Why it is important to track your website’s statistics

statisticsOnce a website has been built and launched, there is still plenty of work required on a regular basis. One of those tasks is promotion, and the other is understanding what the website is doing in terms of traffic. Without traffic, a website is useless, and the only way to know about the traffic is through statistics. Statistics provide website owners with knowledge. Stats help web managers fine-tune their sites and enhance features.

Ultimately, tracking website statistics helps them to make money. Basically, tracking stats is one of the most important functions a webmaster has. Consequently, we are going to highlight why it is important to track your website’s statistics.

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Review: Google Adsense

Google AdSense is the publisher’s side of Google’s advertising program. The other side is AdWords. The two programs work hand in hand where advertisers pay Google to run their ads as sponsored links on the Google search engine and on approved publisher websites. Google, then rewards qualified publishers by paying them a portion of the ad revenue in return for potential customers or leads. This program is called AdSense.

People who run developed websites, either through their own domain names or through one of the free blogs, are called publishers. They publish content and maybe sell products of their own or from affiliate programs. Generally speaking, the content must have some value to users, at which time, the publisher or webmaster may apply for a Google AdSense account. Google’s team will review the site for eligibility and then either approve or deny the application. As the long as the site is deemed appropriate, it will be approved. Examples of sites that are not acceptable to Google are adult related sites, sites selling illegal products or services, sites that promote hatred or prejudice, and sites that appear to have been made solely for the purpose of earning AdSense revenue. These sites are called MFA (Made for AdSense) and normally are poor in quality with little or no understandable content.

Once the webmaster is approved to the program, she logs in to her account and finds various ways to promote the ads that other businesses run on Google’s network. Currently, the choices are word ads, word and image ads combined, image only ads, link units (list of four or five keyword links leading to a search page), site search, and ads for feeds. Other options exist but not everyone is approved to use them right away.

Read moreReview: Google Adsense

The best sites to find freelancers to help you

When you decide that you need or want help with writing articles, submitting links, modifying your design or layout, writing a script, an online marketing consultant or to carry out a specific function, or any other duty that you find troublesome, there are plenty of freelancers around the world to help. And, they are easy to find if you know the right places to go. Since this write-up is just a brief summary, let’s look at EIGHT places that are among the best sites to find freelancers to help you.

freelancerThe first type of sites are gateways where webmasters and freelancers interact. Web owners or employers submit their project specs with maximum budgets, and then the freelancers bid on the projects. Once a person is chosen by the webmaster, the project is closed to other bidders. The freelancer completes the assignment and the webmaster pays. Then each leave comments on the website about the other. If the project is rather large costing a lot of money, then some type of escrow may be used.

Elance was probably the very first major portal bringing webmasters and freelancers together. Started in 1999 by two professors, after having written an article in the Harvard Business Review, Elance was a product of the new economy where corporations could find cheaper employees quickly and hire them to do specific duties. Once the project was complete, so was the association. Today, Elance is still large, but it has become very expensive to use, both in labor rates per hour and user fees.

ScriptLance and RentACoder were the next two oldest and are well-known. The sites started with projects for programming and coding but quickly evolved into all types of assignments. The great thing about these two sites is labor can be very cheap in price and excellent in quality.

oDesk, meaning “no desk” because the worker is virtual, is the next in terms of age, but the concept is different. Employers place projects for bidding, but freelancers are pre-screened. In order to become a contractor, the site requires the potential worker to go through a series of tests to determine competency. Once approved, they can make a profile and bid on jobs. The other thing that is drastically different is, although the workers are freelancers, they are still monitored. The site takes “screen shots” of their computers, web cams are available, and their keystrokes are logged.

GetAFreelancer, also known just as Freelancer works along the same lines as the other portals. It, too, has become very popular and workers can be found to complete projects very inexpensively.

The second group of sites where you can find freelancers is on forums. These sites have sections where you can post your project and wait for responses or you can buy from sellers who have posted their services. These are not bidding sites per se, although you can ask potential workers to give their “best price” when quoting their services.

SitePoint is quite old and popular. But because of all the fraud and spam, the site moved to a “paid” type of service. To list a project, there is a small fee. The forum is still free to use and you can search upon registering. And they do have plenty of “how-to” articles which can help you.

DigitalPoint is probably now the biggest forum where people meet others to find work and complete projects. But you really must be careful of the scam artists. There are plenty of good people on the site, however, so be sure to check people out before sending any money.

WarriorForum is a good site to find freelancers, too. Although quite a bit smaller than other forums, you can search through the services and see if someone has something to offer you.

As you can see, there are a wide range of sites available to find freelancers to help you.

Review: Yahoo! Publisher Network

Yahoo! Publisher Network, more commonly known as YPN, was Yahoo’s version of Google AdSense. It was a contextual ad program where webmasters could earn revenue from Yahoo! in return for placing ads on their websites and acquiring leads or paid customers. Unfortunately, the program was fraught with problem after problem and is now basically defunct. The sad part about YPN was it was a program with good features, it was just never developed fully. In fact, it never made it out of the Beta stage and because of this, it was only offered to webmasters with US tax numbers.

In the early days, publishers were able to make quite a bit of money from the program. Because it was new, the pay per click revenue was much higher than Google for instance. Webmasters who were able to test both programs indicated that they were getting sometimes at least four and five times the click dollar rate. But, they also indicated that the click-thru percentage was very poor because the ads were not consistently targeted to their content. Also, in the beginning, there were not as many restrictions with the ads as in later days.

Read moreReview: Yahoo! Publisher Network

Review: Adbrite

AdBrite, originally called MarketBanker, was actually a new concept for selling ads. Basically, it was a contextual type advertising method, but it was unique because instead of websites having to find their own advertisers, they could place their criteria for ads in this marketplace and find advertisers. It also had a revenue generating section for publishers who did not sell advertising on their sites, but rather, wanted to earn some extra revenue from ads that were served to their pages.

Although the program was great for webmasters selling ad space, AdBrite, as a contextual model like AdSense, was not as lucrative and in some cases not even productive. The biggest problem was the ads were not targeted. Many were not relevant to the web pages’ content. Plus, there were not many ads so the same ones appeared over and over again which bored the site users.

Read moreReview: Adbrite

Review: Microsoft pubCenter

Although a latecomer to the contextual marketing landscape, Microsoft pubCenter was launched in the summer of 2008 to a very small group of web publishers to help advertisers in the Microsoft adCenter program (previously known as MSN adCenter). Like Google AdSense and Yahoo! Publisher Network, publishers or webmasters are paid revenues based on ads that are served on their websites, and on which their users click. Still in Beta mode, the program is offered to US webmasters only with appropriate tax ID numbers.

Interestingly, as early as 2005, MSN announced that they would be soliciting publishers for the program. They even said the new name would be ContentAds. But by 2007, the program remained solely a way to advertise on Microsoft properties only and not an outside network, thereby avoiding the need for website publishers. They did align themselves with large-scale publishers such as Facebook and Digg and served sponsored links, but nothing for the rest of the web community.

Read moreReview: Microsoft pubCenter

Promoting your Blog/Site through Directory-Style Review Blogs

Creating a blog or web site won’t just miraculously bring in loads of visitors. There’s millions of web sites on the web, and it’s very likely quite a few of them are talking about the same things you’re talking about. If you want to stand out on the internet, you better do some promotion.

In our online marketing section, we talk about some of the possible techniques such as article marketing, the more expensive Pay-Per-Click option or even social networks like Facebook or Twitter. There is however one more very realistic option: getting your site reviewed or mentioned on a directory-style “website review” blog. Hundreds of blogs post about web sites like yours, and show them off to their readers. For a new site, being featured on a blog like that is priceless, as it not only brings in visitors clicking through from those blogs – but also a link back to your site that the search engines can follow.

Finding sites like this isn’t hard. Type “site review blog”, “review blogs” or something similar into your favorite search engine, and you’re good to go. Most of these sites have a contact page that allows you to suggest your site for inclusion…