I thought it would be interesting to do a quick post, just before we begin the 2009 Thirty Day Challenge.  Over the next 30 days, we’ll learn a lot – about a lot of different topics.  We’ll hear about things like markets and niches, keywords and conversions – and one of those topics will be traffic.

Now this blog is not really focused on conversions – it’s a resource, and as such it gets a little bit of traffic.

A few months ago, I got an opportunity to use a tool to help with bookmarks and backlinks.  It’s called “Traffic Bug” – let’s see what happened to traffic once I started using it:

Traffic Stats Before And After Traffic Bug

Traffic Stats Before And After Traffic Bug

I started using Traffic Bug in May, 2009 – you can see what happened in June and July…

From an average of about 300 visitors per month (September through May) to exactly 2,000 visitors in the month of July.

Is it all from Traffic Bug? Probably not entirely – there were also a few important mentions and links from the 30DC forums. But the fact is, I got serious about backlinks and bookmarks in May by using Traffic Bug – and this picture is worth at least a thousand words…

When we’re learning about the important of bookmarks, directory submissions and backlinks, remember how important they really are when it comes to YOUR site’s traffic.

And best of luck to you throughout the 2009 Thirty Day Challenge

-Steve

5 Ways To Make Money Online

Making Money Online

If you are looking for ways to bring in some extra money, (and who isn’t these days?) then you need to take a look at these 5 methods for making money online. Bear with me for just a few minutes because these money making methods are pretty simple to implement, they do not even require any money, you don’t have to have a list, a website, or even any experience to do this.

Get Rich Quick?

Now, it’s important to keep in mind, these are not get rich quick methods because, let’s face it, there’s no such thing. But the methods I am going to reveal to you are methods that hundreds of others have used to make money online. If you put in the effort, then very soon you’ll be making the money too.

eBay…

The first method is something that I am sure you have heard of, eBay has been around for years and it is still the biggest online auction site out there. Thousands of people are making their living selling on eBay and you can too. Take the time to learn all you can about selling on eBay. There are some great courses out there that can show you what you need to know. You can start by selling some of your own household items that you don’t use anymore. Then you can branch out by buying items at garage sales or auctions for re-sale on eBay. Some sellers even run consignments shops where they sell other peoples’ items and take a commission of every sale. eBay will be around for a long time and it is a good place to quickly and easily start making money online.

Affiliate Marketing – Think 30 Day Challenge

The next method is through affiliate marketing. This is basically the method taught in the Thirty Day Challenge. All you need to do is find some great products online that have a good affiliate program and start promoting these products. You will get a percentage of every sale you make. Now this sounds simple in theory but it does take a bit of work. You need to find a niche that people are willing to spend money in and then you need to find a good product to satisfy the needs of that market. Then you set up a website or blog that promotes your chosen affiliate products and send traffic to the site to make sales. The Thirty Day Challenge shows you exactly how this can be done. Affiliate marketing can make you a very good living if you do it right.

Provide A Service

Another way to generate online income is to provide a service to others, particularly other internet marketers. If you are good at web design or writing then you can do freelance work for others and get paid right away. You can even become a virtual assistant and do work for someone else’s business from the comfort of your own home. These types of services are in high demand and you can easily get started in these areas.

Freelance…

A spin on doing freelance writing work is to sign up for sites like Associated Content and Text Broker. These sites will pay you for articles that you write for them. You won’t make a huge amount of money doing this but it can be enough to pay a few bills and can quickly be done in a pinch.

Product Creation

And finally, here’s a method that will take some time, but can payoff for you in a big way. Instead of marketing other people’s wares as an affiliate, you can create you own product and have affiliates working for you. The most profitable way to do this is to find a high-demand niche, solve a problem and then recruit affiliates to do your promoting for you. Think about how much money you can make if you were to have a hundred affiliates promoting your products. The beauty of this is that you do the work to create the product once, and affiliates keep selling it for you over and over again.

If you want to get started building a business online or are ever in need of cash, try one or all of these methods. You may find that you will never have to worry about money again and you’ll have built a profitable online business.

I know that I may not survive the night after this…

Seriously, posting this could very well get me killed in my sleep…

But I feel like I would be holding out on you if I held onto this knowledge – if I didn’t share it with you right now.

You see, I’ve been busy – working, testing, perfecting…

Night after night, taking notes – working out ideas…

Nothing seemed to be working – one dead-end test after another.

Some nights I start to think I’m on to something – a breakthrough is imminent…

But further testing reveals I’m off – something’s not quite right.

Try as I might, I end up feeling like a BIG FAT FAILURE.

In desperation, I finally talk the whole thing over with my wife…

She listens intently – sympathizing with failed attempt after failed attempt.

As I finish my rant, I finally do what NO MAN ever does as soon as he should – I ask her to help me, give me some insight, a hint…

She leans forward and asks me if I can keep a secret…

I lie – and tell her “yes, of course dear.”  And of all people – SHE reveals the secret sauce to me.

Now, at my own peril – I’ll share the secret with you.

Please don’t tell her I told you – I know she wants me to keep it a secret – but this is just so good, I can’t keep it to myself…

Ready…

Can you handle knowing the secret sauce?

Seriously, if you don’t think you can handle it – you should stop reading now!

Honest.

Stop.

Don’t go any further unless you’re REALLY, REALLY ready to know the secret sauce…

Ready?

Wait for it…

Wait for it…

The Secret Sauce

The Secret Sauce

She adds a little bit of this into about half of her cooking – and it makes all the difference in the world – that smokey, chipotle flavor was just what I was missing in my cooking.  Conveniently, she had it tucked away in a different cupboard so I wouldn’t use it up.

I know, I know – you probably thought I was going to give up a DIFFERENT secret sauce.  Well, two things.

ONE – You should know this – the secret to success in anything is: SELF-DISCIPLINE.  Ask any successful person – self-discipline will be on their list of character traits.

Along with that, I’d say success comes from characteristics like: focus, perseverance, hard work and integrity.

So be disciplined about what you’re doing.

Focus on one thing at a time.  Ask yourself, “What is the one thing I should be doing right now?”  For me, sometimes that’s research, write content, build back-links, make relevant comments, etc.  Just pick one thing, one aspect and do it – finish it before you move on to the next thing.

Persevere – if you try and you fail…try again.  To steal from one of the most brilliant speeches ever – “Never give up, Never give up, Never, ever give up!”

Work hard – if you’re going to spend time doing it – give it your all, 100%.

At the end of the day – do it well and do it with integrity.

Sidenote: I think the success of the thirty day challenge embodies this quote from Zig Ziglar – “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.

Now you might say using the term “Secret Sauce” as a headline might be misleading – maybe – but you did learn something and hopefully you were entertained too.

TWO – If you’re a thirty day challenger, veteran or newbie – once you’ve gone through the initial 30 day challenge, the next logical step is to take it to the next level and join the thirty day challenge plus.

www.thirtydaychallengeplus.com – (not an affiliate link…)

There’s new material included each month – however the materials are taken down at the end of each month.  So if you want to take your own awesomeness to the next level, join as soon as you can.

And if you like this post, (or just want to “sauce-roll” one of your friends…feel free to spread some love…

Add to FacebookAdd to NewsvineAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to Ma.gnoliaAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Furl

We’re going to learn some tips and tricks that will help you maximize your use of the video training time throughout the Thirty Day Challenge. Let’s take a look at Ed’s video below…

Tips For Watching Thirty Day Challenge Videos

It’s the pointy end of Preseason and this will be one of the last of the technical videos. This one promises to be an easy one.

There are various ways to view and use the training videos for this year’s thirty day challenge. It’s quite possible that you don’t know every way you can utilize these videos. Let’s go through all of the available options. Remember, part of what we’re learning about involves YOUR work flow – let’s explore these options and find the one that works best for you…

Here’s a typical preseason training page:

30DC Preseason Training Page

30DC Preseason Training Page

The actual Thirty Day Challenge Training pages will look basically the same. There may be some subtle changes to the look and feel of the pages going forward. But the overall design and functionality should remain the same.

The first element we’ll look at is the “overview” video in the upper left quadrant, below the header. Speaking of quadrants and headers – have you noticed the design of the Thirty Day Challenge Site? I’ll bet there are reasons things are laid out the way they are…

30DC - Overview Video

30DC - Overview Video

During preseason, this video hasn’t always been an overview video. Sometimes it’s been an update or a Thirty Day Challenge TV episode. Regardless, it usually comes from YouTube.

During the actual Thirty Day Challenge, this video will be a kind of introductory video. And they may be coming from some pretty interesting places. I’m assuming that means they may not always be coming from YouTube – put on your “noticing caps” and keep an eye out for alternate places to upload video. If you’re into that sort of thing 🙂

You can expect to get an idea of the materials that will be covered that day, maybe some goal-setting – or some tips to help you avoid potential hurdles.

Below that video, there is a link so that you can download the video to your computer.

30DC Videos - The Download Link

30DC Videos - The Download Link

If you right click on the link – a menu will pop up, and you’ll be able to “Save Link As…” – from there your download dialog will pop up and you can download the video.

Ed recommends, and I second the motion – create a folder for your Thirty Day Challenge downloads – you can create subfolders to further organize content as you download it. For now, it’s been almost all video – but there may be PDF files to download and other file types as well. Here’s an example of how my folder structure is currently organized…

30DC - Folder Structure

30DC - Folder Structure

I can create additional folders and organize as we go for easy reference later on. In the meantime, if you at least have a separate folder to download 30DC materials, that’ll be good.

Over on the right hand side – these are the core videos for the day. There may be one, two, three…..Did I just hear him say 75???? Okay, he’s just kidding, whew!

Regardless, we have a few options here, so let’s explore them.

30DC - Right Side Video Options

30DC - Right Side Video Options

The first link will take us directly to the YouTube version of the training.

30DC Videos - Link to YouTube Video

30DC Videos - Link to YouTube Video

So far, when I’ve used this option I like to either right click and open it in a new tab or open it in a new window…I’ve found that if I have the YouTube video opened up in a second Flock window (not a tab) – while I have this blog editor opened up next to it – that works pretty well for me.

I’ve experimented with ScribeFire, but in Flock it seems to mess with the YouTube playback. They’ll probably take care of it with an update soon enough. So for now, I’m doing it this way. Here’s a look at my desktop while I’m working on this blog post. I’m taking it right now.

30DC Videos - My Workspace

30DC Videos - My Workspace

I don’t know how readable that will be – hopefully, you can see what I’m doing. I have the YouTube video up on the left side – and the blog editor open on the right. I’ve marked up breaks in the text for images. It’s a work in progress…

I guess the point I’m trying to make here is – you can watch a video and work on some aspect of the training. I pause the videos, rewind, and replay many times to make sure I’m understanding everything Ed is teaching.

Using YouTube also allows for the possibility of watching the training by way of AppleTV and Tivo – you just have to “subscribe” to Ed’s YouTube channel. If you need a refresher on that process, it was covered in the “Using YouTube” lesson.

Another benefit of using YouTube allows people with YouTube enabled phones (like iPhone, etc.) to watch the training from those types of mobile devices. If you have the bandwidth – another great feature available from the YouTube page is the “High Quality” option. The picture is sharp, very clear. And if you do go to Ed’s YouTube page – please make sure to take a moment and give the video a rating. 🙂

One last cool thing about the YouTube videos is – the ability for people to use them in their blogs – like me. Man, I like YouTube!

Back to our preseason page – take a look at the SD and HD buttons:

30DC Videos - SD and HD buttons

30DC Videos - SD and HD buttons

The SD button more or less stands for “Standard Definition.” It’s a lower quality file that has been optimized for an iPhone or iPod – and it looks fine.

The HD button is the High Definition version. It’s the Rolls Royce of the video files. If you have the bandwidth and the space – the HD version is the way to go.

In any case, you can right click on the link or button of your choice and “save file as” to download the video training to your computer.

Let’s look at http://www.revver.com/ – this site displays the high definition version of the video.

30DC Videos - Revver

30DC Videos - Revver

There are ads playing along the bottom – but you can click the little “x” button (next to “Ads by Google”) to get rid of them – you’ll still be able to play the video. You can also download in Flash and Quicktime formats (buttons along the bottom left) from revver (for your own personal use.)

Now, don’t go downloading these and try selling them on eBay – that would be a no-no, big trouble…

Why have the videos available in so many formats from so many sites? Some places in the world block access to YouTube and some other video sharing sites. This way you have some options and a way to get the training no matter where you are.

If you’re having trouble getting or viewing the videos – you can always ask a question within the Thirty Day Challenge Forums or leave a comment/question here.

That covers the basics of our video download options. So now what?

One of the easiest ways to manage the video content is to use iTunes. iTunes works on MAC or PC – and it’s free to download iTunes. Once you’ve got iTunes opened up – you can create a 30DC playlist within iTunes.

From there, you can either drag and drop the file into the main iTunes window – but the most effective way to do this is to drag and drop the file right onto your 30DC playlist. You’ll see there that the file you just downloaded shows up in that playlist.

Now, if you connect an iPhone or video iPod up to your iTunes – you can sync your 30DC playlist to the device and have your training videos with you wherever you go. Well, wherever you take your video device.

If you’re new to iTunes, you may get confused by how it handles video. This little box down in the left corner controls your viewing…

30DC Videos - iTunes

30DC Videos - iTunes

You can display the video down in the lower left corner (the hide/show button) – you would probably want to double click within the actual video preview window to expand it for better viewing.

So – iTunes offers one way to easily view and manage your video content.

Another video option is available from VLC media player.

30DC Videos - VLC Media Player

30DC Videos - VLC Media Player

It’s a simple but robust media player – and it’s free! It might be an excellent alternative for people with older computers and/or minimal system resources. Just click on the link for your operating system to go to the download page.

30DC Videos - VLC Download

30DC Videos - VLC Download

From here – left-click on the one of the download links. I don’t know that it makes much difference which one your click – I’m in the USA, so I clicked on the link located in the US. I saved it to my desktop so I could install it later…Sorry, no screen shots of that process at this time…

The VLC interface may not be quite as user friendly as iTunes, but it WILL do the job…and the price is right!

That’s really it for video tips today – you can play around with YouTube, iTunes and VLC media player. Decide what works best for you and for your system. Because of the way things are organized this year – you should be able to find the tools that work best for you.

Today, as the video opens with some awesome sounds from a V18 amp head in the background – Ed lets us know, we’re going to be learning about StumbleUpon…take a look at the video below.

Find Great Websites With StumbleUpon

This lesson is kind of a tough one to do, and the reason for that is StumbleUpon. It’s a powerful tool, it’s very cool – but it can also be a bit of a distraction. You’ll see what I mean.

So, what is StumbleUpon?

StumbleUpon - SU Logo

StumbleUpon - SU Logo

Basically, if you’re in a “discovery” frame of mind – or looking for ideas, StumbleUpon is a terrific way to go through the internet looking for things you like. It gradually gets to know the things you like and the things you don’t like – and comes up with some real gems based on your preferences. The longer you use StumbleUpon, the better it gets at serving up sites that you’ll like.

The reality is, there are billions of web pages out there – you’ve probably only actually seen a tiny fraction of a percent of them. You’ll never get through them all – and you could never search out just the ones you’d like. In fact, you probably have a fixed set of sites you go through and rarely discover anything outside of your “bubble.” And I mean that in the nicest possible way…

StumbleUpon also has awesome potential for internet marketing. We’ll learn more about that as we get into the actual Thirty Day Challenge. Like many social bookmarking sites, the more a site gets a positive rating – a thumbs up – the better it is. This ranking system works very well to connect users with sites based on their preferences. We can utilize that to bring attention to our sites as well.

This should be mentioned now, Ed and the Thirty Day Challenge Team is operating under the assumption that your content adds value for the reader, offers up a solution to a problem or just plain makes somebody’s day. If it’s none of those things, social bookmarking will work against you and eventually lead to your demise.

Take this site for example – does it add value for you the reader? I hope it does. I hope that you’re watching the training videos in their entirety – and then I’m hoping these notes add value as a reference tool for you.

Do these posts offer a solution to a problem? Well, that may be debatable. But it probably solves a problem for some people. By posting summarized notes on the thirty day challenge – I’m creating a reference tool for my own use that I expect will also become a reference tool for other thirty day challengers.

Does finding a resource like this make your day? Only you can answer that one – but I’d like to think I made your day a little bit better. Whether I did or didn’t – please let me know in the comments area below.

StumbleUpon, and sites like it want to add value for their users – and because of that, they don’t want to be victimized by spammers. So they look closely at how people use their service. If you want to avoid being lumped in with the spammers, don’t spam. Learn how to use social bookmarking sites the way they were intended to be used.

Let’s Get Ready To Stumble!!!

Now, I’ve been holding off on this – and I’m glad I have. To review, back in the post “Extensions To Install In Flock” one of the extensions we installed was the StumbleUpon toolbar.

If you haven’t signed up ro StumbleUpon yet, you should go ahead and do it now:

StumbleUpon - Join

StumbleUpon - Join

Now, let’s get it fired up.

Once I’d installed the StumbleUpon toolbar and restarted Flock – my screen came up with this:

StumbleUpon - Continue Customizing

StumbleUpon - Continue Customizing

And the actual toolbar looked like this:

StumbleUpon - Start Stumbling or Sign In

StumbleUpon - Start Stumbling or Sign In

What to do…What to do…Okay, I’ll hit the “continue” button… and here’s the screen I get:

So this is how StumbleUpon gets to know me in the beginning…

StumbleUpon - Select Your Interest

StumbleUpon - Select Your Interest

Now it’s time to open my StumbleUpon account

StumbleUpon - Create Account

StumbleUpon - Create Account

My user name is SteveH2008 – feel free to look me up if you’d like to be my StumbleUpon friend.

And now my screen shows this:

StumbleUpon - Start Stumbling

StumbleUpon - Start Stumbling

AND – my toolbar now looks like this on the left:

StumbleUpon - Toolbar, Left Side

StumbleUpon - Toolbar, Left Side

and like this on the right:

StumbleUpon - Toolbar, Right Side

StumbleUpon - Toolbar, Right Side

Now We’re Ready To Stumble!!!

The Thirty Day Challenge is all about taking action – so let’s take some action now. Go ahead, click the Stumble! button.

StumbleUpon - Stumble Button

StumbleUpon - Stumble Button

Let’s see what comes up:

StumbleUpon - Nelix Nebula

StumbleUpon - Nelix Nebula

This comes from www.wikisky.org – a picture of the Nelix Nebula.

What do I think? Do I like it or not?

StumbleUpon - Thumbs Up-Thumbs Down

StumbleUpon - Thumbs Up-Thumbs Down

Now, it has nothing to do with making money online, but at the risk of revealing my own inner geek – I happen to like it – so I click the “I like it” button

StumbleUpon - I liked it

StumbleUpon - I liked it

Let’s try one more – I click the Stumble button and…

StumbleUpon - Dr. Grammar

StumbleUpon - Dr. Grammar

This comes from www.drgrammar.org – and might come in handy if, say for instance – you have to do some writing 🙂

What do I think?

StumbleUpon - Thumbs Up - Thumbs Down

StumbleUpon - Thumbs Up - Thumbs Down

Now, this could actually be a good resource for copy writing – AND I can think of a few people who might like it too – so I click the “I like it” button

StumbleUpon - I Liked It

StumbleUpon - I Liked It

Enough of my little personal digression…let’s get back to the rest of the lesson.

What if I didn’t like it? Well, I could just click on the “thumbs down” button. Does that deal a devastating blow to someone’s content? Not really, it’s mainly a way for StumbleUpon to serve up websites that I would actually like.

If you use this in a genuine way, any time you come across a page or a post or content you like – you should get into the habit of clicking the “I like it” button.

Now, as I click the Stumble! button – I’ll be going through pages that have already been “Stumbled Upon” by someone.

What if I come across a piece of content that hasn’t been “Stumbled” before?

Man, I am so glad you asked that. Here’s why…

I haven’t done any social bookmarking for this site yet. I’ve made a few blog comments, and started including it in my Thirty Day Challenge signature – but that’s it. So, I’m going to go ahead and “Stumble” one of the posts here that I think is very useful. The “Table of Contents” page…

StumbleUpon - Submitting the TOC

StumbleUpon - Submitting the TOC

So – that will become part of my routine. In addition to writing up my notes, once I publish the post – I’ll start using the “I like it” button to add my posts into StumbleUpon.

As I was typing this post and doing the screen capture above, I realized that I forgot to add tags before I submitted the site to StumbleUpon. In fact, in looking at the screen shot – there wasn’t a place in the dialog box for adding tags. In the video, Ed talks a little bit about tags – and they are important. But I couldn’t add any – so, now what? I’m glad you asked…

To fix or edit something like that, I’m going to click on the link in my toolbar marked “Favorites”

StumbleUpon - Favorites

StumbleUpon - Favorites

From here, I can locate the site I just posted.

StumbleUpon - EditMyPostTags

StumbleUpon - EditMyPostTags

I click on the “edit” button in the upper right corner of the entry.

StumbleUpon - Adding-Editing Tags

StumbleUpon - Adding-Editing Tags

The editor allows you to edit your description, and also add tags at the bottom. It seemed to limit me to 5 tags, I’m not sure if that’s consistent within StumbleUpon. But I wasn’t able to get more than 5 tags to save or display. Take that for whatever it’s worth. Once I was finished adding tag, I just clicked the “save” button.

Of course, if you’d like to practice using StumbleUpon – feel free to click YOUR “I like it” button while you’re still reading THIS post. If it’s already been “stumbled” – that’ll be all you have to do. If you happen to be the first to “stumble” a post – well, you may end up writing a description and selecting a category and tags too.

Now, the homework Ed assigns is pretty simple. Spend some time, maybe an hour or so – and Stumble. Click “I like it” for the things you like, and click the “Thumbs down” button if you come across something you don’t like. This will help you get to know StumbleUpon better AND will also help StumbleUpon get to know you too.

Keep in mind as you start stumbling – use it the way a person would use it, not as a “marketer” would use it. It’s like a bank account. By “stumbling” sites that you enjoy – it’s like making a deposit to your account. If you “stumble” one of your own posts – it’s like making a withdrawal. Make sure you don’t overdraw your account. That’s something a spammer would do.

Let’s wrap this up with a look at the “Channels:” section of your toolbar.

StumbleUpon - Channels

StumbleUpon - Channels

Notice the “Globe” icon – that one randomly takes you through everything.

You can Stumble through “favorites of friends”

You can Stumble through images.

You can Stumble through videos.

You can Stumble through a list of popular websites, like YouTube or WordPress or Flickr – the drop down menu gives you a lot of options.

You can Stumble through News Items.

And the “All” drop down menu give you a host of ways to filter through the items you Stumble.

One thing I noticed – when I’m on this tab in my browser, editing my WordPress blog – the WordPress icon appears to the left of the Globe icon.

StumbleUpon - Channels-WordPress

StumbleUpon - Channels-WordPress

If I switch tabs to a YouTube video, the YouTube logo appears there.

StumbleUpon - Channels-YouTube

StumbleUpon - Channels-YouTube

When I switch to my Flickr tab to grab one of my screen captures – the Flickr logo appears in that place.

StumbleUpon - Channels-Flickr

StumbleUpon - Channels-Flickr

I’m going to go out on a limb and say the StumbleUpon toolbar can recognize the site you’re on and offers up the option of stumbling through items within that site. Pretty cool trick if you ask me…

So go have some fun getting used to StumbleUpon.

And if you appreciate this post, please take a moment to spread the word…

Add to FacebookAdd to NewsvineAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to Ma.gnoliaAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Furl