Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Dr Elsey's Precious Cat Litter Ultra Rocks!

Two nights ago when I was scooping our cat litter, I got a bit annoyed at the cloud of dust that forms every time I scoop it or fill the litter up.  It's like the nuclear bomb type cloud formation each time, with the dust settling everywhere in the general vicinity.  With 4 cats and 3 litter boxes, this frustration happens quite often.

We have 2 litter boxes in a closed laundry room and one in a convenient spot in the master bathroom.  The main issues are the constant dust clouds and smell.  My wife gets up every morning to feed the boys and I take care of the scooping responsibilities, which works for me.  I scoop the 3 boxes at least twice a day, sometimes more as necessary. 

Over my approx 10 years of scooping litter for our kitties, I really didn't keep up on the latest litter news.  I think we heard they had different types of litter, like corn based, recycled material litter, etc, but when I did research a while back they didn't seem to fit our needs.

Last night I did a quick search and came upon Dr Elsey's Precious Cat Litter Ultra page on Amazon.  The reviews are excellent almost across the board.  Be sure to check the reviews out for yourself.  I was very impressed and actually quite excited!  Yes, potentially awesome products that help me or my cats, or in this case both, are exciting to me.  I couldn't wait to try it out!

Here are the key facts:
  • 99.9% Dust Free
  • Hypo-allergenic, contains no plant proteins
  • All Natural
  • Hard clumping
  • Multi-cat
  • Ideal for sifting/mechanical litter boxes
  • Superior odor control
The main reason I was buying the litter was for the dust free nature, the bonus features were the fact that it costs roughly the same as our normal litter and all the great reviews about how well it does with odor control.  We have 1 cat that developed occasional Asthma over the last two years and our other cats will sneeze from time to time, so the dust free litter is not only for us, it will also hopefully help out greatly for them as well.

As far as odor control goes, many of the Amazon reviewers live in small apartments and afterwards they could hardly tell they even had a litter box.  After just a few hours my wife and I have both commented how impressive it is so far, both on the dust free and odor control front.

There was literally no noticeable dust given off when I filled the box.  That was the main reason for the purchase and it exceeded my expectations there.  For sure it will be much better than standard litter.  Watch the video to see for yourself. 

Odor wise it's still early on, but results are good so far.  The one box that I filled has been used by three of our cats to pee so far and it really does a great job of neutralizing the odor.  Normally litter has a perfumy smell to cover up the smell of the cat waste, but this doesn't have that. The true test was waiting until the morning to see how things held up overnight and it worked great.  No major smell this AM. 

You can get your first 40lb bag absolutely FREE after rebate.  Here is the Dr. Elsey Cat litter rebate form.

Hope that helps and by the way, Dr. Elsey is a cat only veterinarian that has developed a bunch of other useful products.  For example, they make a litter or additive you can add to your own litter, for cats that have issues going outside the box.  The litter additive attracts the cat and gets them to use the box.  That one comes with a money back guarantee if it doesn't work also.

If you try any of the products, I'd love to hear how they worked out for you.  Please leave a comment and let me know.  Thanks!

2/8/2012 Update:  It's been a week now since we switched over all of our litter boxes to the new litter and we also decided to consolidate down to 2 litter boxes from 3 and so far so good.  All we've done since we filled them up is scoop them so far.  We have not added any more litter.  We're still thrilled with the new litter.

3/7/2012 Update:  I wanted to provide a quick update now that it's been over a month since we've been using the litter.  It still does a great job of keeping down the dust, but it is not 100% dust free.  I do notice a slight amount at times, but it is nothing like our old litter.  Still very happy there.  As far as the smell goes, it still does a better job in that category as well, but it is not a miracle product that miraculously sucks up all cat waste odor unfortunately.  However, in both categories it still works much better than our prior litter and we will definitely be sticking with it.

7/29/2012 Update:  We happened to have some of our old litter in the garage and rather than open up a new bag of the Dr. Elsey litter, I mixed in some of the old litter and holy cow, mushroom cloud of dust.  It's funny how I forgot so quickly just how bad the old stuff is.  It really is night and day different.  It also definitely helped our one cat that would cough occasionally.  He no longer did that after switching litter.

5/26/2013 Update: "Glammy Bee" mentioned in a comment on my YouTube video above that it would be helpful to see how it scoops.  I hesitated to post an actual video of me scooping the litter, cause who wants to see someone scooping cat poop/pee, but we're all cat people here I'd have to assume, so here goes! :o)  As you can see, no dust cloud whatsoever. 

6/29/2014 Update: Amazon now offers the litter for the same price as local stores like PetSmart/Petco and it ships free for orders over $35 or free two day shipping for anyone with Amazon Prime!  That is a complete no-brainer, since the bag weighs 40lbs.  It is their #1 best selling product in the Pet Supplies category and for good reason!  That is a great deal!

While you are here, be sure to check my best pet water fountain post as well.  It is for the Drinkwell 360, which is another excellent product.  The water constantly flows through the fountain, keeping it clean and fresh.  Our cats love it!  I included several videos and pictures on the post, showing the fountain and our kitties in action.

Additionally, I have a post listing some of our favorite must-have cat toys as well.  Be sure to check it out if you're looking for ways to keep your cat(s) happy and entertained.  

Since the litter bag is a bit heavy at 40lbs, I'd definitely recommend picking it up via Amazon and having it delivered right to your front door!  With the free rebate form for your first purchase, you definitely can't go wrong. 

Enjoy!  Your kitties will thank you!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Choosing a Profitable Niche

I created several posts recently about how to come up with a killer set of keywords to build your own successful blog or website.  That included proper keyword research utilizing Market Samurai, how to size up your competition, picking a high quality keyword rich domain name and signing up for web hosting.  I've listed all of the links here:
  1. Success With Market Samurai 

  2. Market Samurai - Keyword Research

  3. Market Samurai - SEO Competition

  4. Domain Registration and Web Hosting

I also wanted to let you know that the same information is available on a separate, easy to remember site. The site is listed on my Blogroll on the side bar as Market Samurai Niche Site Tool and is also available directly at:


Bookmark the site for easy reference, in case you happen to come up with a great idea for a new niche website or blog in the future.  If there is anything you'd like to see added, definitely let me know.  Thanks!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

San Francisco Bound

When it comes to vacation plans and a lot of things really, the wife and I change our mind a lot. We've changed our mind on past vacations, even at the last minute and this year is no exception. At the start of the year we were thinking maybe a California coastal cruise out of LA sometime in May. That got to be too expensive when we added in all the excursions, airfare, etc. and we didn't like that we would only be at each city for around 8 hours.

We then changed our minds and decided to put a deposit on a 7 night Exotic Western Caribbean cruise out of Miami on Carnival. We saved the cost of airfare and it was much cheaper even for an aft extended balcony cabin, as opposed to the internal cabin on the California Coastal cruise.

Then we watched along with everyone else as the Costa cruise ship ran aground. That was obviously a terrible tragedy that could have been avoided if it weren't for the captain going so close to shore. It didn't change our plans initially. Then last week I was reading cruise critic boards and a post came up about the ship we were going to be on. Several folks on the ship the first week of January mentioned that the ship 'tilted' between 5-10 degrees during their cruise, causing dishes to break, pool water to overflow onto the decks and down elevator shafts, etc.  All of that combined caused us to reconsider. 

Friday night, we turned on the TV and saw a show about San Francisco. That was one of the main places we have been wanting to go. We started to think back to California and instead of a cruise, going directly to San Francisco.  Saturday morning sealed the deal for us.  We turned on the TV and saw back-to-back shows, one on HDNet and the other on the Travel Channel about San Francisco. We were hooked and could not ignore the signs any longer.

We plan to stay in the Union Square area downtown, which is a perfect location to be able to walk or take public transportation anywhere around town. 

The wifey always takes the lead on the vacation plans and she has mapped out a potential itinerary for most of the trip already.  We are super excited and we're glad we changed it up, this is a location neither of us have been to and it will be full of fun new experiences.

Some of the highlights so far will be the obvious tourist destinations such as Alcatraz, the Fisherman's Wharf, Pier 39, Trolley Ride and Lombard Street.  We also plan to head to Muir Woods, which is a park with all of those huge redwood trees, China Town, Alamo Square (Full House houses), Golden Gate Park, tour to Napa/Sonoma and might do a Segway Tour as well. 

Alamo Square, Full House style...wonder if Bob Saget lives there?

Muir Woods Redwood Park

We also plan to hit up lots of cool restaurants of course.  One highlight will be a super cool restaurant that Anthony Bourdain went to called the Tonga Room.  That one is in the Fairmont Hotel and they put the restaurant right over the original hotel pool.  There is a floating platform in the pool for a live band and it actually get simulated thunder/lightning and rain storms inside the restaurant over the pool.  Here is a video showing both:

Lots to do and see!  Have you ever been to the either San Francisco or Napa/Sonoma and have any recommended places to go/see?  Would love to hear any suggestions/tips!  Please leave a comment below with any info.  Thanks!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Making Money Online Writing Articles For InfoBarrel

I've been listening to a bunch of PodCasts from Pat Flynn on his Smart Passive Income Blog and I came across an interesting idea on a way to make $ online that I wasn't aware of.  It is by publishing articles for a site called InfoBarrel. 

If you're at all familiar with eHow.com or have read articles from there, it is similar in that it's a huge document/article repository.  From what I read/listened to, eHow changed their payment structure for the worse a while back and most of their writers jumped ship.  After extensive research, most of them converted over to places like InfoBarrel. 

The way InfoBarrel works is that you sign up and can start publishing articles right away.  Once they're approved, which from what I've read is a quick review process just to make sure you have a good concept of the English language, your articles are posted on their site.  They place various ads around your articles and you get 75% of the revenue generated from your articles.  Pretty cool and something you could get started on and start making $ with today. 

Basically, you could do the same on your own blog utilizing Google AdSense, but the advantage you get by using InfoBarrel is that they get millions of page views where you probably do not.  More page views=more viewers and potentially more clicks and more $.  And if you happen to have one of the Free Wordpress hosted blogs out there, you cannot post ads or use Google AdSense yourself, so this might be an interesting option for you. 

What intrigued me was that Pat said when he was back on eHow he published 150 articles in one month back in Dec of 2008 and then left them there, never to do anything further.  Initially he got a few cents in a few hours and a few dollars after a few days.  Not a very good hourly rate for your time/effort up front, but it's a start.  Fast forward to Feb of 2010 and he earned $371.39 that month, up from $317 the prior month.

That's not a huge amount of $, but to get that kind of $ consistently each month from a months worth of work 3 years prior was pretty impressive to me.  He said that when anyone asks him the quickest and best way to start making $ online, he points people to InfoBarrel and recommends starting right away.  The more articles that you write now, the more time you have to make $ off of those articles in the future. 

An added benefit of using InfoBarrel is that they allow you to post a small number of links in the body of your article.  Typically article submission sites only allow you to post a link in an 'About the Author' paragraph at the bottom, not in the main body.  This allows you to write an article and provide a link to specific posts on your own site, driving traffic your way.   

The best part is that those links are 'dofollow' links, not 'nofollow'.  A 'dofollow' link is a link that Google will follow when it crawls your article on InfoBarrel, driving up the PageRank for the article you linked to on your own website.  Most links that you place online these days are 'nofollow' links.  That tells Google not to follow those links, basically doing nothing for your PageRank. 

InfoBarrel is a high ranking site, so that backlink to your own site is worth even more.  DoFollow backlinks from higher ranking sites are the holy grail for increasing your own PageRank on Google and that is one of the reasons I signed up myself.  I want to experiment with how that works for my blog and niche site ideas. 

However, if you are interested in trying it out yourself, I would not recommend putting a lot of links in your first several articles, as that will probably increase the likelihood they would be rejected.  I would come up with good quality articles on topics that you think will be of interest to lots of people and keep the links to a minimum or not at all initially. 

Once you publish a certain number of quality articles that get approved, there is a point where all of your articles will be auto-approved from that point on.  It looks like that could be anywhere from several weeks to a month and probably depends on how many articles you have submitted and how many they already approved. 

I think this is a great way to get started on trying to make $ online that doesn't cost you a thing to get started, with the added benefit of potentially great backlinks and additional traffic to your own site if desired/applicable.  In addition, you can utilize the exact same steps I showed you last week on how to identify profitable keywords to figure out what would be great topics to write about. 

I will try it out and report back on how the process works, any $$ that starts to come in and will also keep track of my Google PageRank on this blog to see if/when it increases, once I feel comfortable adding links in articles that I submit.  Currently this blog is a PageRank 0, which is the lowest it can be, so we have no where to go but up!

If you're interested in making $ by submitting articles yourself, please allow me to refer you to the site through this InfoBarrel referral link.  If you do, I will thank you personally and I will provide you with an original, 400 word article after your first article is approved and posted!

Update 2/16/2014:

If you are interested in niche tools and posts like this one, head on over to my other site NicheSiteTools.com, which is dedicated to helping you achieve a greater level of success with all of your online adventures.  

You can subscribe to that site via email to instantly get my free eGuide "Top 10 Killer Keyword Brainstorming Tips" on how to come up with potential topics for your next niche site project.

Also, be sure to like my Facebook Page, and follow my Twitter Account.  Additionally, I just launched a brand new podcast as well that you can find in iTunes here.  

Thanks and best wishes for success with all of your online adventures!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Here I Am!

I've been thinking about this blog and the things I've done well and not so well with over my first year.  Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, but I feel that I've done a good job sticking with it and posting regular updates.  I also feel that I've also provided a ton of useful information on a variety of specific topics, not all of which would be useful to everyone, but some of which was hopefully useful to you in some way.

What I don't think that I have done super well is engage with my readers and work to develop relationships.  Along those lines, I modified my About Me / This Blog link on the right hand side to make it a bit more personal.  I added a few pictures and some fun/interesting things people might not know about me to help break the ice.

I also added a link to the Facebook page for this blog on the right hand side, just below my About Me / This Blog link.  I'd appreciate it if you would click the Like button, as I'd like to start interacting over there and will add some links and interesting content not available on my Blog to make it worth your while. 

If you have a Blog or Website that you think I would be interested in, please let me know and I'd be glad to check it out and add it to my Blogroll and I'd appreciate it if you would do the same for my Blog.  I also plan to try and network a bit more and will highlight those site I come across that I think you'll enjoy. 

I will also probably be tweaking things and adding other things that I think will make the site better overall.  Blogger actually added threaded comments a few weeks ago which is great, but unfortunately due to customizations I've done to my HTML, it is not enabled on my blog automatically.  I've found a few ways to get it working, but all of them would cause me to lose what I've customized, so I'm waiting for a better option there, but I think that could help.  I may also look into migrating my Blog over to my hosting account and converting it to WordPress so that I would have more options as well.

I also signed up for Google Apps, which is free for up to 10 users and what I'm using it for is to have EMAIL@yourdomain.com.  So my new email for this site will be chris "at" thepathtoriches.com  I think that is a little more personal than thepathtoriches "at" gmail.com, so please utilize the new address when sending emails related to this site.   I'll put that at the bottom of my About Me / This Blog page as well.

In addition, I plan to try a few giveaways.  I have emails out to a few companies trying to talk them into giving me a few licenses for some great products.  So stay tuned for new stuff ahead and be sure to subscribe via email to get the latest updates via the Feedburner box in the right hand column. 

By the way, I just realized after all this time that if you leave a comment below and want to get a notification of any comments after yours, all you have to do is hit the 'subscribe by email link' right under the comment.  That does not add you to my email list or anything like that, it just sends you an email if anyone else comments after you.  I always respond to comments and try to include useful info as a follow-up, so just wanted to pass that along.  I usually post a comment and then email the original poster if I know their email with the response, but this makes things much easier.    

Thanks for being a loyal reader and I'm very glad you're here!   I especially appreciate the comments and emails, keep them coming.  It only takes a few seconds and you can feel good knowing you made a difference in my day and hopefully I've done the same for you.  I'd like to make this a more engaging experience and if you have any suggestions, please let me know!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Domain Registration and Web Hosting

If you've followed along from my prior posts on how to utilize Market Samurai to find a killer set of keywords and sizing up your competition, you now have a great keyword phrase and domain name chosen, you just need to register the site and sign up for a web hosting account. 

I've utilized GoDaddy for registering domain names since 2003 and have never had a single problem.  They also have a 5.99 special currently for new 1 year .com registrations, which is a great deal.  I also highly recommend choosing private domain registration, which is what I do with all of my domains.  That way you won't be spammed by other companies selling things once they see your new domain registration out there. 

I recently signed up with Webhosting Hub for a web hosting account and they have been nothing short of amazing as far as ease of use and their 24/7 customer support team.  I decided after I setup my account that I wanted to change the primary domain that I assigned initially.  I contacted support three separate times on a Sunday afternoon for three different questions via their online chat feature.  I talked to support reps James G and William M and they were super knowledgable, fully resolved each individual issue the first time and they mentioned each time they were available 24/7 for any further questions/issues.  That type of instant/helpful support is so hard to find these days. 

I signed up with Webhosting Hub for several reasons...The excellent reviews I read about their great support, excellent reviews in general, 99.9% uptime, the fact that you can have unlimited domains/WordPress Blogs/MySQL databases, 1 click WordPress install, great prices and their 90 day money back guarantee.

I setup 2 separate domains in addition to the free one they provide, installed 2 WordPress blogs, installed several WordPress plugins, a few WordPress themes and published some original content all in one afternoon.  Based on my experience thus far I feel very comfortable recommending them, knowing that anyone who signs up through my affiliate links will be in good hands.

The typical lowest published discount rate for Webhosting Hub is $4.95 per month, but I was so impressed and passionate about their service that I was able to negotiate with them directly to get you their lowest rate available anywhere of $3.95 per month!  That is a really great deal and only available by clicking my affiliate link.  Make sure you see the image below on their sign-up page showing you the $3.95 price, otherwise you're not getting the full discount.  Just like other hosting sites, that is their price if you sign up for 36 months.  If you sign up for 24 months, the price is $4.95 and for 12 months, that rate is $5.95.  Being new to web hosting myself, I signed up for the $5.95 / month rate for 1 year.  Choose whatever rate/term best fits your needs.

I hope you enjoyed my series of posts this week on how to come up with killer keyword phrases to target for a new niche/blog site idea, how to size up your competition to determine which phrases have the best chance of success, how to pick a killer domain name to go with your keyword phrase and where to go to register your domain name and host your website(s).

I did these posts over the course of about three weeks and really put a ton of effort into making them as useful as possible.  My primary goal was to have the entire process documented, in a series of consecutive posts, so that others would have a much easier time finding the relevant information all in one spot.  To make things easier to find, I also created a completely separate site that contains all of this relevant information on one page.  If you go to http://www.nichesitetool.com you will see this information repeated and available directly from the main page for easier reference. 

If you have any suggestions on anything you'd like to see added or done differently, please let me know as I want to make the information appeal to as large an audience as possible.  I'm hoping to make the internet a better place and help out as many others as possible.

And in full disclosure, many links contained on this page are affiliate links and I will get a commission, at no additional cost to you, if you sign up for those products or services.  I wholeheartedly endorse Market Samurai, GoDaddy for domain registration and Webhosting Hub for web hosting services.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Market Samurai - SEO Competition

Continuing where we left off on yesterday's post, by using Market Samurai we determined that we were going to try and target the term "clearance baby clothes" as our primary keyword phrase for our new site and as a backup we have "vintage baby clothes".  What we want to do now is size up the competition and see what we're up against.  We will be able to see at a quick glance whether or not we can compete for that phrase, or if we're better off trying another keyword phrase. 

If you followed along with the last post and installed the 12 day free trial of Market Samurai, great!  You're all set to continue on with this module.  If not, go here and put in your name and email address to get a link to download the software.  You should receive an email right away.  As a reminder, the software is available for both Mac and PC.  Click the link in your email, follow the instructions to download/install the software and then double click the Market Samurai icon and we're ready to get started.

I won't re-post all the screen shots from yesterdays post.  You can either go through the steps there, or follow the 2 minute video walkthrough that I will re-post below.  You can go through those steps for both "clearance baby clothes" and "vintage baby clothes" separately as your keyword search term.  Once you're at the results screen at the end of the video, all you need to do is click on the SEO Competition section on the left hand side of the screen and then click the Generate Results button.

I have the SEO Competition results screens for both phrases below.  The results show the top 10 sites ranking for those keyword phrases.  Those are the sites that show up on the first page of Google when you search for that particular keyword phrase and that is our direct competition, since the first page is where we want to be.  That is because 95-98% of all traffic for a particular keyword search phrase goes to the first page of results on Google. 

There are basically two separate categories of items in the SEO Competition charts.  On page and off pageOn page items are exactly that, making sure you have your keyword phrase on your main page in your blog/site title, description, URL and header tags.  All items you have control over and can easily modify/keep in mind up-front.  The off page items are things like links to your main site or individual pages from other websites, the age of your domain name and your site being listed in the DMOZ or Yahoo directory.  I'll get into more details on those items below.  

The first several items below are all off site items.

Clearance Baby Clothes results

The first column in the chart is DA, or Domain Age.  That is how many years that site has existed.  If it's 2 years or less you will usually see a - instead of a number.  The older the domain name the better.  The only way to compete on Domain Age is to purchase a preexisting domain name rather than registering a new one.  That can be far more costly and it's not something I would do just starting out. 

The second field is PR, or Page Rank.  Everything in that chart factors into the Page Rank.  The higher the Page Rank, the better and the scale is from 0 to 10.  No on knows for sure exactly what weighting each item on this page gets as far as calculating the overall Page Rank, but I will provide some tips along the way.

The next category is IC, or Index Count.  That is the number of pages from that site that are indexed by Google.  Basically the amount of individual posts or pages you have on your site.  The more quality content the better.

The next 4 categories are all inter-related RDD, RDP, BLP and BLD.  They are Referring Domains-Domains, Referring Domains-Pages, Backlink-Pages, Backlink-Domains.  My interpretation of those items are that the first two, RDD and RDP are links to your site from the main page of another site to either your main domain name or a specific page.  BLP and BLD would be individual pages on those sites linking to your domain or individual pages on your domain I believe.  The semantics of each aren't of major importance in my opinion, but the overall importance of these 4 items is.  The more links you have to your site/pages from other sites, preferably popular/high ranking sites, the higher the value that Google will rank your site over time.  So, do what you can to get links back to your site, whether it is from creating amazing posts that people just can't help but link to, commenting on other blogs/forums on sites that allow your name to contain an active link to your site, having others add your blog/site to their blog roll, etc.

BLEG is an acronym for backlinks from a government (.gov) or educational institution (.edu) domain.  Google places value on having a link to your site or individual pages from .gov or .edu sites.  That is most likely because .gov and .edu sites do not typically provide an easy mechanism to get a link to your site, such as through a forum or comment post.  So if you can, get a link to your side from a site that ends in .edu or .gov and the more the better.

DMOZ and Yahoo Directory are two internet directory listings of sites that are or were maintained by humans manually entering sites to their directory.  These came about because companies or website owners were frustrated back in the day that their sites took forever to appear in search engine results and no one could ever find their sites.  This was an attempt to get around that and they still exist today and Google places value on having your site listed on those two directories.  You can submit to have your site added to DMOZ for free at that link, it can take 6-8 weeks or more.  I just added this blog to that site on 1/14/2012 and will report back if/when it gets added.  Yahoo now charges $299 to be added to their directory.  Not worth it for me right now, but if you are interested here is a link for that.

That ends the off site category of items.  The following are on site categories that you can control yourself if you have your own domain name.  They are Title, URL, Desc and Head.  That just means that you want to have your Blog name/keywords in your Title field, in the domain name, Description and Header tags on your main site page.

For Blogger, you go into your Template and first click the Backup/Restore button and then Download Full Template and save it to your PC as a backup.  Then click Edit HTML, click Proceed and then Expand Widget Templates and search for <head>.  Directly after the head tag, paste the following code, replacing the words in CAPS with your own relevant information:

<b:if cond='data:blog.url == &quot;YOUR SITE HERE&quot;'>
<meta content='YOUR BLOG DESCRIPTION' name='description'/>
<meta content='YOUR KEYWORDS' name='keywords'/>

For example, here is my exact info:

<b:if cond='data:blog.url == &quot;http://www.thepathtoriches.com&quot;'>
<meta content='The Path To Riches blog is a journey towards achieving financial freedom through the generation of passive income.' name='description'/>
<meta content='the path to riches, passive income, information products, information product, lifestyle design, blogging, internet marketing, affiliate marketing, audio, video, financial freedom' name='keywords'/></b:if>

That takes care of the Title and Description items and also gives you some keyword goodness as well.  For Wordpress, the All in One SEO Pack plugin is the way to go. 

For the URL field, if you don't already have a domain name for your site, you want to try and pick a name with your keyword phrase in it with the least number of extra characters.  For my blog, the title and domain name are the same, so that is a 100% match and will help me rank for the phrase "the path to riches" and I currently rank number #1 for that keyword phrase on Google.    

The Head, or Header item, refers to whether your keywords appear in <h1> <h2> <h3> tags within your main site.  The way I accomplished that one was to go into the Blogger layout page and I added a Text widget to the bottom of my blog that has the blog title within an <h3>The Path To Riches</h3> tag.  Easy enough!  You can see that all the way at the bottom of my blog. 

Now that you have an idea of what the SEO Competition items are all about, let's check out our results for clearance baby clothes and vintage baby clothes.  You'll probably have to click the images so that you can see the results in more detail.  However, you can tell from the color coding that there is a pretty good amount of red boxes on both, with clearance baby clothes having slightly more.  Red means that it will be difficult to compete in those categories.   

Clearance Baby Clothes results

If you look closer at the particular sites that rank in the top 10 for clearance baby clothes, you will see Kohls, Overstock.com, Walmart, JCPenney, Carters, ToysRUs, Target and Big Lots.  I'm pretty sure you realize that competing for a spot on the top page of Google would be pretty close to impossible with those retail powerhouses at the top of the list.  However, I do find it interesting that at the time I ran this query, the site that is ranked #2 is a particular page from www.buybuybaby.com  I'm not up on my clearance baby clothes knowledge, but it seems that a smaller, much lesser known company was able to break into the top 10 as well as www.babymallonline.com at the #10 spot, but again, these are big retail sites.

Based on the keyword term clearance baby clothes, we would probably expect that.  So, despite the good results from our keyword research, clearance baby clothes is not a phrase we would want to target, since the overall goal is to have a reasonable chance to rank in the top 10.

Vintage Baby Clothes results

Looking closer at the vintage baby clothes output, we see a similar amount of red boxes, but not a lot of big name retailers.  We do have eBay, Etsy and Amazon in the rankings, but we have several other lesser known names as well.  There are also several sites that do not have an outrageous number of pages/backlinks and several page rank 0 sites.  If it were me and I had a serious passion for vintage baby clothes and was determined to setup a highly successful niche site on the topic, I would attempt to go after either the #1, #5, #8 or the #10 spots.  Those sites have the least number of web pages (IC) and backlinks.  And if you look closely, only the #1 ranked site has the words vintage baby in it.  None of the sites have our actual keyword phrase vintage baby clothes in the domain name.

Clicking over to the Domains module very quickly and typing in vintage baby clothes and clicking Find Domains, you see that as of this posting, evintagebabyclothes.com is the best choice and it is available or you could also go with myvintagebabyclothes.net  Those two sites right there would cause you to rank higher in Google for vintage baby clothes than even the top site in the list, since it includes all 3 keywords in order with minimal additional characters.  Of course that's only one factor in the whole ranking process, but you'd be off to a great start!

If that topic happens to interest you, feel free to take my example and run with it.  You should have a decent chance of success once you have a good amount of solid, original content and backlinks to your site from other high ranking sites.  If you do take the idea, stop back and drop us a comment/email and let us know how it worked out for you.  I've love to hear it was a huge success!

That is just one example of the entire process from start to finish on how you can come up with an idea, identify relevant/profitable keyword phrases to target, size up your competition to see if it is possible to compete and pick a great domain name to go along with your phrase.  All through just one product, Market Samurai.  You have seen that not only does Market Samurai set you up with an excellent chance of success, but if you do the full analysis as we just did, you are also setting yourself up with a much smaller chance of failure from either trying to enter an over-saturated market or targetting keywords that you cannot compete against.  That right there is priceless.

If you have your own idea and have followed along and would now like to register a domain name, sign up for a web host and setup your own site/blog, my next post will provide the specifics on how to do all that.  In addition, I will do a future post on how to utilize Market Samurai to dig deeper into each of your top 10 competitors to find out where their backlinks are originating from.  Once you have some excellent content published, that will provide you a road map on exactly where you can go to start building your own backlinks to duplicate their success. 

In full disclosure, I receive an affiliate commission if you decide to purchase the Market Samurai software, at no additional cost to you.  You will also be eligible for a 35% discount if you sign-up during the first 6 days of your free trial, which is exactly what I did when I purchased the software myself. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Market Samurai - Keyword Research


In yesterday's post, I gave a little background about how important it is to do keyword research up-front, prior to spending a lot of time and effort on a site.  The reason for that is so that you can concentrate your efforts on a particular niche and specific keywords where there is already an audience hungry to devour your content.  If you're interested in the discussion portion, head on over to that post and check it out.

Today's post will provide specific, step-by-step instructions on how to identify a killer keyword phrase with the Keyword Research module of an excellent software package called Market Samurai.  In tomorrow's post, I will continue this example and dig into the Market Samurai SEO Competition module to size up the competition for the keyword phrases we come up with.  

Market Samurai is an essential software package to set yourself up for success online.  It is available for both Mac and PC.  My recommendation would be to download the free 12 day trial and follow along.  The first time through, I'd recommend you type in the same keywords and do exactly as I did in the screenshots below so that you can see the results for yourself up close.  Then, go back and type in your own keywords and do some research on a particular topic which interests you.  Repetition is key. 

Let's get started.  Click this link to get Market Samurai and enter your name and email address.  You will instantly get an email with a link to download the software.  Click the link inside the email and then follow the steps to perform the installation.  Once you have it installed, you're ready to continue on. 

I have a sister that is pregnant and due in just over a month.  For her baby shower my wife and lots of others enjoyed shopping for baby clothes as a gift.  Since that was fresh on my mind, I thought I would use "baby clothes" as the example niche site idea for this post.  I'm sure there are lots of parents, or soon to be parents out there that are interested in finding and sharing information about baby clothes and perhaps want to buy/sell baby clothes and would be interested in setting up a blog or website on the topic.  

If you did not have access to the Market Samurai tool and wanted to setup a serious website/blog about baby clothes, my guess is that you would go to a place like Register.com or Whois.net to search for some different domain names that have something to do with baby clothes.  Then once you found one that was available you'd register the site and work on setting up a site.  While that is all well and good, I'll show you why that is not the best use of your time and effort.  

Open up Market Samurai and click on New Project.  Then type baby clothes in the keyword box and hit the tab key.  That will automatically fill in the title field.  Then click the Create button as shown below. 

After that you will be presented with the screen below.  Click the Keyword Research button. 

On the following screen change the phrase length from 1 to 2 and click on the Generate Keywords button.

At that point the tool will go out and connect to Google AdWords to pull in data.  I'm going to assume you do not have a free Google AdWords account and do not wish to set one up at this time.  It is not required.  If you do have an AdWords account or want to setup a free account at a later time, entering your login/password into the software will allow you to get up to 800 keyword results and you can also avoid the CAPTCHA box shown below.  Since we're not setting up an account now, you will receive up to 200 keywords, which is fine in most instances and will also speed up the results.  Enter the CAPTCHA text that is shown in the box on your screen and click submit. 

You will then be presented with the Keyword Research screen below, showing approx 100 keyword results in alphabetical order such as "adorable baby clothes", "babies clothes", "baby boy clothes", "baby clothes boutique", etc.  The number of results may vary from one day to the next as search data changes constantly, but the results are always current as of when you run your query.  So far it's just a list of keywords.  Click on the Keyword Analysis button as shown.

You are now on the Keyword Analysis portion of the Keyword Research screen.  The original list of approximately 100 keywords from the prior screen are now filtered down to just under 30 by the software based on what they call the 4 Golden Rules.  Those are Relevancy, Traffic, Competition and Commerciality.  Now click on the Analyze Keywords button. 

At that point, you will see a screen similar to the one that follows.  This is our final results screen.  Let's analyze our results below. 

What we see on our last screen above is that of the 100 or so keyword results that we started with, the Market Samurai software has narrowed that down to 8 active, top quality keyword phrases.  They are ranked in terms of greatest SEO Value.  SEO Value (SEOV) is a term utilized by the software to indicate the total daily value of traffic that a site ranked #1 in Google could potentially achieve.  The exact amount is not of great importance.  The important part is the amount relative to the other phrases in the list as well as the value in the SEOC field.  That is the SEO Competition field.  That is the total number of webpages globally that mention the specific keyword phrase in the same word order in Google's index.  Basically, how many other sites you'd be competing with for that keyword phrase.  Ideally you want to pick a keyword phrase that has the highest value in the SEOV column with a relatively small number of competing webpages in the SEOC column.   You also want a decent number in the SEOT column, which is the maximum daily clicks a #1 site can expect to receive.  75 or above is decent, the higher the better.  Let's zoom in on our results below.

You can see our original search term "baby clothes" at the top.  That has a pretty high daily potential value of $48,251.44 that could be generated from a site that ranked #1 on the first page of Google for the term "baby clothes".  Pretty impressive.  However, there is a catch.  Check out the SEOC column.  The number of websites out there competing for that keyword phrase is over 31 MILLION!  As an individual just starting out, your chances of moving up to #1 or anywhere on the 1st, 2nd, or even 10th page of Google search results for the term "baby clothes" are pretty much non-existent.

However, check out the 2nd phrase in the list.  "Clearance baby clothes" has the 2nd highest daily potential value of $223.28 and the lowest overall competition with 13,200 sites competing for that keyword phrase.  If I was interested in creating a site about baby clothes and was ok with targeting the phrase "clearance baby clothes", that is the phrase I would investigate further.  It has the highest potential daily income and the lowest overall competition in the list, setting the broader phrase aside.

If the phrase "clearance baby clothes" wasn't what you envisioned as the keyword target for your new site/blog, fear not!  That was only one particular phrase of any number of potential options.  All you have to do is start over with a new phrase.  I will do that right now in video form with the phrase "vintage baby clothes" instead and you can see for yourself just how quickly you can type in any number of different ideas and get results.

It took only 2 minutes and 12 seconds and the results look pretty good.  It has higher max clicks at 112, but also a higher number of competing sites at 42,300 and lower daily value at $147.64.

For comparison, we'll investigate both "clearance baby clothes" and "vintage baby clothes" in tomorrow's post when we size up our competition with the SEO Competition module. 

That is the exact process I'm going through with my niche site ideas right now.  If you have a broad topic and are trying to come up with keyword phrases to utilize to narrow things down, one good way you might not have thought about is through Amazon.  Go to Amazon and search for books on your broad topic.  Check out some of the top selling books on the subject and click on the 'Look Inside' free preview available on many books and go to the Table of Contents.  There you will find a treasure trove of keyword phrases that you might never have thought of. 

Hopefully those specific examples showed you just how powerful the Market Samurai Keyword Research module really is and how it can save you a lot of time and effort up-front by identifying specific keyword phrases which have the best chance of setting you up for a successful online venture.  If you didn't actually install the software initially, but followed along with the screen shots and video tutorial, hopefully now you see just how cool and valuable a program it really is. 

Remember, today was just about how to identify a killer keyword phrase with the Market Samurai Keyword Research module.  In my next post I will continue this example and show you why it is critically important for you to evaluate your keyword phrases using the Market Samurai SEO Competition module to size up your competition.  That module effectively allows you to run a background check on the top 10 sites that are also targeting your desired keyword phrase to get a visual snapshot of whether you have a chance to compete or need to target a different set of keywords.  Those top 10 sites are important because they are the ones on the first page of Google for your keyword phrase and 95-98% of all search traffic for a particular search phrase goes to those sites.  Very cool stuff and a post you won't want to miss.

In full disclosure, I receive an affiliate commission if you decide to purchase the Market Samurai software, at no additional cost to you. You will also be eligible for a 35% discount if you sign-up during the first 6 days of your free trial, which is exactly what I did when I purchased the software myself.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Success With Market Samurai

I mentioned in a prior post that I will be concentrating this year on setting up some new niche/blog sites.  I'm trying to spend some time on that goal each day to learn something new in order to help me move forward towards that goal.  I have two modes I generally work in.  I sometimes like to jump right in and get started on something I'm excited about.  I also have another side that likes to research things to death before making the leap.  I'm going through that internal fight right now between the two modes.  I already registered two domain names really quickly to get a head start, but now that I'm getting into the keyword research, I'm finding I may have jumped the gun a bit. 

I'm finding out that success is not necessarily achieved by the person with the best product or the person who works the hardest.  In fact, on the site I'm doing research on right now it states that "it takes the same amount of time and effort to build an unsuccessful online business as it does to build a successful business".  That really hit home and that is what caused me to cool my jets a bit and spend more time in the research phase rather than jumping right in.  It would be devastating to have a great idea, spend several weeks or months pouring your blood, sweat and tears into something you're passionate about, only to fall flat on your face because either no one is searching for your keywords or the market is over-saturated with sites on your topic. 

What I'm finding out is that to be successful online, you really need to do the keyword research up front to find out which terms related to your niche or website idea people are searching for and clicking on.  You want to put your effort towards targeting specific keywords where there is already lots of search traffic and high click through rates, but low competition. 

I learned a bunch of that information by going through an "Introduction to Keyword Research" for a software package I use called Market Samurai.  It is an excellent tool that helps you identify the right keywords and allows you to size up your competition before spending the hard work and effort on a site.  I have been spending a lot of time over the last several weeks with Market Samurai and will be sharing the results of my effort with you in a series of posts over the next several days.  We'll run through a real life example from start to finish. 

You can download the Market Samurai free 12 day trial now.   All you need to do is provide a name and email address and you'll immediately receive a link to download the software, which works on both Mac and PC and you'll be up and running in minutes.  In my next post we'll get started right away and I'll show you the true power of the results.  If you're at all interested in blogging, have some potential ideas for a new site or are just interested in learning about making $ online, you'll see first hand how it's really a must-have product. 

In full disclosure, I receive an affiliate commission if you decide to purchase the Market Samurai software, at no additional cost to you.  You will also be eligible for a 35% discount if you sign-up during the first 6 days of your free trial, which is exactly what I did when I purchased the software myself. 

Monday, January 16, 2012

New Alcatraz TV Series

Before I get into the new show Alcatraz, I wanted to give a quick preview of some upcoming posts.  This week I have a series of 4 posts that I spent a ton of work on over the last few weeks on and off and am excited to share those with you.  They will provide information on the process of setting yourself up for success online, step by step instructions on how to utilize a particular software package to do research for new website/blog ideas you might have, how to size up your competition and where to go to register your newly chosen domain and setup your web hosting account with Webhosting Hub.  Those posts will run Tues-Friday this week.  If you have any website/blog ideas yourself, have them handy and you can follow along using your own search terms with a free 12 day trial of the Market Samurai software.  

Today I wanted to highlight a new TV series that starts at 8pm tonight on Fox called Alcatraz.  It's a new show from JJ Abrams, the producer of Lost and it looks to have some similar types of twists and surprises.  Here is a synopsis:

"When Detective Rebecca Madsen is assigned to a grisly homicide case, a fingerprint leads her to a shocking suspect: Jack Sylvane, a former Alcatraz inmate who died decades ago. With her investigation impeded by government agent Emerson Hauser, Madsen teams up with Alcatraz expert and comic book enthusiast Dr. Diego Soto (Hurley from Lost). They both soon discover that Sylvane is not only alive, but he’s loose on the streets of San Francisco, leaving bodies in his wake, and does not appear to age. With the inclusion of Agent Hauser, they realize that Sylvane is only a small part of a much larger, more sinister present-day threat. For while he may be the first, it quickly becomes clear that Sylvane won’t be the last prisoner to reappear from Alcatraz"

I for one and pretty psyched!  So much so, that when I saw some commercials for the show when watching football over the weekend, I registered the site AlcatrazSeries.com after doing some keyword research/analysis, similar to what you'll see in the posts later this week.

The site is a joint adventure with a friend and fellow blogger Tim, who I knew from the college days and reconnected with on Facebook and through blogging.  Saturday night we were talking about possibly doing our own little experiment by either competing against each other to try and get a new site to rank highest on Google for a particular topic of interest or possibly doing a joint venture type thing.  We were both big fans of Lost and current shows like the Walking Dead and American Horror Story, but those already have a huge following.

When I saw all the commercials for Alcatraz this weekend and checked out the details and trailer, I was hooked and immediately got to work.  I found there was a decent amount of traffic already for the Alcatraz series and did some research on the competition and available related domain names and pulled the trigger on AlcatrazSeries.com  I then setup the site on the web host I signed up with over the weekend and sent a message over to Tim with my idea and we're on-board!

The site will be not only be a true site for fans, by fans, but it will be an experiment of our attempts to get a large following and to rank as high as possible in Google.  I'll update you with our progress along the way. 

So be sure to check out the show at 8pm on Fox and stop by AlcatrazSeries.com before/after and be the first to leave some relevant comments about the show to pump up the interest!  It's a work-in-progress and may not be in it's final completed form by show time, but we'll get there.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Consumer Electronic Show (CES) 2012

Just thought I'd steal a few cool posts from Engadget about CES:

How to Apply a Dust-Free Screen Protector Even if You Don’t Have a Clean Room

Lift and restick. Lift and restick. You've been trying to get that screen protector on for over an hour now only to be repeatedly foiled by an errant speck of dust or pernicious air bubble. Bugger that. This new roll-on cover promises to apply it right, the first time.
Called the PureTek Roll-On, this ingenious system's packaging doubles as an installation bed. After wiping down the screen, place the phone in the bed and pull the film from the top of the box to the bottom. The film automatically aligns with the edges of the screen and rolls down the face, preventing the formation of bubbles. The system currently is only available for the iPhone 4/S models, so Android and WP7 users will have to keep protecting their phones manually.
The PureTek Roll-On retails for $20 from the PureTek website. It even includes a free replacement if you somehow manage to screw up the first time.

Ben Heck guts an iCade to build iPhone gamepad, salutes CES in the process (video) 

By posted Jan 11th 2012 at 12:44PM

While the majority of the tech industry prepares to go all in on this week's CES madness, a certain Mr. Ben Heck's been busying himself with an homage to the Vegas event. In the spirit of consumer electronics, he's gone ahead and retrofitted a gamepad enclosure to Apple's iPhone. Using a modified circuit board taken from an iCade, Heck was able to craft a plastic enclosure and buttons, made with a 3D printer, to neatly surround the device and borrowed silicon. Click on past the break to watch Ben walkthrough what he does best, which is to say, not gaming.

Griffin's Helo TC Assault chopper lets you act out your Airwolf fantasies on the cat

It's not just a big stetson that Griffin's rocking up with at CES, it's also packing some brand new gear for the warm climes of Nevada. First up is the wonderfully childish update to last summer's Helo TC Assault RC Helicopter that'll provide you hours of fun (misery for your children / co-workers) thanks to its ability to fire missiles. An infra-red flight deck plugs into your iDevice's headphone jack and will let you control it using its touch interface or using your internal gyroscope. We know it'll cost $60, just ten dollars more for the ability to conduct bombing runs on any animals who stray past your path and there's more information in the press release we've got for you after the break.


Razer's Project Fiona hands-on (video)

Breaking new ground in the nearly nonexistent market of "hardcore gaming tablets" with renders is interesting, but there's nothing quite grasping something tangible. Razer's project Fiona, for example, is something to grasp -- sporting twin joystick handles on either side, it begs to be held. We couldn't help but oblige, and dropped by Razer's CES booth for a few minutes with the bold Windows 8 slab. Razer CEO Min-Liang Tan gave us the skinny -- read on get it yourself.

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