For the past two years, I have been purchasing exact match keyword domains. I hadn’t found one that I felt was a really premium domain and would be worth while to create an authority site. That changed last week when I bought OnlineBlackjack.com.
The deal went very quickly and within 27 hours we had negotiated a price, I sent payment and then I had the domain in my account.
Currently, my focus for Online Blackjack is to get great content. I have a couple articles up and plan to get a lot more content shortly. The website is powered by wordpress and I currently have an ordinary template on the site but I will likely redesign after I have more content on the site.
I had recently developed a free blackjack game for another one of my blackjack sites but now will use it for OnlineBlackjack.com. One cool thing about the game is that it is flash free so therefore it will work on mobile devices (iphone, android, ipad) as well as any browser.
It has been exactly a month since my last post on changing the url from PokerSplendor.com to BestOnlinePokerSites.com.
A day after my last post, both sites disappeared from the index. Best Online Poker Sites then showed up a day later (poker splendor was taken out of the index) but was on the second page for “poker sites” along with most of the other long tail keywords. After a few days the sites position improved but didn’t have the exact same rankings as before but was holding on to the 10 spot on the first page for “poker sites”.
It stayed at the 10 position for a couple weeks until Friday (6/18/2010) which was the first time I think google put the site back into it’s original position at 7.
Overall the traffic hasn’t changed much from before and after the switch. A lot of the long tail keywords followed the same path as the poker sites keyword. I would definitely forward another site if I thought I had a much better domain for a site. It was a bit of a hassle to email linking sites about my url changing but it didn’t take long.
Interesting to note that Bing still shows Poker Splendor while Yahoo has updated it’s index and shows BOPS. To be fair, I used google webmasters to let google know of the site being redirected (along with the htaccess 301) while with bing I didn’t use their webmaster center.
I decided recently that I was going to move Poker Splendor to a new domain. When I created Poker Splendor I wanted to make it a bit more interesting then just another poker portal. I added a couple eye-catching pictures and made a couple sections that were different from the norm including the Las Vegas section.
Though, recently I decided that I liked the site but would rather have a domain that had keywords that I am targeting. So I purchased the domain Best Online Poker Sites and on Monday (5/17) switched the site to it via 301 redirects.
Google has already cached the new site and has 40 pages in the index. It also still has the Poker Splendor cache so I am still getting the same amount of traffic to the site. I have a feeling over the next couple days the Poker Splendor cache will disappear and hopefully my new domain will take it’s place. Though, I have heard that for a bit I may lose some of my serp positions as google makes the switch.
I will make another post in about a month with an update to how the 301 redirect went and if my traffic levels and serp positions changed.
Guest post written by Mike Wittmeyer. A successful online gambling affiliate who has created many successful sites.
This post is going to tackle the act of planning out and launching a new affiliate website. Some affiliates dive in immediately without any thought towards site structure, link-building, or exit strategy. If you use the tips in this post when you launch your site you will make things much easier for yourself down the road.
Although your site may evolve or veer from the original plan down the road, it’s a very good idea to map out a site structure when you start out. This will help you do a few things:
* Plan a well balanced, hierarchical site structure. If you dive in with no plan for hub pages or article organization you might end up with certain directories with only two pages while other directories have 100+ pages. Having a well balanced, hierarchical site structure will help you spread PR more effectively.
* Stimulate ideas for content. When you sit down for an hour or two and do nothing but think of topics for pages on your site, you will be able to get the creative juices flowing and build a massive list of pages.
By the way, when I say, “site structure,” I mean the organization of folders and pages that will go on your website. I usually use a pencil and paper for this, but if your site is going to be really big you may want to use a Word document. Here is a screenshot of how a site structure plan could look:
The site structure above is obviously very basic as it is only one folder deep and there are only 29 pages listed, but you can use the same format to organize 100 page, 200 page, or even 500 page websites. If you plan on doing more than 100 pages I recommend you use Word for your final product, because things will get too cramped on one piece of paper.
Once you have mapped out your basic site structure, your next step should be to make a list of potential link partners or one-way link sources. Nowadays I don’t bother writing these down because I know plenty of poker/casino people I can link with, but if you are operating in a new niche (not gambling) or are new to gambling you might want to take a look around to make sure you will be able to build links successfully.
I recommend looking through your competitors back links to see who’s linking to them. If there are lots of one-way links from off topic sites, you can assume those are purchased links that you can buy as well (if you so choose). Also, if you see a lot of reciprocal back links from top poker sites, that’s good news, as you can assume that you will be able to trade links with those sites as well.
By making a list of potential link sources you will be able to confirm that there is a link building opportunity in the market before you put all the effort into building your site.
This step isn’t as big of a deal as the first two steps because you can figure it out later if you need to, but you should always have an “exit strategy” in mind for your project. This doesn’t mean you should be planning to sell the site or anything like that, but you should have some idea of how you can take yourself out of the day-to-day operations. In the future you will want to launch new sites which will be much easier if you aren’t working four hours a day on the old sites.
I recommend finding someone to write daily or weekly news posts on the site with in content links leading to other sections of the site. This can be set up easily with WordPress and an auto-linking plug-in, so your writer doesn’t even have to think about doing it. That will ensure you have a stream of fresh content without taking any time out of your day.
Hope everyone had a good holiday.
I want to thank Bodog for sending me 3 bottles of wine & CasinoCoins for sending me a Bose portable iPod speaker. 2009 was the first year that I received holiday presents from programs and they will likely get increased exposure because of it. Though in 2008, Aced.com paid for a Las Vegas trip…which was a sick trip and is by far the best thing I have received from an affiliate company.
January is a busy month, it started with celebrating New Years in Tahoe. Then January 15-18th I will be in Las Vegas at an annual MLK trip with friends. On January 25th I will be leaving for Europe and attending the London Affiliate Conference as well as doing some traveling in Europe after the conference. On the flight back from Europe I will be stopping at Washington DC and will spend 3 days there and will be back in Santa Cruz (my home town) on the 7th of Feb.
If you aren’t using dropbox or a similar “cloud” type service then you are missing out. I started using dropbox yesterday and have quickly found the usefulness of the product. It will help me stay organized by automatically syncing all my important website files with my computer, laptop and even iphone and will also be a back-up for files I can’t lose.
One of the things I struggle with as an affiliate is staying organized because I don’t just have a work computer in an office. I have a desktop computer, laptop and iphone that at times become my work computer depending on where I am. This means that I have website files spread across my computers and makes being organized almost impossible along with not having files when I need them constantly being an issue.
This is where Dropbox makes life easier, it is a “cloud” hosting service that allows you to store all of your files in a directory that all your computers have access too. Each computer will store a local copy of your files and if you change or add a file on one of them each of the computers you have using the service will be automatically updated. So if I take my laptop on a trip and work on a website and end up changing some files as well as adding others when I get back my desktop will have all the changes automatically.
Dropbox also allows you to have access to your files when you aren’t on your computer with access on your iPhone. The App was released yesterday and is one of the better apps I have and is free! You can also access your files on a computer that doesn’t have dropbox installed by logging onto the website where your files will also be stored.
Dropbox is also great for backing up important files. I am always paranoid about a hard drive failing so I currently use raid (two hard drives linked that are exact copies of each other) along with an external hard drive that I back up to every now and then (not enough…usually every couple of month). I have been looking for a better solution that is off-site and something I don’t have to think about, with dropbox being automatic and off-site it solves the issues.
Dropbox works with box Mac’s and PC’s which is nice since I use both. So do you need more convincing? Well, dropbox is free for your first 2gb’s. After that they have really reasonable pricing starting at $6.99 for 20gb, $9.99 for 50gb and $19.99 for 100gb.
Dropbox also has other features including being able to share files but I haven’t used it yet but the option is there and no doubt will end up being useful.
I wish this was my product because I can see myself not being able to function properly without it and I have told a couple other people about the service and it basically sells itself once people realize what it does.
Oh also if that’s not enough, they have a viral referral program that allows people to give out their referral link: Dropbox Sign-up and every person you refer gets an extra 250mb of storage along with the person that sent them.
There will always be a lot of discussion by affiliates about the percentage of traffic that they convert. I have found real money player conversions (from your site to real money players) has a lot to do with keywords. There are definitely other site factors including calls to action, programs you are promoting, banners used…etc. But in the end, I think if you have the best keywords (online poker, online casino) you will convert more traffic than the most optimized free casino/poker site.
I think most people realize that “free” is a really low converting keyword but there is a lot of traffic for it. So how bad can it really be?
I created a site to target a “free” (casino/poker) site and here are the stats so far:
Unique Downloads: 35
New Depositors: 0
Yep, no conversions…This doesn’t mean that later down the road there won’t be any real money conversions as this is a small sample size of time and players. Though, I can definitely say that “free” keywords aren’t a get rich quick type of keyword. Also, the program that I was sending the traffic through has done really well in the past with converting players so I don’t think it’s the program…Although, I may try sending the traffic to another program to see if I will get better results.
Many affiliates spend all of their time trying to drive traffic to their site and tend to disregard converting their players. It is one thing to get them to your site but if you can’t convert them the traffic is worthless.
I have a hard time with this and have been working on ways to improve conversions and increase my earnings. I am going to write a series of posts about the changes I have done and the reasons behind them.
Disclaimer: The conclusions I have come up with are due to a small sample size of traffic and may not work for you. The best thing to do is constantly try new techniques to convert your traffic.
When I designed Best Online Poker Sites I thought a 250×250 banner in a premium spot would drive a fair amount of my homepage traffic. So, I put a rotating banner script which displayed a 250×250 banner of one of the three best poker rooms from a list I had to the right of the banner. I figured people would likely click it after seeing that it was one of the top poker rooms.
This ended up not being the case and when I added tracking to the area I was surprised to find out people rarely clicked the ad and it was basically a waste of premium space.
The click through ratio was barely over 1% when I combined all of the banners stats. In total out of 2,590 I had 27 clicks which meant my CTR was 1.04%.
Banners can be great in the right places but I think at times people disregard them because they have been conditioned to ignore them (even if it is what they are looking for).
A banner on a homepage with lots of information is going to perform badly as people will look for additional information that isn’t a flashing box claiming a huge bonus to a site they have may never heard of.
I found through looking at my stats that most of my traffic was clicking on the best US poker sites list. So, in my mind, it was a no brainier to expand the best us poker site list and eliminate the banner.
This has definitely helped me drive traffic directly to the poker rooms without having them go to other non-converting parts of my site. Looking at my stats (non-scientifically) I would have to estimate that about 10-15% more of my traffic now goes to the best US poker sites then before with the banner. My earnings for the rooms also increased after the change.
Update (8/5/09): Since the poker sites have stopped running tournaments for the 2009 WSOP the widgets are now blank. I will do this again for the 2010 WSOP Main Event satellite seats.
The biggest promotion that all poker affiliates are pushing (or should be) is the 2009 WSOP Satellites. It is a great way to attract new or even established poker players as many know the stories of Moneymaker and all the past Main Event winners who became millionaires over night.
I have created a couple widgets and banners for seats given away for the 2009 WSOP Satellite Main Event at both Poker Stars and Full Tilt Poker.
I am allowing affiliates to use them for a link back on that page or another high quality page on the site (excluding link pages or pages with minimal content).
They are updated every 15 minutes and can easily be inserted into any website since they are iframes.
If you would like to use them send me an email: kdollar (at) gmail.com. I will then email you a text file with all the iframe codes for the graphs and the banners as well as linking options.
I went to the San Francisco Giants Opening Night and haven’t gotten around to posting pictures from the game. There was a ceremony before the game for Tim Lincecum who was given his 2008 CY Young Award.
I was able to get tickets in the Lexus Dugout which are seats behind homeplate. It was awesome sitting so close and being able to see the curve and breaking ball in action. Randy Johnson pitched well in the game but ended up losing giving up a homerun to the opposing pitcher.
In front of the Lexus Dugout Sign
Took a picture before the start of the game with my girlfriend Tess.
This is after the game and the stadium was clearing out and we had a chance to take a picture. There were fireworks after which we stayed around to see.