Thursday, August 25, 2005

Here Come De Spiders

Hey, the logs showed me that a spider turned up and had a "look" around.

Does that mean that the visitors will come streaming in? After all, there is no better place to buy the best widgets online.

So, more waiting, waiting etc.

And, guess what! No sales. How could that be? Now the site is spidered and is listed by some of the search engines there should be lots of visitors so why isn't there?

Well, lets see if we can find out how many people are actually searching for widgets online. If I know how many are looking and none are visiting I might be able to find out where they are going.

That information just might help me find out how to get some visitors to my site. Research, that's the thing. Just a thought, maybe some research before I started might have made this trip a bit easier.

Rule number one - Do your research first.

Off to do some research. Lets go check out some keywords - this link will open a new page at what used to be Overture.com. If you click on the "Keyword Selector Tool" link you can find out how many searches were conducted on your keywords on the whole internet in the previous month.

I searched on widget and there were only 4,055 searches in that month. Perhaps that isn't enough. Even 10% of the searchers clicking on my link would only result in 400 visitors a month. To make matters worse, on Google, there are over 6 million pages on widgets competing for those 4,000 searchers.

Hmmmm... New word for me Research might come in handy sometime soon. So, perhaps I should go about this Internet Marketing a whole different way.

Lets start with the next entry and see what happens.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

What happened to the sales?

Nothing, that's what happened to the sales.

So, analyse the logs I was told, find out where the visitors who visited your sales pages came from.

More stuff to learn, hey, I didn't even have a logging script on my pages. How can you analyse your logs when there aren't any logs to analyse?

OK, so I put up a logging script and tried again. After only a couple of days I noticed a serious problem with the visitors - there wasn't any. So that's why there are no sales, there is no-one coming to the sales pages to be "expertly persuaded" by my brilliant writing.

How do I get people to visit my website? Submit the pages to the search engines. Of course, I knew that. So how do I submit to the search engines? Fortunately the search engines have a page for submitting your site details. What keywords do I want? What are keywords? I know, they are the words and phrases that people will use to search for sites like mine. So, since I am selling widgets, widgets has to be one of my keywords. What else? Well any of the words which describe my widgets are good ones so lets put in lots.

That was easy, now wait for the floods of traffic.

Waiting...

Still waiting...

Now what? Back to the search engines and this time read the information. Well, the search engine spiders (little programs which visit your site to gather information) can take weeks or months to check it out before you get listed.

So it's back to sleep until the site gets "spidered".

And that is the next post.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

In the Beginning there was a dream ...

And like so many of us it involved making some extra money on this new-fangled internet thingy.

You would think it would be an absolute cinch to make some money when there are millions of people online and are all searching for something, they all must have some money ('cause they have to pay to get online, get a computer, get a modem etc.) and they might even have some way of paying you.

You know the maths, if I set up a website and only 0.01% visit per week, thats 10 million x 0.1%= 10,000 visitors per week and if only 10% buy my whatever then thats 1,000 sales @ $??? profit per week and I can quit my job ... Woo Hoo, lets get going.

So, I find out how to build webpages and put up a web site. For the newbies, a web site is just a collection of web pages with links between them so you can get to them all. I started with a simple wysiwyg html editor (what-you-see-is-what-you-get). Quickly discovered that it was a what-you-see-isn't-always-what-you-get html editor and it was also a you-can't-do-what-you-really-want-to-do editor and I was going to have to learn some HTML.

What? HTML (HyperText Markup Language) is the code used by web page editors (human and programs) to tell your web browser how to display your latest creation.

If you aren't familiar with the look of HTML, do a right-click on this page, in the pop-up menu there will be something similar to "Show Source". This usually opens the page in a new window and shows you what the page would look like without the browser doing it's thing.

Now, you don't need an expensive program to build your web pages for you and you no longer need to know much if anything about HTML. There are many good free programs that can handle that for you. My favorites are 1stPage 2000, HTMLGate Free, Arachnophilia. I would suggest beginning with Mozilla, it is free and fast, open Composer and begin playing with pages, type in text, choose headers, plug in images, build tables etc.

I would also advise that you don't use word processing programs to create web pages as they generally build "fat" pages that take longer to load. Not important with broadband? Yep it still is important to keep the load times down for web pages - try to keep your web pages below 18kb including all images.

I'll get back to building web pages later.

Of course, with my first web page I could see it on my computer but how does everyone else get to see it? How do I get the page from my computer to the internet? My ISP told me I had to FTP it to the server - Huh? What's a server? What's FTP? OK, a server is just another computer but one that is permanently connected to the internet. It has a program running that accepts "requests" from other computers for files. If the server program can find the file, it "shows" it to the "requesting" computer which downloads it. When you type in a web address (URL) or click on a link in your browser you are the "requesting" computer. If the file is there, you get a web page, if it isn't, you get a different web page with an error message.

That's what a web browser does. Now a web browser is a program for translating HTML and displaying it on your screen. You are probably familiar with email, you get your email by using a program like Outlook, Eudora etc. There are many different email programs (also called email clients) but they all work in very similar ways, they "request" the email server program for files addressed to you, there is some chat between the two programs to make sure the right email goes to the right client and then the email server allows the email client to download all your email.

What are you getting at Brent? I didn't know any of this stuff, some of you might not as well. Anyway, this is my blog so I can write anything I like so ther nyah nyah nyah...

What I was getting to is that FTP just involves another two programs. An FTP client on your computer and an FTP server on the online computer. Mostly, when you setup the FTP client and start it, it will connect with the ftp server, do some chat like the email client, and show you a list of what is already on your web presence. So how do I get my new web page to the web?

I can do a copy/paste to move the file, I can drag-and-drop the file or I can click on the upload button. So I did that and went to check out my new page. What? Where are the images? Eventually I worked out that I needed to upload the images as well as the page. Doh! OK. So we have to upload everything we want on the web site to the server. I knew that.

Well, now I have build a whole bunch of pages, they have links from the navigation section to each page, the images are all there and I am ready to sell millions of widgets (widget is a generic term for a product). How are they going to buy my widget? Oh, I need a form for them to fill in and order the widget. Or they could just email me. Ok, the composer program can build a form for me but what does action="" mean. It seems that I need a script. When I began this online journey I found out about cgi scripts and Perl. I didn't know about PHP, Python or any of the others.

It seems that, for people to buy my widget I need more than a web site, I also need a way for them to buy. So I set up a form and found a perl script online, made the changes I needed to and uploaded it into the cgi-bin directory of my web site. Now, at last, I was ready for the money to come flooding in. Woo Hoo.

So, after several days slipped into weeks and no sales I began to wonder what had happened.

That's probably enough for this episode. Next installament "What happenned to the sales?"

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Welcome to My Internet Marketing Journey.

I have been so frustrated with trying to separate the real online marketing experts from the "me too, know nothing, self proclaimed gurus" and blatant scam artists who are just trying to extract money from you that I decided to begin a blogg to chronicle my personal experiences in the, possibly naive hope that some of you might be able to learn from this and avoid the many traps I have fallen into.

I'll also try to keep the sentences shorter.

Firstly, my name is Brent and I live in Adelaide, South Australia. Read my profile for more details. I am trying to keep this as open and honest as possible. This might change if I cop too much BS from others (not you of course - but 'others').

Everything on this blogg is my opinion and you may or may not experience the same results or share my opinion. You are welcome to share your opinion with me and others but blatent attempts to use my blogg to promote your own affiliate programs or sell stuff will be met with complete ignore and the deletion of your post - judges decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

I have been online now since 1998 and I haven't made my fortune, I haven't made $297,126.43 in 24 hours (or even at all), I am no genius and I have opinions on everything.

You might even get to read some of my opinions, no, that's wrong. You will get to read my opinions.

In any case, the journey has already begun so the next several posts will attemp to bring you up to date with what has happened in the past and where I am now. Of necessity I will talk about me and my experiences. This isn't to make me look good (it probably won't) but simply becaus I cannot talk about your experiences 'cause I didn't have them.

What I expect to happen is that you'll identify with some of my experiences and perhaps some of my solutions will make sense to you. I trust that you'll take full responsibility for your own choices and actions relating to any and all information on this blogg. By the way, that was a legal disclaimer. You agree to it by continuing to read this blogg. OK?


An extra line so you can leave this page if you choose. In actual fact I am closing this post here so I can go back to the 3D world (where the food comes from) and will add another post in the very near future.

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