25
Aug

Just a quick motivational post here on my old poker affiliate blog for those still making their way to this blog one way or another…

It is almost 4 years since I first started as a poker affiliate.  I will save the whole story on how it happened, as I have it on my About me page, but it is really neat to see how far I've come along (and how far other affiliates in a similar situation as me have came too).

I remember making my first link sale to Mike W and Jeremy M from the PAW forums at the time and getting extremely excited.  Like one of those “no way I just made money over the internet” type feelings.  Next came some affiliate commission from Chan Poker, and that first Real Money Player felt amazing.

The feelings of making your first bit of income online (especially at a young age) is one of the best feelings out there.

After making a few hundred bucks I still didn't think I could turn this into a full time summer job while in school, but kept plugging away for whatever money I could get.  A few hundred a month turned into a little over a thousand dollars per month (including writing work) and that was about what I would make in the summer as a student ($400/week is about what I was used to earning).  That first summer I busted my ass writing for others and collecting small affiliate payments and the odd link sale.  I made just about what I would have made doing landscaping or whatever else.

Month by month the affiliate payments were growing.  I finally realized I might actually be able to do this for a living.

After only about 2 years I was making more than a lot of out of university or college jobs pay.  I was working hard, but also living the dream working from my bedroom as a teenager.

Another year or so goes by and I start to get bored with poker.  I don't play poker much anymore at all, and I've started to hate writing about it.  I already have some established sports betting sites and casino sites doing decent – enough to pay the bills.

I sell half of my business for a very nice chunk of change.  Enough that I could buy myself a very nice car, or various other toys if I wanted to.

Luckily for me I have my head on somewhat straight.  I paid off my current car loan, but didn't do too much more with that money.  Most went to taxes or right back into my business.

This is about when I realize that I want to make this my full time job.  School isn't for me.  I know I can more than survive working online right now, and the sky is the limit.  If something happens to my websites, the industry, etc, I know I can adapt and at least make enough money online to get by.

Half way through my next semester of school I decide I'm done.  I'm ready to start working full time as an Internet marketer.

These last two years I haven't seen the growth in my business that I've wanted to, but I am still probably considered pretty darn successful.  I am definitely not satisfied where I am right now, but I'm getting there.

I am in the middle of building my own house right now, and am able to put a solid 20% down on it.  It's funny to reflect… about 4 years ago I was happy that I could buy myself a few lap dances video games with the money I was making online, and now I am buying my first home.

My business right now is focused around a lot of sports stuff (including the new NFL Betting Picks blog), a tiny bit of casino/poker, and a tiny bit of fitness related stuff.  I'm not sure where I will be in 5 or 10 years from now, but my guess is that I will likely still be in the sports betting nice and doing some more fitness stuff – those are my two biggest passions and nothing is better than doing work you enjoy.

Pretty random post, but it is cool to reflect back on your life/business.  I used to love motivational posts when I was a new affiliate, and hopefully this post finds the eyes of a new affiliate that needs a little boost.

 

Category : Motivational
22
Jun

I am sure there are a lot of new affiliates out there who have just entered the “poker affiliate game” or who have just stumbled across it and are interested if it is a good time to become an affiliate for online poker rooms with the big mess in the industry right now.

I am going to go ahead and say that there are better ways to make money online right now, but if you have a passion for poker (and online poker) there is still lots of money to be made from poker affiliating.

It seems as a lot of affiliates are leaving the poker industry, and either focusing on casino or sports betting, or just other avenues in internet marketing entirely.  Even some bigger affiliates are selling off their poker sites.  Of course the less competition there is out there the easier it will be for you to make money.

If you are a new poker affiliate I highly recommend thinking a bit outside of the box.  Forget about the generic review/bonus code type poker affiliate sites, and try to generate content on recent topics, new poker rooms, etc.  An idea might be to focus on mobile poker.  Our world is clearly moving towards mobile everything, and in time I am sure it will be quite easy to play poker online on you iPhone or iPad for real money.

I know bonus code type sites can still be profitable (Mike has a nice PKR bonus code site), but it isn’t the way I would go with the way things are today.

Another recommendation is to focus on European countries (or even Canada).  You can target specific countries with certain domain extensions. I don’t know the laws or rules for getting a .co.uk domain, but I know for .ca domains you just need a Canadian residents address.

My guess is that online poker will be regulated in the USA with big casinos jumping on board in the future.  Targeting generic keywords could land you a nice media buy down the road.  If you have the patience, time, and determination, why not try to rank for a popular generic term that poker plays would search.

Although things are not, and probably will never be, as good as they were back a few years ago in the poker affiliate industry, there is still money to be made by experienced and new affiliates.

I will say it again, stick to something you are passionate about.  If that is poker you should be able to make some money running a poker website.  If you aren’t passionate about the game I would suggest moving onto something else, as you will struggle.

A good example of poker affiliates moving into other niches include Adam who runs this How To Buy Gold guide.  He has been successful in poker and is now doing very well in other areas.  The Internet is huge, and there are a million ways to make one million dollars.

Whatever avenue you choose, good luck!

Category : General
24
May

This is a guest post by Adam from UKPokerAffiliate.com

As an webmaster and affiliate with no employees, being able to maintain your websites by adding unique content, news and your own time is very important. Getting “spread” across too many websites is one of the toughest things about building a network of sites that all target small niches. I’ve personally started to feel the burn of having so many websites and having to update or invest in them all every month etc.

It seriously hampers my ability to spend time on new or exiting projects when I have to go back and keep updating old sites.

If you’re have a large network of 15+ mini-sites like me than at some point in the future you might want to strongly consider consolidating your network or “merging” existing websites to a new domain. This is what I’m in the process of doing right now with a few of my mini-sites.

Why 301 Mini-sites to a New Domain?

Your decision to 301 an existing website to a new domain should always be a well planned one. Asides from being “spread too thinly”, there are numerous other reasons I can think of for 301ing an old website to a new domain.

1) Brand Authority & Synergy. It’s no secret that SEO is moving towards favouring older, bigger, more authority websites. By merging your thin mini-sites together you could get the “synergy” needed to create a more authoritative, branded website that rank for more keywords.

2) Thread of a Trademark Domain. If your domain is against the trademarks of a company than it’s always a good idea to 301 the site to a new domain before you get caught (it’s also good to have an exit strategy for these type of domains anyway). For example, over the next couple of months I might decide to move my iPhoneGambling.org site over to MobileCasinoBonus.org.

3) Expand into Other Markets. One of the problems with some of my mini-sites is that because I’ve targeted such a small niche (to the point that it is saturated) I won’t be able to grow or add more content to the site. For example, my iPhoneBetting.org website has practically reached its peak in terms of traffic. However I could easily re-direct the website to a more generic domain like BettingMobile.org. This would give me more room for expansion into other markets such as WAP, Blackberry, Android betting etc, whilst maintaining my existing rankings for iPhone keywords.

4) It might be Cheaper to 301 a Website than Write the Content. This probably won’t apply to most affiliates, but now and again you might find mini-sites or websites for sale at Flippa.com or PAL which would be a good investment to re-direct content and traffic to your website. For example, why spend all the effort paying $1k for articles and SEO on a new section of your main website when you could buy an existing website for half of that and just 301 re-direct it?

Disadvantages of 301 Re-directing a Site to a New Domain

Although 301 re-directs can seem simple and can be done in the space of 5 minutes (just add the 301 code to your old website’s ht access and use the import/export settings to move over the content to a new domain in wordpress), it’s not without its risks.

1) 301 Re-directs don’t pass all of your Page Rank. A recent interview with Matt Cutts showed that not all of a website’s Page Rank (link juice) will pass through a 301. This basically means you could lose a bit of authority and rankings on your new domain.

2) You Lose your “Exact Match Domain Boost”. If you move from an exact match domain mini-site over to a more generic/brandable domain than you could lose the “exact match boost” that helped you rank for certain keywords. For example, moving iPhoneBetting.org to BettingMobile.org could lose a chunk of my iPhone related rankings.

3) You’ll Lose Your Rankings Whilst Google updates your URLs. When you 301 a website to a new domain it’s going to take Google a while to update your URLs in their index. This basically means you could lose up to a month’s income and traffic waiting for Google to re-crawl your new URLs (submitting your new site map and notifying Google of your new URLs will help). You can see a great example of what happens when you 301 a site to a new domain in this blog at AffiliateBible.com.

4) You Could Lose the Age of your Mini-site. The age of your website is a very important factor for SEO. Unfortunately, if you 301 a 2 yr old website to a brand new domain than you could lose a lot of the “aged” authority that came with this. The age of your website and backlinks could even be “reset” by Google.

5) If you 301 to a Brand New Domain than it could Sand Box your Site. This is just a theory of mine (with zero proof), but re-directing an old website to a brand new domain and then building lots of links could lead to you getting sand boxed.

6) You might not get the “Synergy” you hoped for. If you merge/301 a number of your mini-sites to a single domain you might not get the synergy you were hoping for in terms of more domain authority, content and traffic. What’s more, there are times when it’s better to keep your sites separate (or sell them individually) rather them merge them all together.

Category : General
21
May

This is a guest post by Greg Walker from www.ThePokerBank.com

The only thing I’m worse at than converting players is split testing and list building.

Unfortunately, I’m still horrendous at split testing and conversions, but I do have a heart-warming story about increasing subscriber rates for my list that I’d like to share.

I know Kevin does a lot with email list building, plus he has helped me out with a few handy tips in the past, so I thought his old blog would be a nice place to share my story.

What I did.

Thanks to the magic of me storing old website files for no good reason, I actually have a screenshot that I can show you of my old newsletter subscription box from June 2010:

Old Newsletter Box Design

I think this the kind of stuff that makes seasoned list-building people cringe and laugh at the same time. However, I didn’t know any better. The box was prominent enough at the top of my sidebar, right? What more could I do?

Steal Shoemoney’s idea, that’s what.

Basically, I was busy procrastinating one night when I stumbled upon the weapons of marketing page for The Shoemoney System. As you can see, he has a smart and fancy rollover/hover image thing for his email sign up box that only cool Internet marketers would think of.

I wanted something cool like that.

So, I brushed all the work I wasn’t doing to the side and started on my new newsletter box.

The new design.

New Newsletter Box Design

Ta da.

You can see it in full, uncompressed, glorious action on my sng poker rooms page. In fact, you can see it in action on most pages of thepokerbank.com, but I get to hit a few keywords by pointing to it this way.

Note: I got that green submit button from this flashy set of free css3 buttons.

How it works.

I’m not going to get in to all the technical details, as I know most poker affiliates are too busy making money to code. Plus, if you are decent with code you can just view the source and steal it all anyway.

But essentially it’s a sprite. The background position of the div shifts to the left when you hover over it. The full image looks like this:

The Sprite

Very cool.

Furthermore, this is actually better than Shoemoney’s version as well because you do not have to wait for the hover image to load. Shoe’s version requests a different background image in the CSS, which means that there is a blank space while the new image loads when you hover over it. Take that Shoemoney.

In all honesty, these really aren’t all that difficult to put together. If you don’t hate HTML and CSS then I think it would take about an hour tops to figure it out. Or, you could just head over to digitalpoint and get someone to make you one for $10. This doesn’t include the cost/time of making the image though, which might be another hour or $10.

Note: If you like the look of that ebook design, here you go.

The results.

Newsletter Increase In Sign Ups Results Chart

Comparing the monthly total subscribers for June 2010 and August 2010, you can see that I was getting almost 5 times as many subscribers thanks to this funky technique.

Or – because percentages are more dramatic – a near 400% increase.

I honestly didn’t think that this sprite be would as effective as it is for capturing emails, but it is. I guess it just goes to show how small changes can sometimes make big differences. I just wish I implemented this sooner, as I’d now be sitting on a much bigger list of emails that I don’t market to.

Isn’t this technique annoying?

Maybe just a smidgen. If it is annoying, I’d say it’s harmlessly annoying. You visitors aren’t going to hate you for it, and it’s not going to affect bounce rates.

If you’re apprehensive about using something like popup domination because you feel it’s a bit obtrusive, then this could be an ideal alternative for you. But again, I’m not a great marketer, so the more forceful popup domination may well generate even more leads.

Bonus tip: Image rollovers and mobile devices.

iPhone, iPad and other iStuff users don’t have the “hover” ability on their mobile web browser. I’m guessing that this is the same for the majority of mobile phones in general as well. Therefore, my clever little hover effect is crippled by these devices.

So, to save these users tapping a hole in their screen trying to press a “download” button that doesn’t actually work, I decided to show a different newsletter box image to them:

Mobile Sprite Version

With a little bit of PHP wizardry, you can easily deliver specific content to mobile users.


$mobile_user = stristr($_SERVER['HTTP_USER_AGENT'], 'mobile');

if ($mobile_user) {
	echo "You're on a mobile!";
}

else {
	echo "Not mobile :(";
}

To top part is the magic bit. In my case, I just needed one line of PHP (using the logic above) to place in the div that contains the background image for the sprite.

What I did was create a if statement that adds a style="background-image:url(/images/ebook_mobile.png)" attribute that overwrites the default background image on the sprite div if the user is on a mobile device. This is pretty straightforward if you’re okay with PHP, but if not, it’s probably just a $5 jobby at digitalpoint.

EDIT: I did have a line of PHP code here to show you, but I couldn’t get it working nicely in WP.

One more random tip.

Change the input type from type="text" to type="email" on your email field. When iPhone users go to enter their email address the email-specific keypad will be shown.

Here’s a screenshot of the iPhone input type=”email” screen that shows you what I’m talking about.

Don’t worry, changing the input type to type="email" won’t alter the way your form works or looks. Older browsers that do not support html5 will just treat it as type="text". It’s just a nice touch that iPhone users will enjoy.

Category : General
21
Feb

The below post is a guest contribution from Mike Wittmeyer – a long time gambling affiliate and webmaster of http://www.BusinessCards.org/.

Geotargeting is something I have wanted to implement on my poker site for over a year now, but I never actually sat down and got it done. It’s easy to have a conversation with someone and say, “hey, we really need to start geotargeting”, but it is different to actually get it going. About two weeks ago I finally took the plunge and decided I was going to make it happen – I didn’t care if I had to hire someone, spend a whole day on it, whatever.

Surprisingly, it was a pretty simple process. I followed MikeBrad’s instructions for Geotargeting with Maxmind, and I was able to geotarget my website for American, Canadian, and UK visitors in only an hour or two, with no outside help. As long as you know how to use an FTP client and how to edit basic PHP, you should be able to do it on your own too.

Increasing Conversions

Once I figured out the script, my next step was to decide how I was going to use geotargeting to increase my poker conversions. I ended up making two major changes: targeting my homepage to my visitors’ locations, and adding notices to all of my non-USA poker room reviews.

Targeting the Homepage

In the past I had a standard USA poker sites toplist on my homepage, because about 70% of my visitors were from the USA. However, I imagine that the USA text was turning off my non-USA visitors, so I used the new geotargeting script to target things a little better.

Right now, if you visit my homepage from the USA, Canada, or the UK, you will see a tailored introduction paragraph and poker site rankings table. For example, Canadian visitors will see this:

I targeted the first paragraph as well as the poker toplist to Canadian visitors. Visitors from America or the UK would see similar copy, except targeted towards their specific countries. For visitors outside of the USA/Canada/UK I display a neutral poker toplist. About 96% of my visitors come from the USA, Canada, or the UK, so I figured this was the most time-effective way of setting things up.

Note – when you are setting up your geotargeting, make sure to use native proxies from each country to ensure that everything is working.

Notices on non-USA Poker Room Reviews

Another “leak” I noticed on my website was that if USA visitors landed on a review of a non-USA poker room, there was nothing on the page to help convert them to a USA-friendly room. Now, I could have edited the pages to mention that the poker rooms didn’t accept USA players, but that isn’t a very clean solution, as non-USA visitors don’t really need to see that text.

Instead, I set up a USA-only notice on the page that looks like this:

This is a better solution, as USA players get a big notice right in their face (along with a link to my USA poker sites page), while non-USA players see nothing out of the ordinary.

The Results

I compared my homepage “money clicks” from before and after the geotargeting addition, and I have noticed about a 20% increase in money clicks from USA visitors. I am also driving more visitors to my USA poker sites page as well. I haven’t tested non-USA visitors yet, but I would imagine the increase would be about the same.

Other Geotargeting Possibilities

Besides the two suggestions listed here, there are plenty of other ways you could geotarget your site, such as:

• Adding notices to all of your reviews that confirm the poker room accepts the visitor’s native country. For example, you could have a greeting such as “Welcome to our review of Full Tilt Poker – one of our favorite poker sites for USA/UK/Irish/whatever players”.

• Displaying any country-specific promotions that a poker room currently offers.

• Displaying country-specific deposit options for each poker room.

Do you guys have any other geotargeting ideas? Leave a comment below with your thoughts…

Category : General
3
Feb

I have decided I will be doing my affiliate monthly goals over at my new blog, but I will finish off here with a recap of my January goals I set.  It just makes sense since some of my goals aren’t specifically related to the gaming affiliate industry.

January Affiliate Goals Recap:

Post NFL playoff articles, plus other news articles focusing on the playoffs – Yup got this done, and the sports geek has had a lot of visitors all month (easily my highest trafficked month for a site ever).

10 blog posts on my workout site – Only did like 3, but I started a hockey training blog with a few buddies and I got a couple articles going there.  So I guess I just missed this goal.

5 static pages added to the sports geek – I can’t remember, but I think I only got 2 pages up.

Mess around with newly bought Camtasia and become good at it – I’m decent at it now, will continue to try and get better.

Wake up at 10am consistently – For the most part I did this during January.

Monetize this affiliate blog – Well I set up my email marketing, but I am going to try and monetize my other blog now instead.

Keep up with NHL picks and add a page of content to the site – Did this… traffic has been great, right around 500 visitors per day throughout January.

Brainstorm and create a business plan for the “health and fitness” niche – Did this more in my head in January as I got off track a little bit, but I am starting to write out some concrete ideas and plans in a notebook soon.

Add a couple of pages of content to my London Ontario Car Dealerships site – I added one

Have an affiliate mastermind chat – Didn’t end up doing this, but it’s something I’d like to do again soon…

10k affiliate revenue – I didn’t quite get this, but if you include a site sale (bonus code niche) I was over 10k by a little.

Expenses Under 2k – Sat right around 3k

Overall January was a pretty good month for me.  A good start to 2011 for sure, and I look to keep it going all year.  I know I say this now and it will be hard to do, but I want to stay this motivated all year.

Anyways for my February Goals visit my new Internet Marketing Blog, oh and if you have a facebook page or are thinking of starting one checkout my Double Your Likes Review and Bonus <- really cool tool that will help you get more facebook “likes”.

Category : Goals
2
Feb

I wanted to get a quick post (2 am here) about a new blog I’m launching.  I really hate the domain this is on because I’m not really into poker affiliating much anymore and focusing on sports and stuff outside of gambling as much as I can.  I decided it was best to just launch an entire new blog with a more general domain name.

I looked for some keyword type domain names and couldn’t find anything I liked. I tried my full name but it wasn’t available plus no one can even spell my last name.  So I decided to go with a more brandable domain name that people would remember.

To stand out from other affiliate blogs I chose something simple and what I think is something that isn’t too hard to remember.  It also could create excitement and curiosity to people who don’t make money online and stumble across the site.  My new Internet Marketing Blog is going to be at DropoutGotRich.com.

I clearly explain in the “about me” at the top of the site that I am no where near rich right now, but it is just a goal for me to be wealthy.

I also am not proud or trying to promote that I “dropped out” of college, but I thought that would be catchy and again easily remembered.

“Dropout Got Rich dot com” just seemed pretty easy for me to remember.. and if someone was surfing the internet and came across the site and read the name they might get curious and read on (especially college kids).

So what am I doing with the blog?

I am going to just talk about anything I feel like, and basically blog about my life as an internet marketer.  I’ll review products I’ve tried, give tips, complaints, or anything else internet marketing related. Of course I want to make money through the site – I am not gunna lie about that.  I made a little introduction post to the blog last night.

Will I stop blogging here?

I’ll probably slow down here, but I will make posts from time to time – which may or may not include my monthly goals (I am not sure yet, going to think about where I’ll post those).  I will also make most of my poker, casino, sports affiliate specific posts here when I feel like writing about that.

If you have an affiliate blog and you update it somewhat regularly hit me up because I probably read it and will want to do a blogroll exchange.  I will also be hitting up some of you guys through IM or PM or whatever.  Would appreciate any links you can throw at it… and I hope you find it interesting to read.

January Recap of Goals and February Goals to come probably tomorrow afternoon!

Category : General