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I can't get rich online and neither can you. Topics include why you won't get rich with your blog, ideas you wish you had thought of, and other Internet phenomena.

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Archive: ReviewU

Best Free Keyword Generation Tool (and a Market Samurai Review)

Wow, now that’s one long ass title, but quite fitting nonetheless.  I always see people talking about what the best keyword tool is, and you’ll always get the typical responses:  the sheep who just spout out what they already heard elsewhere without using anything themselves; the affiliates of one product vs. another product trying to either make a quick buck or justify their promos for the tool; and the drowned out voices of those who are giving an honest opinion.

Since Keyword Elite and Micro Niche Finder turned down my offer of saying their tools are the best keyword tools in exchange for a measly $2,000,000, I’m going to take the route of giving you my honest opinion.  :)

Now, having said that, I already see some people assuming that I’m against Keyword Elite 2 and Micro Niche Finder — that’s completely not the case.  Both are pretty cool tools, but I’m going to focus on the free keyword tools for now as many draw from the same sources …. it’s just in how they display the results and what features they have that make all the difference.

So now, back to my honest review.

There are two main free keyword generation tools out there:

1.  Market Samurai

and

2.  Google’s Keyword Generator

Having said that, Market Samurai essentially pulls its results from Google’s keyword generator anyway, and Google won’t try to sell you other stuff.

Google’s keyword tool is pretty nifty, and if you enter in a few relevant keywords, especially more long tail keywords, you can get some very relevant results that will show you how many searches they get a month, how competitive it is to advertise there, etc..

I love this tool and use it all the time, especially because it’s web-based and very easy to access.

The only major downside to it is that they don’t really allow you to sort the results easily.  It’s still easy to see mostly what keywords are good and what ones are bad, but it’d be nice to offer more filtering features.

That’s where Market Samurai comes into play.  The interface I don’t like nearly as much as Google’s own keyword tool, but they do a nice job of allowing you to sort through the results, rank the results by order of traffic or competition level, etc..

Since the keyword tool on Market Samurai is free anyway, I say use it if you’re going through HUGE keyword lists.  They have some nifty filtering features that make it worthwhile.

However, since it’s desktop based, if you’re looking for a quick search and aren’t wanting to sift through hundreds of results, Google’s own keyword tool is just fine and easier.

Now, having said that, here’s my personal tip for finding awesome keywords:  focus on keywords that get AT LEAST 1,000 searches per month and have at least a little Adwords competition (meaning that at least someone finds value in that keyword).  Then see if domain names that are .com, .net, or .org are available with the keyword phrase in them (like [keyword phrase].com).  If they are available, grab one (ideally .com, then .net, and then .org in order of preference).

Then make the keyword phrase your page title (what appears at the very top of the browser on any webpage), and you should have a decent chance of getting ranked well doing just that.  Your chances will go up even more if most of the search results in Google don’t have the keyword phrase in their page title — to find out, do a search with the phrase in quotes on Google and check out how many sites have the keyword phrase within the page title (the blue link).  If not many do, you have an awesome keyword to go after.

Comments / opinions — please leave them below.  :)

My next two reviews will deal with traffic and leads, and both of those will have some awesome tips to get rich online … or at least make a little extra dough….

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ReviewU: Quiznos.com (Seriously)

Here’s one of the stranger things I’ve been asked to review: Quiznos.com. I’m supposed to look at it from a design perspective, and also from the perspective of someone hoping to open a franchise.

Well, what can I say? The video box in the middle of the main page seems to be ok, but I’m not a fan of the three little pop-out video boxes below it. If I was designing the page, I’d want to make those static. Other than that, the site itself is very functional. It’s easy to find information, the nav bar is in a good place, and the color scheme works well. It’s almost like some multi-million dollar business had paid a high-end web designer to create the site or something.

From the franchise owner perspective, the layout is much more formal and subdued, dare I say “professional”? Well, that makes sense: It’s supposed to be a resource for people with lots of money who want to start a new restaurant. I guess that’s why there’s about seven miles of text over the whole site.  You might not want to read that though, so go ahead and stare at all the pictures of yummy sandwiches and soup.

Honestly, I really don’t know what to say about these sites.  They’re both extremely well designed.  They flow well, the color scheme is perfect, and it’s easy to find information.  I wouldn’t change a thing.

Well, actually I lie.  I would change one little thing:  The site is nowhere near politically correct enough.  I mean, sure, you’ve got pictures of men and women of every color, but I’m not seeing anybody in wheelchairs.  That’s a great way to get sued.

(I kid, I kid.  The site’s fine)

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ReviewU: The Limelight

When was the last time I did a free review? I think it was just before I started doing paid reviews. Oh well, time to go back to my roots.

Today’s ReviewU target is The Limelight, a blog that’s about everything. Seriously, I can’t figure out what niche this blog fills. Is it a money blog? Photo blog? Inspirational? Political? All of those topics are on the front page, and I can’t figure out where he’s going with this. That’s ok though, there’s nothing wrong with an everything blog. Sometimes it’s nice to just share whatever is on your mind. The problem with that, however, is that you can’t expect many readers. More on that later.

Get to the gripes already

Ok, fine. What can I say about this blog? Well, for starters, it’s trying to do everything at once. No, I’m not talking about the subject matter, I’m talking about the widgets. This blog is very, very “busy”. On the left sidebar, we’ve got three social bookmarking icons and an adsense block (ew). On the right, we see recent articles, ad blocks (including Entrecard), categories, archives, an empty links block (big no-no), the meta menu (also unnecessary), and the BlogRush widget (I hate BlogRush).  Up top we’ve got a simple nav bar and the RSS links (why would anybody want to subscribe to a site’s comments?).  On the bottom we see a tag cloud (who really looks at the footer anyway?).

The main content area is full of truncated articles.  Personally, I can’t stand those.  To me, they’re just a ploy to get more pageviews.  If I’m reading an article, I don’t want to have to click to see all of it.  I know a lot of people are fine with that, I’m just saying that personally, I hate it.  Given that the articles are rather long, though, I guess it works for this site. Expanding the full articles reveals even more Adsense blocks, which work ok with the theme (not saying I like them though).

Oh, and there seems to be some phantom buttons in the nav bar.  Move your mouse below the actual links and you’ll see them.  I know, I’m nitpicking.

The everything blog

I really don’t understand blogs with no niche.  They make me think of personal blogs, and why would I want to read your personal blog?  Unless you have a lot of credibility (celebrity, professor, etc), why would I want to listen to what you have to say?  Retaining readers on a no-niche blog must be very difficult (I’ve never tried it, so I have no idea).  Since this blog doesn’t use Feedburner, I have no way of knowing how many subscribers he has (which, of course, doesn’t do anything for his credibility). dnScoop tells me that the site is over 4 years old, and that its Alexa traffic is nonexistent, so I guess I’m right about the readership retention thing.  My humble suggestion would be to submit each and every article written to Digg, stumbleupon, etc, until you have a steady stream of returning visitors.  It’s hard enough to become recognized as an authority in one niche, so gaining recognition in everything may very well be impossible.

Overall

There’s nothing terribly wrong with this site, but it’s going to be an uphill battle getting and keeping readers.  Social bookmarking is your friend, and sadly, that’s all I can think of.

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ReviewU Now: Mixed Market Arts

Mixed Market Arts

In case you’re wondering, no, the hat never comes off. I like my hat.

Whew. I haven’t done a ReviewU in awhile, have I? Oh well, time to put on my reviewer gloves. The target of today’s review is Mixed Market Arts, which is owned by Collin LaHay. If you’re wondering why that name sounds familiar, you might recall him making blogosphere news a few months ago after selling RSSHugger and WordHugger for roughtly eleventy billion dollars.

Anyway, this isn’t about those two services, so let’s talk about Mixed Market Arts. While this blog claims to be a source of mixed marketing techniques, I’m seeing only two predominate themes: Link building and where to get traffic. More on that later.

Let’s take a look at the basics

The first thing I always do when researching a site is click on the ‘About’ page. According to that page, Collin is 18 years old, which seems to be the average age for Internet entrepreneurs these days. It also has a picture of Collin that looks like it came straight out of his yearbook (I’m guessing senior picture. Let me know if I’m right). Man, I had such a great senior picture. My hair was all spiked and everything. Good times. Anyway, Collin, I’d change that to something less formal. Right now it looks like you’re trying too hard. Then again, if you’re really trying embody the whole ‘young professional’ look, go ahead and keep it.

Anyway, Collin is a guy who builds webpages and is an expert in SEO, marketing, and traffic building. He makes thousands of dollars per month online. By comparison, when I was his age I worked as a cashier at Meijer. Good job Collin.

The site itself

Great design, good ad placement, appropriate logo. He even updates fairly frequently, and I’m not seeing any broken links/graphics/buttons. I can’t find anything wrong with this one.

The content

Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about link building is on this site. Be sure to check out his link building cookbook. Lots of good and unique ideas there, including one I’ve written about before (CBox spamming for fun and profit). Aside from his cookbook, there are plenty of other posts about how to create, find, or just basically get lots backlinks for your site(s). Other topics include how to take advantage of social bookmarking sites to drive traffic, the occasional post about affiliate marketing, and my personal favorite, how to get your pagerank back.

…Actually I’m already at PR0 so I can’t really sink much lower. In any case, if for some reason I want my old PR2 rating back someday, I’ll be sure to follow Collin’s instructions.

Overall

This site is a great resource for how to build your backlinks/increase your traffic/get a good PR. Collin seems to know exactly what he’s talking about, so I’d definitely recommend it to newbies and pros alike.

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ReviewU Now: Retire@21

Retire at 21
I’ve been putting off doing this ReviewU until today. Why? The title of the site I’m reviewing is Retire@21 and, well, I’ve failed. I turned 22 today, and I’m definitely not financially secure enough for retirement. Oh well. According to the sidebar, I can still learn a thing or two.

Meet the man

Retire@21 is run by a 19 year-old guy who is obviously very British (just look at those double-decker buses in the header). According to the About page, Michael Dunlop has been an entrepreneur at heart since the tender age of 5. He got his big break on eBay, making several tons of money, and has since built Retire@21 to encourage other young people to make their fortunes online instead of playing Football or making out with cheerleaders under the bleachers after gym class.

Oh, who am I kidding. I can’t make the obvious ‘Internet nerds don’t have social lives’ joke here. If I had spent 2003 making money on eBay instead of playing Final Fantasy for hours on end, I wouldn’t have a site named “Can’t Get Rich”. Michael, I envy you (especially with the current Dollar to Pound exchange rate).

The site

In addition to most likely having an awesome accent, Michael has a pretty nice site to be proud of as well. The layout is fantastic, and the site itself doesn’t have a ‘bloggy’ feel to it. The front page displays recent interviews with young millionaires, has some limited content, and that’s it. In order to get to the meat of the site, you actually have to browse around (remember the net before blogs?). The top nav bar links to the site’s blog, which is updated fairly regularly (+1), the site’s forum, which shows me that the site has an established readership, and a few lists and individual articles.

Speaking of articles

I love this: Creating your first website. Sure, it’s nothing that hasn’t been said 10,000 times before (although this article puts it all in one place), but look a little deeper. Look at all of those affiliate links. It’s beautiful. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many on one page. If one person were to follow the instructions on this page, signing up for hosting, buying a template, and signing up for a few marketing vehicles, Michael would probably make somewhere around $200. This articles is great reading for total newbies, and it’s probably a great source of income for the site. Everybody wins.

What else?

Let’s see. This site seems to have a lot of interviews with people who are

  1. Rich
  2. Creative
  3. Good programmers

Basically, it’s the people that I had in mind when I created this site. I’m really not any of the above, and most people aren’t, thus this site was born. Still, it’s interesting to read one-on-one interviews with the new rich. You might even recognize a few of the names. You might also shed a silent tear over the number of kids who make more than you and can’t even drive yet.

I think I’m going to toss this article in the ‘Lucky Bastards’ category. Anyway, moving on.

The heart of the matter

Strip away all of the impressive extras and you’ll see that this site’s blog is just like any other ‘make money online’ blog. Of course, what all of those other blogs don’t have are the aforementioned ‘impressive extras’. The interviews, the walkthroughs, and the forum make this site into an impressive little community for young entrepreneurs. Inspriational, informative, and interesting. Add this one to your feed list.

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