Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Looking backwards can be instructional.

I have a website which has been online since 2000, right now I can't remember exactly when I started it but that isn't relevant to this post.

On that site there is a page of links to various affiliate sites and programs. Since then only one of those has closed down and the link no longer works (well I changed it actually but you get my drift).

Keeping that in mind, go have a look through your collection of ebooks in your digital library, blow the cyber dust off and search them for links. Follow those links to find out how many of those "must have tools, memberships etc." still work.

I have found that most of them no longer work. Those that do often point to pages which are not relevant or have been taken over by those junk parked domain sites where every link is adsense or similar.

Incidentally, I never click on those links and have been considering that I really should report them to Google as they just clutter up their results pages with internet plaque.

The interesting thing about these links is that you probably paid good money for the ebook or gave away your email address for them and they cannot even be bothered keeping the links live. In some cases it is because the links were to affiliate pages which no longer exist and it is impossible to recall all the ebooks to update the links. In others it is simple because the owner of the domain didn't make enough money to even pay their hosting fees.

Remember when the big buzz was to write an ebook, plug in your links and give it away so it'll go viral and you'll get 1,000s of visitors for free? I probably have 100s of these type of ebook. Mostly the content is crap, rehashed or just plain wrong and, of course, the links don't work.

So what can you do in your ebooks to prevent this happening? Ultimately you must control your links, all of them. It's smart business to do that in any case because you can make sure that all your links point to the same site and funnel the link juice into one place rather than scattering it or boosting the sales page of someone else.

So here's a plan or two. Create a blogger blog, create a review post for whatever product you're promoting with a link to the sales page, a email sign-up form, an image of the product and nothing else. Set your blogger site to only show one post per page and use the link to the post in your report, ebook, forum posts etc.

If/when the product stops being available you can either produce your own or change the review to recommend a different product and change the links from your page.

That's plan one, plan two is to register a domain with a nice generic name and build nice redirect php pages with your main keyword as the page name. Like this http://mygenericdomain.com/left_handed_widget.php the redirect can be either an immediate redirect or, and better, a landing page with product review, sales page, contact details collection etc and a link to the actual sales page.

By doing this for every product of yours or that you are promoting you'll never lose the value of the work you do to promote. Realistically you should collect details from all your visitors, you can't do that but you should try. The main focus of your marketing should be to build a list, not sell a product. It's much easier to sell a product to your list than it is to keep finding more new custoemrs to sell a product to.

I have a new blog running at wealth management tips which I have recently put an email collection form on. It's a really crappy form and the offer is rubbish. I am not happy with the autoresponder that I am using there and went looking for a better one.

I just couldn't find a good one which allowed me to do what I want an autoresponder to do. Even the free ones have limits on subscribers, number of emails in a sequence, or won't do both sequential emails and broadcast emails to the subscribers. The paid ones also have limits and then want more money. I just wasn't happy with the functions and capabilities of the paid or free ones available so. Yep, guessed it, I am writing one. Beta testing of the basic functionality will begin soon. I'll post again when I have something online for viewing and, yes, it will be linkware. Free in exchange for a link to the site.

Proposed functionality:
unlimited subscribers
unlimited sequential emails
unlimited broadcast emails
double optin with logging
genuine email checker (no junk emails blocking up your list)
customise the form
short url links
form view tracking
subscription click tracking
email delivery tracking
email open tracking
link click tracking
customer editable profile page

and there are a couple of other goodies which I am not yet prepared to disclose.

There are some bits which aren't strictly autoresponder functionality but will be useful to marketers. Build landing pages, track product downloads etc.

More later, it isn't completed yet but is getting close.



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