UPDATE: The Affiliate Ninja Plugin Is No Longer Available

I now use and can heartily recommend the Pretty Link Pro plugin which does the same thing as Affiliate Ninja. The Pretty Link Lite plugin is a free cut-down version that doesn’t have the auto-keyword-linking option or some of the other advanced features.

I’ve been kind of slow in posting my progress with the Cheap Electricity Options blog of late. The Week 4 progress report was posted a day or so ago but the blog itself is now 8 weeks old. So what I’ll do in this post is compress what I’ve been doing in the last month with the blog.

As I mentioned in the previous Progress Report, Week 5 saw ads being added to the site for the first time. So here’s what I did, in order, as best I can recollect over the last 4 weeks:

1. Installed and activated the Affiliate Ninja plugin. This hyperlinks keywords you specify with affiliate links and cloaks the links as well. Hover over such a link in a post and you’ll see a link like http://webbizkb.com/plpro rather than some overlong affiliate link full of parameters and settings.

These links have three advantages: a) They’re short and look better to visitors; b) since they are redirects rather than simple cloaked links, search engines see them as internal site links so link juice isn’t being passed out to external sites.

Once the keywords are set up in Affiliate Ninja, you can specify how many links you want to appear in a post and how many occurrences of each keyword are hyperlinked in a post, so it gives you good control over link display. Links can also be set to open in a new window (my preference).

That’s all you need to do. When a visitor loads a post in their browser, Affiliate Ninja scans it for your keywords and hyperlinks them before displaying the post to the visitor. The great advantage is that the keyword links are administered from one central location, so if you need to edit or delete a keyword link, you do it only once rather than editing a huge number of posts to implement the change. A big time saver.

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been adding a few new keyword links each week.

2. Installed and Activated the TubePress plugin. This was a free plugin (at the time I wrote this post – it’s now a paid plugin) that pulls videos from YouTube based on a keyword search. Videos can also be pulled based on a YouTube user or from Vimeo. The plugin presents the videos in a pleasing way with a video player above a list of video thumbnails.

Clicking one of the thumbnails loads it into the player and plays it. You can set how many thumbnails to show and results are paginated if more videos are available than can be listed.

I’ve added this plugin to all my current and future pages (i.e. pages that are created and future-dated by auto blogging plugins).

3. Installed and activated the PHPBay Pro plugin. This is probably the best eBay plugin available for WordPress. You do need to have an account with the eBay Partner Network (EPN) to make use of it and it seems to be harder these days to get into EPN. The plugin pulls auction items from eBay and lists them, either in rows or columns in your posts. You cam specify how many items to display at once and comprehensive filtering options allow you great control over the listings that are displayed on your site. I keep the number displayed between 6 and 9 items, usually in 3-column format.

Links are fully cloaked and appear to be to products on your own domain. The product description aid in SEO as well and, since they change frequently, make your pages dynamic ,which is something search engines like.

4. Installed and activated the PHPZon Pro plugin. This plugin pulls product listings from Amazon. It displays them in list format so is best suited to adding a few products below the main post. So as not to clutter up the page too much, I usually only show 1-3 products. Somewhat useful as an SEO aid because of keywords in the product descriptions but products don’t change too frequently on Amazon so it doesn’t have the SEO clout ot PHPBay.

5. Installed and activated the PHPOStock plugin (no longer available). This pulls listings from Overstock. You need to have an account with Commission Junction and be accepted as an Overstock affiliate before you can make use of this plugin. You could try this free plugin alternative; just be aware that it hasn’t been updated since 2015.

I use it as an alternative to PHPZon, so pages will show products from Overstock or Amazon but not both. I don’t want to blitz visitors with too many products or they’ll blank out and move on.

6. Installed and activated the ReviewAZON plugin [no longer available]. This also pulls products from Amazon, but in a different way to PHPZon. It’s main attraction is that it will create a full post out of content drawn from Amazon, including product image, link, rating, description and the 5 most recent customer reviews. It’s also possible to add YouTube videos through its interface and link it with PHPBay and PHPOstock so items from both of those networks are displayed below the main post.

The plugin also has a feature that allows you to bulk post articles for products and queue them up for future posting, so it’s a semi-automated auto blogging tool. I’ve queued up product posts for the next couple of months with it.

7. Added Adsense to the site using the Easy Adsense plugin.

8. Added some banner ads to the site for related products.

9. Installed and activated the WordPress Mage (WP Mage) plugins. This is a set of auto blogging plugins. It uses a template system to describe what content should go on a page (a headline, article, Yahoo Answers, YouTube, monetization options like PHPBay, etc.). Templates are fully configurable. You can create as many page templates as you want and have WP Mage randomly select one for a page when it’s built. Doing things this way means that the page elements on site pages vary, which looks more natural.

To build pages, you feed WP Mage a list of keywords for a category, select the page templates you want to use and enter a post date range. The plugin will randomly add posts between these two dates. Dates can be in the past or in the future, so it’s possible to add back-dated posts and schedule future posts at the click of a button.

I set up a few future-dated posts in each category of the site which will get published on auto-pilot.

10. Installed and activated the Auto Content Answers plugin. As far as I’m aware, this plugin is only available to people who buy the Auto Content Cash blogging system (that’s where I got it – it’s no longer available).

This plugin pulls content from Yahoo Answers based on a keyword. I use this plugin sparingly, give it one or two fairly short keywords (2 or 3 word phrases) and set it to post about once per week. It just provides some variety in the post content. You can modify the template it uses to change the post layout or add code for other plugins such as PHPBay (which is what I did).

Conclusion

So those were the 10 steps I carried out in the last month to monetize the site. With every post that’s published, the Web Traffic Genius plugin I added a few weeks back will fire out an RSS feed to the RSS aggregators, giving me ever more backlinks (each RSS feed is unique).

So now, let’s look at the results as of October 2, 2010:

Results So Far…

The blog has been online for eight weeks now and 20 articles have been posted. The optin form I manually added to the sidebar has been on the site for 7 weeks and the opt-in forms created by Subscriber’s Magnet have been on for 6 weeks.

Pages Indexed in Google: 77. Steadily rising as posts are published.
Links in Google: 1. I don’t expect to see Google links appear for several weeks as they seem slow to update such info.
Yahoo Backlinks: 2025. Still climbing. Several new links added each day.
Unique Visitors: 27. Same level as earlier weeks.
Number of Visits: 33. Averaging 4.71 visits per day.
Page Views: 73. Still skewed by my own visits to the site when checking new posts and doing some editing to fix errors.
Bounce Rate: 78.79%. Hugely better.
Newsletter Subscribers: 0. Still not enough unique visitors to get a proportion of them to sign up for the newsletter. Bit disappointing though that I haven’t had even one visitor sign up.

Earnings:

Adsense: $0 – I may need to rethink Adsense placement.
Clickbank: $0.
Amazon: Probably $0. While there were Amazon sales, they most likely came in from my other sites. There were no renewable energy products among the sales.
eBay: $0.66 (hey, it’s a start!)

The site is now running on autopilot so what’s left to do is some more backlinking and site promotion.

 
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