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Make Money Online

Choosing the Right Table to Play At

This is part 1 of 34 in Poker and Making Money Online, a 34 Part Series.

Table selection is the most important decision you can make.

Poker Room

When you first walk into a poker room, you’ll see tables, lots of tables usually. At these tables, you’ll find both fish and sharks. When you’re playing poker for money, you’ll want to find the tables with the most fish and the least amount of sharks. Unless you play every day at this poker room or casino, you won’t be able to tell just by looking at them.

The same is true when deciding on a niche. When you first start building websites and working on affiliate marketing, you don’t know how to evaluate competition. You don’t know which backlinks are strongest, and which SERP’s you can overthrow. The more experience you have, the better suited you are to choose a table or pick a niche.

Take this example, you see Paul, a guy you’ve played with before at a table. He knows you, you know him. At his table are a bunch of fish that you don’t know, that are consistently losing hands and folding to bluffs. At another table are a bunch of unknowns. Which table would you prefer?

Personally, I would rather play against known competition. I know that “Paul” is my only competition. When niche marketing it’s just as important to know your competition and know which markets you can stay alive in.

In my experience, technology related fields are like sitting down at a table with Phil Ivey, Doyle Brunson and Gus Hansen. Would you sit at that table? Only for two hands to say you played with the big boys right?

Jumping into a niche like iPods, computer parts, or laptop batteries is just as bad. Those markets are flooded with superstars that, as good as you might be, you’ll always be fighting a seriously uphill battle with.

Don’t get me wrong, picking a popular niche isn’t a bad idea, you might be able to do really well in a niche like Acai Berry Supplements even though it’s flooded, but when there are so many tables full of fish, why take your chances with a shark?

By |January 26th, 2009|Projects|1 Comment

Poker and Making Money Online, a 34 Part Series

I hope I don’t burst your bubble, but this post is not about playing poker to make money online.  While it’s possible to make money playing poker, there are people better at poker than I am and I’m definitely not ready to put my money on the table for a flop that might totally negate my pocket aces!

Zappos.com (Shoe store) CEO Tony Hsieh wrote a great post about how playing poker relates to business.  The problem with the post is that it didn’t go into any detail, just brushed the surface.  I will take his point and expand on them as they relate to making money online, affiliate marketing, niche websites and why I do what I do. You can read Hsieh’s original post here.

I realize, in all honesty, that I will most likely never finish all 34 parts of this series (I get bored and don’t finish many things), but as I finish a post, I’ll link it from this page, so bookmark this page!

Here are the posts I’ll be writing:

EVALUATING MARKET OPPORTUNITIES

* Table selection is the most important decision you can make.
* It’s okay to switch tables if you discover it’s too hard to win at your table.
* If there are too many competitors (some irrational or inexperienced), even if you’re the best it’s a lot harder to win.

MARKETING AND BRANDING

* Act weak when strong, act strong when weak. Know when to bluff.
* Your “brand” is important.
* Help shape the stories that people are telling about you.

FINANCIALS

* Always be prepared for the worst possible scenario.
* The guy who wins the most hands is not the guy who makes the most money in the long run.
* The guy who never loses a hand is not the guy who makes the most money in the long run.
* Go for positive expected value, not what’s least risky.
* Make sure your bankroll is large enough for the game you’re playing and the risks you’re taking.
* Play only with what you can afford to lose.
* Remember it’s a long term game. You will win or lose individual sessions, but it’s what happens in the long term that matters.

STRATEGY

* Don’t play games that you don’t understand, even if you see lots of other people making money from them.
* Figure out the game when the stakes aren’t high.
* Don’t cheat. Cheaters never win in the long run.
* Stick to your principles.
* You need to adjust your style of play throughout the night as the dynamics of the game change. Be flexible.
* Be patient and think long term.
* The players with the most stamina and focus usually win.
* Differentiate yourself. Do the opposite of what the rest of the table is doing.
* Hope is not a good plan.
* Don’t let yourself go “on tilt”. It’s much more cost effective to take a break, walk around, or leave the game for the night.

CONTINUAL LEARNING

* Educate yourself. Read books and learn from others who have done it before.
* Learn by doing. Theory is nice, but nothing replaces actual experience.
* Learn by surrounding yourself with talented players.
* Just because you win a hand doesn’t mean you’re good and you don’t have more learning to do. You might have just gotten lucky.
* Don’t be afraid to ask for advice.

CULTURE

* You’ve gotta love the game. To become really good, you need to live it and sleep it.
* Don’t be cocky. Don’t be flashy. There’s always someone better than you.
* Be nice and make friends. It’s a small community.
* Share what you’ve learned with others.
* Look for opportunities beyond just the game you sat down to play. You never know who you’re going to meet, including new friends for life or new business contacts.
* Have fun. The game is a lot more enjoyable when you’re trying to do more than just make money.

By |January 26th, 2009|Projects|0 Comments

Keyword Stuffing and Domain Names – Does it Matter?

In 2005 nobody would have argued that having the most relevant keywords stuffed into your domain name was worth more that just about anything when working the SERPS.  You could buy thousands of dollars worth of links and never achieve the same results that domain name keyword stuffing would do.

Today that is different.  If you take a look through the SERPS for most keywords, you’ll find about one third of the domains have keywords.  Compare that with 2005 and I would imagine that 75% of the domains in the top 10 had keywords stuffed into them.

So does the domain name really matter?  Not to me.  I still own a lot of domains that are stuffed that I purchased over the last few years, but I’m finding that they rank just as well as domain names without any keywords (or words).

So if you have the choice between a brandable keyword domain such as Flickr, Google, or Technorati, choose that over a keyword stuffed domain.

By |July 4th, 2008|Make Money Online, SEO/SEM|7 Comments

How to Increase SERPS from Top 20 to Top 10

Yesterday I talked about whether or not you should work on pages that are already making money.  That is a decision that you must make on your own.  When you start building additional links and marketing those pages, there is a chance that you might upset the delicate balance that put you in the top 20 in the first place.

But, if you’re willing to take that risk, here are a few tips that I’ve found to help move you up a few spots in a competitive niche.

1. Add a blog.

If your site is currently a static html site, try adding a blog either in a subdomain or in a folder off the root.  blog.example.com or example.com/blog will both work.  In that blog, make a lot of semantically related posts.  If your site is about making money online, your posts should be related to “money”, but not always “making money online”.  Example posts could be, “Your Money and the Dollar”, “How Inflation Changes Your Money”, “How to Make Money in a Slow Economy”, etc.  If you notice, you’re using your keywords, just not your exact key phrase.  Whenever you make those posts, make sure and link back to your money pages with appropriate keywords.

Those links should always have varied anchor text and the anchor text should be relevant to the post, not to the money page.

2. Add content.

This one might be a little controversial as many people don’t like to touch a page that is already starting to rank.  I feel a little differently and my feelings are based on actual tests.  I have had a few pages ranking for a variety of keywords and have added content including additional adsense blocks, links, pictures and more text without losing my rankings.  I have never tried to make that page rank for additional keywords, but sometimes that happens naturally.

3. Buy some links.

If you have the skills to buy links without being detected, this is a great time to buy them.  If you do buy links, make sure and vary your anchor text heavily, and think like a newb.  When rookie webmasters want to link to a cool site, they don’t always use good anchor text.  That will keep you from looking like you’re buying links and make it look like those people just like your site.

Those are a few things that I’ve done with pages that are already ranking decently to make them rank really well for their keywords.  Keep in mind that these are also great places to start with a site that isn’t ranking for anything yet.

By |July 3rd, 2008|Link Building, Make Money Online|5 Comments