Webmasterspot - Website creation and management
Exploring Web development and everything that goes together with trying to run a website!

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Show me the money

Many a twinkle eyed webmaster-wannebe has fallen for the illusion that websites
are an easy and fast way to make money. Unfortunately they soon come to realize, that there is nothing fast about earning some money online. It takes hard work, hours of planning, coding and promotion to get your site up and running. Only after you have put in the elbow grease will you start reaping the rewards.

There are lots of webmasters earning a good income from the sites they run. Most of them will agree that it's not easy, but that it is well worth the effort in the long run. Once you have a succesful website up and running the revenue will keep coming in.

So what's their secret? The fact is that there is no single secret to success. What will work for one website won't be ideal for another site. However there are a few basic rules you can follow to ensure that your entry into the webmaster arena will be profitable:

Quality before quantity
A pitfall for most new webmasters is the perception that if you have lots of sites you'll earn lots of cash. This gives rise to thousands of sites being created daily. These sites contain no real content and is most often targeted at high paying keywords. As soon as a visitor lands on the site, they see that it doesn't offer anything they are interested in and click on ads to "escape" from the site.

The end result is that it becomes extremely difficult for people to seperate the spam sites from sites that actually offer some useful information. You end up with a frustrated visitor who will never return to your site.

In the short term you might be making a few dollars with this approach, but in
the long run you will find that it is not worth the effort. To keep your revenue flowing in you will have to keep creating sites on a daily basis.

Most search engines and advertising networks are penalazing these kinds of sites. If you are making use of this method you run the risk of being banned from both your advertising network and most search engines.

Content is king
This might be a cliche, but it is the most important part of a website. In order to attract visitors your site needs to provide good quality content.

A big mistake webmasters make is to create sites to monopolize on high paying keywords. Unless you are knowledgeable about the topic, you will find it extremely difficult to create content for your site. Visitors will realize that you aren't able to provide them with what they are looking for and go searching for alternatives.

Create a website based on topics you are knowledgeable about. This way you will find it much easier to create content, and you will enjoy working on your sites.

Add Advertising last
Don't slap some content around ads and hope you'll earn money. You should create your website with visitors in mind. Your layout, color scheme and advertising should make it easy for visitors to navigate your site. Don't design your site around your ad placement.

Once you have finished your site, and added the content you can decide where to place the ads. This way you will have a better idea of how the advertising will integrate into your site, allowing you to place adverts at focal points, without degrading the user experience.

Choose your advertising carefully
You should take care when choosing an advertising network for generating revenue from your site. There are various options available. Finding the right advertising model and network for your site will take experimentation and time.

A good starting point will be Google's Adsense. It's one of the easiest ad networks to get accepted into and is ideal for content rich sites. They mainly offer CPC advertising so if you have a site consisting mostly of text based content and a niche topic, you should see some good earnings.

For sites without alot of text based content, but with a large number of pageviews CPM banner advertising will be the best option. You'll earn revenue for each time someone views your site. Casale Media and FastClick are good networks to look into.

When choosing which network to use, you should always put your visitor first. Don't display annoying or flashing ads. Ads that are similar to your site topic should perform well.

Creating a good quality site that is primarily visitor orientated will keep your visitors coming back for more. Word of mouth is an extremely effective promotion tool. Instead of earning a few bucks, you will now have the groundwork set for a sustainable income for years to come. In the end your hard work will be rewarded, all it takes is a bit of effort, patience, and good content!

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Hosting and domain registration

Domain registration and choosing a host for your website can seem daunting for the beginner webmaster. Actuallly it's quite easy, and once you have been through the process once, you'll find it much easier in the future.

Choosing a website host

It's often best to choose your website host before you register your domain name. During the domain registration process you'll need the nameserver information from your hosting company and having that ready can speed up the process of getting your domain up and running.

What is a host? Basically a host is a computer (server) that contains all your website pages and images and makes them viewable to the public. There are various kinds of hosting accounts, servers and platforms to choose from. Your website requirements will dictate which hosting package you should choose.

Shared hosting or dedicated server?
Shared hosting means that multiple websites are hosted on the same server. The server is not reserved solely for your website. Packages like these are much cheaper than a dedicated server, but if you have a very active site you might experience slow loading times. For most people a shared hosting package will be more than enough and you might never need to upgrade to a dedicated server.

A dedicated server means that only your site is hosted on the server. All the resources available on the server is available to your site alone, this means that you can run processing intensive scripts and processes without worrying about slowing down your site. Dedicated hosting is the best option for very active sites with hundreds of thousand visitors a day. The drawback of course is that dedicated hosting is extremely expensive.

It would be best to start out with a shared hosting account and then, as your site grows, upgrade to a dedicated server if needed.

What to look for?
When choosing a hosting package you need to take various things into consideration. Below you will find some of the more important aspects:

Bandwidth: Bandwidth refers to the amount of data your site is allowed to send and receive and is shown in GB per month e.g. an account that offers 6GB of traffic will allow you to download/upload 6GB of data a month. Each time a person visits your site and downloads a page from your site or you upload new pages, a bit of your bandwidth is used up.

Most hosting accounts provide you with a certain amount of bandwidth per month and then charges you an extra fee for any bandwidth usage over that amount. The price charged for each extra GB uses is often very hign and it could end up being very expensive. It's best to choose a hosting package with more bandwidth than you think you will actually need. For a relatively popular site with a few images and largely text based content a bandwidth allowance of around 20GB - 30GB should be enough.

Beware of companies offering unlimited bandwidth. There is often a catch somewhere, and in the end you get what you pay for.

Storage space: This is the amount of storage space you can use on the server to store all your website pages, images and other data. Depending on the package this could be a few hundred MB or GB of data. Once again it' s best to choose a package that provides you with more storage space than you actually think you will need. That way you provide room for further growth.

Databases, PHP and other scripts
If you are planning to use a CMS or program a database-driven site you will have to make sure that your host has the necesarry software and database support. Most CMS require MySQL and PHP to be able to run. Check the documentation listing the requirements and compare that to what the host is offering.

Most hosting companies advetise an uptime of 99.9%. It would be best if you investigate their claims further. Do they have adequate protection against hackers, fires, and power failures? If the server is down, your site is unavailable to the world and that can mean that you are losing out on possible revenue or sales.

This is one of the most important aspects for new webmasters and sadly it is often overlooked in the process of finding the cheapest option. Support from your hosting company is extremly important. If you experience any problems it's vital that you can contact them and receive a quick and timely reply. It's no use havign a hosting company that takes a week to help you sort out a problem.

Now that you know what to look for you can do some searches for hosting companies on the Internet. Good hosting packages can start from around $6.00 per month for shared hosting and $100 for dedicated hosting. The cheapest choice is however not always the best choice. Remember that in the end, you'll get what you are paying for.

Domain registration
Domain registration has become much easier and more affordable. There are lots of companies that will handle all the tedium for you.

When choosing a domain, be sure to make it easy for people to remember. Keep it short and sweet. You might be tempted to cram the domain name with as many keywords as possible, but that will only make it harder for people to remember your site URL.

To register your domain, you will need to know the nameserver information of your host. It normally takes the form of NS1.Yourhost.com. During the registration process enter the nameserver information when prompted and your new domain should be up and running in around 24 hours once the DNS information has been propegated.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Google AdSense Reviewed

AdSense from Google is the best known, and arguably the most widely used contextual advertising network. Adsense initially offered only CPC (cost per click) advertising where the publisher gets paid for each click on the ads displayed on their websites. Recently they have also introduced CPM (cost per thousand impressions) campaigns where you get paid for each view (impression) of an ad. This is enabled when an Adwords advertiser identifies your site as a site on which they want to run a CPM campaign. At this stage, unless your site is very well known, you won’t come across this too often.

The ads are contextual which means that they are relevant to the content of your pages. This makes it more likely for your visitors to click on ads because they are already interested in the products or services advertised. On occasion some ‘off topic’ ads might be displayed, but this is far and few between and if your page is properly optimised you shouldn’t have any problems.

Adsense is one of the easiest advertising networks to get accepted to. Their main requirement is that you have a quality website. So sites with low traffic can very easily join without any problems. Once you have been accepted to the network you can place Adsense ads on all your sites, provided that they adhere to the Terms of service and don’t contain any of the following:

  • Excessive profanity
  • Violence, racial intolerance, or advocate against any individual, group, or organization
  • Hacking/cracking content
  • Illicit drugs and drug paraphernalia
  • Pornography, adult, or mature content
  • Gambling or casino-related content
  • Excessive advertising
  • Any other content that promotes illegal activity or infringes on the legal rights of others
  • Pop-ups, pop-unders or exit windows that interfere with site navigation, obscure Google ads, change user preferences, or are for downloads. Other types of pop-ups, pop-unders, or exit windows may be allowed, provided that they do not exceed a combined total of 5 per user session
  • Excessive, repetitive, or irrelevant keywords in the content or code of web pages
  • Deceptive or manipulative content or construction to improve your site's search engine ranking, e.g., your site's PageRank
  • Incentives (monetary or point-based) to users or third-party beneficiaries for online activity including, but not limited to, clicking on ads or links, performing searches, surfing websites, reading emails, or completing surveys

If you have a high quality site in a niche that has relevant advertisers you should see some very good performance. The higher your traffic the more likely it is that you will receive more clicks and subsequently higher revenue.

There is no limit to the your revenue potential. Some publishers earn a few dollars; others have reached the level where they earn hundreds of dollars per day. It all depends on the effort you are willing to put into your sites.

Adsense pays on a net 30 bases at the end of each month where your account has generated $100 or more in revenue. You can choose either cheque or EFT (if available) as payment method. International publishers can have their cheques issued in the currency of their country of residence, allowing them to save on bank fees.

Adsense is an excellent advertising network provided that you strictly adhere to the terms of service. It is very easy to implement, not too obtrusive to visitors and offers very good income. The best way to see if Adsense will work for you is to apply and implement it on your site for at least one month. You won’t be disappointed.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Smart Pricing - good or bad?

"Smart Pricing" for AdSense publishers has recently been the talk amongst webmasters. For those of you that don't know what it's about. In a nutshell 'smart pricing' is an algorithm Google AdSense uses to track the conversion from their Adsense ads. You get paid less/more depending on the conversion of the ads you place on your site.

Now there has been lots of complaints about this. Most publishers are seeing quite a large decrease in their revenue, and some of them have even decided to ditch AdSense altogether. Most of this is due to unfounded rumours or plain misconceptions floating around on the Net. Google has posted some facts about smart pricing on their AdSense blog in order to clear up some things.

I don't think that 'smart pricing' is a bad thing. Sure we'll see lower income at the start, but I think as publishers and advertisers get used to this that we can actually expect higher revenue. Advertisers will see a higher return on their investments and are more likely to up their bids, thus providing publishers with higher income.

Smart pricing can also be a well needed answer to 'spammy sites' that are being built purely for Adsense. I'm guessing that this is actually the primary goal. Spammy sites will not attract much targeted visitors, and visitors are less likely to click on ads on sites they don't trust or find useful. As a result the webmasters of the spam sites, are those more likely to see the largest decrease in revenue, making it less profitable for them to create the spam sites in the first place.

Hopefully it might even contribute to a WWW with less spam sites in general. Making it much easier for you to find a site that actually provides you with the information or service you wanted to start with. That can only be a good thing...

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Google Does Listen

In various discussions the topic of reporting webmasters for Adsense ToS violations have come up. Most people believe that Google mainly ignores any ToS violations and that you are wasting your time when reporting them.

This is not the case. The proof is in the pudding (or banning in this case)! The site discussed in "5 Easy steps to an Adsense Ban" has been banned for their violation of Adsense ToS. It took just over a week.

So for those people that think reporting violations is a waste of time. Think again. Google does indeed listen.!

Saturday, October 08, 2005

5 Easy steps to an AdSense Ban

I wanted to post a totally different topic, but I came across this prime example of what NOT to do when you are an AdSense publisher and thought I'd take up the old disecting knife and show you what was done wrong.

For your amusement, you can peruse the above screenshot of a site created by a webmaster that most likely doesn't know the difference between his toes and Google's ToS. To save him further embarressment the URL of the site in question will be witheld.

What was done wrong?
When joining AdSense, we all agree to the Terms of Service or if you are lazy just to the basic program policies. The above site has so many violations, Google can use it as a prime example of what NOT to do as an AdSense publisher.

No Google ad may be placed on any non-content-based pages.
Violation. The page contains no content (aside from the ads.

No Google ad may be placed on pages published specifically for the purpose of showing ads, whether or not the page content is relevant.
Violation. The site/page was created solely for the purpose of showing ads, and has no other content.

Publishers may not label the ads with text other than "sponsored links" or "advertisements." This includes any text directly above our ads that could be confused with, or attempt to be associated with Google ads.
Violation. The ads are labeled as "Top Rated" etc.

Excessive advertising
Violation. Definitely falls into the excessive advertising category.

And the biggest violation of them all "Calling undue attention to ads". You can't get any more blatant than that!

So webmasters take note this is what not to do if you are an AdSense publisher. That is unless you are looking for some easy steps to get banned from the AdSense program!

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Planning your website: Getting ideas

The planning phase is often one of the hardest. You need to consider the following:

What is this website going do be about?

Create a site about a topic you enjoy and which you are passionate about. If you know a lot about a certain topic, then you’ll enjoy creating content for the site. The more you know, the more you can write yourself. Paying content writers to write all your content for you could become very expensive in the long run. If you don’t get exclusive rights to the articles (which is normally much more expensive), then you could run into duplicate content problems later on.

Start out by creating a list of topics that interest you and about which you are knowledgeable. Search for those topics in search engines. See what sites are returned. Study how these sites look and what makes them successful or unsuccessful. Pay attention to the amount and the quality of the sites returned. If there are thousands of sites it might be hard to get your site noticed and your competition will be stiff. It might be necessary for you to break your ideas down into their core components e.g. instead of a general car site consider a site about “engine modification”

Keep searching and refining you ideas until you find a topic where you are sure you can provide a better service than your competitors and which is not over saturated with competitors. You now have your niche.

Once you have decided on a niche stick to it. There is nothing so confusing for visitors as a website that keeps jumping from one topic to the next. If you start a site about “cars” all your pages need to be about car-related topics. Don’t suddenly start mentioning and including pages about motorbikes. Remember - you can’t be everything to everyone. A site that’s dedicated to a single niche will be much easier to promote and will ultimately be more useful to your visitors.

Will people visit the site?

It’s no use finding a niche, developing a site and then discovering that nobody is interested in the topic. Digitalpoint offers a very useful keyword suggestion tool, which should give you a rough indication of how many people are searching for a certain topic. If you find that there are no or very little searches for your topic, you either need to find a new topic or break it down into core components.

What is the aim of your site?

The aim of your website will also play a huge role in the planning phase. If you want to sell a product your approach will be totally different from a content rich site that generates income from advertising. You should keep this in mind when picking your niche.

Now you are ready to start creating the content of the site. The best option is to using a normal word processor to write the content of each page. Limit each page to a single main topic. If we take the car website example you might create the following pages:
  • Introduction: Get your visitors interested in what you have to offer
  • Buying a car: Tips on choosing and buying a car
  • Car finance: Information about car finance
  • Car maintenance: Information about car maintenance

You can create as many pages as you want. Just be sure that each page has one central topic related to your site theme and that it contains relevant and unique content. The necessity for this will become apparent once you start optimizing your pages for search engines and focusing on revenue generation. Once you have enough content, you can move to the next step: Building the site.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Fastclick Advertising Network Review

FastClick Ad Network
is a CPM network offering pop-unders, 728/468 banners, 160/120 skyscrapers, invue, interstitial, medium rectangle, rectangle, half page and even text ads. A large selection that will make it extremely easy for you to find the ideal ad unit for your website setup.

Their interface is very easy to use. You simply select the ad type, activate that ad type in the campaign menu and then get the ad code from the ad code list. You can then select if you want pages to open in a new page (good for user retention). Just copy and paste the given code and you are set to start earning some revenue.

The advertisements need to be placed within the first 600 pixels of the screen and your site should generate more than 3000 unique page views per month and maintain a click-through rate of above 0.25%, otherwise they can terminate your account.

You have total control of the campaigns you are running on the site. All it takes is to go through the campaign list for a specific ad unit and deselect the campaigns you don’t want to show. For most of the popular ad units there are lots of campaigns to select from, you should quite easily find some that should compliment your site.

The payout is 65% of ad revenue and eCPM varies from a few cents to a few dollars depending on the ad type and campaign selected. They pay either by check or via Paypal and payments are done after the 25th of the second month. (Basically net 30)

Their support is also excellent. I had a problem with one ad campaign, and the problem was solved within 24 hours. Quite refreshing when compared to other networks where you need to wait for at least 3 days for any form of support.

I’ve been using them for eight months now on a site with moderate traffic, and the results are very good. With a lot of page views and mainly US traffic you should do exceptionally well.

You can join here

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Make money online

Make Money online - the secret revealed

To make money online is a dream for many people. More and more people are getting into the web master arena thinking that’s the easy way to get rich. And they keep looking for the "secret" to having the money roll in.

I've decided to reveal the real secret of making money online, right here, right now. This is not a scam and the advice is totally free. You don’t need to buy an e-book or pay me a cent. All it takes is three easy steps. Are you ready?

Make money online in 3 easy steps

Below you will find the three easy steps to making money online. Follow them to the letter and in a few years you will be raking in a steady income from all your hard work. Good luck.
  • Create a quality, unique content rich site that fulfill user's needs
  • Promote your site
  • Generate revenue from advertising for the lifetime of the site (Alternatively you can sell a high quality product, or offer a high quality service to people)

Et voila – that’s the secret of making money online. Not that difficult at all and no scam involved. The only requirement is that you are willing to put in the effort, and like everything in life, the rewards you will receive will be directly proportional to the amount of work you put into your site.

So all you "get rich quickly webmaster wannebies" there you've got your secret: There is no way to get rich quickly. No matter what any e-book, or miracle website or scheme try to convince you. Hard work, a good concept, good content and putting your visitors first is the secret to success.

Friday, September 16, 2005

The Webmaster Lifestyle

Being a Webmaster is hard work and it is not a way to get rich quickly. There are no shortcuts to creating a successful site. It takes time, hard work and determination and ultimately it becomes a way of life.

Most people are under the impression that you only need to create and upload a few pages to a webhost, and suddenly you’ll be a Webmaster of a successful site that earns you loads of money without much effort. It doesn’t work that way.

Creating the site is the easy part. Once your site has gone live the real work starts and you finally step into the realm of being a Webmaster. Good site management is what differentiates between a successful site and a site destined to be a failure.

Website management mainly encompasses the following - each of which will take lots of time, hard work, and determination to do properly:

  • Site creation and updating
  • SEO (search engine optimization)
  • Site promotion
  • Revenue generation
  • Checking and acting on website statistics

The Webmaster lifestyle is time consuming, but in the end it is also very rewarding. If you are willing to put in the hard work and persevere you’ll end up with a successful and popular site generating sustainable traffic and revenue. Best of all you’ll have the knowledge that you are in some way contributing something worthwhile to the Web. Not to mention the bragging rites... ;)

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Put your visitors first!

Nowadays there is an alarming amount of webmasters that are only in it for the money. They churn out hordes of websites consisting of pages filled with little or no real content and which are created purely to cash in on some high-paying keywords or topics. The Web is now littered with these “sites” that are only out to create as much revenue as possible from any unfortunate visitors that end up there.

Webmasters like these are nothing more than glorified spammers and fraudsters. Not only does this make it increasingly hard for people to find what they are looking for, but it also degrades the value of the Worldwide Web as a whole. You might be able to make a few quick bucks this way, but in the long run it doesn’t pay and you can be sure that you won’t be seeing any return visitors.

Being a good Webmaster is about having the right mindset. You should always create a website with your visitors as your main focus. Think about what your visitors would want to find on the site. Put yourself in their shoes and look at it from their point of view. If you can create a site that you yourself would like to visit you are on the road to success.

By focusing on your visitors and providing them with the best user experience possible your site will be able to stand the test of time. You’ll have sustainable traffic, visitors will return to your site regularly and they will refer people to your site.
After all, word of mouth is the best form of promotion.

Once you have finished optimizing your site for user experience (UEO or User Experience Optimization) you can start thinking about generating revenue from the site. The easiest way would be to add advertising such as Adsense and banner ads from other advertising networks. Once again you should take user experience into consideration when deciding on the placement and type of advertising.

A visitor-orientated site will generate a sustainable income, which should prove much higher than any “fly by night” site could offer in its short lifespan. Visitors are much more likely to click on ads, donate money, or subscribe to sites that they enjoy visiting.

So put your visitors first, your revenue generation second, and you will have a win-win situation for both you and your visitors.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Casale Advertising Network

Join Casale Media!

After some time, I've finally gotten my own top-level domain - www.spacewallpapers.net for my space wallpaper site. Being totally free, I rely heavily on advertising to pay for the hosting costs of the site.

I'm happy to say that with the top-level domain I also got into a first-tier advertising network: Casalemedia.com, and I must say they are great. Here are my experiences with them so far.

I registered on a Monday. There was some problem with my e-mail address and Jason Blake, their Senior Account Manager, contacted me personally to sort it out. By Wednesday I was a registered member and could start serving ads.

Their interface is EXTREMELY easy to use. I didn't even have to read any FAQ or anything to get started. What's more, you have total control over the campaigns you allow on the site. You can very easily select and deselect which campaigns you want to run.

They offer ad units as pop unders, 728x90 banners, 120x600 skyscrapers and 300x250 medium rectangles. One ad unit I missed was the 460x80 ad unit. This could cause some incompatibility if your site is not designed to handle the larger 728x90 format.
Adding their code is an easy, hassle free "copy and paste" procedure, which should be no problem, even for a novice.

Their CPM payout is the highest I've seen so far, in comparison with the ad agencies I've used to date. They pay you 70% of the income generated by campaigns, quite nice. The only problem I have is that they normally only fill around 40% - 50% of my inventory. Luckily it's easy to chain another ad agency in conjunction with Casale so you don't lose out on impressions.

They are primarily focused on US impression, so if you generate most of your traffic from the US you should do really well with them.

  • A top level domain name (eg. http://www.yourdomain.com)
  • Unique high quality content
  • A focused user base
  • At least 10000 unique visitors a month
  • No links to, or sites containing illegal or inappropriate content
If you are a webmaster and looking for an advertising network, I can highly recommend them, so if you are interested you can sign-up here


Welcome to the WebmasterSpot. Here I'll post about my experiences with running and promoting a website. I'm relatively new to the webmaster area, so I'll be learning as I go along.

Hopefully you guys will find in useful by learning from my mistakes and successes. I'll cover subjects like, choosing a host, how to create your site (although I'm not going to teach you HTML or CSS), generating site revenue and promoting your site.

I'll tell you about what to do, and what not to do. Hopefully we'll all learn from each other.

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