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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.

Don't kid yourself...

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Archive: Smart Guys

Designing an Application

Remember the other day when I said I wanted to write a social networking site in PHP? I think I need to start with something a bit easier, so right now I’m coding a fairly simple app that I’m calling Pagerank At-a-Glance. It’s ridiculously simple, and it won’t make you any money, but it’ll give me some practice with PHP syntax and I plan on releasing it for free when I’m done.

Basically, it’s going to be a program that displays a list of all of your domains with accompanying page rank. It’ll work like this:

  • First, you define your database settings, much like you do with Wordpress.
  • Then, you run the installation file which creates the database structure and assigns a username and password.
  • You log in (can’t have other people seeing all of you domains, right?). There are two options: One takes you to the admin screen, and one takes you straight to the list.
  • The admin screen allows you to add and remove sites from the database, and also contains a link to the list.
  • The list displays all of your sites with PR badges similar to those found on sites like this.  I’m really not sure how it is that sites and toolbars pull PR scores from Google, but once I figure that out I’ll see if I can add a function to sort highest to lowest.

Why create such a useless app?  Well, like I said, I’ve never written anything in PHP before (other than a page that pulls data from a database and displays it in a table), and I need practice.  Also, I figured that there’s someone out there with a bunch of sites that would like to see all of their PRs on one page.

Now that I’m done with finals, and I’m almost finished moving into my new apartment, I’ll have plenty of time to work on this.  I hope to have it out by the end of next week.

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Finding Things is Fun

Today’s post was inspired by this thread.

The state of Indiana has a nice little website called Indiana Unclaimed. Basically, the site is just a front-end to the state’s unclaimed property database. Don’t have any unclaimed money? No problem, you can still make quite a bit utilizing sites like these.

What is unclaimed property?

Essentially, unclaimed property is any sort of asset that the state is currently in possession of, having been unable to locate its rightful owners. Here are a few common examples:

  • Forgotten savings accounts. ie, you have an account with $23.50 at local bank and then you move away. Oops.
  • Life insurance benefits. Sometimes the state is unable to locate legal heirs after someone passes away, leaving their life insurance unclaimed.
  • Cash dividends, unclaimed shares of stock, etc.

How can you capitalize on these oversights? Simple: Start a finders organization.

A what?

A finder is someone who locates unclaimed assets and then attempts to locate their rightful owner. Typically, once the owner is found, the finder charges a percentage of the value of the assets (up to 10% in Indiana), and helps the owners with the reclamation process. In other words, you find $10,000 sitting around, find whoever has the legal rights to it, and help them recover it. You get $1,000, they get $9,000, everybody wins. Right now I’m working on finding the family of a guy who has over $250,000 of unclaimed assets being held by the state. $250k. How does someone lose that much money? It’s ridiculous.

Anyway, I’m trying to hunt him or his family down. There are a number of online services that search public records databases, but they generally have a monthly fee attached, so I’m going to try my luck with other sources first. Wish me luck, because a percentage of that massive sack of cash would be awesome.

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I Gave 3 Bucks to Brendan

Some guy got accepted to some university that costs $90,000 a year, and he’s counting on the generosity of the Internet to pay for it. Great planning there chief. Fortunately for him, John Chow decided to blog about it, and his readership alone could almost make it work.

My Paypal balance is Monopoly money to me, so I went ahead and sent $3 CAD (that’s $3.03 US) his way. I wish him the best of luck with his little venture.

Maybe I should try this. I wonder if

www.SendGeoffToJapanBecauseHeSucksAtMoneyAndCantSaveUp3000USD.com

is taken.

Edit: Wow, I got a personal thank-you email.  Very classy.

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A Quick Tracking Tip

School + work kicked my ass today, so short post.

You’re bidding on 150 keywords for a campaign, and you want to know which ones are preforming, right? If your top keyword is getting dozens of clicks, but no conversions, wouldn’t you want to pull it (and therefore cut costs)? Well, start tracking your keywords.

You haven’t been tracking them this whole time?!

Personally, I haven’t had any need. I’ve been running 90% of my campaigns through Facebook, where keywords aren’t an issue. That said, I’m using Adwords to promote that Advaliant contest right now, so I need to do things right. So, to start tracking your keywords, there are a few quick and easy steps:

Step 0 - Convert your landing page from HTML to PHP

This one’s really complicated - If your original landing page is lp.html, rename it to lp.php. Rocket surgery.

Step 1 - Change the landing page link in your ad

You need to pass a variable from Adwords to your page. Change your URL to “http://www.landingpage.com/index.php?SubID={keyword}”. This will pass the keyword that the user searched for to the SubID variable on your site.

Step 2 - Change your affiliate links to pass the SubID to the tracking site

*Note: This is the barebones method. It does not encrypt your keywords, so the network will know where you are getting your hits from.

Append this string to your affiliate links: <?php echo $_GET["SubID"]; ?>

So, your affiliate link will look something like this:

“http://www.valtrk.com/URL/track.aspx?AdID=xxxx&AffID=xxxx&SubID=<?php echo $_GET["SubID"]; ?>”

Step 3 - Check your work

Once you’ve got your updated index file uploaded, go to it and give it a variable in the address bar (ie, http://www.landingpage.com/index.php?SubID=test). Then, right click on your affiliate link and select properties. Did your variable get stuck on the end of the link? If so, good. If not, you screwed up, try again.

Easy

Now, let your campaign run for a few days and be sure to check your SubID reports frequently to see which keywords are performing well. Yank the ones that aren’t, optimize the ones that are, etc. Profit.

Technique learned and shamelessly ripped from Revenue Quest.

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Be Lazy With Your Tags (and other SEO stuff)

I never really mess with tags on my posts. I gave up with SEO a long time ago (around the time I got slapped with a PR0), and haven’t really bothered with it since. Well, it’s time for a change. I’ve decided that there might just be something to that whole ‘organic traffic’ thing, so I’ve decided to atone for my SEO sins and try to get this site indexed on Google again. I’ve already gone through and made some changes to my linkbacks, so this site is now 100% compliant with Google’s standards (as far as I can tell). I followed Collin’s instructions on how to get your pagerank back, including sending an email to Google letting them know that I’ve recognized the error of my ways, and humbly requesting a reconsideration. I’m expecting a nice juicy PR update any day now.

That just leaves one thing that I’ve been neglecting - tags. I haven’t added tags to a post in months. I certainly didn’t want to go back through all 240 of my posts, as that would take forever. Luckily for me, someone on Wickedfire solved my problem for me: Tagaroo.

Slow, yet awesome

Tagaroo is a nice little plugin that actively scans your posts and suggests tags. Using it, it only took me about an hour or two to go back through all of my posts and get everything updated. It’s not the most accurate thing in the world, but it does pick up on common themes in your posts, so it saves you at least a little effort.

The only downside that I can see with this plugin is that it will sloooooow your interface down. I’m not sure if it’s because of some coding issue, or that Firefox sometimes leaks memory like a sieve. In any case, it wasn’t a big enough problem that I had to stop using it. I’d recommend giving it a try.

Tags + PR = Traffic?

I’ve got good tags, a decent sitemap, and lots of content. Now all I need is for Google to un-banish me from PR0 hell, and hopefully I’ll be able to attract a little more attention. I’d really like to start ranking for terms like “SEO podcast”, “affiliate marketing podcast”, “blogging podcast”, and stuff like that. Here’s hoping.

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