Affiliate Pirate

Sailing the seas of online marketing and plundering the riches as an affiliate pirate.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Best Blog Software

Choosing the Best Blogging Software

Everyone and their mother want their own blog these days, and there are lots of services and CMS to choose from. In fact, selecting the best blog software might be a daunting task, considering all the competition out there. Should you go for Wordpress like so many others, or try Blogger instead? Perhaps paying a monthly fee for TypePad or SquareSpace is worth it? I have reviewed 5 best blogging services below to help you choose. If you disagree with my opinion, feel free to suggest your favorite blog site in the comments.

WordPress

WordPpress is the most popular open source blog software on the market. They offer both a downloadable blog CMS package at Wordpress.org, and a free blog hosting with Wordpress.com. Needless to say, installing WP on your own server is a better choice if you want more control over your blog and absolute freedom about what plugins you use and what ads you display. (Try HostMonster for the best WordPress hosting). The free WordPress.com blog can't have ads or paid posts on it or you'll risk getting it removed.

If you are new to Wordpress and want to learn fast, try the WordPress For Dummies guide.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

High CPU Load in cPanel Resource Usage Monitor

Today I randomly checked the Resource Usage tool in cPanel for two of my websites which use different hosting providers. To my surprise, both showed ridiculous CPU load (fluctuating from 70% to 100%) and high memory usage. What's more, this apparently has been happening for hours without any drop in load.

This was rather worrying seeing how my site usually has very low and memory usage and I rarely hits the CPU limit. Reaching the limits is bad because your webhost can decide to suspend your site or move you to a "troublemaker" server.

My 30 day resource usage graph looked like this:


You can clearly see the huge jump. What's more, the graph indicates that my host decided to actually increase the maximum CPU limit at the same time this started happening. All this, coupled with the fact that two of my sites, hosted on completely different servers, were having the same problem, seemed rather unlikely.

Sure enough, after googling for a few minutes, I discovered another user of completely different webhost service who had the same problem recently. I think we can safely assume that this is a bug in cPanel's resource monitor and not worry if your Resource Usage tool starts telling you're hitting the CPU cap all the time.

I haven't been able to find official notice of this anywhere though, so I'm keeping an eye out for any news.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

How to Geotarget Ads on Your Website

Working with a single ad network is straightforward enough: you simply place their code on your website, and you're done. Things get a little more complicated if you are selling your ad space to advertisers directly, or when you want to geotarget your affiliate (or other) ads (in other words, show them only to visitors from certain countries). Geotargeting can drastically improve your profits, but is there an affordable solution for a small website or blog?

The answer is hosted ad managers which do all the work for you. There's lots of advantages to using a third party ad manager on a small website, the biggest one being that ad managing and geotargeting can use up quite a lot of CPU and RAM resources when you're hosting them on your own server or webhosting account.

So, how do ad managers work, exactly? You install the ad manager code on your website, and enter all the ads you have through the ad manager's admin panel. Simply put, now your ads aren't served directly, but rather through the ad manager's servers which can do all the nifty stuff like geotargeting for you.

Which ad manager to use? I've personally tried quite a few and ended up subscribing to AdSpeed. They have great support, easy-to-use interface, and affordable pricing (starting at $10 a month for 100,000 impressions). You can also try them for 10 days for free.

However, I did mention that I tried a few of them, didn't I? Perhaps some other ad manager would suit your needs better. I've published a short review of top 5 ad managers where I overview their pros and cons. Some of them will even let you use them for free (although with some limitations), so they're a good choice for even the smallest blogs which would benefit from some ad targeting capabilities.

Friday, June 24, 2011

High Profits Review

Intro to My HighProfits Review

HighProfits is a new affiliate program specializing in "make money online" niche products. I've only found out about it recently, but I was really impressed with what they have to offer. While HighProfits don't have a lot of products in their marketplace yet, the ones they do convert pretty well. Having in mind other great features of this program, it might very well become an alternative to ClickBank. That being said, let's move on to the main part of this High Profits review.


High Profits Review: Pros and Cons

HighProfits is a relatively new affiliate network with impressive features and an active community. The backend is packed with so many features it could make your head spin, but it is still very easy to understand and navigate. I've broken up my HighProfits review into several parts about certain aspects of the site I believe are worth mentioning.

Detailed tracking and statistics

The tracking system of High Profits is definitely one of its strongest sides. It registers all visitors coming to your affiliate links, counts Raw and Unique hits, visits to the order page (called "Join Hits") and, of course, conversions and refunds. You can see top programs that you're sending the most hits to; top sites driving you the most traffic; and you can even create campaigns for tracking, say, your Google AdWords efforts. High Profits even has detailed demographic statistics and shows what country your visitors are from and which one converts best and gives you most profit!

The statistics can be displayed in a Pie Chart or Bar Chart format, giving you a nice graphical representation of the data. Suffice to say, if you're a stats freak like me, you'll spend a lot of time playing with this stuff.

Payment options

HighProfits gets top marks for offering a nice array of payment options. Besides check you can choose international wire, MoneyBookers and PayPal. The latter is definitely more convenient than using checks.

You may set the minimum payout, but it has to be at least $100. This might be a bit higher than most other sites, but I don't really see a problem with it. Personally, I try to withdraw in larger sums anyway due to the fixed withdrawal fee.

Community and support

Another great aspect of High Profits is its active community and helpful support. If you contact them with any question regarding the affiliate program, someone will usually answer you in a matter of hours. HighProfits also has a forum with member discussions, helpful tips from the pros and affiliate website reviews. What makes it great is the fact that the product owners and administrators frequently post there as well and give you great advice.

Products and comissions

When it comes to the number of products available for promotion, HighProfits is a bit lacking - alhough it's understandable seeing how it's a relatively new affiliate marketplace. However, what it lacks in quantity, it makes up with quality. Take ClickBank for example - there's a lot of old and no longer supported products, products which don't offer any affiliate tools, and the like. HighProfits on the other hand provides a large variety of promotional material for every single product on their marketplace. That includes banners of different sizes, ready-made reviews (this isn't one of them) and even websites (with pre-written content or without) which you can upload to your server and use them right away.

Since all products offered are digital, High Profits is able to pay generous commissions ranging from 30% to as much as 100% for certain paid membership websites. You will find that the most popular number is around 50%.

Edit and update
: it seems this program has new owners. I'm not sure about its future, although it has been running without problems for now.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Weebly Review: SEO Issues

Weebly is a site builder that allows you to create websites quickly and easily. You get to choose from a number of nice looking themes, and then you can create pages and drag-and-drop various elements (paragraphs, pictures, videos, forms...) to them. You can do this even if you have no knowledge of HTML or CSS.

For those who wish to delve deeper, Weebly does allow to edit the HTML of the theme to some extent, as well as gives you access to edit the CSS file. But keep in mind the things you can change are limited; for example, some webpage elements are described in a second CSS file that comes from Weebly that you can't change. If you want full control, it's always better to host a website on your own.

I was pretty impressed with Weebly, but also ran into some problems right away. Weebly allows you to add pages as well as blogs to your site - but it seems it's not quite ready to be used as a full-fledged blogging platform. The biggest problem I've encountered is the mess with meta descriptions and titles for blog posts.

You see, Weebly allows you to enter custom meta description and title for every page. However, it treats blogs as pages, too. What this means is that if you enter a title ("My Blog") and meta description ("I blog about stuff here, check it out") not only your blog's homepage will have it, but also every single post on your blog.

Duplicate meta descriptions and titles on every blog post is a pretty bad thing. If you use Google's Webmaster Tools, they will quickly point out this problem in Diagnostics > HTML suggestions as well. My conclusion is, if you want to make a simple webpage, or even an e-commerce website, Weebly might suit your needs just fine. But if you're looking for a blogging platform, it's not quite up to par yet.

Shameless ad: if you signup through my affiliate link, we'll both get 1 month Weebly Pro membership. Cheers.