Article Submission

Business

I spent the better part of a couple days looking for article “engines”, places where I could submit articles. They had to meet one critical criteria. The publisher’s site must have a backlink from the article site. In other words, my sole purpose for article submission on this round is link honey. I want the links.

This was a tedious process. First, I went through this list of article directories. For each directory I picked a 2-3 month old article. I then checked the backlink of the site listed in the resource box. If the article directory was not listed in the backlinks, it did not make my list. Once I had the backlinks, I found other article directories in the list. I went to those directories, checked to see the submission criteria and ease of submission. I also checked an additional article from the new directory for backlinks. From this process I found these directories.

Of course, there are other reasons to do article submissions. For example, article sites often rank high for a given term given the content of the site. The articles get spidered faster giving you quicker visibility and higher traffic. Other webmasters and webnovices, look for information on article directories and either link to the article or reprint it with the live links in tact (more link honey). As a result I will also submit to Ezine Articles, perhaps the most popular article directory, and iSnare, a popular directory amongst affiliate marketers.

I want to do the first round of article submissions myself so that I learn firsthand what it entails. Next round I’ll use one of the submission services. Does anyone have any suggestions for those? What is your criteria for article submission? If you use a service, how do you verify that your criteria was met?

September Task List

Processing and Packing

I’m back from vacation. My intention was to leave on Wednesday so that I could use Thursday to recuperate, do work on Friday and enjoy the festivities at church this weekends, as well as fulfill a myriad of obligations. We did not leave until Thursday so the whole plan is out the window. I have a lot on my plate and my mind. Usually I write here last, but today I’m writing here first so that I could get my task list together. Here it is.

  • Do homepage template for e-commerce site. This is a seasonal template that needs to be swapped out. Immediately.
  • Do article submission for e-commerce site.
  • Commission 50 more articles for e-commerce site.
  • Complete April through August financials for e-commerce site.
  • Complete 30 articles for each of the affiliate sites.
  • Do 30 directory submissions and 20 feed submissions for affiliate sites.
  • Figure out optimal AdSense placement for site #1.

I started off thinking that this would be a task list for this weekend, but who am I kidding. I’m going to be working on this stuff all month long. As far as articles go, I’ve already lost 10 days this month, so for 10 out of the next 20 days I’ll have to double up. I really was hoping that this would not happen, but when I got to Florida my brain was so happy to take a rest, I just let it.

Feels much better to write it down though. I’ll be checking stuff off as time passes right here.

BTW, the scheduling thing worked like a charm. I used it for the e-commerce site. It was lovely.

Drudging Through

Business

Site #1: 2 articles
Site #2: 2 articles
Site #3: 1 article

[Before TV]
I am dragging. I just want to sleep, but I persevere. I cranked out one article per site today and did the same yesterday. I have not done anything about the homepage yet, nor have I written anything for site #3. It’s not for lack of interesting info swimming in my head. It’s the organization of said information in a cohesive manner so that I can write. I know, I know, I should just push through and do it. In fact, that’s exactly what I’m going to do because I have to start somewhere. It’s not going to be perfect, but it has to get done. No articles today means an even tougher rest of the month. Can you tell that I’m giving myself a pep talk?

AdSense is doing remarkably well. I am over $17 for the month. Ironically, site #2, which is difficult to write for, is doing quite well.

[After TV]
Okay, I came upstairs after watching the Biggest Loser and did an article for site #3. I still can’t bring myself to post it, but at least it’s done. I just can’t go to an unthemed (my word) site.

It Was A Day of Processing And Packing

Processing and Packing

As I was lamenting today again on how laborious this shipping process is, I reminded myself that there was a time when we re-typed orders into Quickbooks and addresses into USPS. Imagine how much time that would take. I am grateful that that is no longer the case.

I’m beginning to isolate the problem areas. The biggest fat is in the number of times we touch the product. We unpack it and put it on the racks, then we check to see if it’s what we ordered, then we check to see if the stuff that we have to send out is there, then we pack it. Too many touch points for the products. I also think that we spend a lot of time walking around that tiny room. Clipboards will become a mainstay.

The next time consumer is the number of clicks that one order has to go through. For that, I think that order management software would help. Some central location that automatically interfaces to all the other apps we have to interface with, but we would only have to deal with it. We’ve been reading about Stone Edge to solve that problem.

Of course, this won’t be fixed overnight, but little by little we will become more efficient.

Quest To $1/day CONQUERED!

Quest

I am over $30, which means that my goal of $1/day is met. Joy, joy, yippee, yippee, joy, joy!!!

This has given me the incentive to get back on track with my affiliate sites. Realistically, I’m not going to meet my posting goals for this month. In order to make better use of my time and hit my December goal of $150, I am going to re-theme site #1. I am also outsourcing the writing for site #2. That leaves site #3, which realistically I won’t plan on resuming until mid-October.

I am on target to meet my goals. $5/day by December will be a stretch, but I believe with those changes I will be able to make it.

It Was A Day of Processing And Packing

Business

As I was lamenting today again on how laborious this shipping process is, I reminded myself that there was a time when we re-typed orders into Quickbooks and addresses into USPS. Imagine how much time that would take. I am grateful that that is no longer the case.

I’m beginning to isolate the problem areas. The biggest fat is in the number of times we touch the product. We unpack it and put it on the racks, then we check to see if it’s what we ordered, then we check to see if the stuff that we have to send out is there, then we pack it. Too many touch points for the products. I also think that we spend a lot of time walking around that tiny room. Clipboards will become a mainstay.

The next time consumer is the number of clicks that one order has to go through. For that, I think that order management software would help. Some central location that automatically interfaces to all the other apps we have to interface with, but we would only have to deal with it. We’ve been reading about Stone Edge to solve that problem.

Of course, this won’t be fixed overnight, but little by little we will become more efficient.

Operations Getting Better

Business

Today went much better. I am finally getting into a rhythm with the operations. It’s taken some effort to transition. I eliminated a touch by checking the shipping slip and inventorying items in one step, as oppose to checking them in, then putting them in inventory. Doing some clean up work on some items. Once I get into a groove with this I can concentrate on stuff I like, like marketing.

Getting The Hang Of It

Business

Almost at the end of week 3 of January. Things are going considerably better as I get into the groove. The transition was a bit rough, but it’s almost over.

I am so realizing what Kiyosaki meant by the importance of a good team. I have a phenomenal lawyer, banker, accountant and coach. I always thought that these people were out of my league. I mean we’re not running a multi-million dollar company. YET. However, having those folks just take the edge of. This week I had to submit a credit app to our supplier to up our limit. Since we’re doing so much volume and all. The reason for the low limit was because no one at our previous bank would give any information. Truth be told there wasn’t really any one person that they could talk to. This week before I faxed the app, I called the banker to let him know that they were calling. No problem. That’s just one example.

Started coaching this week. Specifically to increase our sales. We’re going to do something radical for pure play online retailers. Start networking and reaching out offline. Radical for us anyway. The coaching, really training, is very insightful. The best part is that DH, my business partner gets to do it and I don’t have to flog him to do it.

AdWords CTR is in the double digits for all campaigns and we are working on fixing the problems with the site to get those high priced visitors to convert. I also put in some bids today for e-mail newsletters. The only thing, well maybe not the only, but the thing that concerns me now is the lack of response from the link builder.

Thinking Dollars, Not Pennies

Dollars

Last week was a rough week psychologically. I think it was because I didn’t write my daily tasks on the white board. I started to feel overwhelmed. The customer calls got me down. Looking at the numbers got me down, and they’re quite good. Everything just stressed me a touch more. So this week it’s back to tracking on the white board. That way I know things are getting done.

Article submissions have been working relatively well to drive traffic to the site. I’ve been thinking about changing our internal focus from just getting the sale, to getting the relationship. Right now our conversion is at .6 %, up from .35%. We just did a site redesign, so that should help. Even if it gets to 2%, why should we lose 98% of our traffic. I think we need to get at least 60% of our traffic to do something: sign up for our newsletter, become active on our blog, or peruse articles. The idea is that if we can get that traffic engaged on some level, we’ll have a better chance of getting a sale at some point from them. It’s something that I’m learning in that sales class and, coincidently, something I got from talking to a very prosperous, experienced Internet marketer.

Think relationship building (long term), more than getting the sale (short term).

Tap, Tap, Tap, Like Water On A Rock

Water

Today marked a significant milestone with our company. We had our first ever true $1000 day. It was a long time coming. This week we also averaged 10 sales a day. Again a significant milestone.

Are we doing anything different you ask? Not really. We attribute it to the season. (Clue to our business.) We’re working on building awareness and staying connected with our customers. We’re in the process of doing a site redesign and fixing some technical problems that continue to plague us in our cart. I haven’t taken a look at the logs yet to see where the sales are coming from. When I do that, I’ll tell all here. Ironically, this increase comes after we narrowed out Adwords campaign to trim away the keywords that were not converting. So last week, was a great week profit wise as well.

Nothing much else to report. Oh, numbers for January, we averaged 5 sales a day. Our goal was 10. Our average sale also went from $80 to $70. As a result we missed our goal. It looks like we are one month behind our plan. I’m very optimistic that we can catch up, but even if we can’t we’ll still make the million dollar goal at this pace.

BTW, our plan is to increase sales by 5/day every month. Starting at 10 sales/day in January going to 65/day in December. To do that, we are building awareness and staying connected to our customers. As, I said before, we had this elaborate plan to do a lot of marketing scattered in many directions, but we have focused our energies. First, we’re going the guerilla, low cost route. Second, we’ll be applying constant, small efforts to tap, tap, tap. Like water on a rock.