Monday, March 31, 2008

Another one day goal

Today's goal is to drop 110 EntreCards. I'm hoping this drop frenzy will drive reciprical drops to ABB so I can end the month with over 1000 visits. I already have an all time high in visits but 1000 visits would be sooooooo cool. If you have nothing better to do click the link and visit America's Beach Bum and help me drive my traffic to new highs.

Right now I'm at 846 visits so 1000 might be a bit optimistic.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Mechanical Turk payout

Ok I know that I said that I was saving my MTurk earnings for a scanner but since the family is going on vacation to Myrtle Beach I decided to buy a Metal Detector with the income instead. I transfered the $39.07 that I had earned through MTurk into an Amazon gift certificate and purchased the metal detector that you see here. So I paid a little bit more than what I transfered into my Amazon gift certificate I considered that extra cash birthday money. I don't know a lot about metal detectors but this one looked like a good deal plus it fit my budget.

I hope that I can leverage this purchase into another source of income. It probably won't be huge but so far my web empire has not brought me great wealth either. Maybe someday.

Oh and by the way, yes I have an Amazon Affiliate account. So if someone out there in the world clicks on the advertisement in this post and actually buys a the metal detector I'll make a little bit of money. I'll post if someone does.

One Day EntreCard Goal and more

Yesterday I set a goal to make 100 EntreCard drops. It took some time to accomplish [hey I'm a busy guy] but I did it. My total for yesterday was 101. Yeaaaaaa! So far today I have 51, but I don't think that I will get back to 100 today. I figure getting a post out is more important.

It also occurred to me that I need the home page of America's Beach Bum to have content that changes. Right now I'm thinking that I'll have static info about the site and content that I've recently created. Which means that I will need to create content. lol.

I'm giving ADSDAQ a try. ADSDAQ allows publishers to sell advertising space on their site and set their own price. It is a pay per impression format instead of a pay per click format like Google's Adsense. Right now I'm offering space at $.90 per 1000 impressions for America's Beach Bum and $.75 per 1000 impressions for PSX Gamer. I have been running ads through ADSDAQ for a little over a week and have earned a whopping $.24. If there are no takers for my space on ABB it falls back to Adsense. At PSX Gamer it falls back to public service ads.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The response from EntreCard support.

Ok call me an EntreCard Noob. Here what EC support had to say to my inquiry.

"Actually, the current economy model maintains that members receive 25% of the credits it costs to advertise on their blog, and the other 75% of the credits get cleared out of the system to prevent inflation. Hope this helps. We double checked your account and you've been credited properly. Also please note that when someone applies to advertise on your site, they "lock in" the price. "

Good to know so I thought that I would pass it on to anyone who didn't know.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Trying to increase traffic

In an attempt to increase traffic to America's Beach Bum I joined EntreCard and Spottt. Entrecard is hands down a better source of traffic but it also a lot more work.

MiLan's Blog has a good explanation of how EntreCard works. The work on my part comes from doing the drops. It is hard for me to get more than 50 drops done in a day. But my traffic has increase substantially. I have dropped 985 times and received 571 drops. The EntreCard dashboard claims that I have earned 490 credits from ads. The most that has been credited to my account is 10 credits for an ad. EntreCard support has been contacted and they will hopefully fix the problem and credit my account for the missing credits.

I like the traffic from EntreCard so I'll keep dropping for now.

Spottt on the other hand is no work after the initial setup, but the traffic is very little. As you can see I have added a 125X125 spottt on this blog. According to the Spottt stats on this site I had one visit from 626 impressions since March 20th. Not a great start. America's Beach Bum site has had 16 visits from 5,608 impressions in the last 30 days.

The Spotts visits/impressions results are:
Income Alternatives: .1597%
America's Beach Bum: .2853%

Not to impressive. But I will stick it out for a little while.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Great Carpet Arbitrage

To get caught up read the post titled My Carpet Arbitrage.

A couple of days ago I paid off the outstanding balance of the zero percent financing that I was using for my arbitrage. I was taking the money that I was paying 0.00% interest and investing in certificates of deposit that were paying 5.25%. This earned $186.17 over 12 months. I then moved the money into my eTrade savings account that was earning 4.40%. This earned an additional $30.22 in interest. So my total earnings through the arbitrage was $216.39. This is a little bit less than the $218.43 that I originally calculated. Pretty close considering the dropping rate environment.

I've been toying with EntreCard and Spottt over on America's Beach Bum [also know as ABB]to increase traffic so far so good. I'm expecting a record month in visits over at ABB. I have already seen record days for visitors at ABB. I'll be posing a more in depth analysis in the near future.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Income updates

Still no payout from Google Adsense. I'm not even half way to getting paid. And now they have a new Terms of Service to agree to. I haven't read it yet but from what I've seen on other websites I will need to develop a Privacy Policy page for the websites that have Adsense advertising. You can check out the America's Beach Bum privacy policy and reuse it if you would like. I borrowed it [with permission] from another website and tweaked it for my site.

Earnings from MTurk have not passed $40.00 yet. Admittedly I didn't use it much in February.

Speedway Rewards Card is up over 36,000 point. I'm getting close to a $40.00 gift card to Applebees.

I haven't used the Qdoba Q-Card recently.

My carpet arbitrage is now over. I'm going to tally up the earning from it and I'll report in another post.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Back to normal [kinda]

For a while this site's side panel had been dropping to the bottom of the page. I had spent quite a bit of time and effort to correct the problem. I finally deleted this site and started over. In starting over everything was going fine until I added the FeedBurner Flare to the bottom of my posts. This recreated my problem!! I have since left it off and the site still looks good.

The dates for my posts are off due having to re-enter them. And unfortunately traffic to this site has really dropped off. I am going to try Spottt and Entrecard to increase traffic. Since using Entrecard with America's Beach Bum traffic has increased significantly. The downside to Entrecard is that you have to spend time "dropping" on other people's websites to earn credits to buy adspace. I have visited a bunch of interesting websites because of this though...I also have visited a bunch of trash too. Spottt is hardly any work at all but the traffic produced is much less.

Next post: Alternative Income updates

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Tips for running your own website

More tips for making money with a website. I had been wanting to add site maps to my Google Webmaster tools. It seemed like a lot of work and I wasn't sure that the gains would be worth the effort. Then I stumbled upon a web site that would create one for me. XML-Sitemaps offers a service that allows you to create a sitemap for free. If you have a blogspot site you can follow these instructions at bloggertricks.com. Also there are instructions for submitting a site map to Yahoo.


What does a site map do for you? A sitemap can help Google discover pages that might not otherwise be found. Once created and implemented Google will provide you with data on how your site is being crawled and indexed. I use Google Webmaster tools to track external links to my web pages and what searches list my web pages higher than other searches. Of course I can't control what people base their searches on but I can create content based on popular searches that may end up visiting my sites.

Going crazy

I've been trying to fix this blog so it will display correctly but I have not had much luck. It looks pretty good in IE but Firefox doesn't display very good at all. So yesterday I got the idea to switch from Blogger to WordPress, but I didn't fully read the TOS [terms of service]. The free hosted version of WordPress at www.wordpress.com does not allow advertising. No income!!!! No way!!!! LOL

I do like WordPress. I am running it on a server and plan on kicking off my michiganbeachbum website with WordPress.

So today I am trying to fix Bloggers code so my readers can use the browser of their choice. Not much luck so far. I did switch Blogger templates again. You can read this blog with Firefox but it didn't really fix the overall problem.

2 for 1 link offer

In an attempt to create more traffic to this website I am offering 2 links to your website if you create a link to mine. The links back to your site will be on this web site and http://www.americasbeachbum.com/. I am limiting the number to the first ten people and I will post when the max is reached.

Also if some link catches your eye don't be afraid to click it. Especially an Adsense link. :-) I could use the extra cash. As of today I still have not reached the magic amount to receive a check from Adsense. :-( I know, I'm being a little capricious.

Some updates:Not much going on at mturk.
Best Buy Rewards have saved me $38.98 between the reward coupons and free paper when you buy ink cartridges.
michiganbeachbum.com is offline temporarily until I can figure out how to get traffic to my server at home [My ISP blocks inbound traffic on ports 80 and 443].
Still trying to fix this blog so Firefox works right.

To take me up on my offer just email me at surfinsid.

Post Christmas finances

After the holidays many people find themselves burdened by new debt. Usually credit card debt which is the worst kind. So it is time to make a plan on paying off that debt asap. Remember that paying off your debt and reducing the amount of interest you pay [and any fees that might pop up along the way] is money back in your pocket.

I recommend paying as much as you can on the highest interest credit card debt and making sure that you make at least the minimum on any other debts that you have, because late fees never make sense to pay. Be pertinacious about paying off your Christmas debt because paying interest on stuff you gave away doesn't make much sense!

It is also a good time to sit down and figure out where all your hard earned money goes. I have been using Microsoft Money for the last six years and Quicken before that so I generally know where my money has gone. Before I switched jobs we use to eat out fairly frequently but now that I am earning less that was one of the areas where we cut expenses. If you are carrying a lot of Christmas debt look for areas where you can cut back. If you have ideas I would love to see them.

Don't keep up with the Joneses...ignore them.

Okay we bought our current house from, ironically, the Joneses in a fairly nice neighborhood back in 2000. They moved to a house with lake access. The temptation of owning nicer stuff surrounds me on my little street. New cars, boats, RVs and more are displayed by my neighbors. I don't know how much they make or if they make saving for retirement a priority. I imagine that they all have a higher per household income than I do. How else can they afford all that stuff that they have? An incredible amount of debt??? I secretly hope so...I hope that they are paying boatloads [pardon the pun] of interest as I struggle with making the decision not to buy the newest greatest vehicle or gadget on credit.

I try mightily to ignore their excess. I live in America so I think that all that excess should be mine. But deep down I know that I don't need all that stuff. I don't need to drink the expensive beers. I don't need the designer clothes.

Don't get me wrong I don't live a life of total restraint. I do give into an occasional material desire. I recently received some extra money in my direct deposit that I added to the money I had been saving and purchased that big TV that I wanted. No debt!!!

I don't go out for lunch except to meet friends [less than once every two months]. My lunch usually consists of a sandwich or leftovers heated in the microwave. I watch coworkers head to lunch and they enjoy a meal at a restaurant. Their meal may be more filling or taste better but I take comfort in the fact that I spend less than a dollar while they spend $5.00 to $10.00 nearly every day. Assuming that they go to lunch 220 times a year they spend about $1,100 more than I do on lunch. Seeing that number makes almost makes me laugh at those Joneses. I think that the only time not to ignore the Joneses [and I know that it is difficult] is when you find an example like them spending that much more on lunch than I do.