Sometimes success comes from the strangest places…

I had some success from applying the things I learned from this year’s thirty day challenge.  So did Stephen.  The most important thing was that – as a father and son, we found a project we could work on over part of his summer break – something that didn’t involve video games – something that could teach both of us some life skills and life lessons that don’t get taught in public school.

But so far, the most interesting thing to come out of the thirty day challenge is shaping up to be a nice little business I can run from home.  Let me explain…

First, my younger brother has operated a web-based business from his home for a few years now.  He used to work for a credit bureau – and because he is familiar with credit reporting processes, he is able to help small businesses sort out how to report credit and payment history information to the credit bureaus.

Over the past few months I’ve been sharing what Stephen and I learned, plus he’s been following along with our blog.  His biggest constraint is time.  He’d like to implement thirty day challenge strategies to expand his business – but he doesn’t have a lot of free time.  So, we’ve made an arrangement…I’ve analyzed his site, his competitors, done market and keyword research – and come up with a set of action steps to take that will propel him to better organic rankings and help him get a better return on his Adwords investment.

In return, I’m getting paid to be his search engine marketing consultant.  My latest proposal to him for the ongoing work was to barter for a MacBook Pro, I’m crossing my fingers for that to happen 🙂  I figure it’s really the tool I need going forward and it’s a complete write-off for him – win-win.

In addition to this project, another client has hired me to help with his search engine marketing efforts.

Have you ever heard of a pergola?

I hadn’t, I’d seen them – just never new what to call them.  When Justin and I first met, there were some problems with his website – it was beautiful, but not well optimized for search.  There were none of the usual on-page factors like title tags, description, keywords, etc.  We fixed some of those items before we even ended the first meeting – and then I went to work.

We talked about what it would take to improve his organic ranking – and also about how to get some fast traffic to his site.  He opted to crank up Adwords right away – and using Market Samurai, the Google Keyword tool, and the things I’ve learned about Adwords, it was pretty easy to get a campaign started for him.

We’re in the process of testing and tracking his Adwords campaign and also building backlinks to his site about pergola kits.

In both cases, I’ve been able to use the techniques I’ve learned from the thirty day challenge to help my clients reach their goals.  At first, I wasn’t sure if it “counted” as a 30DC success – after all, it’s not a niche/affiliate type of business.  But I’m able to charge a fair fee based on the work – and it all started with the thirty day challenge.

I owe a big thank you to Ed Dale, Dan Raine, Caro, Nez and the entire Thirty Day Challenge crew – because this looks like the start of something big.  Also thanks to my friends and teammates from the challenge including Sheryl & Cait, Jooles, Eric G. and Allison R – (Long live the Ed Dale Mankini!).

Last but not least, a big thank you goes out to my son Stephen, who kept me accountable (and kept me off the video games.)  🙂

P.S. – If you need some help with your niche, you can let me know in the comments below…

P.P.S – We’ll have an update about Stephen’s school fundraiser soon…

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Finding Stuff To Sell And Test

Time to watch today’s videos: Approximately 43 minutes

Additional time to complete today’s action steps: Better plan on an additional 1-3 hours, at least. creating affiliate links and manipulating images with Piknic probably won’t take too long. It’s the “deciding” part that I struggle with. I like to explore my options before making a decision – and that takes time…So does writing…

Thirty Day Challenge Transcripts and Training are available below each video.

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Day 04 Introduction Video – 30DC

2008TDC04_Intro_Day4

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Finding An Internet Affiliate Program

2008TDC04_Finding_Stuff_Affiliate_01

Find a few (at least 2) affiliate products (in ClickBank or Amazon) within your chosen niche – that you can promote.

Important Links:

Clickbank – Click here to view Clickbank’s Marketplace.

Amazon Associates – Here is Amazon’s affiliate program.

In addition, the Affiliate Product Directories PDF is available for free at: Thirty Day Challenge 2008 – Day 04 – unable to locate this resource, if anyone knows where it can be found – let me know by way of the comments…

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Writing Your First Copy

2008TDC04_Writing_Your_First_Copy_02

Learn how to write your first “slippery” copy – an article that “sells” from Dan Raine.

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Creating Amazon Affiliate Links

2008TDC04_Creating_Amazon_Links_03

Learn how to create your own unique affiliate link.

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Manipulating Images With Picnik

2008TDC04_Manipuating_Images_04

See how easy it is to resize a product image to 150 pixels across and access other basic image editing functions with Picnik

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BONUS CONTENT

Thirty Day Challenge TV – 2008.08.04 Episode 2

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Thirty Day Challenge TV – 2008.08.04 Episode 2 – Q & A

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In today’s lesson we’ll cover the rest of the cool things that you can do with Twhirl.

Using Twhirl Pt. 2 | Thirty Day Challenge

We’ve already covered a bit about the “direct message icon (shown below.)

Twhirl - Direct Message Button

Let’s compare and contrast some of the key differences and uses for direct messages vs. “@” replies.  Keep in mind, in using Twhirl and Twitter, you are putting content out on the web for others to view – so you have to keep the reader in mind.  In fact, you’ll want to be mindful of your potential future readers.  In doing so, there’ll need to be some deliberate thought behind your usage of “@” replies vs. direct messages.

In the video, Ed gets a message about where the periods go in the term “del.icio.us” – now Ed could choose to use an “@” reply, which would show up in his public twitter feed.  Anyone who is “following” Ed would be able to read it.  But without any context, that reply wouldn’t make much sense and may not be of much interest to his Twitter followers.  So in this case, a direct message makes more sense.

Twhirl - Tweeting A Direct Message

One caveat, you aren’t able to send a direct message to someone who is not following you.  So, you couldn’t send a direct message to Ed_Dale unless he was following you.  But you COULD send him an “@” reply.  In that case, you would want to remember to provide some context AND get to the point in 140 characters or less.

Direct messages would be very handy for communication within teams.  We will also learn about another Twitter-based service that will allow us to send private messages within the Twitter frame-work.  More on that later…

Below is the “archive” folder button – it allows you to view the Twitter archive of all your posts.

Twhirl - Archive Button

Next up is the “favorites” button – which Ed doesn’t use much.  It can be used to help remind you to come back and look at something later.

Twhirl - Favorites Button

This is the friends and followers button.  You can use this to help you maintain the list of people you are following and the people who are following you.

Twhirl - Friends And Followers Button

By way of example, you could go through your friends and followers list and send them a reply, a direct message – or you could “unfollow” them.

Twhirl - Unfollow User

On to the “Lookup” button.  This is a particularly handy Twhirl function to help you find people on Twitter.

Twhirl - The Lookup Button

In this example, Ed looks up DanRaine on Twitter.  It shows all of Dan’s posts, his website information and his Twitter stats.  From here, you could send him an “@” reply or a direct message.  You could also “unfollow” him or block him if he’s being a pill.  🙂

Twhirl - Block User Button

As you get better and better as a Twitter user, you may find yourself checking the “API” button.  There’s a limit to how many times you can access Twitter each hour.  They do this to throttle down the flow of traffic – they may increase that limit in the future, but for now – you can hover over this icon to show your current API usage and the overall health of Twitter at the moment.

Twhirl - Twitter API Stats

If you do happen to exceed your API limit, it will reset within an hour – and you’ll be back up and running.

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The “toggle filter” button allows you to search through your tweets for a certain person or post.

Twhirl - Toggle Filter Button

The “mark all as seen” button does just what it says.  This can help keep your message window current.  You may notice that “tweets” you haven’t read yet have a star by them…

Twhirl - Mark All As Seen Button

Below is the “refresh” button, which will poll Twitter for any new tweets.  This will count against your API limit for the hour, so use it sparingly if at all.

Twhirl - Refresh Button

Wrapping up this post – The way Ed uses it, Twhirl just sits on his desktop.  Rather than let it be a constant distraction, he just checks it when he has a few minutes to review and respond to his tweets.

I’m a big fan of clustering tasks – meaning, I work on e-mails for a while, then I’ll shift gears and work on phone calls, after that – maybe I’ll work on a blog post.  In between, maybe I’ll check on my twhirl feed and see if anything needs a response.  In addition, if I’m working on something that would make sense to “tweet” about – I’ll post it to twhirl and then get right back to the task at hand.  But I try to make sure I’m using Twhirl in a way that enhances my productivity and extends my reach on the web – not as a distraction that allows me to procrastinate…It just takes a bit of self-discipline.

If you use Twhirl and Twitter in that way, you’ll find it to be a fantastic and simple way to inject your voice into the “conversation.”  When we get to some additional elements that we’ll be learning about shortly, you’ll begin to see how to use these tools to market more effectively.  So get used to using Twitter and Twhirl, remember the “TwitterBar” we learned about a few days ago – and we’ll learn more in the next lesson from Ed.

Important/Related Links

Twhirl
Click here to download Twhirl.

Follow Ed on Twitter
Click here to follow Ed on Twitter.

Follow Dan on Twitter
Click here to follow Dan on Twitter.

Follow Rob on Twitter
Click here to follow Rob on Twitter.

Sign Up for the Thirty Day Challenge
Click here to sign up for the thirty day challenge.
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