Richandzhaoyans Business Update

Location: Stroud, Glos, United Kingdom

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A few more Amazon affilitate sites

Ok, not a lot to report. I have been working on the amazon affiliate script and have now managed to rework it into a state that I can quickly and easily create a new amazon affiliate site. I have kind of reverse engineered it from a nice css layout to a rather clunky table layout, which would probably have the original creator screaming but which I can work with easier. Its the osCommerce background I am afraid.... ;) I have added a news feed to the site, based on keywords and adsense to the product pages.

The new sites are, and A little info on the three sites:-

Cookware and Saucepans - We sell a pretty good amount of cookware on our uk oscommerce site. The nice thing about it is that if you can sell a cookware set it is a reasonably high value sale which should lead to a reasonable bit of commission and it is a fairly good all year round seller - although sales do drop off a bit in the summer.

Burners and Stoves - A bit of a pot shot this one. We have only just added a large range of fireside accessories to our osC site so I cant really comment on how they might sell online. We have sold a fair few companion sets and the odd fire grate before from wholesaler listings but I reckon we should do ok now we have a major supplier listed on the our site. Its obviously a seasonal sale but again it is reasonable value goods so would lead to good commission if any sales are made.

Motorcycle Parts - Easy one this... I just like motorcycles! So why not try out selling motorcycle parts through amazon.

Thats it for now. No earnings of any consequence to report as yet but then its only been a few weeks and still waiting for the search engines to give me any chance. Whether or not this will happen in the future only time will tell ;)

I think I may try and start a couple of uk amazon affiliate sites now. Could link between the uk and us sites then which may help the search engines. Might have to go with a few stores on subdomains as well for the time being - cheaper option till I can see any sign of returns. ;)

Friday, October 17, 2008

Fancy Dress Costumes!

So... nearly another month gone buy.... Guess I am never going to be a regular blogger - lol

Believe it or not, I have been slaving away nearly every night on the reincarnation of my affiliate dream Not a great deal to show for it on the surface. In fact just the one site, uploaded tonight.

Unfortunately its going to be too late for halloween this year but the site is another amazon associate site and its the place to buy fancy dress costumes online.

Given that I launched the pests and insects site last month, why has it taken me this long to launch another, almost similar shopping site???

Well the technical answer is that I couldnt be doing with the css layout of the template store, so I have modded it to a more tabulated layout.... maybe not very purist, but it will make it easier for me to add to/modify in the future. I also added a php rss feed - not a huge task you would have thought.... I certainly didnt think so, but on a limited time/day scale it kind of escalated. :;

There are plenty of javascript news feed options available and sites that will provide you with a piece of script that will link through to there news feed, with there link attached of course..... I wanted a simple news parser that would let me submit keywords and then show as html on my site. The answer was magpie and yahoo..... It seems to work well on the site but how the search engines will view it remains to be seen. Anyhow, it was easy enough to setup bar the usual unforseen problems.... In this case, if a news description conatainesd a long url it screwed up my tables, leading me to suddenly need to learn about how to wrap text within a table.... another few hours wasted.

To be honest, I think my downfall in the whole affiliate marketing method of earning money is down going to be down the fact that I prefer to be tinkering with the code rather than churning out the sites.... For sure, one site a month means that if we work on the old adage of $1/day/site means that I will need 100 sites to give any decent income, at the current rate, its gonna take me at least 100 months (8 years?) to get to that level.... lol

Ahh well, it is just a hobby after all....

I got a few things to sort out now on the current sites and I will post about earnings, but not till they reach a slightly more respecatble/break even level... :;

In the mean time, for all your halloween costumes please give a look - thanks

Friday, September 26, 2008

Pest and Insect Control

Well the time is ticking by and only one more website uploaded....

This time another form of amazon affiliate site. I found a rather out of date but pretty handy script that makes it very easy to set up an amazon store front. As it comes, all that is needed is to throw up an image logo, set the store name and then choose which amazon browse nodes are needed for your site.

The first attempt I have chosen is pest control..... not sure why? Insect repellants and mouse/rap traps are something we sell fairly well from our online shop in the uk so I figured I would see if I could get any sales through the US with amazon.

Of course I will also put some adsense ads on the site at some stage although I figure I may as well wait till any traffic arrives first.

The first 2 sites are now listed in google but no traffic as yet. I dont hold out much hope for as there must be a fair few totally identical sites up and running but I am interested in how it works. The main problem I see with the deal is that it is not configurable enough to give it any uniquness.

With regards to the pest control website, it is still very much rough and ready. There is a glitch with the layout when viewed in Firefox probably due to the age of the code and there are very few frills. Obvious things to add would be any kind of pest related articles or rss news feeds. Still, as with the other sites, I wanted a basic working version up and running as quick as possible to start the search bots crawling.

If I ever get any spare time, I think a few additions to this php affiliate script would really make it useful. It needs changing to make it quicker to create a new store and also the seo needs improving. Time and intellligence permitting I will see what I can do. Anyhow at present, I have left the link in at the bottom of site through to the "accessories me" page where the script can be downloaded.

All for now....

Labels: ,

Monday, September 15, 2008

Back to the World of Marketing

So, after what has evidently been a 2 year break from the world of internet marketing, I have decided to try my hand at it once again. Why, after the rather poor half hearted attempt of 2 years ago? Good question. No real answer other than the fact that I have decided to try and take a slightly different approach.

The last try was really an attempt at generating a whole bundle of small but very niche sites in the hope of making a few bucks a day out of adsense. Although I did make a few dollars with adsense, I never managed to generate the volume of sites required to increase the income to any worthwhile level.

So what with the different approach this time? Well, I figured that the way I work my 2 osCommerce sites, which actually provide me with my day job and a decent income is that I work with large product bases. Both sites have in the region of 8-10,000 products listed. This leads to enough sales to keep the business busy.

So, I am going to try affiliate marketing and rather than knocking out a whole bunch of niche sites to sell off, I am going to try and setup a handful of much larger sites.

As ever, fitting in any work on these sites will be tricky, the business and family have got to come first, so it will be the odd hour here and there late at night..... still, the first 2 projects are up and running. is the first. This is an amazon site - basically listing amazons full product range. I cheated with this site as it is simply a sign up and pay monthly job. This obviously meant it was up and running quickly but unless I put a lot of work into changing the template, etc I would be very surprised if it ever gets to list in the search engines well. I am hoping to learn a bit from the site though in the hope that I can create my own, more unique version at a later stage.

The second site, uploaded tonight is marketing ebooks online. This is to be the start of an attempt to sell something with clickbank. Again, rather than pick out 1 or 2 CB products I figured it may be worth my while going through a whole portion of the CB feed and generating user friendly product names and descriptions for all the ebooks, software and services listed there. I know that this has been done before on many websites and I know that there are ready made CB sites available to buy online but the advantage of doing it yourself is that you should have slightly more unique content.

Of course both these sites will need marketing to really work and that is something I struggle with. I will probably try a few things but will mainly rely on the fact that they are large sites so hopefully a page or two will feature in some search engine.

The next and on going job will be to continue to populate the database with as many marketing resources as possible. This could take some time...... ;)


Saturday, September 06, 2008

Has It Been That Long?

Ok, so this blog kind of died! Time for a resurrection I think.

Cant believe how long its been. Why no posting? Well, nothing out of the ordinary, lack of time, too much real life commitments, etc, etc.

Any thoughts of making money online were lost long ago. The few adsense sites I set up have all now passed on, with the domains expiring.

But I have been doing a little bit of reading recently and am thinking I may take a look into affiliate marketing. Several reasons why I would like to try, which I will go into a little later.

Just for now, a blatant plug for a new shopping portal.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

The Disneyland Paris Holiday

Yes, this blog is just like waiting for a bus.. you hang around waiting for a post and all of a sudden, three turn up at once. Tonight, I am on a hat-trick and although I have drunk a certain amount of wine, I am not going to start a Peter Crouch robotic celebration - I will wait till England bring home the World Cup! (Apologies to any overseas readers or non-football watchers - tune into the the world cup and you may understand what I am referring to!)

I have promised a report on my holidays and despite it being rather late at night/early in the morning, here it is.

So, a week in France - 5 nights at Disneyland Paris and a couple of nights up towards the north coast.

There is no doubt that despite Garys comments before I left, I was a little concerned about my trip to France. The last time I visited Paris was on a school exchange when I was about 10 years old and unfortuately I hated it then - mainly as we were forced to stay on our own with french families we had never met. Pretty tough at that age.

Well, I am happy to report, my worries were totally unjust - we had a great time.

The holiday involved five nights in the Disney hotel (Hotel Cheyenne - the cowboy theme), with three days spent in the Disney parks and two days spent in Paris. Then two nights, one full day, spent up near the north coast. It wasnt the most relaxing of holidays as we were up before 7 every morning for breakfast and didnt get to sleep until midnight - but we certainly packed a lot into a week.

So, Disney - how bl**dy good is it? Well, if you havent been then just get on with it. It is the best! Having been to Florida twice in the past, I was a little worried that the French version wouldnt quite be as good. To be honest, it was just as good and in some ways, even better. What do I love about Disney - its fantasy land - while you are there, nothing else matters. It is not reliving your childhood, its reliving the childhood that you wish you had.

Taking the son was just great - he is 2 1/2 years old - for the month before we went, all he could talk about was "I cant wait to see Mickey Mouse". When we got there and he got to see Micky Mouse - well, it brought a tear to my eye!!! Now we are home its just "I cant wait to see Mickey Mouse again"!

From a previously more cynacle point of view, the wife - who is Chinese - didnt know a lot about the magic of Disney and Mickey Mouse before we went and was just looking forward to going to Paris, thinking Disney was just for kids. After the first day in the park and seeing the son with Mickey and watching the Disney parade, she was converted - it was on her insistence that we had to give up a day in Paris to go back and watch the parade again and we had to swap a day in Paris so that we could spend the Sunday in the park because it was open until 10pm..... We left at about 9.55pm! A couple of things that hooked her were the "happy music".... Wherever you go in Disney there is music and its can only be described as happy music - all around the grounds, in the restaurants, during the parade, on the rides, queueing for the rides, in the toilets even - you cannot escape the happy music! The other factor was the total attention to detail - the design and cleanliness of the park is just out of this world.

Ok, so I am going on a little about Disney - Last comment - if you have never been, just go. If you are of the opinion its just for kids - its not, just go. If you think its going to be cheesy and commercialised - (well, it is commercialised) but still, just go. If you havent got any kids to take, borrow some - if you need to, you can borrow ours - I know he would be happy to go again and again and again.

Enough! How about the rest of the French holiday. Well, in 2 days in Paris we did everything - the Eifell Tower, the Arc De Triomphe, the LOuvre - including the Mona Lisa and Venus D Milo (excuse the spelling), the Champs Elysee, the Sacre Couer, the Seinne, the Notre Damme, the Pompidou Centre and a quick walk up through the red light district...... Had to see the outside of the Moulin Rouge!

After this, we needed the couple of nights in a quieter village and we spent the one rainy day of the holiday driving around the First World War cemetries/monuments - total contrast to Disney, but aside from the thoughts of the horrors that occured in the region, the country side was beautiful and it was still pretty astonishing to see how rural the north of France was compared to the UK - we really are overpopulated in the UK and thepace of life in the French countryside was just so relaxed - I am now understanding why the English are moving over there in droves.

So, a fantastic week really - and all topped of by importing some fantastically cheap contraband - cigarettes at £3 a pack and the wine...... Well, I filled the boot of the car up with 5 Ltr cases of wine that worked out at around 70p/litre. Compare this with the cheapest available at Tescos around £3/litre!!! Oh, and one more thing - talking of Tescos - have you been to a Carrefour - makes Tescos look like a corner shop :)

Alright, its getting pretty late and now I am back at work and trying to pay for the holiday (and tonights intake of soper cheap Vino Calapso is starting to catch up with me - excuse the typos). The final thing I want to mention was the French people - There is no doubt about it, before going I had my reservations about the French, in particular about conversing as my level of bad o-level french was really rusty - and I had heard alot of stories about the French pretending not to speak English just to be awkward - well this simply was not the case - There was not one person we met who coould have been more helpful - As Gary said before I went - great people, great country - I highly recommend a visit.


Monday, June 05, 2006

An e-directory update...

About a month ago, I got my main shopping website listed with e-directory. I know there were a couple of comments at the time asking for updates as to how it was going.

Well, its all in place and bar a few teething problems, there are orders coming in.

The teething problems are mainly concerning keeping their product list up to date with mine - this is going to be sorted in the next couple of days, as soon as I get around to producing a daily feed that they can access to keep their product list in line with mine. Not being up to date has caused a few problems with customers expecting goods overnight when we have either had to get the items sent direct from suppliers or wait on new stock coming in.

We are getting regular orders, which have added up to about 4% of our sales this last month. Not exactly earth shattering and considering the agro involved - really not worth the effort. Still, its very early and given the fact its the quietest time of the year for us, I really want to withold judgment. Will there be any profit involved over a 12 month period? Well, yes definately for them! For me..... I think so but the factor that needs weighing up is how much extra work will be involved. If I can iron out the problems and get it running smoothly then I have the staff in place to do the packing and other than paying their wages and paying the commission to e-directory, there could be a little left over at the end of the year.

One thing I could do with is some new software for processing the orders. As it stands, we are using their order interface but this is pretty slow and time consuming. They do have a direct link to download all new orders in txt or html format, ready to be integrated into order processing software but at present I am not using any!! I find that with the contributions I have in place, osCommerce is more than capable of handling large order quantities taken through our website so I dont use any other software. However, although I could probably import the e-directory orders into the osC database, I would prefer to keep them seperate. Any suggestions as to a very basic order processing software package?

The Google Update

Ok, I know, I know...... Too long between posts. What can I say, business and family life just gets right in the way and the first thing that gets put on the back burner is the blog.

Anyhow, firstly my google worries. I did email google about my huge decrease in indexed pages for my main shopping website and I received a reply back a few days ago:-

Thank you for your reply. Please be assured that your site is notcurrently
banned or penalized by Google. We understand your concern;however, these changes
are consistent with the normal fluctuationsoutlined in our previous email. As we
add new pages and incorporateupdates to existing pages, you may see changes in
the ranking andinclusion of sites in our index. Because our index changes
regularly, it'spossible your site will regain its ranking. In the meantime, we
hope thatyou will review the helpful tips posted on our site.We're sorry we
can't be of further assistance in this matter.

Well, I am not sure whether to be re-assured or not..... As things stand, I now only have just over 300 pages indexed compared with a previous all time high of about 100,000. As someone mentioned on a forum I frequent, 100,000 was a little excessive for a 5000 product website - however, 300 is also a little on the low side and having checked a couple of competitors, they are still showing about 50,000 pages indexed. Although, I am guessing that one of them has about 10,000+ products online.

I think the best plan of action is still to sit things out but I have made one major change - aside from a couple of changes suggested in the previous thread (thanks all). The major change was actually a remarkably simple one to install. It was of course an osC contribution. It creates a "have you also tried searching for" line of code on each product page with links to the search results for all keywords in the product name. ie, on the thomas the tank engine - engine shed page, you will have links to search results for thomas, and, the, tank, engine, shed. This could of course create a huge number of dynamic results. Spiderable. The osC contribution can be found here and its a work of genius really, so simple to install - even I could do it in seconds.

Of course, whether or not this will make any difference in my google pages indexed - who knows..... The way google is dumping me at present, it may take a look at the large increase in pages and just dump me a little further. What I am hoping is that all the newly generated search result pages will create more links to the product info pages and therefore make them appear more important than the new pages - maybe pushing them up the ladder back into the google index.

I guess only time will tell....

The one positive to come out of google actions is that they do seem to be pushing me well up the rankings for the pages that are still indexed - so I guess, what I should be doing is really optimizing the category pages. Visitors and sales certainly havent dropped at present as I am featuring well for the higher traffic keywords. ie, taking the Thomas the tank engine example, for the phrase Thomas the tank engine I am featuring better than before and as this is well searched for, am getting more visitors. The thomas the tank engine - engine shed listing however would have vanished.

Its kind of swings and roundabouts, six of one, half a dozen of the other - Of course, what I really want is the best of both worlds - despite what I have read elsewhere, the search engines are not dead - and, bar a few quid spent on adwords bring in just about all my sales!!!

Finally on this post, as a complete aside, google has also pretty much dumped my blog. A mere 19 pages indexed - of course, this could well be due to the lack of updates, but again, its kind of annoying when it previously had over 50 pages listed - it really seems to me that despite google loving blogs, it doesnt go a bundle on blogger blogs - seems to prefer wordpress afaics!!??! I guess when I get chance, a move like Garys may be in order - but again, work and the family will probably prevent this from happening in the near future.