Affiliate Marketing & Motherhood – The Ideal Combination? Well, Sorta!!

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Hello! What do you mean who are you? It’s me!! The former travelling affiliate lady, the one who used to make you green with envy with exotic travel photography and general tales of living the affiliate dream.

 

Just because I know you’ve missed them, here is a picture of what I used to do: -

And here is a picture of what I do now :-

*Cough* The one thing I am rapidly discovering is that there is no level of dickheadery you will not indulge in just to get a smile out of your child. What can I do? Path of least resistance seems the way forward!

Speaking Of The Path of Least Resistance….

On a more serious note, affiliate marketing is often spoken about as the perfect way of making money for the stay at home mum. Except not that many women that I am aware of are actually doing it. So is it the perfect fit? A Mummy job made in heaven?

Well… sort of. I already had an established business before I had my mini affiliate – meaning I could stop work when I felt I just couldn’t do it any more and have cruised along during the last 6 months only working when I truly felt like it and still made the normal income I’d expect. This is in stark contrast to the many mums I meet who are having to do things like sell cars and budget hard to stay at home with the kidlets. I am more than aware I am truly blessed and lucky to be able to do the mummy thing with no money worries. I realise that I am doubly lucky in this regard because I know a lot of affiliates haven’t come out of Google’s changes of the last 18 months terribly well.

Work & New Mummys Really Don’t Mix…

BUT, and it’s a big but – oh my lord what a struggle it’s been to motivate myself to do even the small amount of work I got done since the baby arrived. It’s only in the last 6 weeks or so I’ve really started to get my enthusiasm back and start to work consistently. At the minute this involves about 16 hours a week spread out over 7 days.

I really was shitting myself for a while there as I had absolutely no interest in working. I think that was mostly to do with exhaustion. AM is a very, very creative job (for me at least) which requires a fair bit of mental effort – and I just didn’t have it in me early doors. Massive kudos to any ladies reading this who have gone back to work after a few weeks at home with baby – you are nothing short of amazing.

The only reason I’ve gotten anything done at all is that I am utterly blessed to have the amazing Duncs at home with me. He hasn’t worked at all this year either and is looking after Eilidh whilst I take priority on getting my affiliate groove back on.

Do I think AM is something a mum with kids at home could do? Well yes. But easily? Not really! And if she started AM anew during her maternity leave? Not impossible but oh man it takes getting your teeth into an already steep learning curve from hard walking to hardcore mountaineering.

The New Routine

I’ve always been all about highly structured working days to make sure I’m efficient. However with a baby planning goes out of the window, and when I was chatting to my GP about what I do for a living and how, and I mentioned this method – she sort of winced and told me that it’d be an awfully misguided idea to set myself rigid routines and in particular to have the completion of said routines as a hallmark of success.

With all the tiredness and post pregnancy hormones I was assured that down that path the thorny road to Post Natal Depression awaits. Yes, being a control freak in charge of a small child is unwise in the extreme!! Now I’m in the midst of trying to work and baby wrangle I can totally see what she means. Trying to use that method now would be impossible and I’m awfully glad I am lucky enough to have a GP who took an interest in my wellbeing before I got myself into strife. I’ve always given myself a hard time about my work and the standards I carry it out to – and I think I have that in common with many affiliates. There was always going to be an element of conflict with the two roles and working out how they should marry together. I absolutely thought I could go back to work when Eilidh was 2 months old – I was barely capable of sitting upright at that point!

I’m Going To Call It “Chaotic Creativity”

Sit down and do whatever pops into my head, for as long as I have energy to do so. I try to take my own advice from wayback – try to do one thing each day that has the potential to make money and get it up there and running.

This mostly takes the form of PPC. In a post Penguin and Panda world I simply lack the brain capacity (and my technical chap in the form of Duncan) to work on my sites at the moment. I do have a plan, but executing it will take consistency. Consistency is not currently my friend. Thank goodness for my old school PPC skills which have made up the rather inconvenient loss of income that Google doled out to us affiliate types!

And What Next?

Well, I’m about to put in a new kitchen and bathroom here at the house. After that, we are going to get Duncs back to work a couple days a week whilst I’m doing Mummy stuff. Hopefully we can build a semi-routine from there.

For me AM and motherhood mix well on the whole but I’ve not really had an easy time making the two work together and I’ve definitely not succeeded to a degree where I’m happy. That said, once again the job I love has helped me to live the dream. A very different dream to before but one that’s just as exciting (and with much less sleep!).

I’m also thinking of doing a mummy blog (still!). I’d like to write more about all my other creative stuff like cooking, gardening, and a new one – sewing baby things. I have a domain, I’ll get there in the end. That’s my new work mantra.

I’ll Get There In The End

…meanwhile I’ll keep putting the most important thing in my life first…

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A Couple Of Recent Interviews

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Greetings!  I’m pleased to report the recovery from the horrors of pregnancy is progressing nicely, I know you’ll all have been worrying about me ;)   I’ve got my 19 week scan on Friday of this week and hope to find out if my little child will be selling princess toys or Bob the Builder merchandise!

In other news, I’ve found the time to do a couple of interviews recently and thought you guys might be interested in hearing from me in a second hand sort of way. I haven’t forgotten about you all honestly, I will get to all my planned posts in the end.

Interview 1 – Webtistic

I had a bit of a chat with the lovely Dave Bird of Webtistic fame (for all your SEO, PPC and affiliate management needs – now I want a discount  for that Dave, you know you want to!!!!).

I talked a bit about my current affiliate marketing goings on, what I like and dislike about it, and I didn’t even get cross when they referred to me as a Super Affiliate. As you all know I’m happy being “Pretty Good” but apparently that doesn’t have quite the same ring to it ;)

You can read the interview here.

Interview 2 – Google Panda & SEO Type Stuff

This is basically a rehash of an e-mail conversation I had with someone about my SEO strategies as an affiliate and a bit about Panda recovery related efforts. It was put up after we realised we’d been talking about some pretty interesting stuff! It’s not as detailed as the Panda post I’m planning to (eventually!!!) do, but there’s some interesting content in there that some of you might find interesting or useful. I also mention just how terribly affected by Panda Lingerie Brands really was – get your hankies out because it’s truly bloody tragic.

But will I let Google have the last laugh?  Come on guys, you know me better than that. I’ll get her back in the end :)

Check out the interview here.

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Affiliate Marketing: The Next Generation

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It does seem that recently for me a blog post without some kind of excuse about why I’ve not been able to keep the content coming to you guys is a rarity.

My dog ate my affiliate website. Matt Cutts and his team of evil search engine genius’ kidnapped my mojo. It’s been too hot. etc etc etc.

However this time I’ve got an absolute cracker, a bona fide iron clad “I’ve just not been well enough” excuse. What is more I know that you’ll all understand exactly where I’m coming from!! I can sense you’re all on the edge of your seats here, so without further ado let me show you what has kept me from the loving bosom of my blog readers this time.

Introducing My Latest Affiliate Project…

Definately my most time consuming and exhausting project to date. Introducing baby affiliate, due for launch February 5th 2012!

Like a Lead Duck To Water

Without boring you with the gory details it’s probably fair to say I initially took to pregnancy like a lead duck to water. Lets just say I’ve not been this slim since my early 20′s and I hope never to repeat the extreme crash diet plan I’ve just been through ;) It’s not been a walk in the park for Duncan either, he’s had to listen to me complaining these last few weeks and let me assure you I’m going to be writing next years Oxford English Dictionary definition of “Moaning”.

Getting My Affiliate Mojo Back on Track…

However, before you all get sick of the deafening sound of violins I’m happy to say I’m much better now and have most of my old mojo back again. In the last few weeks I’ve been able to think more clearly and have been having lots of Google Panda related fun (and some very early encouraging results from my efforts) so expect a post on that soon.

I’ve also been tinkering with social media and having some general Twitter fun so I have in mind a post about how affiliates can use Twitter and actually engage with potential customers and key influencers. And some of my very own tinpot theories about how Google might use data from Twitter as quality signals. Of course this will be very inexpert compared to what true social gurus could tell you, but I think a lot of affiliates find it hard to really work out how they should interact on that medium – so I hope to be able to give some basic help.

Oh, I’ve also got a bit to tell you about affiliate marketing in Australia and the lack of competition around affiliate content sites thereof.

So in short: Sorry I’ve been crap this year, insert excuse here, please let me off, I really do miss blogging and chatting with you all.

You Can Help Inspire Me…

Something else that’d help get me blogging again. What do you want to hear about right now? If you have things you’re interested in that aren’t being covered in other blogs please tell me in the comments below or via my Contact Form.

Hearing from y’all would really, really, help me build a bit of momentum again so please if you have anything at all in mind – tell me about it!!

I hope to be talking to you all a lot more often in the next half of the year :)

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Superspeed Me – An Easy Guide To Speeding Up Your Website

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Down with King Content – long live user experience!!  The new focus on user experience is coming ever more sharply into the everyday lives of webmasters – and you could be forgiven for thinking that the world of image compression, CDN’s, and theme optimisation is well beyond you.

However, it’s easier than you might think to give your site a bit of a “superspeed” makeover!

Super Easy CDN and Website Protection

We’ve all heard about Content Delivery Networks and cloud servers and similar and many of you may think that implementing one is beyond you. However fear not, the good people at Cloud Flare are riding to your rescue with their FREE CDN.  This system has a five minute install that just about anyone can implement and will not only superspeed your site but also protect it from internet bastards and vagabonds (as I like to call them).

Using data from Project Honeypot it protects your site against spammers, hackers, and other ratbags. I have implemented Cloud Flare on one of my sites and it has halved the download speed. So far this month it has saved my users on one small site 20.7 hours waiting for my pages to load, which also saves me bandwidth.

You can find out more about all the features offered by Cloud Flare on their comprehensive Tour Page.

Get A Speed Monitoring Plugin For Your Browser…

The Firebug plugin lets you use a whole wealth of web development and debug tools as you surf the net using Firefox. On it’s own I find it very handy to nosey around other people’s source code. If you’re interested in how someone’s done something or want to check out an element of your own site without trawling through code, it’s great. You just right click on the bit you want to look at and select “inspect element”. It’s a great everyday timesaver for me.

You can then grab the Site Speed Addon from Google. Given that these are the guys we’re all trying to impress it seems sensible to refine site performance by their standards. There’s also a Chrome Addon. You can access their widget directly through your browser without any addons here.

This cool little tool gives your site performance marks out of 100 and a great big “to do” list. It also has a feature to show you versions of your images which are “losslessly compressed”. You can just save these and upload to your site for improved performance.

My own worst site had a rather dreadful score of 44 / 100 – which we very quickly got up to a 93 / 100 with the help of the Firebug site speed addon.

WordPress Site Speed Plugins and Wizardry

If you have a WordPress site you can do all of the above… and also make use of some handy WordPress resources!

First of all, read Yoast’s Guide to Speeding Up WordPress. He mentions you should install a caching plugin. I use W3 Total Cache which was recommended to me by my hosting company, Clook. I’ve found it to be excellent and regularly updated. It’s recently been updated for better compatibility with Cloud Flare and Yoast’s SEO Plugin. Whilst you’re giving your site a bit of a makeover do download and use this if you haven’t already – I think it’s the absolute dogs danglies and it does all the little SEO tasks that are too easy to forget about when setting up a site.

Don’t forget to grab an image compression plugin – Smushit is from the same guys who created W3 Supercache and is a great tool to squeeze that extra efficiency out of your web pages.

That’s pretty much everything I’ve personally used recently – if any of you guys have anything to add to this resource please post in the comments below – I’d love you to add your own hints and tips!

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The Affiliate Fear Factor

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Almost everyone involved in making a living at the pointy end of affiliate marketing will have felt “The Affiliate Fear” – that little nagging feeling at the back of your head that everything you’ve built might get taken away from you. Why? Well, either because the industry attracts a higher than average proportion of poor souls suffering from paranoia, or because we spend a ridiculous portion of our working lives with the proverbial Sword of Damocles dangling about 3 inches above our unprotected internet heads.

Where Does The Fear Come From?

We don’t have a very hefty sword dangling above our heads and held in place by a single fragile horse hair – but our working lives certainly are plagued with uncertainty. Affiliate marketing is a unique industry – like any other it has a body (the IAB in the UK at least) that issues everyone with guidelines on how to play nice and generally be all round, ethically sound, good chaps. However, unlike other industries it’s not those guidelines that determine who sinks and swims in the affiliate world – it’s Google’s.

A Sword? That Is SO Last Millenium – Try a Google Bomb!

In a nutshell, these are as follows. “Make your site useful to users, add value over and above that offered by the merchants you feature. We hate pages occupying a space that might as well just be the originator of the product. Do not copy stuff from other people’s sites, please don’t use spammy tactics. Make it good.”

“Oh, and just a few small provisos. We like some sites more than others, so what one man can get away with will buy the next chap a one way ticket to Google-blivion. Failure to adhere strictly to the complex guidelines we have issued might result in your business being destroyed overnight. Or maybe not. Did we mention the nitty gritty of our guidelines are actually absolutely top secret so you won’t find out you’ve made a booboo, or we’ve changed them until you wake up one morning and realise it’s time to see what positions McDonalds might have available for you?”

Janet hated getting up in the mornings and discovering she'd won the "Google-blivion" raffle again...

And This is What Makes Us Unique…

If you’re a mortgage broker, insurance rep, own a shop or indeed any sort of business at all you’ll have a list of guidelines that governs absolutely every facet of your operation. They’re all designed to protect the consumer (as Google seeks to protect it’s users). They’re also written clearly in big letters where everyone can see them.

Affiliates? We have a regular prize draw type arrangement to see if we’ve still got a business or not! And my very favourite part – there’s absolutely nothing we can do about it.

Use The Fear – But Don’t Let It Use You!

Now that I’ve set a mental picture of hollow eyed affiliates waiting for their ticket to be drawn in the “one way trip to Google-blivion” raffle extravaganza, I’d like to point out that using the anxiety of this ever present Damocles-esque threat is actually a very healthy thing.

Am I scared? Of course I am, all the bloody time!! But I never get to that sweaty palmed world is about to end stage. As I go about my daily affiliate business I constantly gather data about Google and it’s goings on. Eventually, little things will start tugging at the corner of my mind. When something’s been in there a month and won’t go away I know it’s time to do something about it. I’ve learned to channel my worries and anxieties into positive action, and it’s kept my business growing.

If you’re new to affiliate marketing, this will be the most important skill you can learn.

If you’re already in affiliate marketing and think you don’t need it – I’ll have a big mac, coke, and large fries thanks.

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So What Now?

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Long term readers of this humble blog will know just how long I’ve spent being inspired by books such as the 4 hour work week and trying to cut down my working hours and generally streamline my business. The idea is to use the flexibility offered by affiliate marketing to enjoy more leisure time.

Mission Accomplished

After returning from my recent 4 month sabbatical I decided to bite the bullet and drop my working week down to 3 days. This has worked exactly as I’d hoped – the business is still running well and the time I put in is enough to keep it growing.

There’s only one problem though…


I’m Absolutely Bored Shitless!!!!!!!!!!!

Err… the thing is I’ve always said I eat, sleep, and breathe affiliate marketing. That is absolutely true. The only problem with this is that somewhere along the road I’ve clearly lost sight of who I am when not being an all round internet surf champ. In fact when I think about it, the process of losing sight of “who I really am” started when I left home and went to uni 16 years ago.

Pre university Kirsty was always busy. Drawing, painting, knitting, sewing, stamp collecting, antiquing, flower making, paper marbling, embroidery – I was always into something. But when I left home, all that creative energy went into shaping myself and my future. Standing back and admiring my handiwork I think I’ve done a decent enough job, so no complaints there.

But what the f**k do I do now?

Kirsty The Newbie

Now I empathise more strongly than ever with all you newbs out there in affiliate land. I thought I remembered what it was like, but now I realise the struggle to get started fades in your mind as you move further away from it. Trying to find things to occupy my now extensive leisure time makes me realise just what a hard job all you guys have!

I have all these ideas for projects, but feel I need to understand the whole process before I dive in. So nothing happens. I have so many ideas that I spend hours researching and never actually seem to start anything, and I’m too scared to invest money in my ideas in case they don’t work out and I end up with a whole load of junk I don’t really want or need. I’m already that bored with being bored that all I can do when I try to find something to do is sit around…. being bored.

And Here’s The Dangerous Part…

I keep on ending up in my good ‘ol familiar office. But not working. I end up checking stats, looking at projects and visiting the same old websites I use to break up my working day over and over again – just because I don’t know what else to do.

And then guess what happens when I step into the office to try and do my 3 days of work?


I’m Absolutely Bored Shitless!!!!!!!!!!!

*cough* so just to recap. I aimed to work less, live more, and earn more so I could enjoy an exciting and fulfiling life.

What I’ve achieved is indeed working less and earning more but not enjoying any of it. I’m using all this extra spare time to experience the utter and stultifying boredom and apathy I’ve apparently waited so long to enjoy. Nice work love – that’ll be one to tell the grandkids about eh? Well, if I can be bothered to have any.

Insert Positive and Upbeat Comment Here

Now y’all know me. I’m a glass is half full type of gal… except today I can’t be arsed. So do me a favour – insert your own upbeat comment about how I’m going to jolly well pull myself together and fabricate a rich and fulfilling leisure life in the space I’ve left below.
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There. Now isn’t that better?

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Inside The Affiliate Greenhouse

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Want to experience a day in my shoes and find out why this blog has been a little quiet recently despite my wild promises of more top quality affiliate prose now I’m back home?

Just follow this easy step by step guide to seeing the affiliate world through my eyes and all shall be revealed dear readers…

1. Locate a convenient greenhouse. Perhaps see if the botanical gardens in London can accommodate.
2. Move your office desk in there.
3. Increase the ambient temperature to 32c (that’s 89.6f).
4. Just for a bit of a giggle, whack up the humidity to around 95%.
5. Now do 6 hours affiliate related work in those temperatures with just a fan to cool you down.
6. Endure several browser crashes per day because your computer system is too hot. This will usually be at a crucial moment and will enrage you considerably.
7. Once you’ve finished your days work, pause to push your glasses back on your nose (they’ll have been sliding off for quite some time) and decide should you a ) think up a dazzling bit of blog prose or b ) rush off and spend some quality time under a cold shower before dropping insensible onto the sofa.
8. Now you know why I haven’t been blogging.
Image credit: CartoonADay.com

Don’t even dare ask why my office isn’t air conditioned – in this house nothing is as simple as selecting a single job and just doing it. Because we’re mid renovation even the simplest tasks seem to end up requiring an entire section of wall to be replaced, major drainage works, and some kind of retaining wall to be constructed.

It’s Not Only The Temperature That’s Been Distracting Me

Other than wrestling with blazing hot computer keyboards and still trying to do a reasonable days work I’ve also been having a hot time of it at the hands of Google.

In my last post about how affiliates need to lift their game I didn’t mention that one of my own sites had been affected by the rumblings from the Google jungle (although I spoke about it in the comments section). Lingerie Brands has had a rather nasty gouge taken out of its traffic and rankings and I’ve been spending a lot of time working out how we will redevelop the site to keep Google happy.

Initially I thought it could be a “thin affiliate” filter being applied, however I’ve since realised that it’s not so much my site having a blanket type filter applied as other sites being deemed more appropriate to rank higher in the SERPS.

I don’t want to go into it too much here but I’ve found where I’ve lost rankings I’ve largely been replaced by merchants themselves and sites doing interesting and useful type stuff with product feeds. Where I’m still ranking A-OK there’s not so many merchants or sites of that nature in the space. Also, if it had been an adjustment to their thin affiliate filter I’d have expected my other similarly structured mens underwear site to be affected – but it’s not. In fact its got more traffic than ever.

So I’ve spent a sweltering week working out a redevelopment brief for good ‘ol LB so she can keep up with the times. In all honestly, its long overdue. The current site format is old, tired, and needs to improve the value it adds to the users. I’ve known that for quite some time and Google’s just sent me the loud and clear message that they couldn’t agree more! I’ll post more on this when my thoughts are more… cogent!

I’m actually very happy this has happened in an odd way – I’m going to be able to add in all sorts of little time saving functionalities to my site and we will then also be able to roll out similar principles to our other sites and redevelop those also.

2011 is going to be an interesting year and so long as it cools down a bit – I’m really looking forward to it :)

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What Do You Mean Who Are You?

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Remember me?  Odd Scottish girl who likes to ramble on a bit about affiliate marketing?

Hehehe, I’ve had a handful of people wondering where the hell I’ve gotten to recently after an unprecedented silence on this blog. The answer is quite simple – I decided to take a complete and utter break from affiliate marketing for the last few weeks of my holiday and was mostly successful (barring having to upgrade my website servers around Christmas and being repeatedly woken from my bed by downtime alerts).

I did miss talking to you guys though :)

Back Into The Dynamic Cut and Thrust…

Urgh, they say breaking up is never easy but honestly it should be getting back together is never easy. I’ve now resumed my relationship with affiliate marketing and have spent the most dispiriting 4 days slogging through a pile of admin type tasks I’ve let build up. I definately lost the will to live a couple of times this week. But that’s all completely normal type stuff and it never takes long for something to reignite my spark.

What A Difference 4 Months Makes!

As soon as I got down to surveying my own personal affiliate landscape in depth I realised there’s been some massive changes for me whilst I’ve been on my extended break. My PPC is now barely registering on the spendometer, Christmas was “steady” rather than a “woah!!!!”, and my sources of income have altered wildly.

Thanks to my unwillingness to push my luck with Adwords this year, some programme changes, and some niches that have traditionally done well just not going off for me during December / January – I’m out into uncharted territory. However, I’ll still end this month 30% up on January last year thanks to one of my newer sites which has neatly stepped in to take up all that slack and then some.

And That’s What I LOVE About Affiliate Marketing

Ahh, the romance is back on!  I adore the ever changing, always challenging, and often perplexing nature of trying to keep making a living at this game.  If you stand still or rest on your laurels things invariably fall apart.  What you thought was the solid bedrock of your business turns to sand and dribbles through your unresponsive fingers if you don’t keep on pushing and innovating.  My business today is only still on the up because I enjoy and embrace the double edged nature of the business – even when it’s cutting me to damned well ribbons ;)

But more about all these changes when I’ve had more time to analyse and ruminate on them!

Queensland Floods

As I’m sure most of you realise I’ve made my home in Queensland. Fortunately I live on the Sunshine Coast and despite a huge amount of rain falling we have been spared the devastation that’s unfolded in the rest of the state. My house is absolutely choked with mould, my front door has swollen to twice it’s normal size, and my house was infested with termites thanks to all the damp weather. I count myself incredibly lucky considering all the terrible flooding and tragic stories, and will be kept busy with the clean up for quite a few weeks to come.

If you’d like to make a donation to help those affected by the floods you can do so at this site here.

We did have an interesting feature crop up at the bottom of our garden which I think will demonstrate just how much water the sky can throw at you here in the sub tropics.

Should there be a creek at the bottom of our garden dear? I'm sure it wasn't there yesterday!

Meanwhile, Enjoy These Travel Pics

On a more sunny note, we did manage to find a bit of good weather recently – so here’s a some  sunshine pics to show you all that Queensland really is an incredibly beautiful place and a bit of what we’ve been up to since I last posted.

Walking along the best beach in the world with my friends - Whitehaven

Duncs chills out on our Whitsundays boat trip

Our birdseye view of the NYE Fireworks on Sydney Harbour

More from me soon, and any pictures from now on are more likely to be of mould than any gorgeous beaches!!

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My Week On The Web – Far Travelled Freebies

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I’ve been back in Australia just under a week now and getting caught up with my sites. Alas, I’ve had to renege on my promise to not work upon my return as we have to sort out some Google Adwords issues I’ve mentioned previously and get our new site up and running.

Seeing as I’m at my desk anyhow I thought I’d get back into my semi regular Friday posts and let y’all know what I’ve been up to and some of the stuff I’ve been reading about.

Don’t Know Your Canonical From Yer Elbow?

Confused by the difference between 301 redirects and rel=canonical? I know I was, but thanks to this extremely comprehensive guide from the lovely people over at SEOMoz I now need wonder no more! Basically 301′s are for your everyday site and content moving situations, redirecting traffic from expired content to the most relevant page on your site, and preventing multiple home page versions from being indexed. The canonical tag can be a much easier to use alternative, is handy for letting search engines know about pages which may be duplicates where a 301 is inappropriate, and stopping automatically generated URLs such as those containing session id’s being indexed.

Simple eh? If, like me, you’re a bit behind on the wonderful world of canonical fun catch up here!

Could You Make A Better Job of a Site Than Someone Else?

A great post from the very entertaining Finch pointing out that there may be financial opportunities to be had by taking on someone else’s dud project and adding a bit of affiliate magic. If a site’s current owner doesn’t have the mindset to monetise a project, maybe you do!

A4U Awards – The End Of The Blog Awards

Entries for the 2011 A4U Awards are now open. I see that the best blog category is now defunct as my fellow blogger and current holder of the accolade Jason Dale pointed out.

The reason is “due to the lack of active bloggers”, and to be honest I agree with Matt & team’s decision completely. Without a larger pool of bloggers I think the award was going to get a little bit pointless this year with no new blood for voters to consider. They’ve said if the pool expands they’ll revisit having an award for affiliate blogs. I’d love to see more people blogging within the UK space so here’s hoping the award will resurface at some later date.

Think There’s a lot of Money in 2nd Tier Affiliate Marketing?

Well think again! John Lammerton has referred just oodles of new affiliates to UK networks, some of whom are now pulling in very nice monthly amounts of up to five figures per month. So did he write his post from his private yacht moored off Capri? Well, maybe not

Whilst we’re talking about Mr Lammerton, he’s recently started a brand new and original feature called “Ask Lammo” *cough* ;) If you’d like to ask this experienced affiliate marketer and owner of Easy Content Units any questions just use the little box in the bottom right hand side of his site.

It’s ages since I had any Ask Kirsty questions (between John and Affiliate Doctors perhaps I’m being edged out of the market?!?!). So if anyone has any problems they’d like unpicked and analysed for public consumption please do drop me a line.

Are These The Furthest Travelled Affiliate Freebies Ever?

As you may or may not remember, we picked up a fair few freebies from various sources at the A4U Expo. To prove that there’s no lengths an affiliate won’t go to in order to bring home their conference goodies here’s a picture of our stash which has travelled on no less than 7 flights since we were in London at the Expo.

By far the most impressive feat is the transport of the 6 Peroni glasses my Duncan liberated from the opening party with the help of two willing accomplices with very large handbags. Fitting them into our already stacked to the brim luggage and actually keeping them in one piece ended up being the mission of the century. They now have just as much sentimental value as our wedding crystal and serve as a reminder of just how much an affiliate values a good freebie ;)

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Affiliate Inspiration From Far Off Places

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Actually, I think a far more appropriate title for this post would probably be “why it’s impossible for Kirsty to have a real holiday”. Having just got back from a very, very cool trip I want you to know I was thinking about affiliate marketing and this blog at some very improbable junctures!

Its clear that my passion for affiliate marketing is verging on the obsessive. I couldn’t stop those insistent little analogies popping into my mind when I was supposed to be concentrating on some of the world’s most impressive sights.

Pompeii – Don’t Build Your Business on The Side of a Volcano

"So we'll build the main plaza so that scenic volcano sort of dominates the town. Whats that? Nahhhh.... it won't go off!"

When our Roman chums built this amazing place they knew Vesuvius was a volcano – they just didn’t realise it was an active one. I was quite shocked to find there are 700,000 people living in the Naples area today. If this old lady blows her top (a trick she’s long overdue to perform) there are hundreds of thousands of unlucky residents in the danger zone. There are also some fairly firm doubts about the effectiveness of the evacuation plans

Seemingly madness, but there’s a huge number of dodgy adwords accounts, sly cookie stuffers, website copiers, and naughty fraudsters determined to make that easy buck building their empires on shaky ground. If you’ve based your income on something a little bit dubious, have been getting away with it for a while, and think you’ll never be caught – think again! There’s nothing worse than being shaken from your bed at 3am by the distant rumbling of a financial pyroclastic flow heading straight for your bank account. ;)

Much like Vesuvius it’s not a matter of if, but when.

Rome – It’s Not All About The Colosseum Darling!

When you think of Rome, you instantly think of the Colosseum - but it ain't the only amazing bit of tourist eye candy in the neighbourhood!

Affiliate marketing suffers from what I’ll call “Colosseum Syndrome” for the purposes of this little rant-ette. “So Bill, I hear you’re taking up affiliate marketing. What are you going to promote? Ah yes. Mortgages and Gambling – a wise choice. However, have you considered checking out the rest of the affiliate neighbourhood?”

Time and time again in affiliate marketing people target the obvious and don’t put any effort into finding out about any beautiful yet underrated gems that might be nearby, and much easier to exploit without having to fight through crowds of competitors.

Not far from the Colosseum and only 4 other people there.

Leaning Tower of Pisa – Solid Foundations Are Essential!

Duncs refusing point blank to do the traditional holding up the tower pic (thank goodness or I'd have started divorce proceedings).

The Tower of Pisa was built in 3 stages, each stage tried to correct the obvious lean which means this tower has levels hanging all over the place to try and give the impression of a straight, well built tower. It was finally stabilised just a few years ago. Only took just under a thousand years to sort out ;)

This anaology would have been obvious to anyone, the only way to build your affiliate business is on foundations of hard work. Anything else and you’ll have to spend an unpleasant amount of time and money going back and doing the underpinning work which may, or may not, work!

Some Other Pics Sans Smug Analogies

Thanks for bearing with me during those, it was essential to my mental wellbeing that I get them out onto the blog as I couldn’t believe how they kept popping into my head when I was supposed to be busy touristing!

Nice was... nice although my Dad is looking unimpressed here!

Me on the cruise ship in a dress, behaving myself, wearing makeup, and hair done. Quick! Call Record Breakers!!

Checking out the local wildlife in Krabi, Thailand.Meeting the local wildlife in Krabi….

But the best bit of the trip… god it’s so good to be back home in Australia!

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