you value. The great thing about this is the search engines love social media right now, most of the sites have high PR, and you get a link to your site that typically includes the keyword phrase of your choice. All for a few cents.

What’s not to love about that?

EDIT: I just got some article HITs back from Mechanical Turk and two of them were so good that I wanted to award a bonus to the authors. FYI – here’s how to do it. In the Manage HIT interface, where you see their unique ID number, beside the HIT results, click on that number (it is a hyperlink) and a pop down menu will appear. You can then award a bonus of any amount you wish through that link. I just felt bad paying 50 cents for these two great articles, so I doubled it for them.

I know, I’m a big spender. =)

3 Killer PPC Tools for Affiliate Marketers

I’ve been so busy lately trying to work out some kinks in getting my first webstore online that I’ve somewhat neglected my affiliate marketing endeavors. However, as the site is slowly coming together I find myself starting to think about how I’m going to market it. As I previously posted, I have had no end of SEO related sales calls, some of them totally discounting the value of PPC advertising. I think that is rather misguided. SEO alone is like having one leg on a stool. You need more legs if you want to stand securely!

Pay Per Click advertising gets you results fast, and it also helps you really drill down to find the money words, if you’re doing proper analysis. This can really help inform you when it comes to SEO, and choosing what keywords to optimize around. So I set out on a quest to find some tools to really help me do that proper analysis, and along the way I’ve discovered a couple great ones. If you’re into affilate or pay per click marketing, I highly recommend you seriously consider these.

Disclaimer: This is not a sales pitch, and even though my affiliate links are in here (you can only be an affiliate once you’ve purchased) I honestly do recommend these products. Evaluate them on their own merit.

Affiliate Radar

I’ve been looking for a way to quickly build campaigns that are trackable at the keyword level for a long time. I’m fairly handy with Excel so I’ve limped along with some homebrew solutions for quite a while, but when I found Affiliate Radar I knew I needed it. Their slogan is “Don’t Fly Blind” and it’s true. If you’re an affiliate marketer and you’re not tracking the performance of every keyword you’re advertising on, I can almost guarantee you’re both losing money (even if you’re making money) and at the same time leaving money on the table.

The great thing about AR is that I’m now able to easily implement keyword-level and ad-level tracking on pretty much any search engine I choose. I can send all the traffic to one page if I wish, and the software will handle it all for me. Later on, I simply go into my affiliate network, grab the relevant report, import it into AR along with my cost data and boom – it spits out a gigantic report that gives me cost / revenue data per keyword / ad across all my campaigns all at once! It takes seconds! From here I can quickly identify which keywords are winners and which are losers. This allows me to save a ton of time testing new affiliate offers, and means I’m much more likely to hit upon a profitable combination (even if I’m only running two keywords!).

Another interesting thing about the method of tracking AR uses is that it assigns a unique ID to every keyword – such as 7A000123 for example. The only place this has relevance is in their database, so the manager of your affiliate program will have no idea which keywords or tactics you’re using to drive sales. This effectively keeps your secrets safe.

Affiliate Radar is setup for simple report importing for most of the affiliate networks you can think of (and they’ll add more on request). CJ, Clickbank, Linkshare, CPA Networks, Azoogle, the list goes on and on. One of the coolest features is the ability to quickly export any given campaign to Google, Yahoo, or MSN. What I do is build a campaign in Adwords Editor (another FREE must have for anyone using Adwords), export the whole campaign into Affiliate Radar, add all the special keyword links, then export back to Adwords, adding Yahoo and MSN at the same time. This can really triple your efficiency when building new ad campaigns.

Speed PPC

I just got Speed PPC the other day, and I’ve yet to really take full advantage of its power. However, using these two systems in conjunction can provide some stunning results. Speed PPC allows you to manipulate keyword lists into massively long lists, broken down by category in order to provide maximum relevancy. For example you might have two lists, one of type of shoe (running shoe, tennis shoe, hiking shoe etc) and another of brand names (Nike, Reebok, Adidas, etc). Speed PPC can merge these together into every combination you can think of (Nike running shoe, Nike tennis shoe, Nike hiking shoe) and group them together. You can then do similar things building the ads themselves. The final screen lets you export all that data into Adwords Editor where you can have a campaign with hundreds of keywords broken down into dozens of adgroups live in about a minute.

Now take this data from Adwords Editor, send it over to Affiliate Radar, add keyword tracking, then export it back to the three main search engines and you’re well on your way. A competent user of both programs could have a fully fledged, optimized keyword and ad tracked campaign (with hundreds of keywords) setup from start to finish in just over 10 minutes. Where I come from that is pretty impressive.

Adwords Editor

I thought I should mention Adwords Editor in here as well. I know a while ago I was conned into buying a similar product that allowed me to edit my Google Adwords campaigns from a Windows client; however the software didn’t work that well and I ended up discarding it. Little did I know, probably at the same time, Google was releasing their free tool called Adwords Editor. By far the most impressive feature of this software is the ability to easily import / export bulk data. I can add hundreds of keywords to multiple campaigns from one screen, or change the max bid on all my keywords simultaneously. Did I mention it is free?