A Little "About Me" Time

I’ve been thinking about a series for a while now that explains my bio that seems to be floating all over the Internet these days. It never even occurred to me that it needed explaining until I was quizzed on it recently. Since then I’ve refined it a bit, swapped out a few words, and now I think it is a pretty good description of, well… me. I’ve actually struggled with whether to do this or not, I didn’t want to come off too "about me" but, after all, this is my blog… its kinda like visiting my house and seeing the collection of stuff that describes me… so why not. Oh, BTW, its not really going to be in any particular order. For instance, today’s entry is about the Digital Nomad Lifestyle, mainly because I saw a related post on GigaOM that got me thinking on the topic. I’ll update this post as a Table of Contents of sorts when new posts in the series go up. Hopefully, when they’re all done they’ll make more sense. Thanks for reading so far! SO, without further ado… here we go!

Confirmed Internet junkie, blogger, and marketer pursuing the digital nomad lifestyle. Oh, and I LOVE a good debate, Shiner, and my Bride!



More Changes For Facebook

Just about everyone expect more from the folks over at Facebook to open up most or all of the user-contributed data to developers tomorrow! Its far short of “breaking news” but it does have some pretty big implications for the way we social media folks live and work.

First, what exactly does it mean that Facebook is exposing their user-contributed data to developers? Well, mainly it means that there is an upcoming explosion of apps that interface with and make use of Facebook data, not the least of which will be the messaging available on “The Wall.”

Marketing folks, especially internet marketers have been anticipating over the thought of having unfettered access to Facebook user data. Just think, not only would I know who you are, what you like, where you live and etc, etc… but will also know about all your friends too! AWESOME!

So, is this going to be another backlash like the Facebook terms of use update a few weeks back? I’m not really sure, I kinda think the terms of use update was aimed at making this possible. I think that the real power of this new avenue into Facebook user-contributed data will manifest itself outside Facebook. Somewhat same way as the impact of AOL email and how it manifested itself outside of AOL. Yeah, they made it available and easy to use for the masses, but that just opened the door to a whole new world of possibilities.

I think the AOL example is important for Facebook in another way too. Yes, AOL did really well for a while and made TRUCK LOADS of money, and now look at them. They got way too happy with themselves and worked their way right out of a job. Could the same thing happen with Facebook? Maybe, the scary thing is we don’t even know what we don’t know yet!

Look for mergers too… or at least some way to mash up all your feeds that’s better than anything we have today. I’m a HUGE fan of TweetDeck, in fact it’s open right now as it is most of the time. Now that I can send and receive Facebook updates in TweetDeck, I don’t go to Facebook nearly as often… and I can’t tell you the last time I was on the Twitter site. Just add to that FriendFeed all the numerous knock-offs, then you simply have too many status update like feeds to keep up with. Something has to give.

Anyway, look for more news about Facebook tomorrow, April 27th and if you’re a Facebook fanatic, watch closely!

The Return of Entrecard

I’m not sure if writing about it counts as “fanfare” but … with little fanfare or a do, Entrecard has returned to Life In the Internet. If you are not familiar with Entrecard, (check it out here) it certainly is a great way to build traffic to your site … and with a little work can even boost your page rank! But first, a little back story.

My First Go-round with Entrecard

I got signed up with Entrecard right after the site came on line a little over a year ago. Like most of those “early adopters” I spent lots of time getting everything just right and doing what you needed to do to get traffic, namely, dropping my card on other blogs and sites. The short version is this got very boring very fast and of course with my “web development” background, there had to be a better way. Besides, there were more lucrative ways for me to spend my time, right?

Well, lets just suffice it to say that the Entrecard folks and I didn’t exactly see eye-to-eye on my new “card dropping methods” and after some short discussions, I managed to get my account cancelled. “Well fine,” I said, “it was just a time suck anyway!”

Then It Hit Me!

While generating traffic is cool, and everybody likes to look at stats filled with lots of visitors, the real genius of this thing comes at the end of each month. While my earlier “card dropping methods” were working, I was consistently being listed in Top Card Droppers Last Month type posts with a link back to my site! Now if you know anything at all about Google page rank and Search Engine Optimization you know that links are king. Even better are links from similar sites with similar content that link to your keywords! CLICK—lights are on now!

It Can’t Be That Simple Can It

You bet it can! For ranking purposes do you realize how valuable backlinks with PR are? I just finished dropping 100 cards this morning before starting this post. My very unscientific survey using the Search Status Firefox plugin revealed that of those 100 sites I dropped on today, over 70 of them had PR greater than 0. If I rank as a top dropper on 25% of those sites and they post a link for me at the end of the month, that will be 17 quality backlinks with a PR > 0. Awesome!

But I Don’t Care About Page Rank and SEO…I Just Want To Blog

If that’s your story, and you’re stickin with it…fine. There is no shame in that. There are thousands of blogs out on the Internet run by good folks just like you…and if that’s what you want you should do the very best you can with it! Good luck and let me know if I can help. If you are serious about PR & SEO that leads to $$$ … give Entrecard another thought!

Building My Online Business

Sometimes it takes a good swift kick in the pants to get your attention…

…and that’s what I got this week while reading some of my favorite blogs. This site started as a journal of experiences I encountered while living and working in a connected world. Looking back over my last dozen or so posts, it has been anything but and I need to get back on track. So here goes. Let’s talk about…

Building My Online Business

For the first fifteen years or so of my professional career I worked in a wide variety of businesses; an international natural foods network marketing company, the second largest telecom company in the country, a printing company, even commercial software development. One of the reasons I was able to move from industry to industry so easily was because the underlying principles of technology were not dependent on what kind of widget was being pushed out the back door. A similar principle applies here.

Just because I have moved my business online doesn’t mean that those same underlying principles of good business practices and monetization don’t apply anymore, in spite of the way some online entrepreneurs act. Take the recent purchase of one mans goal dot com for instance. The buyer paid over $10,000 for a website with no organic product, no long tenured customers, no established monthly recurring revenue… just a name and a quasi-loyal following of readers. That’s like paying $10,000 for a convenience store that doesn’t sell anything but they have lots of people come in and look around everyday.

So How Do They Translate?

Good question. Off-line business principles make good online business principles. Things like keeping a low overhead, diversification, and return on investment still apply. Some are easier than others, take low overhead for example. It would be very easy to run a successful online business with a laptop and a digital camera. Neither are cheap but they are one time costs that will last for years. And even with a somewhat larger tech base than that, my overhead costs are very low…pretty much just the cost of Internet access.

Another of those principles that very few online business owners pay attention to is diversification, or having multiple streams of income. Why diversify? Oh, I don’t know. Lets say you are one of the eBay entrepreneurs and you’re making boatloads of cash off their affiliate program. That’s great. Now what if they pull the plug on it tomorrow, or at the end of the month? Would you be able to replace that income in 30 days?

Diversification of your online business simply ensures sustainability, another solid off-line business principle. If you had an off-line business selling widgets and you depended solely on one supplier for those widgets, what would you do if they went out of business? You have to bring the same mentality to your online business ventures.

How Am I Diversifying

Like most folks who decided they wanted to make money online, I threw up a blog and slapped some AdSense units on it, sat back and waited for my check! And waited…and waited…OH, A CLICK…for 2 cents. I got frustrated and moved on to something else. Now, with the help of the three wise men, I am working my way toward a better understand of AdSense and developing it into a significant stream of income…and it is quite a learning curve.

So while I’m working on that, I’ve recently taken a pretty large bite of the affiliate pie and added eBay to my online business portfolio. Now this is not really new for me, I’ve been signed up with the eBay affiliate program for several months…posting links and banners for them all over the place. But two things happened in the last month that have totally changed my outlook on eBay and their affiliate program and the part it plays in my online business.

The first is that eBay has brought management of their affiliate program in-house and out of the hands of Commission Junction. Now, I’ve never really had any beef with CJ, they’ve just never done anything for me…not one red cent. So I’m kinda happy that things are moving in-house with eBay. That said, they are experiencing some growing pains during the transition but hey, its eBay! Nuff said!

The second big development was my discovery of BANS or Build a Niche Store. BANS is a software designed to be loaded on your server to publish a “store like” website populated with products currently listed on eBay. Again, in the interest of full disclosure, I bought BANS back in March and built my one little store and sat back and waited for the money to start falling out of my PC. Needless to say, that hasn’t happened yet (but when it does you can bet I’ll shoot a vid and post it on Revver! lol). Anyway, back on April 7th, Vic over at BloggerUnleashed.com challenged us to build 100 BANS sites. That really got me thinking and I took the challenge!

The next day was my birthday so I made my present to myself everything it took to get the 100 sites built. I can now say that I have added 103 BANS sites to my online business and will be adding a few more each week.

So What’s Your Point?

The point is this. If those sites only average $1 a day each then that’s $103 per day and almost $3,100 / month or about $37,000 a year added into my online business coffers. Do I have your attention now?

Am I sitting back now with a bigger bucket waiting on money to start falling out of my PC? No, remember diversification? Now that I have the 100 BANS sites up, I’m working to improve my AdSense results, I’m looking for other affiliate programs, oh, and I’m getting links all over the freakin Internet!! And on the off chance that all of those options might not pay-out…I still have the bulk candy vending machines!

The bottom line is that an online business is still a business and you have to treat it that way. Its not a cool way to get to stay at home and work in your shorts, t-shirt, and flippies (but if you need any of those things, be sure to check out BloggerUniforms.info!) Seriously, you have to work like your next meal, or the light bill, or the cell phone bill depended on it.

Ok, I know this has been an epic post like you’d find on How To Make Money from Griz so I’ll go ahead and knock off here…but don’t stray too far because I have lots more online business tips to share. Things like getting a reseller account versus a regular hosting account, all the fun I had setting up BANS and at least one more post on some nifty little tools to help with all those sites.

Thanks for sticking with me this far and since you did I want to leave you with a challenge. If you are serious about having an online business, write down your goals for this year and three concrete steps you will take for each goal. And if you want to share them with the rest of us in the comments, we’ll all be pullin for you! It kinda works that way around here.