Kirsty’s Easy Content Units Test – Great Tool To Integrate Products In Affiliate Sites

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Last month I finally got around to giving the Easy Content Units system a proper road test on one of my websites and wanted to share the results.

So What is Easy Content Units (or ECU)?

It does exactly what it says on the tin!  It makes it easy for you to create and customise attractive content units for your site.  You specify size, number of products, and you can apply all sorts of customisations to integrate it beautifully into your site.

Some examples of how ECU can be used: -

And many more!

Kirsty’s ECU Test

What I decided to do was see how much better a page with really basic images, text, and buttons did when I applied an integrated content unit into it.  I’ve recently started to find old blog posts on Lingerie Brands have started to rank well for generic search terms they were never designed to target.

The page I chose was one that I had written to promote a tankini sale at Brastop. It looked a lot like this.

You can see it in it’s new post ECU makeover form here.

For reasons best known to Google the page ranks very well for terms including DD+ swimwear, panache tankinis, and tankinis for big busts.  This meant it was one of the most viewed pages on my site with around 1,700 visits per month.  To my distress, those 1,700 visits only equated to 7 sales during a 31 day period during April & May this year.

ECU To The Rescue

Since taking a few minutes to apply some content units I’ve seen a healthy increase in sales being generated from that page over the last 31 days. Sales generated have risen from 7 to 23 – an increase of 229%

It’s not making me a fortune considering the traffic volume the page gets, but the general nature of the search terms it ranks for means it’s way more difficult to convert.

How I Implemented My ECU

As you’ll see on the page, I created content units around the 3 general traffic themes that the page was getting to maximise my chances of converting the traffic, and have tried to make the unit look as much as possible like it belongs there.

The only thing I haven’t done (which I was told I should!) is to go through and replaces any “odd” looking ones with bendy images either with images of my own or cropped versions of the merchant images.

Will I Use ECU Again?

Definately. It’s going to be a great tool for my business to help me make the most of old and outdated pages that are generating traffic and no revenue.  I loved the fact that you can alter your unit from within the ECU interface, and also that the system will mail me if any of my units happen to have old products on that are no longer in the merchant feeds.

I think in time I’ll be able to improve upon the sales levels as I go through and weed out products from merchants who aren’t converting as well.  I’ve also been delighted to discover that a side effect of using ECU has been that I’ve easily been able to test traffic streams with new merchants I’ve not worked with before.  So not only have I increased the profitability of my page, I’ve found a new merchant I will work with in the future (and at least one I’ll avoid like the plague!).

The units themselves are mind bendingly customisable and once you get used to the management interface they are incredibly easy to manipulate. You can do pretty much anything you can think of to make the units fit your site and content. Substitute your own images, alter descriptions, fonts, borders, and layouts. Definately powerful!

The Only Con To ECU

Is something that’s completely out of their hands. The quality of merchant feeds. When I was putting together my swimwear units I tried to find products from a merchant I regularly work with as I knew they had a great selection of cup sized swimwear.  Alas, try as I might I could not get the appropriate products to come up – even if I searched for them by name!

Come on merchants – is it really that hard to put a little thought into your feeds? Product descriptions even?

I Got Back To John With My Results And Asked For A Comment For My Readers…

“Without a doubt the best performing ECUs are those that are really well integrated into the affiliate’s site as Kirsty has done above. The units are totally customisable, and by taking the time to ensure that font colours and sizes match, using the correct layout for your site and perhaps creating a custom “shop now” button, it is possible to increase performance immensely.

If your ECU looks out of place or stands out (for the wrong reasons), then you’re losing sales. Take 5 minutes to customise it to fit your site, and maybe you could see a 300% increase in sales too! If you would like any help at all customising ECUs (or indeed help with ANY aspect of Easy Content Units), then please give me a shout at john@easycontentunits.com – That’s what we’re here for!”

Find out more about ECU and sign up for a free or pro account at: -EasyContentUnits.com

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Google Caffeine – A Look at Some Winning & Losing Sites

Google 21 Comments »
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With the recently completed Caffeine update Google has once more clearly demonstrated it’s power to make or break a business to many affiliates.  The initial update at the start of May was followed by a final adjustment to the algo between June 4th and 2nd which hit many sites whose owners were breathing sighs of relief that they had escaped this latest shake up.  Those affected lost up to 60% of their site traffic – a huge blow.

There’s lots of chat about large e-commerce sites largely being the ones affected, but I know that a lot of affiliate sites have also been hit.  What I wanted to do in this post was show you guys different sites that I own which were affected in different ways and share with you some of my early feelings about what’s been going on here.  Anyone needing a refresher on the joy of Google Caffeine can read my previous post talking about it here.

My Winners and Losers…

The Winners

Blokes Undies – Traffic has increased by around 30% since the start of May.

Lingerie Brands – Up there and rocking with a lovely 25% boost.

The Losers

Personalised Gifts UK – 70% reduction

Fragrance Brands – As above.

Fortunately for me, the sites affected were not at all key to my business. That in itself is probably a bit of a clue – they’re all sites I probably haven’t really done “properly” for one reason or another.

What The Sites Have In Common

  • All 4 have either exactly the same or similar basic structures.
  • All have reasonable cross linking and no real issues with orphan pages.
  • All have completely unique content.

Features of The Winners

  • Both have had extensive work done on generating good quality links. This has either been through quality exchanges or spontaneous links to bits and pieces of my content from sources such as blogs, forums, and other online publications because people have found them useful or interesting.
  • Both are relatively large sites.  One around 1,100 pages the other around 500.

Features of The Losers

  • Some are long neglected sites I’ve been meaning to get back around to working on (there are more than listed above!).
  • Some are niche sites which I took to a certain stage and then left alone, updating infrequently.
  • Many had a low number of pages. The largest had around 280.
  • None of them have had much time at all put into generating links beyond the usual round of mailing some friends with relevant sites and cadging links from them. Very few links go to internal pages (although there are some).
  • All the affected sites were slapped in the second part of the algo adjustment at the start of June.

My Conclusions

  • My traffic boosts have come from the shift in the SERPS caused by the downgrading of larger sites’ quality signals. Happy days :)
  • My own quality and relevance signals for sites that benefitedwere a-ok with Google.
  • Those signals were related to good unique content, decent cross linkage, very few orphan pages, and decent inbound links to many different parts of my sites.
  • Ranking value of domain names remains strong, I didn’t lose any traffic within affected sites which was related directly to the domain.

What Does This Mean For Affiliates

Cutting through lots of algo related jargon about quality and relevance signals, it does come back to the type of frustratingly bland statements one always finds in Google’s webmaster guidelines.

Try to add value, create a site with unique and compelling content, and don’t make it all about earning money. I think the last one of those is probably key to affiliates.  Understandably we want to channel our time into creating traffic with the strongest possible chance of generating a sale for us. However, I think affiliates ignoring this latest warning shot from Google and not thinking about whether they need to change their strategy will be very ill advised indeed. Lets face it, this won’t be the last algo adjustment. How close were you to the cut off this time? Do you think you’d make it through the eye of Google’s algo needle next time??? Are you sure?

Incidentally, Matt Woods mentioned in an article on A4U that this update might see a mainstream return to the micro niche site in affiliate marketing.  He’s absolutely right that those sites will still work. I’ll certainly still be popping the odd one up here and there.  However, I’d say that anyone building a business on them is creating wealth propped up by a house of cards.  I predict their days will be numbered in the longer term. Looking at them from Google’s viewpoint they’re often thin on content, add little value, and are designed to funnel people straight through to another site. If you think sites like that aren’t already on the big G’s radar you’re deluding yourself.

My Own Next Steps

In an attempt to add a little more value than handing all those slapped affiliates a report card type statement reading “must do better” I’ve popped my own recently written “to do” list for all my sites. Some of it will never happen but it’ll all be thoroughly investigated and I will apply bits of this (and some other stuff I think of along the way) to all of my sites – not just the ones with problems.

  • Perform an audit and decide which sites I’ll leave “as is” and which I will try to “rescue”
  • Create more newsy articles of relevance to the industry I’m promoting.
  • Investigate social networking angles so that Google can see me in lots of different places.
  • Look at ways of helping my users more.  Maybe a section on some types of sites offering to help locate hard to find items or answer questions?
  • Investigate creating some unique product browsing tools for my sites. The ipad generation really do love their visuals.
  • Work consistently on all key sites on ethical link building (hopefully the above will generate a lot of this!!)
  • Look at site speed (Google has warned us all!!).

Food For Thought?

I hope I’ve given you at least a tasty little nibble.  Whether you are affected or not, I think bearing in mind that Google can and does raise the quality bar for affiliates on a regular basis is a jolly good idea. Despite having no real impact on my income, this update has given me the proper willies and no doubt about it. I’ve been sitting still for too long and not innovating.  I can visualise all too clearly how easily I could have been on the other side of the fence with this update. The difference between my affected and unaffected sites is uncomfortably small.

Onwards, upwards, and always… Forward!! :D

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Figleaves Sells For Peanuts – But Will Affiliates Give a Monkeys?

Affiliate Programmes 2 Comments »
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Former darling of the affiliate world and large scale lingerie retailer Figleaves.com was this week sold to NBrown (the company behind  JD Williams) for the sum of £11.5m.  The business was put up for sale back in February for considerably more than the price it achieved this week (or so the Independent said). A bargain. Figleaves has never made a profit but has a good customer base and brand so I imagine that plus stock is what NBrown are paying for.

Frankly My Dear…

Back in the day, a takeover such as this would have had affiliates (including me!) quivering in their boots at the potential changes to the affiliate programme new ownership might bring.  However, new management in 2008 combined with some radical changes which were implemented with disappointing ham fistedness and zero notice meant that a lot of affiliates became disaffected and ceased promotion. It’s changed status in the affiliate world was apparent from the total and utter silence on its sale within the main UK affiliate forum, Affiliates4U.

I am still involved with the programme as I had a whole heap of traffic I couldn’t monetise elsewhere.  I’m glad I did hang in there now because in recent months a new affiliate manager has come onto the scene and has been working to rebuild some bridges, and put affiliate incentives in place.  A good indicator that the powers that be decided affiliates still had a role to play in their business model.  Something that wasn’t at all clear late 2008 and most of 2009.

As an aside, the new chap is making a big effort to push things forward again and the programme seems to be in very good shape thanks to his efforts (just in case you’re interested!).

A Good Synergy?

JD Williams’ cheap and cheerful type business isn’t an immediately obvious bed mate for the rather more sophisticated Figleaves.  However, apparently industry analysts think they could do well together.  Figleaves’ customer base is more mature than your average shopper (probably thanks to their great selection of hard to find items) which allegedly makes it a good fit.

One thing’s for sure – NBrown seems to know how to make a good profit and access to Figleaves 1 million+ website visitors each month provides them a great opportunity.

So What’s The Affiliate Future?

Inevitably there will be lots of changes within Figleaves, so I do wonder if this will impact upon the affiliate programme.  If it’s not loss making I’d hope they’ll only be looking to improve upon it and make it more attractive to affiliates (increasing that vexatious 3 day cookie for example).

Its clear they value the affiliate stream, as they have a programme for JD Williams but here’s hoping they don’t tinker with the payouts in lines with the ones they are currently offering – £8 for new customer sales, £4 where a new customer sale is made on PPC but where affiliates have played a part, 1% of basket value for existing customers.

And if they do… well so be it. I operate on a once bitten twice shy basis and Figleaves’ commissions now form only a small proportion of my business turnover. They used to be a honking great chunk of it – but I learned a valuable lesson about eggs and baskets there!  I imagine that most affiliates still promoting them would be in a similar situation.

I’ll be watching the outcome of this acquisition with interest. It will be fascinating see if JD Williams turns the goose into the golden egg.

P.S. That’ll be my one attempt this year at a Jason-esque headline. It was a toss up between the above and “Is The Figleaves Takeover a Load of Pants??”  I’ll leave it to the duckman and his recently awarded best affiliate marketing blog of 2010  from now on ;)

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MoreNiche Launches Commissions Rewarding Multiple Referrers

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It’s a topic that’s long been discussed within affiliate marketing – which referrer gets paid commission on sales? Who should be rewarded? Last referrer wins usually means that affiliates who have introduced a customer to a brand or product, only to have them visit another affiliate site before purchasing, lose out.

Yesterday (June 14th) MoreNiche, who specialise in health and diet type products, introduced “split commissions”. This will allow their merchants to reward more than one referrer for sales.

Initially, the new structure is being tested by a single merchant on the network – Proactol.  You can read all about the debate behind which referrer should be rewarded for a sale, and their new commission structures here.

So What’s It All About Andy?

I asked MoreNiche MD Andrew Slack a few questions about the new commissions and what effect they will have.

How did you pitch this to the merchant, i.e. what’s in it for them?!?

Proactol are a very forward thinking merchant and so it was pretty easy, the idea of them being the first ever weight loss merchant to reward first referrers and thus make their campaign more appealing than competitors really excited them.

Not only does this allow them to get more exposure across our network but also as we announce this new feature (for example on your sites) they may also attract new affiliates because they are the first to give it a go.

In a very competitive space, this will allow them to stand out in our network where we have 20-30 different weight loss merchants.

Do you envisage a greater uptake with your other merchants once the new structure is launched? Is there much interest amongst your pool of merchants?

We have already been asked by a number of other merchants to use this split commission feature but we want to monitor how well it works with Proactol before rolling it out to everybody, most merchants are asking about the first & last referrer with the understanding that the last referrer should retain the highest commission.

Less interest has been placed on incentivising affiliates throughout the chain but I believe this will become more important as we move forward and merchants want to become more competitive.

I personally feel that the first referrer is often more important than the last, these are the affiliates who are introducing the brand for the first time, often losing out to brand bidders or voucher sites for example, with networks becoming more dependent on coupon sites I feel split commissions allow the power to shift (even if it’s just slightly) to the content affiliates who are adding ‘more’ value to the brands themselves.

Any ideas what sort of percentage of sales have more than one referrer?

We ran the numbers for Proactol before pitching it to them and currently 39.46% of all sales have more than 1 referrer in its chain, this is quite high which we believe is down to the lifetime cookies we offer, it was interesting to see sales coming in from over a year ago, with over 15 affiliates in the chain.

Different sectors will vary whether it’s a impulse purchase or a calculated buy, our research shows that weight loss products are more impulse with most people purchasing within a number of days, often on the same day however on average a surfer passes through 1.85 affiliate sites before purchasing proactol and across our network the number is higher at 2.59 sites.

Good News For Affiliates In This Sector
I think the changes that MoreNiche are bringing in are great for affiliates operating in this sector. I was fascinated by the stats Andy gave me on how many affiliate sites people have been referred through before making the decision to buy (probably demonstrates how important it is to think about what people search for at the end of their buying process!). The new system of rewarding multiple referrers may also help a lot of their affiliates tighten up their conversion rates. Having the fact that a significant proportion of your cookies are being overwritten would be a great focus to look at your keyword targeting strategy and try to tighten things up.

The Start Of A Big Change In The Entire Affiliate Sector?

This new structure will certainly make merchants choosing to employ it stand out from the crowd in the competitve sectors MoreNiche are operating in.

However, would it have any application in the wider affiliate world? It’d be nice, but I’m doubtful. Margins are a lot tighter in other areas of online retailing. The cynic in me says we’re a lot more likely to see referral data being used to de-dupe affiliate marketing commissions against a merchant’s other internal marketing streams such as Adwords campaigns, newsletters, and possibly even magazine advertising where there’s a special offer involved.

I’m pleased to see MoreNiche taking this step, and hope it adds value to both their merchants and affiliates.

http://www.moreniche.com/split-commission-technology.php

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Have You Been Google Caffeinated or is it Mayday?

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This week Google confirmed that the much speculated upon Caffeine Update has finished and is here to stay. This new search index has been hot gossip around the interweb for quite some time now. There’s some confusion about what current changes are related to Caffeine and which are down to an unrelated algo adjustment over at Google HQ which has been referred to as the “Mayday” update.

With that in mind, I thought I’d do a bit of a post about what’s happening, who it’s happening to, how its impacted me personally and include a bit of wild conjecture about how affiliates will be affected for entertainment value.

So What Is Google Caffeine?

Fortunately Google saw fit to release a concise diagram which explains it all.

Clearly the forecast for Google searchers is cloudy with a chance of  cyclonic outbursts of random information and images.  Do please use the new index with caution if searching in an enclosed space, or a subject area with sharp edges.

*ahem*

Alternatively it could be that the above indicates that users can now enjoy the following: -

  • The new index will be continuously updated, and will deliver fresh content faster than ever.  Delays between the time Google finds new content and includes it in the index have been eradicated.
  • Google can now index staggering amounts of data, giving them the ability to add more all singing and dancing features to their search engine offerings.
  • Real time web here we come!!

Changes to Longtail Search – Caffeine or Mayday?

  • Current site ranking changes being experienced by some webmasters aren’t related to Google caffeine. Apparently they’ve just been rolled out together and current traffic changes are just part of one of the many hundreds of updates the big G makes every year. Well, that’s what Matt Cutts said anyhow.  So caffeine = quicker search, Mayday = quality adjustments.
  • The changes are based around a re-assessment of how the best quality pages to rank for long tail searches are determined.
  • Until now, the internal pages of many large sites with good authority were ranked well for long tail searches. We’ve all seen these results in the SERPS and greeted them with a wry “Urgh, these guys have such good authority they can put any old shit up and rank for it”.  The changes mean that this authority will now no longer be enough to make Google believe sites are the best quality match to be returned for long tail searches.
  • Most likely to be affected are large sites with many internal pages which are buried deep within a site’s structure and which don’t attract much in the way of external links and aren’t terribly well linked to from within the site either. The buzz around internet town is that ecommerce sites are most likely to be affected.
  • The pages containing  individual products on ecommerce sites fit the above profile and also often do not contain unique content, and may be populated by descriptions and information from manufacturers databases.  i.e. duplicate content. There have been lots of reports from hard hit merchants verifying this.

So How Does This Affect Affiliates?

I can only speak for my own sites with any sort of surety, but I seem to have fallen heir to a lot of long tail traffic since the start of May.  For example, my mens underwear site has had a 25% increase in traffic and my lingerie site is enjoying a boost of 30%. Some of this is attributable to swimwear and holiday season, but I’m definately seeing a sudden glut of longtail traffic and an increase in the number of search phrases referring traffic to my sites. Happy days for me (touch wood!)

I’d have thought I might fall victim to the “isolated page with poor linkage” syndrome with many of my blog posts, particularly on Lingerie Brands which has had terrible linkage between blog post pages up until about 10 days ago when I finally got the site sorted with a pagination plugin. However, it seems that the unique content on these pages combined with the internal cross linkage from related posts has been enough to give Google a good “quality signal” about my content.

And It’s Really All About The Signals Baby…

I have read nothing about affiliate sites being affected, but I imagine there are a few that could fall victim to the current changes. Sites heavily reliant upon feeds and not adding value through the addition of unique and compelling content could very well be affected.  Perhaps voucher code and offer sites that pull in and publish feed based content without any alteration could see a reduction in Google’s willingness to rank their pages well. If you auto generate content, it may well be search engine brown trouser time.  And of course, there’ll be the usual outbreak of innocent bystanders who have done absolutely nothing wrong, just to add the appropriate levels of confusion to the mix ;)

Feed affiliates and those using automated methods to build sites could be on a sticky wicket with this, but I think a lot of affiliates could use these changes to their advantage. If you’re prepared to put in the time and effort to create a well structured, content rich, and unique site you’ll have a much better chance now of getting valuable long tail traffic to your site that was previously being hoovered up by large sites you were unable to compete with.

It’s going to be a bit like dating I reckon.  If you can give the right quality signals with your website’s “body language”, there’s every chance Google will hook you up with a red hot love match in the form of some beautiful traffic.

Further Reading

Google Confirms Mayday Update Impacts Longtail -  from Searchengineland.

Webmasterworld Disaster Thread – lots of people chat about how their sites have been affected.

Google Sends the Long Tail Screaming for May-Day by Kieran Flanagan

Official Google Blog on caffeine update

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Outsourcing is The New Black – What a Difference a Year Makes!

General 15 Comments »
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As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been going through an exercise to outsource tasks that take up a large amount of my time but could be done cost effectively by someone else.  The process itself began falteringly about a year ago and has recently come to full fruition.

As things have gathered pace with project “Just Let It Go Kirsty” I’ve recently read, digested, and implemented some of the principles in…

Four Hour Work Week – The Outsourcer’s Bible

The Four Hour Work Week was written by the inspirational (and hilarious) Tim Ferriss.  The sections of his book about outsourcing life were very pertinent and helped me realise that outsourcing should be about ridding myself of just about anything I don’t really enjoy doing if I can afford to do it.  The biggest benefit for me in reading this book was realising that my time has a value, and that I should not treat it as a “free” resource.

I loved the mindset I found in this book – there were so many “oh my god, he’s so right I just never thought of it that way before” moments.

From protecting your personal time, to focusing on the 20% of your work that brings in 80% of your income – the book was jammed with inspiration.  I know lots of my affiliate colleagues have read this book – but if you haven’t yet taken a look at it I do recommend it.  Tim has a highly entertaining and easy to read writing style, so not your average hard to digest business book.

What A Difference A Year Makes..

Since I last posted on this topic a month ago, I’ve spent a lot of time putting the systems in place I spoke about in my last post.    The result on my workload has been absolutely transformational.  I’ve gone from struggling to progress to knowing things are zipping along with me only being involved a supervisory capacity.  In the last 3 weeks this has been particularly valuable as I’ve not felt able to do anything more than give affiliate marketing a cursory glance after the recent loss of my grandmother.

The situation, although very sad for me, has really shown the benefit of the process.  It’s meant I’ve been able to take as much time out as I’ve wanted without worrying about the business losing momentum. That concern is often a huge source of stress for me generally for various different reasons – and the knowledge that I’ve finally kicked it to the kerb is very rewarding.

Kirsty’s Outsourcing Honour Roll

I’m really feeling good about all the things I no longer have to worry about and spend time on. So here’s my “Things I Don’t Have To Do Any More Honour Roll”

Personal

  • Household cleaning – this may well be my favourite I’ve always hated domestic chores. Time saved – 12 hours per month. Plus another 3 or 4 moaning about it / not looking forward to doing it ;)
  • “Boring” gardening – getting out into the wilds of my QLD bush block is one of my pleasures, but  the boring stuff such as lawn mowing, lopping, pruning, and carting palm fronds to the tip… I hate doing it, and I hate nagging Duncan to help me to do it. Time saved – 2 hours per month, and Duncan doesn’t get berated for letting our front lawn get embarrassingly long any more so a real benefit to our marriage!

Total Personal Time Saved: 14 Hours

That’s enough time for Duncan and I to have two fun days out together instead of doing tedious chores as soon as our leisure time swings around each week.

Business

  • Content Writing – Time Saved 35 hours per month
  • Content Posting – Time saved 40 hours per month
  • Link Building – Time saved 8 hours per month

Total Business Time Saved: 83 hours

Time saved is one factor, but I’ve not considered the concept of time gained before now.  Content Now do way more work on link building than I or anyone else could achieve in the 8 hours or so a month I previously spent struggling away – so the net benefit to the business is actually greater than before.  Similarly, I’ve ramped up the amount of content being written by engaging two different writers to work for me. Writer number two (who also happens to be my mother!!!!) is adding a further 20 hours or so of writing time to the business that wasn’t there before.

And This Means…

Duncan and I have a standard working week of 4 x 6 hour days equating to 104 hours work in the average month.  Recent efforts have removed 41.5 hours from that total for each of us.

Our new working week to get the same amount done? (more actually!)  2.5 days

At the moment we are still going to work 4 days a week and use the extra time to sort out all the things that we had fallen behind with and want to get sorted.  For example, Lingerie Brands has been long overdue a re-design and is now sporting an improved look, and has had a lot of the inefficiencies it’s suffered from for ages weeded from it’s structure.  The result is that already we’re seeing increased indexing and traffic thanks to us finally sorting out an issue with permalinks that was stopping pagination plugins from working.

But Don’t Worry Tim… The Mini Retirement’s Still On

We will indeed be cutting back our working hours to 2.5 days a week, or most likely 2 days one week and 3 the next, as soon as we have caught up with all of the tasks we need to perform to get our sites ship shape once more.

We will then be taking a series of Mini Retirements just like Mr Ferriss suggests (I’d always called these breaks we take skiving but that’s definately a more glam description!).

First up, we are taking 2.5 months off from September to Mid November.  We will be exploring our area of the Australian East Coast with some visitors during September, followed by a 6 week jolly to Europe (with South East Asian hols on the way there and back). After 2 entire weeks of work we will once more abandon our computers for another month of Australian R&R with some friends, culminating in a Sydney new year spectacular.

And you guys thought I’d got boring recently, didn’t ya?   ;)

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Affiliate Disconnection. Hello? Is Anybody There?

Affiliate Annoyances 7 Comments »
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Disconnection.  It’s a common feeling amongst people who have emigrated when they leave their old life behind, but in my case it’s doubly odd because I’m not only several thousand miles away but am still trying to “be involved”.

Sadly I don’t feel like I’ve been succeeding recently.  This failure (real or imagined!) doesn’t really affect my day to day work, but it’s increasingly making me feel far removed from the day to day goings on with “affiliate world”.

Where’d Everyone Go??!

I don’t get to see much of what goes on with my UK affiliate chums on Twitter and Facebook due to the time difference, and sadly things over at the A4Uforum aren’t what they used to be in terms of a good old chit chat with other well seasoned affiliates.

What that translates into is that I rarely seem to be up to date with industry goings on (I probably am broadly, it just doesn’t feel like it!!), and I’m really suffering from a lack of ability to discuss things with my peers about the day to day running of an affiliate business.  Networking and parties aren’t just about getting pissed (honest) they also provide an invaluable opportunity to let off a bit of steam and get a few new tips and insights.

Solutions?

Maybe it’s just all part of moving to Australia.  There’s not such a big affiliate scene here, although I have been lucky enough to meet some really nice affiliates on the Sunshine Coast which does keep me sane.  A very negative part of me says the solution is to just remove myself from the UK “scene” and accept I’m too far away to really participate – but I’m fairly certain my sense of disconnection would quickly be replaced by a real feeling of loss.

I guess it must just come down to the same sense I get when I’m missing my friends.  After a while, immigrants like me start to form new social circles and feel all nice and secure again.  Forming a comprehensive network of affiliate contacts complete with racy and exciting social scene??  Not so simple.

Answers on a postcard guys ;)

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Affiliate Quick Tips – Recycle Old Blog Posts With Timestamp Plugin

Quick Tips, Wordpress 1 Comment »
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Hey guys, I’ve been tinkering with the Scheduled Post Shift timestamp plugin for the last few weeks so thought’d I’d share it on here.

This plugin will take the timestamp of your oldest post and make it look like your latest post.  I was a little concerned about this plugin (I was a little concerned Google might take umbrage at such tactics) so I tested it on two older sites of mine that have bags of content but have been sadly neglected for the past year or so.

Both sites had an upturn in traffic, one around 15% the other around 30%.  I’ve been running the plugin on one of them for around 3 months and no signs of anything other than positive effects.

If any of you guys try it out do please let me know how you went with it as my two sites aren’t really enough of a sample to definitively say this plugin has a positive effect.

Happy blogging :)

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