Date archives "May 2006"

Why Using CSS Can Help Your Search Engine Optimization

CSS, if you don’t know, stands for Cascading Style Sheets. They have been around for many years now, but still haven’t quite caught on in the mainstream applications – Frontpage and Dreamweaver still have only limited support for them.

One thing that stylesheets enable the webmaster to define how a certain block of text will look on every single page, so if the webmaster needs to change the size or font of the text, instead of editing every single page, they can simply change the values in the CSS file.

Over the last year, many professionals and enthusiasts have realized that you can actually use CSS to create complex website layouts without needing the traditional HTML table tags such as ‘table’ ‘tr’ ‘td’

The biggest advantage that using tabless layouts has is it becomes a whole lot more search engine friendly. This is because there is less HTML code in the webpage as everything is defined and positioned in an external CSS file (which search engine spiders don’t read). This means they are able to pick up your content and keywords much better 🙂

To illustrate just how much smaller in size a CSS website can be compared to a normal HTML website I have uploaded an example of the same design, but one in CSS and another in HTML:

CSS Webpage – Size: 7KB

HTML Webpage – Size: 19KB

That’s a 12KB difference for the exact same design!

The downside to using tabless CSS websites is that they are pretty difficult to edit for the average Frontpage user like me. If you need to change a column width of a webpage in frontpage, you just click and drag until the column is the width you want it. Since the columns are defined in an external CSS as fixed or relative sizes, there is nothing to ‘click’ and you don’t get any visual representation of what you are editing – you must manually type in numbers until you get to the size you want.

This of course can be very time consuming, not to mention stressful as things behave unexpectidly or in a way simply to annoy the hell out of you. I really don’t know why Microsoft or Macromedia (or any other software company) haven’t come up with a point and click CSS editor yet – it can’t be that hard. One thing is for sure, if there still isn’t any point and click CSS editors in 6 months time, I’m just going to develop my own!

If you are not keen on developing a new website from scratch in CSS (and lets be honest, who is?!), then I suggest you check out the following links:

Yahoo Grids – Ready made “fill in the blanks” grids or website layouts that can get you started right away. You don’t need to worry about how you are going to make the layout, they are already done.

4Templates – If you require something a little more professional, then these should be sufficient. 4Templates now ships a CSS (XHTML) version of the template with each order.

New Yahoo Home Page

Have you had a chance to check out the brand new Yahoo homepage preview yet? If not, then it is located at you will need internet explorer 6 or firefox 1.5 to view it.

This new homepage makes use of one of the latest web trends: AJAX.

If you check out the content box on the right of the preview page, where it says mail, messegner, weather etc, if you hover your mouse over any of the options, the box dynamically changes shape and new content appears. This is fantastic use of AJAX to make a dynamic, user orientated web page.

Personally, I absolutely love the new yahoo homepage, I think they’ve done a really good job on combining aesthetics and usability with the latest web technology.

AJAX is something I want to get more involved with and use it more on my sites as it does have an element of ‘coolness’ (read: geeky), but only when it’s used right.

Back Agony

Sorry I haven’t gotten around to updating the blog in a couple of days, but I’ve really put my back out.

It happened on Friday at the gym, I was just finishing off on the treadmill when suddenly a shooting pain went down my lower back. Like a Jimmy, I had to hit the emergency stop button because every step I took was pure agony.

Somehow I managed to crawl home take a few paracetamol and lie on my back.

It’s now Sunday and it’s still really painful, even tilting my head forward sends shooting pains down my back.

What is really unusual is walking is really hard too, every step twinges the back. I hope this clears up soon because I wasn’t expecting back problems at the age of 23!

This is a shame about my back because I was working on a report on how to promote your website. I had ten ways you can promote your website for maximum exposure. I want to release it as a freebie ebook pretty soon.

Some of the thinks it covers include:

1. PPC
2. Organic SEO
3. Article Marketing
4. Link Exchanges
5. Directory Submission

and more 🙂

Hope this back problem clears up soon though…I’m beginning to run out of paracetamol!

Why Outsourcing Rules

== Sorry for the long article, I meant to post this
== as a sequence of articles, hope you enjoy it though!

I’ve often been emailed or receive comments asking how on Earth I manage to do so much stuff and have my hands in so many pies.

Well, I’m going to let you into a little secret that has sent my productivity skyrocketing.

That secret is: Outsourcing

If I talked to you about outsourcing, you’ll probably have an image in your head of outsourcing being something that you get done that you can’t do yourself.

And as definitions go, it’s a pretty accurate observation. If you can’t do something yourself or no one in your company can do a particular task, hire someone to do it, or contract another company (outsource) to do the task for you.

On the internet, a lot of internet entreprenuers outsource the design and programming aspects of web development and carry on doing all the things that they can do.

But today, I want to suggest a method of outsourcing that is guaranteed to increase your productivity and ultimately your profits.

The first thing I want you to do is assign a realistic hourly wage to yourself. It can be whatever you think you are realistically worth per hour, be it $20 or $200. I hire myself out on a consulting basis (web development orientated) for $40 an hour (and I know at least one customer who things she’s getting a real bargain!).

The second thing I want you to look at is define your role in your company (it doesn’t matter whether it’s just you, a partnership or a network). What is your role, and what are you best at.

The final thing I want you to look at is look at all the jobs you are currently doing and what tasks you are spending most time on.

Once you have done this, you can start seeing what sort of jobs you should be doing and concentrating on, and how much you are ‘spending’ (your hourly wage) doing them. If your main job role is pretty similar to what you actually spend your time doing, then fantastic, you are nearly there to success!

If you find that you are spending more time (and money) doing things that are not part of your job role, then you need to take a step back and consider your options. For example if your job is to market your product, but you are spending half your time adding new content to your website, find out how much it is costing you based on your hourly rate, and then find out how much it would cost you to pay someone else to do it.

I did this exercise a couple of months back. I considered myself to be a internet entrepreneur who’s main role was to dream up and develop new web based software products. What I actually found was that I was spending nearly 90% of my time dealing with customer service and promoting my websites.

Important Note: Customer service and basic webmastering are $10 an hour jobs. If you are happy with $10 an hour, I could have plenty of jobs for you! :~D

Even though I was more than capable of doing the customer service and webmaster jobs myself, it was distracting me from my main job function and holding me back on success.

My solution was to contact my programming company, with whom I have a fantastic relationship with and are cut above any other company I’ve worked with in the past. I was able to get a webmaster for $1000 per month who would do all my menial jobs for me.

The things that you can get a webmaster to do for you include:

– Submitting your websites to the directories on Vile Silencer (there’s over 300 directories to submit to, and that will take you about 2 days solid to complete. Doing this job myself would cost me: $40 x 8 hours x 2 days = $640 (per site. I have dozens of sites that need submitting)

– Build AdSense sites for you (are you like me? Do you have thousands of private label articles littered across your hard drive? Hire a webmaster to create adsense content sites for you!). Doing this job myself would cost me $40 x 8 hours x 4 days = $1280

SIDENOTE: Seriously, this is an absolute must! I have sent my webmaster all 150 adsense sites that I bought from Adsense Ready Websites for him to edit and create new templates for. I have also sent him some 1500 articles that I’ve had for the past year and done nothing with to create into about 200 new adsense content sites. This is going to be around 350 new sites with very little effort on my behalf.

– Complete link exchanges for your sites. As some of my regular readers know, yes, both of you (not including my mother (Hi Mum!)), I use to try and increase the number of backlinks. But as you know, this is very boring to go in each day, do new exchanges, monitor broken links, remove pending exchanges yadda yadda yadda. I simply showed the webmaster how to do this and asked him to do it daily. Doing this job myself would cost me: $40 x 1 hour x 21 days = $840

– Article Submission! Have you ever sat down and spent the day signing up for, and submitting articles to article directories? Notice I used the word ‘day’? That’s how long it can take. I simply bought my webmaster the article submitter software that I talk about in this post, showed him how to use it and gave him all my articles to submit. Doing this job myself would cost me $40 x 1 hour x 21 days = $840

– General webmastering. Got a website with 500 pages and need to change the navigation menu on every page? That’s job every entrepreneur will put off, but in my case, I can send it over to the webmaster. I reckon I spend 2 hours a day maintaining and updating my sites. $40 x 2 hours x 21 days = $1680

Total cost of just the above tasks: $5280 a month wasted on tasks I can pay a guy $1000 a month to do.

I hope by now you are realising how powerful outsourcing your menial jobs can be to your bottom line. Heck, you can probably define your job role as lazy lager layabout and have your webmaster do all the jobs and take home a bigger paycheck :~)

The examples I have given above are just some of the things I use a outsourced webmaster for, there’s a whole lot more besides.

Of course, the costs might be prohibitive for some, I guess not many people can justify spending $1000 a month, when in the bigging, that certainly won’t pay for itself. If you visit then you can probably find someone cheaper (it can be a hit and miss process though, and maybe that’s an article for the future). You don’t even have to contract someone for an entire month, you might only need a week, or just one project…

TOP TIP: Get all those private label articles converted into adsense content sites today! Take action, just do it! There is nothing stopping you! Get them on the web.

It might cost you a couple of hundred bucks to get a single project done, or maybe a lot less. You will probably find that the webmaster doesn’t pay for itself for a couple of months. However, all the work you are putting in today is future money – as you should know, instant wealth does not happen on the internet, it’s a slow gradual thing that involves constant work (not necessarily hard work, just constant attention). So the 200 adsense sites that your webmaster builds for you this week, might start to earn you money one or two months down the line. If you are able to pay the webmaster to promote all these sites too, then the process will be quicker but obviously cost more.

So is outsourcing right for you? This question is very easy to answer. If there is any job that you have been meaning to do, but keep putting off, not because it’s hard, but because it’s long and boring…then you definitely need to outsource!

SEO Blog Builder

I finally got SEO Blog Builder to work late last night and I just checked up on the progress on the test blog and everything seems to be going according to plan.

So far it has posted random news feeds based on the keywords I supplied it. The news feeds sometimes don’t make an awful lot of sense, but most are readable and give good snippets of news for anyone looking.

You do have to provide your own feeds though, so you need to search on the internet for RSS feeds. I use Yahoo and BBC for my news feeds, but I will experiment with others.

You also have the opportunity to scrape…err, I mean post search engine results a la Traffic Equalizer.

Finally you can upload any articles you have (for all those with private label articles sitting on your computer) and post them at random intervals.

There’s more settings and twiddly knobs (ok, so they’re virtual twiddly knobs) than you can shake a stick at, but the manual is pretty detailed and top notch for a marketing product. In the end though I had to print out the manual (all 67 pages of it) and had to study it offline to fanthom out the script.

As I said though, I finally go the script working and it’s made seven posts to the blog. My next task is to set up hundreds of these buggers!

I will keep you updated on the earning success that this product has made me, as that’s the biggest thing everyone is concerned with right now!

A Spending Spree

I’ve been on a bit of a spending spree recently and bought several products which I think is going to be very beneficial to my work.

The first piece of software I bought was Instant Article Submitter, which has been created by the same guys who created Traffic Equalizer.

The main reason I bought it is because I already own several ‘auto article submitters’, but none of the really do exactly what I wanted, and none of them are 100% auto – they all need a level of input from the user, usually to select the category you want your article to be submitted to. I have hundreds, if not thousands of private label articles sitting on my computer doing nothing but gather cyber dust, and since article marketing is a fantastic way to promote your site, I was hoping this new software could be the answer I was looking for.

Instant Article Submitter promised to be different by automating everything, just click a button and come back in a couple of hours time. Given the ease of use of their other product, Traffic Equalizer, I decided to go ahead and pay the $97 asking price.

I will leave the review of Instant Article Submitter for another day though 🙂

The second piece of software I purchased is something called SEO Blog Builder. This software allows you to run, hundreds, maybe thousands of blogs at once covering different niches, and not have to type one single word to any of the blogs.

OK, yes, this is cheating, and yes it’s probably on the greyer side of ethical, but it’s just another tool in your arsenal to make big money.

Like a lot of tools that promise to automate everything, you need to spend a lot of time setting it up, and the learning curve for this software is anything but gentle.

Once I have fully gotten to grips with it, I will write a review on SEO Blog Builder to let you know how I got on.

(apparently if you buy before 22nd May you get loads of extra free bonuses. I can’t tell you if this is just a marketing gimmick or not, but I can tell you that I this offer wasn’t available when I bought it).

Ah, and finally I bought a big AdSense package called Dominating Adsense. This is a physical product that will be shipped to me, so I expect to receive this in the next 2 to 3 weeks.

I’m hoping that it is going to be a bloody good insight into adsense and not a rehash of the same old stuff like where to place your ads, what colour to use on your ads etc.

LinkMetro From The Guys That Bought You SEO Elite

I want to talk a little bit about This comes from the same guys that bought us SEO Elite

Link Metro is one of the higher class of link exchange sites. You get a whole lot of crap link exchange websites out there which are over-run with casino, pharmacy, gambling and porn sites. The quality of these links are pretty poor to say the least – not to mention Google and other search engines may penalize you for associating your website with these types of sites.

Top Tip: Unless your site is related to gambling, casino, pharmacy or porn, don’t link to these types of websites and don’t let them link to you! has a large directory of websites, and if you have a good look through, you’ll see that most of them are real business sites rather than cookie cutter made for adsense style sites (not that there is anything wrong with adsense style sites, but here is not the place to promote them).

This is good news for several reasons, firstly, a business site will be regularly attended by the owner and link exchange requests should be accepted or declined pretty quickly.

Secondly, it means the quality of backlink will be higher, and you may even get a significant passing of page rank (never a bad thing). has two levels of membership, free and monthly subscription. First let’s look at the freebie option.

If you are on a budget, then the freebie option is still a very good deal – however there is a lot more work required in setting up link exchanges. As a free member, your link exchange process will go like this:

1. You search for websites you wish to exchange links with on the directory

2. You add their link to your links page on your website using your favourite HTML editor (mine is FrontPage – yeah, I know), you should use the link name and description that they provide you with

3. You click the link next to the site you want to exchange links with in the directory and tell them that they have a new link exchange request

4. Hopefully after a couple of days, the webmaster of the site will respond and say yes, I’ve added your link, or no, I have not added your link. 90% of people will say yes

5. Repeat steps 1 to 4 for each site you want to exchange links with

If you keep this up every single day and add 5-10 new links a day, then within a few months you should have several hundred back links to your site.

Your link exchange requests will be more successful if your site is well designed, has unique content and isn’t blatantly fishing for adsense clicks.

Occasionally, a few times a week, you will get incoming link exchange requests. In this case you must check the persons site (just to make sure it’s of a high enough standard to link to and that they are actually linking back to you) and then you should add their site to your link directory if you accept the exchange.

Your second option is to go for the paid monthly subscription which costs $19.95 per month. I don’t think that they make it entirely clear that this fee is per website. So if you have more than one website that you wish to promote, you have to pay for a second subscription.

The difference between the free membership and the paid membership is everything is automated.

You get given a small PHP script which you simply upload to your server and follow the installation instructions (which are very easy to follow). This script creates a link directory on your site where you can add and manage categories, sub categories and links.

The real beauty of this script though is it is tied to your account. So now the link exchange process becomes:

1. Search through the directory on to find suitable link exchange partners

2. Click a link to add the website to your link directory. The script takes care of everything and automatically adds the link and emails the website you want to exchange with informing them that they have a link exchange request

3. If they accept, then they add your link to their site. If they decline, you can click a button and remove their site from your directory.

4. Repeat steps 1 to 3 for every exchange

The selling point of the paid subscription is that you don’t have to edit your website for each link, you don’t have to manually monitor who’s linking back to you and you can submit dozens of link exchange requests everyday in less than 30 minutes.

So the big question is obviously, does this actually work and is it worth me upgrading to a paid membership.

Well I was interested in finding out myself, so I upgraded my account to premium membership.

According to the sales pitch on and the testimonials, I should be expecting a deluge of exchange requests. Some testimonials talk of 30-50 new exchanges per week. Now if you look at my site, there have only been 11 successful exchanges in a week of being listed, and 40 pending exchanges (ie I’m waiting for the owner to add me to their site).

That’s not quite the response I had hoped for, and was alluded to in the sales pitch. Sure, you can potentially exchange links with over 21,000 sites, but you’re probably looking at less than 10% of them being successful – based on my experiences so far.

Of course, there could be many factors affecting this success rate. The category and theme will play a major part as some webmasters only want to exchange links with theme related sites. A lot of webmasters are prejudiced against low Pagerank sites too.

I found that my best responses were from premium members, because there is obviously a lot less work involved for them.

Over the course of the month I will continue doing link exchanges (or at least requesting them), and after a month we can evaluate the cost each successful exchange came to, and whether it is worth continuing.

You can find out more about Link Metro by clicking here.

Adsense Work

Ah…AdSense. It’s like an old pair of jeans. You know it’s probably worn out and there’s nothing you can do about it, but you find yourself coming back to it again and again.

This is what has happened at the moment…

If any of you have any internet marketing experience, I’m sure you’d have heard of a chap named Armand Morin. Recently he did a teleseminar about his adsense work.

The entire seminar lasted for almost 3 hours and man there was a lot of information in there!

Now I can’t go in to specifics here, because that’s unfair to those that paid to be in on the seminar. But a lot of his work has been done using his own software called Directory Generator. The guy has literally thousands of websites set up using this software.

I am yet to purchase Directory Generator as it’s got quite a steep price ($247), and I’m pretty sure you can achieve similar results with Traffic Equalizer which is slightly cheaper.

Basically the theory goes that quantity is better than quality. Just throw up as many pages as you can, as often as you can (maybe 5 a day) and you will start seeing results. Even if each site only makes $5 a month, if you have 1000 websites, that’s a lot of cash.

When I told my programmers about the system Armand Morin uses, they actually got very excited and started talking about how they could make something similar, but better. So watch this space, I might have a even better product for you soon!

So now based on Armand’s advice, I have created ‘holding’ pages for all my unused domains, each site has thousands of pages and a good chance of being indexed. Anyone that lands on any of these pages will see my adsense code (amongst other things). These are domains that would otherwise have sat dormant doing nothing.

I’m also doing a number of other things based on his advice, but I simply cannot share them here until they become general knowledge in the adsense community. Sorry guys!

One thing I can share with you though is that I’ve just purchased 150 ready made adsense sites, with between 50 and 1500 pages in each site. The idea is to just throw them all up online and forget about them. There’s going to be nearly 75,000 pages with your adsense code on it, so you will be seeing some traffic regardless. You can purchase these sites too from Adsense Ready Websites

Today is a sad day :-(

Today is a sad day. It’s the first day of the rest of my life without a big beer belly.

You see, years of self abuse down at the pub (pints, for those of you wondering otherwise) has taken it’s toll, and no longer can I sit idly by as my waist line continues to expand to accomodate, for the want of a better word, my pure liquid grain storage system (beer belly for any techies out there).

No longer, at the grand old age of 23, can I blame the hamster cheeks and love handles on youthful puppy fat.

Yes my friends (and you too, mother), it is time to take action. Let it be said that on this day, 12th May 2006, I, Peter Claridge set forth on a journey of great peril (and, for some reason, a gold ring), accompanied by fellowship of dwarfs, wizards and the true heir to the thrown of Gond….

…oh, wait, wrong journey. That happens next week, my mistake.

So yes, I’ve joined the local gym and swimming centre for a mere (imagine!) £45 a month for unlimited gyming and swimming. Great deeds are often done in the darkest hour, and a dark day it is when I can no longer get into 32″ (or was it 34″?) jeans!

A plan has been laid, action will be taken. Youthful exuberance (thank you google for teaching me how to spell) will return and marathons I will run.

Hmm, well. We’ll see.

(OOOooo, link at all the pretty weight loss ads Google has decided to give >>>)

Excellent SEO Resource

This following resource is fantastic for anyone who wants to promote their website and build up hundreds of free one way links (which are very important for SE rankings).

The website is Vile Silencer

This site provides a massive directory of over 300 search engine friendly link directories. A search engine friendly link directory is something that links directly to your website, it doesn’t use a redirect to count the hits out.

They also provide you with a downloadable XLS excel spreadsheet file that has all the directories categorised by the letters of the alphabet, and by niche market. They even go and give you the Page Rank of the directory.

The best way to use this information is to download the XLS file and each week submit your site(s) to all the directories under a single letter of the alphabet. So the first week you would submit to all ‘A’ directories, the following week to all ‘B’ directories etc.

It takes about 1/2 hour to submit your site to all the directories under each letter.

You should also go one step further and use your main keyword (the keyword you want to optimize for) in your title. Each week, vary the keywords and description that you give (but obviously make sure they are related to your target market!).

If you keep this up each week, then within 20 weeks you’ll have over 300 one way links to your site and you’ll easily have a Page Rank of 3 or 4.

This is just one method you should be using to promote your website and become number one in the organic search results.

I might tell you about another method some other time, so check back often :~)

Here’s the link to the site again:

The website is Vile Silencer

Sibling Rivalry Determines Child’s Success?

This is a bit of an oddball post as it doesn’t tie in with everything else that I write – but I’ve been told I should start commenting on interesting/offtopic news stories more…so here goes.

I’ve just read an article on MSN (click here for the article) that says the pecking order in which you were born has a strong link with how successful you will become and your type of personality.

It claims that first born children are more ambitious, agressive and successful (they want to rule the world), middle children are better at communicating and building bridges to other camps, but don’t always have the drive for success, and the last born child associates with the underdogs and will rebel a lot more as they strive for attention (they want to change the world).

click here for the article

Now taking this theory, and applying it to my own family, I’m the eldest of three siblings. I run (or at least walk) a successful online business and have great ambitions to be successful in this world.

My brother, the middle one of the three, he’s currently at University studying to become an architect. While growing up, he was always the quiet one who was pushed aside as I strove to be the center of attention.

Now my little sister is the black sheep of the family. Where my brother and I grew up, sailed through our teens, excelled at academic studies and popped out the other end relatively unscathed, my sister has quit school (because she hates teachers), goes out drinking, and generally has caused my parents more aggro than my brother and I put together! She’s a very arty, rebellious and independant young lady.

So it seems to me, that the article has got the pecking order just right, and me and my siblings fit into the pigeon holes they have created for us perfectly 🙂

If you have read the article, and can identify with it, or think it’s utter rubbish, I’d love to hear your comments (that means you too, mother!)