We had a chat with Frank Paul, Internet Entrepreneur and SEO Expert ….
Could you provide a bit of information about yourself and smingle.co.uk? E.g. Your background in the industry, why the site was created, how long the site has been running, who uses your website…
Smingle.co.uk was started off as a small time SEO business a few years ago and gradually grew by word of mouth and people approaching me to do SEO work for them, as they had traced back some top search engine results to work done by myself. It has always been a “behind the scenes” business as I have never once advertised my services anywhere.
I have always been an entrepreneur from a young age, and I decided in recent years to put these skills into online marketing, and therefore becoming a fulltime internet entrepreneur. I am involved in a number of big projects including www.underwear.co.uk and also a brand new venture www.promote.co.uk which is a brand new website model which is being closely guarded at present, but will provide individuals and businesses a 100% free and unique resource to promote their businesses / websites in more ways than one!
Also recently I launched my personal blog www.fwitter.co.uk which I will be using as a place for me to write down my own thoughts and show people how you can make money with their websites by “thinking out of the box”.
Which platforms have you had the best results from e.g. affiliate networks, in-house programs (e.g. Amazon), Google AdSense etc and what have you found to be the benefits and drawbacks of each?
My affiliate network of choice would have to be www.affiliatewindow.com due to their ease of use for newbies and veterans alike, and also the number of well known companies that they manage the affiliate programs for. The Amazon and Ebay in-house affiliate programs are very good and are pretty good for having anything and everything to promote.
Google Adsense has benefits and also drawbacks. The benefits being, if a visitor clicks on one of the adverts which are on your website, then you will receive money just for the click (which is more often than not very minimal) The drawback is you are sending people away from your website to another website, and in effect you are “selling” that customer to another website, with minimal benefit to yourself.
Which areas on the page have you found to be most effective when placing adverts and what is your approach to balancing the amount of advertising to content?
I find using text link advertising converts much higher than using flash banners, as in my experience of split testing, most visitors suffer from “banner blindness” as they see banners on almost every website they come across, so therefore they tend to subliminally block them out. Another benefit of this, is that the links can be added to the text so therefore it blends in much easier than banners. Another great recent addition to banners and text links, is the easy content units (www.easycontentunits.com) which offer enable you to add deeplinks to any one of more than 9 million products, automatically embedded with your affiliate link, with just a few clicks of the mouse. It’s a great timesaver, and the easiest way of finding out who sells what.
What are the common mistakes sites make when placing advertising on their site?
A few common mistakes people make when placing advertising on their sites include not checking the affiliate links are working properly and not using targeted advertising to the demographic of users who will be visiting their sites.
There are also other ways to secondary monetise your website in other ways (which many people do not think to do). For example, a website about children’s bikes, showing advertising for Over 50’s holidays would not appeal at all, but the same site showing advertising for holidays with free Childs places will get a higher click through rate and conversions as it already has a captive audience.
When should a site be looking for either CPM, CPC or CPA payment models? Which do you traditionally use and why?
Out of those 3, I only use CPA. I also use CPL (cost per lead) payment models as the other 2 are very outdated and not many companies offering these payment models. CPA means the company will pay you a certain payment percentage based on what people buy from them and CPL means the company can pay you a fixed fee for obtaining an individuals information such as someone requesting a secured loan or debt consolidation information. My preference is CPL as it is easier to obtain someone’s information as opposed to getting the same individual to spend some money.
Email marketing is another method of generating revenue, what tips would you give to capturing and using visitor contact information?
I think email marketing has its place if used correctly. To encourage people to sign up, try and incentivise users by offering “call to action” statements such as “Sign up to our free newsletter now to receive all the latest offers before anyone else” or “enter your email here to stay informed of the latest news”. If this data is double opt in, then you can also use the same email list you have, to promote your other websites and gain traffic to your other sites for free.
Using Twitter to send out affiliate links is becoming more common. Do you think sites should be explicit when a link, be it a tweet, an integrated affiliate link or an article, is motivated by generating clicks/ revenue?
No I don’t think sites need to be explicit in this. I made a Facebook status update on the day of the Grand National, saying “Free £25 bet here for today’s Grand National – www.site.co.uk” Needless to say that this made me a good few £££ with no effort at all, as I redirected visitors who clicked on my status update to my website which explained the offer and how it benefited them. I won as I had my CPA from the merchant, the customer won as they obtained a £25 free bet within the terms and conditions and the merchant won, as they had gained a new customer. I did not explicitly tell people I would be making a financial gain from this as I don’t feel there is any reason to do this.
What opportunities do social media websites offer site owners to make money?
I think social media offers websites lots of different ways to make money, as already have mentioned, I have created Facebook status updates to promote certain offers which I think are appealing to people. The other great thing about Facebook is you can create groups for like-minded people to join. This then also gives you a free resource of people who are interested in the group subject. Let’s say you have a magic website promoting magic tricks, then you can create a group for people who are interested in magic, and cross promote your website to this audience of people who are already interested in magic tricks.
Another great opportunity with social media is obviously blogging. It is very easy to blog about something you enjoy doing and you can turn this “hobby” into a money making venture online. Blogging gathers a readership of people who are like minded and share the same interests as yourself, so you already have an interested audience to promote your website to, straight away.
You are very active on
www.affiliates4u.com is THE best resource currently on the internet for likeminded people to discuss website monetisation and everything in relation to making money from affiliate marketing and it is defiantly somewhere I would recommend people visit.
Another great place for more advice is www.affiliatedoctors.com where a number of professional internet marketers offer their time and advice for 100% free to answer any questions that people may have, on a broad range of subjects from SEO to monetising their website to make the maximum amount of money.
I would also like to add some crucial key points when creating your website.
1. Make sure you choose a good domain name which is descriptive of your website / products
2. Make sure you choose reliable hosting as this is the foundation on which your website is created
3. Try to learn basic SEO whilst creating your website (free article here https://www.smingle.co.uk/freeseoguide) as this will give you a head start from gaining traffic from search engines for free
4. Try and make your website informative and not just concentrate on sales. If your site is seen as informative and useful, it will gain sales and back links naturally.