First ‘Ask Tyler’ Answers: June 24th, 2011

June 25, 2011 Posted by Tyler Cruz
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6 weeks ago I introduced a new post series called “Ask Tyler” in which readers can e-mail me their questions and I will answer them about once a month in posts such as this one.

Not only does this allow me to answer your questions and share them with a wider audience at the same time, but it also allows me to create content more directly targeted to my readers.

Instructions and guidelines on how to ask me a question can be found at the bottom of this post.

In the inaugural post of this new Ask Tyler post series, I respond to numerous questions from 3 readers:

From Gao:

Prior to running TylerCruz.com, did you have a 9-to-5 kind of job?

I’ve never had a fulltime job in my life. Perhaps that is part of the reason why my work ethic is so poor.

I’ve had numerous jobs in the past, but all were part-time. Some of them include: library page (4 years), web developer for a local real estate company, and the clerk/tech (?) at an Internet access centre (think web cafe without the cafe).

What do you think is the most important aspect of a blog and why?

The content, obviously. There’s really no close second. Content remains king, especially in the world of blogging. After content I would say post frequency – something I still need to work on myself.

What’s the biggest lesson you have learned from being an Internet Entrepreneur?

Hmm. That’s a difficult question, but I’d have to say focus.

I originally only had a few websites, but they were all making pretty good money at that time for my stage of my life. But then I started to get scared. I wanted to diversify my portfolio and have more than just 1-2 websites to fall back on in case one of them crashed and burned.

I started developing new websites left and right, and eventually got myself so tied up with things that I was never able to focus on anything. This was a big mistake.

While I still feel it’s important to have a backup, it’s not necessary to have 5 or 10 backups.

People don’t see this in the brick and mortar world… you don’t see somebody running a business that is successful already and then jumping into several others in case their main business fails.

I learned that I need to focus on what is already working, and drop projects that aren’t.

From Michael:

I am trying to make more money with my blog but I am having trouble selling Clickbank products.  I make some money with Google AdSense but want to try and make more than $150 a month. Any suggestions of where I should look next? Should I focus more on traffic, then earnings? Or anything in particular I should research?

  1. My blog on average makes around $150/month. Before I was only making $70 (about 2 months ago). Added a lot of content to it.
  2. My blogs traffic:
    • 5,766 Absolute Unique Visitors – April – slightly deceiving because I bought some traffic
      • Traffic source 66% Google search to my one article about – top 8 AdSense earners and 15 fun websites you can use to edit your picture
      • Referrals for the rest
    • 4,056 Absolute Unique Visitors – March
      • 72% Google Search
      • 11% Direct (most likely me)
      • The rest other search
  3. I’ve tried using ClickBank, Google AdSense, Infolinks, Kontera, Amazon Affiliates – to name a few to make money. Best earnings by far from Google.  Only sold one affiliate product so far last month
  4. I normally just write content / do blog carnivals / post comments on other blogs – no other advertising / marketing really

This is a bit of a difficult ‘question’ to answer as it’s very open-ended, basically asking how you can improve your blog’s income.

First, your traffic is quite good, but what I don’t really like is how your search engine traffic is such a high percentage. Search engine traffic is great, but with such a low direct percentage, it insinuates that your content is not alluring enough to retain your visitors – which is what you want.

While there are a lot of design and layout your can do with your blog (Ex. it is very text-heavy which can be overbearing, the main content column is too narrow, there are no RSS, Twitter, etc. options for me to follow you even if I wanted to, etc.), for the sake of keeping my answer to an acceptable level, I’ll focus purely on monetization.

I would highly recommend that you sell your ad spots privately. This is what I do, and by simply doing this, you’ll likely find your blog making a lot more than $150 a month. Whether you do this though OIOPublisher, BuySellAds, or manually, you should definitely try this for a few months.

Advertisers in the “make money online” arena are willing to pay a lot to get targeted exposure and traffic, which blogs like yours can provide.

Secondly, your blog’s theme does not have many ads. I’m not suggesting that you plaster ads left and right on it, but the only ad I really notice is the 300×250 AdSense ad on the inner pages. I don’t see anything else apart from a promotional section you add below each post.

Why not add a sitewide 728×90 banner to the top of your blog? Doing that alone should net you an extra $100 a month… taking your blog’s income from $150/month to $250/month overnight.

You may want to consider investing in a nice custom theme. To be honest, I’m really not a fan of what you have right now – not just for monetization reasons, but for aesthetic and usability reasons as well.

From Ian S.

I wanted to let you know about a new site that I’m working on with some of my friends. We just went live (deactivated maintenance mode) about an hour ago, and I thought that you’d be a great person to get some feedback from. It’s still pretty glitchy, and we need to upgrade our cameras, but we feel like we’re making some progress daily. A lot of the videos on the site now are from our older website, so the names in the videos might be off, but we’re creating new content daily. Our goal is to put out about 25-30 new videos Mon-Fri, every week. If you get a minute, we’d appreciate your feedback, suggestions, or advice. The site can be found at AndroidVideoReview.net.

It actually took me a while to understand what your website was about, despite the decent domain name. Visitors should have a good idea of what your website is about within seconds of seeing it… and I’m talking about immediately (1-3 seconds), not 10-15 seconds.

Your title tag and footer text have a good description of “Video Reviews of Android Apps and Games” – why not prominently add that below the logo/header image?

Personally, I do not like the design at all. Upon first glance (again, initial impression is everything), I thought the website was a type of general video aggregator, and the very dark color scheme made me think of men’s entertainment.

You may want to consider using a scheme closer to the official logo, such as blue and green, while being careful to distinguish your own branding from theirs.

There is definitely a use and desire for such Android-based apps, and such a thing can be monetized quite nicely, so I think you have a good idea for a website here.

Your most value asset is your video content, though, and so I would try to focus on that.

First, I’d like to see more consistency in the videos. Some are better than others, some have the reviewer moving their phone around while others have it in a fixed position, etc.

I’d also recommend that all reviewers state the price right at the beginning of their review after naming the app or game. They should then always finish the review with whether they recommend it or not. Why not have a standardized rating for each app as well? Then you can add a listing and sorting functionality of all the apps on your website.

Also, I’d recommend adding a really quick video introduction to the beginning of all your videos so that people watching them from outside your website (such as YouTube or embedded on another website) are aware of your website. It’s more professional than simply saying it on camera.

Finally, since your site’s core value are the videos themselves (which are hosted on YouTube), I’d recommend considering to purchase Tube Toolbox.

I can see that your YouTube account only has 10 subscribers, which is abnormally low for a website that is centralized around video content.

If you check out my review of Tube Toolbox, you’ll see how you can easily boost your subscribers to a couple hundred in a month. If you use the software right, you’ll have highly targeted subscribers and ‘friends’ who actually want to watch your videos and will upvote them when they watch them.

I can see your channel with 1,000 subscribers in 6-months. Then, app developers might even start to pay you to review their app :-)

How to Ask Me a Question

To send me a question for this series, which will be published in one of my future posts of this series, simply use my contact form or e-mail me directly at tyler@tylercruz.com. Please put “Ask Tyler” in the subject or near the top of the e-mail/message so that I can organize them better.

Do not ask your questions in comments (unless they are in direct question to my answers or in other posts, are closely related to what I wrote about) as I will not answer them. E-mail them to me instead.

Question Guidelines

When sending me questions, please try to comply and understand the following guidelines:

  • I may not answer your question due to having already answered it a million times before (Ex. “Why did you start blogging?” so be sure to ask me a good question.
  • Please don’t send me a huge list of questions. Try to keep your list down to 3 per month (post series) so that others have a chance.
  • I may or may not answer extremely personal questions, depending on the question ;)
  • Be aware that my answers will be posted on this blog, so if you want to ask me how much I think your domain is worth, for example, I’ll be posting my answer here… even if I only think it’s worth $10 :)

That being said, feel free to ask me pretty much anything.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment below, subscribing to my RSS feed, or following me on Twitter.
Posted: June 25th, 2011 under Personal  

15 Responses to “First ‘Ask Tyler’ Answers: June 24th, 2011”

  1. Ramon says:

    About the work ethic: I have the same problem. I have an office at home and when I start there, after 1 hour I get distracted and want to quit working.

    A good tip I got from a fellow web developer (1 or 2 years ago) is to find different work spots. Different surroundings do help. My suggestion: Go to a coffee shop and take your laptop with you. Work there for 3 hours and you will complete a lot of work (blog posts / editing etc).

    It really works. Do this a couple of times a week. Different places!

    Try it :)

    • Tyler Cruz says:

      That’d be difficult since I can’t do any work on my Macbook – I need my PC and dual 24-inch monitors… I’m just too used to working that way, and it is much more efficient…

  2. Ryan says:

    Tyler, you said you have experience working as a web developer. Are you taking freelance web developing projects on the side apart from affiliate mkt? If no, why? Thanks in advance.

    • Tyler Cruz says:

      My graphic, web design, and programming skills are extremely outdated… for example, I use to code in Perl, not PHP!

      Anyway, even if I did have the adequate skills, I wouldn’t do any freelance work because my whole goal is to create ‘passive’ recurring income.

  3. Tyler – I appreciate the time you took to answer my questions, good stuff ;)

  4. good stuff, im glad i get to know you better tyler. I also almost never had a full time job, lazyness at its best.

  5. Jasmine says:

    Great stuff. I have learned quite a bit from these questions and answers. I would like to ask a question, but seems like I will have to email you for that….

  6. Michael says:

    Hey Tyler -

    Thanks so much for answering my question. This definitely will point me in the right direction to improve my blog income. I thought of doing private ads on my site but never got around to it because as you mentioned I thought my blog template wasn’t very good. I’ll look around and find a template I can invest in.

    Are there any blog templates you’d recommend?

    Thanks again for answering my questions.

  7. Particularly informative appreciate it, It looks like your current audience could possibly want a good deal more stories of this nature carry on the good hard work.

  8. banka says:

    Tyler – I appreciate the time you took to answer my questions, good stuff ;)

  9. banka says:

    Great stuff. I have learned quite a bit from these questions and answers. I would like to ask a question, but seems like I will have to email you for that….

PeerFly

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