Sunday, August 28, 2011

Ten Reasons Not to Use In Text Ads

If you’ve been reading this far, you probably know by now that I like in-text ads as a website monetization solution that doesn’t interrupt visitors, and that I even work for Infolinks… But I do know that some people out there are still against in-text. So to help them out, I thought I would come up with the top ten reasons not to use in-text ads. This way, when your in-text-loving friends brag about how good they are, you will be armed with some reasons why not to use in-text ads.

1. They don’t jump around

We all just love flashy animated banners that do anything technology allows them to interrupt our reading, especially the banners that expand to cover half the page, make creepy noises, and hide the shut-down x so you can’t find it. So, as a website publisher, why would you want to use ads that are subtle, non-intrusive, quiet, and do not disturb your visitors while they’re reading your content. Tell them you want the jumpy ones, with a video character that walks vividly and steps on your precious writing, not those cute little double underline links.

2. Too much money is corruptive

Having too much money leads to the illusion of power and then to corruption. Who needs it? In text ads are known for generating extra revenues from a website without affecting other sources of income. Having all this extra cash is a slippery slope en route to corruption. When someone tells you about monetizing your website by placing in-text ads – just say no. No to doubling your revenues. No to too much money.

3. Web programmers are losing jobs

These are rough times and with the economy downturn, web programmers and developers are losing jobs anyway. Integrating in-text ads into a website is way too easy. It can take less than a minute to simply paste a line of code into the website and that’s it – the in-text ads are there. They require no changes to the website, no new code, no programming or developing, no IT, no QA – what will all our colleagues and friends do? Avoiding in-text ads will help keep their jobs.

4. They make affiliate programs look bad

Affiliate programs rule. We work hard to cooperate with affiliate programs and promote links to their sales efforts. Good affiliate plans have conversion rates of about 1%, which means that for every 100 clicks we get on our website, we get 1 affiliation fee payment. Those in-text ads are on pay per click basis (PPC) – the website publisher gets paid for every click. Every click. This makes our favorite pay-per-acquisition and pay-per-lead affiliate programs look bad.

5. You have to create real content

When you have nothing new to write about in your blog, when you can’t find any nice videos or images to upload, when your website is left empty of new content… Who do you turn to? The advertising banners! We cover our website with real-estate for ads: big squares, skyscrapers, leader boards, whatever we can get our hands on to fill all that space. Who needs quality content when you have good ads? But those in-text ads, they don’t take any space on the website, they don’t cover real-estate. In-text ads just blend smoothly into your content, so they actually force us to come up with original content. It’s terrible.

6. No new un-related topics

It’s nice that the ads around a website’s content throw in different ideas that are not related to the content. You can read a historic post about The Manhattan Project and the banners will announce the new season of Project Runway. It opens up your mind to new horizons. As opposed to that, those nasty in text ads insist on being relevant. Since the ad is hooked on an actual term within the content, it’s mostly relevant and supplements the content. This way, with in-text relevancy, how will you get exposed to new topics?

7. We’re addicted to ad interruptions

We breathe ads. From the moment we wake up, on our way to work or school, in our office or classroom, in the afternoon, in front of the TV and PC, all day long until we close our eyes to sleep (well, sometimes even in our dreams) – advertisers fight for our attention, interrupting us in whatever we do. In text ads are different. The double underline links tell us there’s an ad behind them and ask for our permission – interested? Give it a hover. Then, only if we’re interested in the ad within the bubble, we click on it. In-text ads are not stuck to our faces. But we got used to those ads everywhere. If all advertisements will ask for our permission, like in-text ads do, we might lose all those precious interruptions. Tell them that you need those interruptions like the air you breathe!

8. Nobody likes advertisers

People generally don’t like advertisers and marketers. Sad but true. In text ads get high quality scores from advertisers. It makes sense. Since the visitor actually gives permission to get exposed to the ad and actively demonstrates interest (by hovering, and then clicking), there’s a good chance he will be genuinely interested in the advertiser’s content. From the advertiser’s point of view, it’s the next best thing after search ads, and way better than banners and contextual ads around the content. When you use in-text ads, you make advertisers happy, and why would you want to do that?!

9. You need to analyze eCPM and CTR

Do you prefer getting paid without work related incentives? If so, stay away from in-text ads. Integrating in-text ads into your website is very easy, and money comes in instantly. But then, you can always earn more with simple changes. Consider the color, the format of the underline, the number of hooks, the location in the page, blacklist keywords, whitelist keywords… there are improvements that take little work and can add up on your bottom line. But alas, to get these higher revenue numbers, you need to look at your eCPM and CTR and analyze some data… doubling your money is possible, but if you’re afraid of some work, you’d better keep your distance.

10. Another reason anyone?

The tenth reason is up to you. When thinking about the top 10 reasons not to use in text advertising, I came up with the fact that they don’t jump around like our favorite banners; they make you too much money, which can be corruptive; they threat web programmers’ jobs by being too easy to integrate; the pay per click model makes affiliate programs look bad; you have to create real original content; they are so relevant, that we don’t get exposed to new un-related topics; they lower the volume of ad interruptions, which we’re so addicted to; and they might even make advertisers happy with high quality scores, and nobody likes advertisers… that’s 9 reasons.

Can you think of another reason not to use in text ads? Let us know in the comments section of this post.

Here is the other posts on why to use In-text ads ->

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Top 10 Advantages of using In-Text Advertisments

Are you running In-Text Advertisements for your website lets look at the advantages of the Same:

1. In Text Ads are Quiet

When reading content online, we all got used to reading continuously even when there’s a hyperlink over a few words. That’s how the Internet is built. The double underline links are no different. They don’t stop or disturb our flow of reading. As opposed to banners that tend to be graphically noisy with many colors and animation, and sometimes even literally noisy with sound, in text ads are subtle additions to the original content. As website publishers we strive to keep a good balance between content and “noise” and in text ads are a good choice in this regard. When most websites have Google AdSense units with flash objects within them, claims that in text ads are intrusive are already part of the Web’s history.

2. A Good Source for Additional Revenue

In text ads generate extra revenues from a website without affecting other sources of income. When considering your website monetization plan, remember that in text ads represent an additional source of income that can be as high as Google AdSense in some cases. Before flooding the website with complex affiliate programs and jumpy full-page ads, publishers should give in text ads a try. For many thousands of publishers, the stable monthly payment from their in text ads has become a corner stone of their website revenues.

3. The 1-Minute Integration of In Text Ads

Integrating in text ads into a website is so easy, that even I managed it myself. It can take less than a minute to simply paste a line of code into the website and that’s it – the in text ads are there automatically. This is one of the only money making additions to a website that does not require changes to the website or any development or IT work. Giving it a try and seeing the revenues accumulate is actually easier than writing a new post or updating your Facebook.

4. In Text Ads are Pay Per Click

Most in text ads are on pay per click basis (PPC) and the website publisher gets paid for every click. We sometimes put so much effort into affiliate programs with pay per lead (CPL) or pay per acquisition (CPA) models, that we forget the joy of PPC. Every visitor that clicked on an ad earns you revenues. Even the Google AdSense Link Units require two clicks to earn something, and many websites still use them. This is a clear advantage that calls for in text ads to come early in the game.

5. Focus on Good Content

I had this conversation with a major newspaper publisher regarding his online edition and he said that the authors claim that in text ads disrespect their editorial professionalism. A quick look on the website revealed a Double Click ad unit with a flash banner of a completely naked woman inviting the reader to have sex with her right now (from AdultFriendFinder). How can this lady’s offer be less disrespectful, I asked, than a double underline link over an important keyword within the content? He had to agree. In text ads complete and supplement good content and keep it in the main focus of the reader.

6. In Text Ads don’t take Real Estate

All web designers now follow the Apple approach of empty spaces and white areas to draw the readers to the actual content. Since they attach themselves to the content, in text ads don’t take any real estate on a website. As such, they leave the designer the option to choose where to place banners and where to leave some blanks for virtual air to flow through. This design benefit of in text ads is a major factor when comparing them to many other monetization and advertising methods.

7. In Text Ads are Relevant

In text ads are hooked on actual terms within the content and they are mostly relevant and supplement the content. Complaints about non relevant ads should be considered within the context. First, they are mostly much more relevant than the supposedly contextual banners around the text. And second, relevancy is in the eye of the advertiser. The great feedback from advertisers prove that the matching algorithms work well. By the way, when a top Alexa 1,000 website editor told me that she got a complaint from a visitor about a non-relevant ad, I had to tell her that it was great news. Receiving a single complaint out of many thousands of community members speaks strongly about the relevancy that the vast majority of visitors did find.

8. In Text Ads are a form or Permission Marketing

The marketing guru Seth Godin has set the stage for modern marketing by focusing advertisers on permission marketing: when a potential customer permits the advertiser to bring front his message, the potential for conversion is high. While most online advertising techniques try to interrupt people from their online activities, like TV ads do in the middle of a show, in text ads do not open unless the visitor expressly requested more information. The mouse hover is an intended action that reveals a small ad within the bubble, and then the click on it, being a second active request, represents double permission. As publishers, integrating in text ads means that you respect your online visitors by not interrupting them without genuine interest.

9. Advertisers Like In Text Ads

In text ads get high quality scores from advertisers. From my experience, since the visitor actually gives permission to get exposed to the ad, chances are high that he will be genuinely interested in the advertiser’s content. This is the next best thing after search ads, and advertisers that analyze return on their advertising budgets find in text ads to be rewarding. When advertisers are happy with in text ads, budgets grow, the payment per click increases, and the overall eCPM gets better.

10. Optimizing In Text Ads gets Real Results

While it’s true that adding in text ads on your site takes only a minute, there’s much more that you can do to improve your earning results. Consider the color, the format of the underline, the number of hooks, the location in the page, blacklist keywords, whitelist keywords… such improvements do take some work, but they can add up on your bottom line. When you analyze your eCPM and CTR and act according to some optimization tips (that you can find here as well), you can even double your revenues. Without a third party to optimize your ads, you can get better and this is an important factor for professionals.

10 Advantages and Counting

The more I work with in text ads, the more I’m convinced that this method of website monetization is highly beneficial to the three points of the triangle – publishers, advertisers, and readers. I’ve listed here the top 10 advantages of in text ads, but I’m sure that with time more benefits will emerge. Perhaps some problems too. I’m inviting you to join the conversation and contribute from your experience, and if you still haven’t gained experience with in text, it’s not too late to try. All you need is an extra minute.

In tommorows post let us discuss top 10 reason why not to use In-text advertising for your websites.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Protect Google Adsense Account from Getting Banned

Google Adsense is the leading company in web advertising programs which is a large system of earning for your website. Similar to all other great advertising programs, Google Adsense has well define Terms of Service (ToS) that are required to be strictly followed in order to receive benefits from this great opportunity to earn online.
From what I’ve been able to tell, there are two types of people who get their Adsense accounts banned.
  1. Those who deliberately push the limits. They know there’s a chance of getting their accounts banned and they’re not surprised when they get the notice.

  2. Those who do not take the time to read the TOS and are crushed when they get their banned notice from Google Adsense

First Lets see a quick list of the ways you can get your Google Adsense account banned.
  • Click on your own ads. Sure, accidents happen. But if you’re so “clumsy” that you click on your ads 20 times in 10 minutes, you probably need to be banned. If you do accidentally click on your ads, contact Google Adsense immediately and let them know what happened.

  • Put Google Adsense on websites that have questionable or banned content such as Hacker, Warez, Porn, Drug and Gambling sites.

  • Showing Adsense ads on Registration or “Thank You” pages.

  • Sticking ad relevant images next to your Adsense blocks. For example, tricking people to click on your ads by putting pictures of cell phones next to an Adsense block showing cell phone ads.

  • Registering multiple accounts. I’ll just say it’s possible to have multiple accounts legitimately. However, for most of us, one account is all they will let you have.

  • Registering an account after you have been banned. See above.

  • Taking part in a “Adsense Click Ring”. These are groups of people who click on other members ads. Google is smart enough to figure this out folks!

  • Putting Google Adsense on Pop Ups that keep generating other pop ups when a user tries to close them. This gets a lot of Adsense Account holders. This increases your “impression rate” thus messing with your data that Google uses. The best thing to do is to not put them on pop ups anyway. Google also does not want their ads on Pop Unders.

  • Asking other people to click on your ads. Google says not to do it, so don’t. Simple as that. I’ve seen video’s and other forms of advertisements where goons asked people to click on their ads. It’s my opinion these people need to be banned!

  • Disclosing click through rates, earnings per click and impressions. Although I don’t agree with this one, Adsense TOS says not to do it, so I don’t. Their money, their rules.

  • Using malicious automation software such as ‘bots’ to click on your ads. Again, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know this is bad. I don’t feel sorry for these types of people either.

  • Putting Adsense on pages with no content. Some people will put up pages with nothing except ads on them.

  • Hiring overseas workers to click on your ads. There are companies/individuals who do nothing but click on Adsense ads. Do you really think Google can’t figure this one out?

  • Creating Made For Adsense Websites. Google is beginning to really crack down on websites that are made just for Adsense.

  • Putting Adsense ads on Hate websites. Bad business, don’t do it.

  • Keyword stuffing pages. Google considers this a No-No and may yank your account for it. I use to see this a lot with Mesothelioma pages. (FYI, Mesothelioma use to be one of the highest paying keywords on the Internet)

  • Putting Adsense on websites that promote guns & ammo, beer or hard alcohol, tobacco, prescription drugs, copyrighted infringement content, knockoff clothing or goods and sites that distribute term papers or essays.

  • Using excessive profanity. I’m not sure who decides what “excessive” is, but Google will ban your Adsense for it damnit!

There are more, but the ones listed above are the ones I see violated the most. Here’s a link to Googles policy terms. and here is their Terms and Conditions page
Long story short, if you value your Google Adsense account, play by the rules!
I don’t agree with all of the rules above, but like I say, it’s Google’s money, you have to play by Google’s rules. All the more reason all website and blog owners should diversify their sites income generating streams. If you live by Google Adsense, you might find yourself dying by them.
I am sharing some important Adsense tips; some mistakes which should be avoid in order to protect your Adsense account from getting banned by Google Adsense. These tips are gathered from the Google Terms and Conditions and information from FAQ at Google Adsense. You may already know some of these tips but those who don’t know or new to Google Adsense web advertising program I would try to explain it in very simple manners.
* Never try to click your own Adsense ads or get them clicked – You know this one very well. This is a surefire way to close you Adsense account. Never tell your office associates or friends to click on them. Keep a check if your family or children are busy increasing your income by clicking your ads and indirectly trying to stop your income. Don’t even think of offering incentives for clicks, using automated clicking tools, or other deceptive software. Adsense is very smart to detect fraudulent clicks. Check the ads which appear on your pages by the Google Preview tool if required.
* Avoid changing the Adsense code – There are enough means of Adsense optimization & customizations available to change the color, background or border to suit your needs. Do whatever you want to do outside the code, never fiddle within the ad or the search code. They know it when you do. The search code has more limitations to color and placement, but you should adhere to the rules. The code may stop working and violates the TOS.
* Do not run competitive contextual text ad or search services – Never run such ads or services on the same site which offer Google Adsense competition in their field. Never try to create link structures resembling the Adsense ads. Never use other competitive search tools on the same pages which have Adsense powered Google search. They do allow affiliate or limited-text links. Update: Google has allowed you to run contextual advertising like Yahoo ads, Chitika etc provided the ads do not resemble Adsense ads.
* Never launch a New Page for clicked ads by default – Adsense ads should open on the same page. You may be using a base target tag to open all links in a new window or frame by default. Correct it now as they do not want new pages opening from clicked ads.
* One Account suffices for multiple websites – You do not need to create 5 accounts for 5 different websites. One account will do. If you live in the fears that if one account is closed down for violation of TOS, believe me they will close all accounts when they find out. You can keep track of clicks by using channels with real time statistics. They will automatically detect the new site and display relevant ads.
* Place ads only on Content Pages – Advertisers pay only for content based ads. Content drives relevant ads. Although you might manage some clicks from error, login, registration, “thank you” or welcome pages, parking pages or pop ups, it will get you out of the program.
* Do not mask ad elements – Alteration of colors and border is a facility to blend or contrast ads as per your site requirements. I have seen many sites where the URL part is of the same color as the background. While blending the ad with your site is a good idea, hiding relevant components of the ads is not allowed. Also do not block the visibility of ads by overlapping images, pop ups, tables etc.
* Keep track of your content – So Adsense is not allowed on several non content pages. But it is also not allowed on several content pages too. Do not add it on web pages with MP3, Video, News Groups, and Image Results. Also exclude any pornographic, hate-related, violent, or illegal content.
* Avoid excessive advertising and keyword stuffing – Although the definition of ‘excessive’ is a gray area and is subject to discretion, yet Google Adsense with correct placement, focused content and high traffic will get you much more income than other programs, so excessive advertising is not required. Keyword stuffing does target better focused ads, but overdoing it is not required.
* Ensure you Language is Supported – Adsense supports “Chinese (simplified), Japanese, Danish, Korean, Dutch, Norwegian, English, Polish, Finnish, Portuguese, French, Russian, German, Spanish, Hungarian, Swedish, Italian and Turkish”. In addition, Adsense for search is available in Czech, Slovak, and Traditional Chinese. If your web pages language is not supported, do not use the code on such pages.
* Do not specify Google ads as your alternate ads – Several services like Chitika eMiniMalls allow you to place alternate URLs, when a targeted paying ad cannot be displayed. This involved creating a simple html page and putting the ad to be displayed instead. Even Adsense allows an alternate URL feature instead of displaying public service ads. But never use Adsense ads as alternate URLs.
* Do not confuse with adjacent images – It was a common policy to increase CTR by placing same number of images as the number of text ads, which falsely gave the impression that the text ads represented an explanation to these images. Inserting a small space or a line between the images and ads is not allowed. Make sure that the ads and images are not arranged in a way that could easily mislead or confuse your visitors.
It is always better to inquire for Adsense help from the educated staff of Google Adsense. This way you can avoid the common mistakes that could ban your Google Adsense Account.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Expensive Keywords in Google AdWords

Google makes a heck of a lot of money from online advertising. In fact, 97 percent of Google’s revenue, which totaled $33.3 billion in the past twelve months, comes from advertising.
WordStream, a venture capital-backed provider of hosted software that automates most of the manual work involved with creating and optimizing both paid and natural search engine marketing campaigns, has done some research to discover which keyword categories fetch the highest costs per click (CPC) in Google’s AdWords solution.
And of course, they made an infographic based on the results of their research (embedded below).
WordStream compiled data from its own, vast keyword database and the Google Keyword Tool to determine the top 10,000 most expensive English-language keywords over a 90-day period.
Subsequently, the list was organized into categories by theme. The largest keyword categories were then determined by weighting the number of keywords within each category, as well as the estimated monthly search volume and average cost per click for each keyword.
For the record, Google AdWords is an auction-based marketplace where advertisers bid on keywords to compete for top ad placement, with a 
minimum bid of 5 cents
 per keyword (update: actually, there’s no longer a minimum bid for CPC campaigns).
The top twenty keyword categories that demanded the highest costs per click are:
1. Insurance (example keyword: “auto insurance price quotes”)
2. Loans (example keyword: “consolidate graduate student loans”)
3. Mortgage (example keyword: “refinanced second mortgages”)
4. Attorney (example keyword: “personal injury attorney”)
5. Credit (example keyword: “home equity line of credit”)
6. Lawyer
7. Donate
8. Degree
9. Hosting
10. Claim
11. Conference Call
12. Trading
13. Software
14. Recovery
15. Transfer
16. Gas/Electricity
17. Classes
18. Rehab
19. Treatment
20. Cord Blood
Unsurprisingly, the list of most expensive keyword categories is clearly a result from people who, en masse, turn to the Web in search for help, whether it’s for financial, educational, professional services or medical aid. WordStream concludes that the keyword categories with the highest volumes and costs represent industries with very high lifetime customer value: in other words, companies that can afford to pay a lot to acquire a new customer because of the nature of their business.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

How to Start Your Own Web Hosting Company.

A question that is asked quite frequently. First and foremost we must point out that web hosting is not a get rich quick scheme or an easy business to run. It takes alot of patience, computer and technical knowledge and a solid background in Computer Science to run a successful and solid web hosting company. Some may disagree with this, especially with the innovation of "Control Panels" that makes it easier for anyone to get a pre-built server and start hosting sites. In reality, it's not really that simple. Yes you can lease a dedicated server from a provider and start hosting sites once you are familiar with the control panel BUT a very important point to remember is those control panels still have their limitations. If you do decide to start your own hosting company, here are some basic questions to ask yourself *before* starting a hosting firm.

1. How much time do I have to invest into this company?

In this day and age, most clients are expecting 24 hour support. Are you able to be on call 24 hours a day to handle all the technical and sales requests that will be coming in once you start your company? Prompt support is a very key aspect of having a successful hosting business, so this is one of the first questions you should ask yourself before starting your company. Am I able to offer the support my clients will need?

2. Familiarity with the latest software and platforms?

Have you done your homework in terms of researching what are the latest software, how they work and the pricing. It is very important to be familiar with the software that needs to be installed on the server(s) that you will be using to host your client's websites. For instance IIS when using Windows 2000 server is something you will need to be very familiar with, if you are going to be hosting sites on a Windows Server.
On a good note, Microsoft offers a huge library of information on all their software, but it will take a serious time investment to be familiar with all the options available, security leaks, and you have to be always on the look out for the latest patches. In terms of Linux, this is a bit more complicated. A strong command and knowledge of SSH (Secure Shell Security) is needed. Even if you have a control panel such as Cpanel which offers a program called Web Host Manager, a strong background in Telnet Commands will be needed or you will be lost.

3. Financial Investment

Are you willing to spend the money necessary to start making some money? In many cases you will need to make some serious finanacial investment when starting your own hosting firm. Be very weary of the fact that many of the software on the market are not cheap, and the type of servers most of your clients will be expecting their sites to be hosted on, will not be cheap either. Many expect their site to be hosted on Dual Pentium servers that are sturdy and reliable, so some investment will be needed.
On the other hand, there is the cheaper way, which is to simply lease a dedicated server that offers a high amount of bandwidth from another hosting firm, and then host your clients sites on that server. It's an easy way to start your own company with little investment, BUT be forewarned that with network outages, server crashes, you will have little or no control unless you can contact your dedicated server provider for a prompt reboot or resolution of the network problem.

4. Hiring of Employees?

Will you be hiring any employees to start, or will you be a one man show until the business picks up? If you choose to not hire any employees then obviously your financial investment is less, BUT your time investment into the business has now skyrocketed. No employees will mean you will have to handle all the technical and sales requests along with any other problem that may occur. It is important to weigh this aspect carefully as it could make or break you.

5. Resources/Steps To Start A Hosting Company.

Important steps to take
A. Registration of Company Name

Do a search on the internet for trade name registration in your particular state. This will allow you to register a DBA known as Doing Business As name within your particular state. This option is the easiest way to have an actual business name instead of using your actual real name. If you would like to go straight ahead and become a Corporation instead of just using a DBA then you can use a site such as to get started with your own Corporate business. 

B. Purchasing of Servers/Leasing of Servers

If you decided to purchase your own servers, you have a few options. You can get a server custom built by manufacturers or you can even go the option of leasing your server from a company such as Dell or Gateway. They offer a monthly leasing to own plan. If you decide to lease a Dedicated Server , then you can review offerings from companies such as,,, just to name a few. Each of those companies will allow you to lease a server on their connection, set a specified amount of bandwidth, and allow you to host your client's websites on the server you lease from them. 

If you're starting small we highly recommend using a Reseller account from either HostGator or GreenGeeks. Both these providers offer Reseller alternatives at a reasonable fee. You can read more about Reseller Hosting in our related articles below or directly on these two providers' websites.
C. Office/Data Center Space

With the purchase of servers, you'll need office space or as some say a Data Center to house these servers. You will have to look around for space in your local city for the best location with enough space for growth to house your servers and your connection.

D. Bandwidth Providers

If purchasing your own servers direct, you'll need a provider that can run a line to the server through a router to feed the bandwidth. Some companies that offer bandwidth are : ,,, and for cheaper bandwidth you can use Each of these companies will allow you to have bandwidth in your data center facility. 

These are just some of the *basic* steps necessary to get started with your own hosting firm. The task may seem daunting, but it can be achieved with hard work and dedication. The web hosting market may seem saturated with new hosting companies forming literally each day, but there is still room techncially for another good company. Once you can offer the support and reliability your customers need then you will grow as a firm mainly through word of mouth. If you treat your customers good, they will refer others to your service. In a nutshell, hosting is not an easy business to start, but it can be a profitable and rewarding one when the necessary steps are taken.
Here are some more essentials before you can start: 
Pricing scheme: You should set a reasonable price. One that people can afford, but don't try to be the cheapest either. You probably can't (and shouldn't) compete with hosts that can offer dirt cheap prices because they're probably overcrowding their servers and offering poor service.

Terms of Service (TOS): Also known as service level agreements. You can get an idea of what to put in your terms of service agreements from the Webhosting Talk forum thread Starting my hosting company.

Billing and Accounting: You should consider getting payment for services in advance (at least a month). Also, you need to keep your finances in order. Consider getting a third-party service when getting merchant accounts to minimize liability (particularly when handling credit card numbers).

Some things to keep track of (and anticipate):

* Server Monitoring: You need to know immediately if a server goes down (try Alertra to monitor your equipment)

* Redundancy: Backup, backup, backup. All data kept in your servers, as well as (and especially when it comes to) your main connection to the Internet (in case it goes down).

* E-mail List: You need to notify you clients in advance in case of scheduled or un-scheduled outage or other service interruptions, so an e-mail list, kept preferably off your own servers, is essential.

* Problem Customers: Dealing with them can be time-consuming. You can minimize your chance of having to deal with them by paying special attention to your pricing scheme (too cheap and you get customers with little understanding of how the business works) and TOS (can include a clause allowing you to terminate the accounts of overly obnoxious/abusive/rude customers).

* Security Issues: You need to keep your servers up to date with the latest security patches and turn off all unnecessary applications (as they also open your servers to both hacking and virus/worm attacks)

The following forum threads also offer additional insights to keep in mind:

* Want to Start a Web Hosting Company

* What is needed for a hosting company?

* Starting a UK web hosting company

* Wanting to Start a Webhosting Business

* starting a hosting company

Highlights of DOs to consider:

* Get a good accounting software/system

* Invest in good control panel

* Go reseller first before going dedicated

* Invest in good web design (avoid using templates if you can)

* Have a detailed business/marketing plan (as it is the basis of your every move), it should enable you (and the bank) to clearly see the direction of your company

* Keep track of hidden fees

* Choose merchant solutions carefully

* Use managed servers if you're low on tech skills

* Pay attention to bandwidth (T1 is slow, anything lower is widely shared so won't perform well, high-ends are expensive)

* Pay attention to potential liability issues (such as insurance, TOS, consumer rights, etc)

Of course, all those money, time and infrastructure investments are no good if you don't have customers. So how do you go about building your client list amidst intense competition?

1. Offer a server product that caters or targets (a) small community/ies or niche. Make sure you develop a good reputation in that community by meeting their specific needs.

2. Target small business in your area. Offer them better deals (good prices and personalized service) because chances are, they get their hosting from the local ISP (who probably over-charge them for it because it isn't theur speciality).

3. Develop relationships with web designers. Get them to recommend your service to their clients.

4. Take advantage of your own personal network. After all, don't you prefer to do business with people whom you know personally, rather than companies from who knows where? People tend to feel more secure if they know that you aren't likely to take advantage of them, because they probably know where you live :-).
5. Do the rounds in web hosting forums. Make use section that match clients with hosts' offers. Just make sure you don't under-price your services.

We hope that this helps anyone who is trying to get into the hosting biz!

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Complete Google Algorithim

Google’s war on content farms and low quality websites has officially been launched in the form of a major update to the search engine’s algorithm. The changes, which went live this week, impact 11.8 percent of all search results, meaning that this will have an impact on most site owners, for better or worse.

The blogosphere was buzzing this morning with many site owners complaining about a major decrease in traffic from Google search. Some have seen search traffic decrease over 50 percent, essentially overnight. When Google first announced their war on content farms I suspected that the changes would have a negative effect on many bloggers as well. However I did not expect the changes to hit authoritative sources as hard as they have.
Many SEO Gurus have attempted to give a rough outline of what the Google algorithm might look like. Based on research and suggestions this might be how the formula basically could look like;

Google's Score = (Kw Usage Score * 0.3) + (Domain * 0.25) + (PR Score * 0.25) + (Inbound Link Score * 0.25) + (User Data * 0.1) + (Content Quality Score * 0.1) + (Manual Boosts) - (Automated & Manual Penalties)

Algorithm A Work In Progress

According to Google’s Amit Singhal, the now famous search algorithm is tweaked twice a day on average. Most changes are not publicised, and most of them affect only a very small percentage of searches.
Scott Huffman, whose team is responsible for improving the Google search results, explains, “On the one hand, we want to be moving quickly and we want to make great changes. On the other hand, we don’t want people to come to Google and say they don’t recognize it.”
He also said that Google understands what people want when they search. “People are not just expecting a search engine to return every document that has most of the words typed in a query box. They want the context understood; there are a lot of nuances hidden within that.”

Working The Algorithm Changes

Initially, potential changes to the algorithm are tested on a network of computers that simulate real searches on Google. If the results look promising, teams of evaluators get to test the change, by rating the relevance of the results that come up in the tests.
The next step is to make real-world tests, by blending the changes into normal searches. “At any given time,” Huffman reveals, “some percentage of our users are actually seeing experiments.” They don’t know about it of course. And the first round of testing ensures that nothing bad is going to be experienced by them.
If the results continue to be positive, the change might be phased into the existing algorithm. Google handles more than 1 billion search queries every day.

The Future Of Google Search

Google assures people that there is no way that their algorithm will ever be complete. It’s a work in progress, they explain. And they’re planning plenty more changes in the future too.
Right now, Huffman says, they’re thinking about ways to improve how Google understands and derives inferences from the many languages used around the world.
Singhal himself envisaged what he called the “ultimate dream,” a day when search engines understand users so well, that they predict what they want to know, and prompt them with messages to smart phones.

The Official Statement From Google:
Many of the changes we make are so subtle that very few people notice them. But in the last day or so we launched a pretty big algorithmic improvement to our ranking–a change that noticeably impacts 11.8% of our queries–and we wanted to let people know what’s going on. This update is designed to reduce rankings for low-quality sites–sites which are low-value add for users, copy content from other websites or sites that are just not very useful. At the same time, it will provide better rankings for high-quality sites–sites with original content and information such as research, in-depth reports, thoughtful analysis and so on…
It’s worth noting that this update does not rely on the feedback we’ve received from the Personal Blocklist Chrome extension, which we launched last week. However, we did compare the Blocklist data we gathered with the sites identified by our algorithm, and we were very pleased that the preferences our users expressed by using the extension are well represented. If you take the top several dozen or so most-blocked domains from the Chrome extension, then this algorithmic change addresses 84% of them, which is strong independent confirmation of the user benefits.
Google's keyword search function is similar to other search engines. Automated programs called spiders orcrawlers travel the Web, moving from link to link and building up an index page that includes certain keywords. Google references this index when a user enters a search query. The search engine lists the pages that contain the same keywords that were in the user's search terms. Google's spiders may also have some more advanced functions, such as being able to determine the difference between Web pages with actual content and redirect sites -- pages that exist only to redirect traffic to a different Web page.

Keyword placement plays a part in how Google finds sites. Google looks for keywords throughout each Web page, but some sections are more important than others. Including the keyword in the Web page's title is a good idea, for example. Google also searches for keywords in headings. Headings come in a range of sizes, and keywords in larger headings are more valuable than if they are in smaller headings. Keyword dispersal is also important. Webmasters should avoid overusing keywords, but many people recommend using them regularly throughout a page.

Content Revenue Sharing Sites to Make Money

When it comes to making money online, many people think that you must have a website or a blog of your own, that is anything but the truth! You can make money online without ever owning a site. While having your own websites probably gives you more options and enables you to have full control over the process, revenue sharing sites are a great alternative for earning money online.

Revenue sharing sites allow you to earn a percentage of the revenue earned from ads displayed next to the published content you provided. Basically you get paid for writing great content!
The best part of using revenue sharing sites is the fact that all you have to do is write content and publish! You dont have to deal with any of the headaches and hassles of owning and maintaining a site.
To get started, all you need is… well, a list of revenue sharing sites where you can register and start publishing content! Here are some of the most well-known content revenue sharing sites you could use to make money:
28 ContentRevenue Sharing Sites
I am sure there are many more sites that I haven’t listed here. If you know of any revenue sharing sites, please feel free to mentioned it by leaving a comment.
Also, Don’t forget to share your thoughts and any possible experience you might have had with revenue sharing sites. Did you make any decent amount of money with revenue sharing sites? If so, which one of these content revenue sharing sites is your favorite?

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Top Ten alternative to Google Adsense

This is a popular question among bloggers and webmasters. Some of them will have a hard time getting accepted into Google’s AdSense program, while others will get banned for one reason or another. After that that remain looking for alternatives.
First of all keep in mind that Google AdSense is still the best CPC network on the web. Some people don’t like, some claim to make more money with other networks, but the vast majority of website owners agree that Google AdSense is the best CPC advertising option, period (this does not mean it is the best monetization strategy, as affiliate marketing or selling your own products could beat the earnings of AdSense easily).
Considering this fact, I would highly recommend you to play it safe with your AdSense account. If you are not sure about the program policies and guidelines, take some 30 minutes to read them and to make sure your sites respect all of them. Getting banned from AdSense is a bad thing for anyone working on the Internet, because the ban is for life.
With that out of the way, what are the alternatives to Google AdSense?
If you are looking for CPC alternatives, I would recommend two networks. The first one is Chitika. They used to run product based ads only, but recently they have expanded to a wide range of categories, in which they call “Premium Ads.”
The second alternative is BidVertiser. This network works like AdSense, but they have a smaller amount of advertisers, so the CPC rates you’ll get will be smaller.
Apart from using CPC ads, however, you could also try CPM based ones. This means you’ll get per 1,000 impressions rather than per click. Tribal Fusion is one of the best networks in this segment, but your site must receive over 500,000 unique visitors monthly to qualify. Networks that will accept smaller sites include Casale Media and AdBrite.
The third option would be to use affiliate marketing offers that will pay you when you either when you refer a paying customer (called CPS offers) or when you refer a lead that will perform a specific action like subscribing to an email newsletter (called CPA offers). Two very large affiliate networks you can try are ClickBank and Commission Junction.
There is no doubt that Google AdSense is the 800-pound Bull in the room when it comes to contextual ad solutions. The question is, however, what you do when you don’t meet the requirements to use it, get thrown out for some reason or just simply want to try something different? Luckily, there are some other options out there and we’ve gathered up eleven of them to give you some options when it comes to filling up your site’s ad inventory.
AdBrite: AdBrite offers numerous ad styles from the standard contextual ad units, but also offers rich media, inline, full pages and more.  The system has one of the lowest thresholds for payment. It defaults to $100 payment, but you can set as low as $5.  Payments are issued on a net-60 system, i.e. earnings made in March are paid in May.
AdToll: AdToll is a hybrid ad network that allows you to sell ad space on your site for a price you determine with you keeping 75% of the revenue.  If you do not sell a space, the unsold inventory will be filled with “Run of Network” ads which are a cost-per-click solution.  Payout minimums are $20 for PayPal and $40 for checks.
BidVertiser: BidVertiser works a bit differently than others in the list in that advertisers bid directly against one another for your ad inventory.  The ads look like the general context ads, so they will work with Flash-based sites and sites with very little content.  Minimum payout is $10 and can be done by check or PayPal.  One other definite plus for them is that they provide actual phone numbers for publishers to call and get assistance when needed.
Chitika: An interesting alternative to most ad solutions as it only shows to your search traffic.  Chitika displays ads related to the terms that brought a user to your site and presents them with ads based on that term as well as the option to search more on the term without leaving your page.  The ads do not show up to your regular visitors so you don’t have to worry about bombarding your regulars with too much advertising.  Payout minimums are $20.
Clicksor: Clicksor provides all of the usual contextual ad sizes you are used to (leaderboards, skyscrapers and so on) as well as providing inline ads, rich media, graphical banners and more.  Payment methods vary by style of advertisement, and there is a minimum payout of $50 by standard check or PayPal.  There is a minimum of 150,000 page views per month for this program. eTor
eClickZ: eClickZ focuses on search engine sites and some content sites, and they guarantee their advertisers a higher quality of traffic.  If your site qualifies, you will be able to talk with an account manager, use a toll free number to call them and take advantage of payout minimums of $50 that can be paid by PayPal.
Infolinks: Infolinks focuses on in-text advertising, but is welcoming to web sites of all sizes and traffic so that there is next to no threshold to joining.  Payment threshold is $100 and can be made by PayPal or check.
Kontera: Kontera focuses mainly on inline contextual advertising and offers plugins and one-click support for Blogger, Drupal, Joomla and WordPress.  The service has the standard $100 payment threshold, but does offer negotiable CPM rates based on the amount of traffic your site generates.  There is a requirement for 500,000 page views to participate in the system.
Microsoft pubCenter: Microsoft’s advertising solution is still considered a beta product, but it is fully functioning and you can control what ads appear on your site by sorting out keywords or URLs.  There is a minimum payout of $50.
WidgetBucks: WidgetBucks CPC, CPM are referral options for making money, all of them are displayed in a widget you can place anywhere on your site.  Minimum payout is $50 by either PayPal or check.
Yahoo Publisher Network: The Yahoo Publisher Network will give you all of the standard contextual ad sizes and will allow you to filter out competitor’s ads.  The payment system provides you with some extra payment options in that you can request payment via PayPal when you hit $50 in revenue and receive it the same day.  Same day payment on a $100 minimum for direct deposit or revenue transferred directly to your Yahoo! Search Marketing account.  Printed checks take 7 – 10 days to arrive after you request them.