Artificial Intelligence Comes To Marketing

AI for affiliate marketing campaignsThe future arrived faster than we—or at least I—thought it would.
Check out Adgorithm’s Artificial Intelligence named Albert, billed as ‘the first Artificial Intelligence marketing platform for the enterprise’.
At first I though that the main advantage it gives you is a (much) faster way to optimize your paid campaigns. But it also addresses targeting and ‘cross-channel execution’  and if it also can optimize more efficiently and quickly than most people can then your process is obviously improved. Once you set up your campaigns optimization is the challenge, so this is potentially huge.
The basic idea here is that it takes many iterations to really dial in a campaign. Hardly any paid ad campaign has positive ROI out of the gate, and even if it is positive you still have to figure-you have to expect—that you can improve the performance of everything from your targeting to your headlines, images, ad copy, etc.
Also, it’s imperative that you make use of effective tools like Facebook custom audiences and Facebook lookalike audiences…attending to all these different campaigns with the diligence your ad spend deserves adds up to a lot of time.
Also, a lot of what you are doing, once you have statistical significance for one variable over another, is making further tweaks to what is working, in search of continued improvements in ROI or whatever your relevant KPIs are.
There is a fair bit of guesswork here, as you’re always trying new things. As a guy who’s spent a ton of time optimizing campaigns I can affirm that you can use all the help you can get.
I’ll bet affiliate marketers running big campaigns are already testing this technology against their current processes.
This is about more than making marketers’ jobs easier–if one company’s 2017 version of this kind of tech can help squeeze a few percent more positive ROI out of a scaled campaign, bigger affiliates can’t ignore it.
Just imagine five years from now.
Here’s a detailed case study involving Harley Davidson of NYC–this tech changes that game.

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Lastpass Review (Just Get It)

lastpass reviewAlong with rants about Internet marketing I try to regularly include pointer posts to tools and utilities that have made my life easier, if not changed it entirely. Today’s humble pointer falls closer to ‘life changer’ than it does ‘makes life easier’ and actually I’m not kidding about that.

Earlier today I was looking at Typeform to explore whether it can help me to put together some fast and simple lead-gen pages and quizzes for other email lists and websites I have. (Yes btw Typeform, if you haven’t played with it or used it–it’s another great tool with a generous free tier but I’ll resist going any further about it today!)

Anyway after a few a few seconds I decided Typeform was getting my email and we would get this party started. Then I did what I always do in these situations: I headed to the browser tab where I keep Lastpass(not an affiliate link) open at all times and typed in ‘Typ’ and within a second determined two things.

First, that I had already signed up for Typeform–who knows why and who knows when–and my login details were right there already in the form, filled out by Lastpass. The second thing I learned—affirmed existing suspicions really—was that when the AI comes I will be no damn match for it as even something as simple as Lastpass far outpaces my own memory, not just for the username and unique password that I’ve used to sign up for everything in the last 5+ years, but also even that I signed up for a given web site/service/etc. at all!

I know when I’m beaten.

Anyway, Lastpass is still working with me, not against me; i.e. it hasn’t sent any Terminators back from the future yet or anything, as far as I know.

If you haven’t used a password manager yet, can you just do it? Why? Because I said so, OK? Just trust me. I don’t ask for much. You can always stop using it if for some reason you end up thinking it’s a bad thing (which you will not).

The thing that will astound you when you do hook it up isn’t just that from then on you’ll have a way to generate unique 20-character passwords with numbers and symbols, and get usernames and the generated passwords saved automatically in your Lastpass account.

The thing that makes Lastpass SUPERNOVA is the ‘Inbox Importer’. This is Lastpass’ description of it:

Inbox Importer is a fast and hassle-free way to get started with LastPass and add all of your passwords and logins to your new vault. In just a few clicks, Inbox Importer scans your email inbox for existing accounts, resets and generates new passwords, and uploads them to your vault for convenient, secure access whenever you need to login to a website or app.

There is no way that you’d want to manually enter in un/pw combos for all your old accounts, going back years and years. Lastpass does that for you, even as I say the ones you don’t remember signing up for. I’d be very surprised if when I did this if it brought over fewer than 1000 sites with Login URL, username and password combinations. Are you kidding me?

OK right, maybe you have reservations about letting LP crawl your email looking for all the old login info. I understand, I really do. I know that the fact that I’ve had LP for at least 6 or 7 years now with no problems might not convince you, but I‘ll just throw it out there.

Remember that there is a time cost to trying to add hundreds or thousands of your old passwords to Lastpass. And if you have to do manually let’s face it: you won’t do it. That means you’ll stay with your current insecure passwords for your existing accounts. That defeats that whole purpose of this.

As you’d expect there are other features that I haven’t even gone into here, like giving you a secure pace to store sensitive info like credit card info, etc.

I use the browser extensions on my computers and spend a lot of time inside the Lastpass browser on iPhone.

Any downsides? Here’s one: for some sites on iOS anyway, the username and password are not automatically filled in. I’m not sure why. In this case I have to go back to my Lastpass vault and copy first my username and paste it into the username field on the site, then do the same for the password. Is it a hassle? Yep. But this happens with just a few sites and in the larger scheme of things I don’t find it to be a big deal.

In closing it goes without saying that password managers are more secure than the way 98% of us are currently managing our passwords. Admit it, your ‘system’ has to be straightforward enough not to confuse you and I’ll bet you still have multiple tries for passwords for old accounts, most likely on a daily basis. I’ll admit it: I sure did!

But no more.

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Facebook And Native Ads–A Hidden Edge That Could Have Make You Rich

Hot takes clickbait titles
Read From The Bottom Tweet!

I was drawn into this little series of tweets from Chris Mims, saying that having been a creator of ‘hot takes’, he knew that the trick–or one trick at least–was to appeal to the reader’s prejudices.

Having done quite a bit of affiliate marketing using paid traffic in my day, I’m sensitized to listen to the opinions of those who have been in the trenches. When you’re in that game you’re always seeking that (mythical) realization that could deliver you the sacred edge. It might come from anywhere, even a series of late night tweets…

I can’t ignore the larger implications of what’s happening here either.

We’re at a point where technology–social media in this case–is again changing the way we communicate.

Specifically: there is a gap between the ability of the tech to convey a message in a way that benefits the person who sent it, and the awareness or level of sophistication of the audience to understand on a basic level what the hell they’re looking at.

To be clear, the ‘people who sent it’ could be anyone from affiliate marketers to your local plumber to Russian operatives running through dozens or hundreds of Facebook accounts, staying active by swapping in farmed accounts as fast as they get banned.

So yes, the level of sophistication of the people doing the advertising varies widely, but at this time all benefit from their targeted audience’s far greater collective lack of sophistication.

Our collective difficulty is akin to illiteracy. It’s a basic skills challenge that’s not being handled by any sort of systematized understanding of these ad platforms, most notably (but by no means only) Facebook, native advertising platforms (Revcontent, Outbrain, AdNow, etc.) and Google properties.

We’ve had new forms of advertising burst on the scene rapidly, and it’s caused the kind of confusion (and manipulation) that springs from too many people being too unaware of the grammar of a new language, in effect.

It’s also made Facebook and Native advertising especially a potentially very lucrative playground for creative advertisers.

In this case the medium itself, lends itself to–it almost insists on–a blurring of the line between entertainment and deception.

It’s far too simplistic to say that “Fake News” is Facebook’s or the TV networks’ fault. When it comes to advertising, which funds everything let’s remember, the formats that are available to push an agenda are as potentially seductive as they are potentially deceptive.

Let’s look at Mims’ ‘hot takes’.

“The fastest way to go viral is to cater to the prejudices of your audiences. But it’s not serving anyone.”
“I’ll be honest: sometimes I miss hot takes though. It’s more performance art than anything.”
“Of course if you *really* want your hot take to go viral, write a ‘counter-intuitive’ take that just confirms your audiences biases.”
“All hot takes are social signaling. Which is also the function of sharing them. Facebook is not a news distribution medium.”

Note that Mims isn’t talking about products or political candidates at all. He is talking about attention, and how to attract it to your message in a way that scales.

Because the potential to scale here–what we mean when we say “virality”–is critical to this new language.

At any rate, ordinary people don’t hear musing like this from Mims often enough to get a sense of the situation from the other side. You don’t yet hear things like this articulated enough to beat back the current naivete of most people when they look at a native ad, or fail to understand that it isn’t Facebook that follows them around, showing them sponsored content…

And why would the ones who’ve been on the other side be particularly interested in explaining to you how the new grammar works? Keeping the general public unaware of what they are looking at keep the gap I mentioned earlier alive, and as wide as possible.

It is opportunity pure and simple–an edge. A profound one actually, that’s made a large number of people millionaires, and possibly played a big part in getting a candidate elected US President.

Think about what Mims is saying. It’s not about what’s happening or what you’re selling. It’s about telling a story via an emotionally provocative angle, pure and simple. An effective hook in a time of attention diluted so profoundly that phones are as vital to dinner time as food.

By the way, over time the sophistication of people reading these ‘hot takes’, viral headlines, intriguing images that defy one to click on them just to find out what in the world one is looking at, will rise.

Of course there will be more means to distribute scaled deception, seductive ‘hot takes’ too.

We’re seeing the start of this with software that allows us to alter video so that it looks like a person is speaking words they never said. We are already there with this tech, so my goodness imagine where we’ll be in 10 years.

We will simply not be able to believe our eyes and ears when it comes to video, and see aphorisms like “don’t believe everything you read” evolve into statements like “don’t believe anything that doesn’t happen right in front of you in the physical world”?

I don’t know how rational debates happen in a world where we can’t believe our eyes and ears, but I’d imagine it will feel a little like a juiced version of the skepticism people have had to employ for the last several decades when looking at or reading media reports.

A healthy skepticism as always, but amplified to match the potential deceptiveness of media, or more accurately, more powerful media in the hands of those who would manipulate.

This is not the end of the world, though it might feel like that for some people who cling to the media to provide some form of certainty. And isn’t that the point here?

That more than ever before you’ll have to do the hard thing and THINK critically.

Otherwise you will be simply a tool in the agenda of other people, marketers and most certainly people who promote politicians.

It’s as pointless to wring our hands over this as it would be to blame Facebook for taking money from anyone at all who wants to run ads…well at least under the current laws.

But all this naivete of course extends to our politicians, who aren’t likely quite yet anyway to really understand Facebook and native advertising, and are no doubt incentivized to look the other way anyway.

It’s ironic that a growing number of them will have been helped in their election campaigns by people who certainly did understand the details of  modern advertising/targeting/audience segmentation etc. works.

They, the ones who need to regulate new advertising just as TV, radio, etc. has always been, are still taking advantage of this gap between the sophistication of advertisers’ messaging and the understanding of the platforms delivering those messages had by the general public.

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Why Understanding Ad Targeting Is All The Edge You Need

Facebook targeting benefits 1From my talks with clients I’ve concluded that there’s a huge gap between what ordinary people (including business owners) assume about online marketing generally (and paid CPC/CPM specifically), and the improved methods new marketing technology offers to promote whatever you, a client, or even a political candidate needs to get in front of people.

Not to be too hard on Michael McFaul, a former US Ambassador to Russia, but his tweet is another data point that shows how even academics can still be unaware of better ways of understanding large groups of people, and affecting their behavior.

Polling is analysis. I’d never suggest it should go away. But I don’t understand why people obsess so much over polls when we now have tools that combine analysis with marketing.

Spending money and effort on methods that use that combination are insanely effective. For proof look no further than the market cap of two of the largest companies the world has ever known: Google and Facebook.

You don’t think it’s the love of cat videos that brings in so much money do you?

If I had to use one word to describe the difference between old-school commercial advertising/political polls and modern methods, it is targeting.

Sure, basic ad targeting has existed for 100+ years. I’d argue that targeting today is so different from what it was before the rise of modern ad tracking that it deserves another term altogether.

Now I haven’t made a million bucks with Google Adwords, Facebook ads and mobile ad buys, but I have spent into 5-figures USD of my own money on online advertising for affiliate campaigns, and more for client work running campaigns using each of these traffic sources.

So, right or wrong, I at least have some hard-won opinions.

There are two reasons why targeting makes marketing a different game than it used to be.

One is that we can point our marketing campaigns at specific cross-sections of our overall audience.

A person over the age of 50 with an interest in old muscle cars might respond best to marketing angles for car insurance which would work far less well with a person for whom a car is just transportation, and vice versa.

We can now know exactly what segments of the people in front of whom we are putting ads are responding to our ads and taking the action we’re hoping they’ll take.

It’s hard to put a value on this granular control over messaging.

Second, with this control over message/audience matching we have the ability to refine our ad campaigns over time, tracking user responses and data then making new campaign iterations with the goal of improving conversions and our return on the money and time we invest to get those conversions.

So if you think about this little thumbnail sketch I’ve offered, you can see intuitively some of the power that target/refine/target/refine etc. as a process has.

In the event that I’ve piqued your interest, maybe I’ll go just a little deeper.

There is an old advertising adage that goes: ‘Half of all ad dollars are wasted. But not one knows which half.’ This has been totally turned on its head today.

Rather than just indiscriminately broadcasting ads via old media like radio or TV, you can—actually you MUST, because you can—know exactly who you are paying to put ads in front of.

You can target far more than demographic characteristics too! Any company selling you space for your ads like Facebook, or Google and other ad networks, has extensive data on the interests of users, their location, a ton of detail about the devices they’re using, the apps and websites they’re spending time on, etc.

If you’re a marketer certain segments of these users will respond to your campaign better than others. Naturally rather than spreading advertising dollars even across the entire spectrum of users, you’d like to spend money to reach people who respond best.

In practice, as I say this opens the door for you to create different campaigns for users with different combinations of demographic, interests, device, location, etc. details. With enough effort, over time you can construct (“Winning campaigns are made, not found” said a very smart affiliate marketer, or words to that effect) campaigns that maximize the effectiveness of your ad spend.

You’ll never be done refining and optimizing the ads you’re using and the targeting you continually test.

Today’s winning campaign might well be next month’s tired, ineffective set of banners that everyone has seen. But with a good offer, and the right amount of creativity and analysis of what is and isn’t working, you stand a chance–over time–of getting a positive return on what you spend on ads, even after accounting for the expense of your internal marketing team, or the agency you have managing your campaigns.

In the next section I’ll cover what a lot of people think is the very best use of your advertising spend nowadays.

1000% ROI–and even more–is attainable with this type of paid campaign, and there is virtually no business that shouldn’t be testing it in 2017. Do you know what it is?

 

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The Fastest Way To Become A Good–Or Even Great–Marketer

Voluum tracker for affiliate marketing

Have you ever run affiliate marketing campaigns using paid traffic?

I think it’s best way to become a better marketer in the shortest possible time.

Why do I say that? Isn’t the best way to just buy the right courses and study for months while you learn and take notes?

Well, no. Just the opposite is true. Marketers who are doing well will inevitably encourage you to get started and learn as you go.

Having ‘studied only’ for far too long when I was starting out I can assure you that is good advice. Everything changes when you get skin in the game–I mean in terms of both time and money.

By all means read and learn all you can, but do not read blog posts without actually getting started with something or worse, let it become an excuse for not taking action at all.

But why do I say that affiliate marketing using paid traffic is the best way to get good relatively quickly at online marketing generally? Why not dive into SEO or e-commerce or some other discipline?

Simple: I’ve never done any kind of online marketing that required that I up my game in so many different ways, so fast. My goodness. I was confused all the time! And of course, that’s how I knew I was learning.

Especially putting together my first campaign, but even after that, for a long time I can’t say it was easy–I was learning so much every day.

And it had to be this way.

I’m talking about diving into spendy native advertising clicks, or buying tens or hundreds of thousands of impressions per day on mobile or desktop and testing affiliate offers to try and create campaigns where the cost of the your ad spend plus your expenses is less than the affiliate commissions you are able to generate.

There are a lot of moving parts, and even if you will eventually start to outsource some of the necessary tasks, you need to know how everything works yourself first.

To do this you need a good grasp of some of the following skills, and I mean a better than basic functional abilities too: Copywriting, basic html/CSS, web design, conversion rate optimization, tracking (shout out to tracking tokens!!!), money management, outsourcing, learning about affiliate networks and negotiating with ad managers for better payouts etc., understanding how ad platforms work, e.g. Google Adwords, Facebook, and many, many smaller traffic sources ready to sell you all kinds of traffic from every corner of the world, each with a different interface and quirky algorithm you have to get a feel for if you want to optimize your bidding properly (which frankly you have to do to compete with other affiliates and companies with far deeper pockets than you have..), understanding spy tools, and other skills.

It’s Internet marketing alchemy.

I’ve tried to crack this kind of affiliate marketing a few different times, with limited success. I expect I will try again, because I’ve learned the game now, and things get easier, and faster for me the more campaigns I run. Like anything else I suppose.

And I’ll admit it, I’ll try again also because the potential payoff is enormous. People make a million bucks on a single campaign if they can really dial it in.

Here’s one thing I can say with total certainty though: in this game you need all the help you can get, and that means having the best tracker out there. When I was running traffic I used the Voluum tracker, as did most of my friends and my mentors. (By the way, ironically enough that wasn’t an affiliate link I just posted; I’m just pointing Digital Media Minute readers at a tool I believe in wholeheartedly.)

Anyway, I just heard that Voluum is releasing a new version of their tracker, and this version supports native advertising too. If you’ve been tempted to try affiliate marketing using paid traffic I’d start with Voluum.

You’re going to have enough confusion and ‘moving parts’ anyway, as I say. This is a tool that will reduce the time it takes you to get up to speed.

It will give you quality results that give at least one critical part of your business the professionalism you have to have as you work to improve other parts of the job, and get your campaigns positive.

Voluum tracker for affiliate marketing

 

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Have You Ever Seen The Rain? Check Wind, Clouds, Rain And Much More With Windy.com

check winds

My vote for the prettiest website I’ve seen in a long time goes to Windy.com.

I went in looking for real-time info about Hurricane Irma, coming into the Caribbean as I’m writing this as a category 5 hurricane.

I found a site that offers real time information on wind, cloud cover, temperature, precipitation, ocean wave activity and barometric pressure.

Note the little arrow at the bottom left of the image below, where you can get weather forecasts in all these categories. I bookmarked this immediately.

check winds

Increase Instagram Engagement–This Tool Could Change Everything For You

Instagram engagementFor a recent e-commerce client (selling a food product) we found that our best engagement by far was from Instagram.

Considering the product is premium pickle juice meant to be used in mixed drinks especially, we weren’t surprised. My client had a ton of excellent images of attractive people enjoying all kinds of adult beverages, and never did I know how ridiculous bloody marys had become, one drink sometimes resembling an entire lunch buffet in a glass.

A point of friction was never knowing which images–some taken by fans of the product line, some from my client’s team–of our images would perform best.

Anyway, as we looked for ways to capitalize on this encouraging organic interest I ran across a new tool for Instagram that uses artificial intelligence to predict which photos in your phone’s image library stand to get the best engagement. From the Likely AI website:

LikelyAI extracts thousands of data points from an image and recognizes the popular patterns. Objects, colors, emotions, shapes, lightning, size and positioning – all of them are data points.

Take a look at the ‘challenge yourself’ section, where you’re presented with nine images, from which you pick the three you’d expect to get the best amount of engagement. Your guesses are matched against the images that performed best. It’s effective gamification of the intro to the product.

Will LikelyAI really help you? My client did see more engagement in his Instagram stats. The only downside is that as of writing the enterprise version hasn’t been released yet. I’d recommend at least taking the free 14-day unlimited trial so you can decide whether the paid product might be worth it for you.

No compensation of any kind was given for this review.
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Should You Use Google Adsense?

using google adsense

using google adsenseMonetizing your website. Using the Internet to make money. Unless your website is a hobby–nothing wrong with that by the way–it’s why you’re playing this game, right?

Look–using Google Adsense is one of the easiest ways to make money with a website. Sign up and get approved, create your ads and paste the code you’re given into your site.

In my opinion it’s not the best way to make money online, for most websites.

And I don’t say this because I ‘ve had any problems making money with Adsense, or the program itself.

In fact, for years I was using Adsense on about 100 niche and authority websites I’d created or bought starting in 2008.

They made me enough to live here in Bali, Indonesia, and 90% of my income at the time was from Adsense.

Not only that, you might notice that I’m using Adsense on this very website!

So what am I talking about?

What You’re Saying When You Use Adsense

When you put Adsense on your site you’re essentially saying you have no better idea for that valuable space than ads contexual advertising will send you.

And as good as Google is at serving ads related to the content of the page, the usage habits of the person looking at the content and the browser they’re using, etc., the ad inventory Google has available to serve your readers is limited.

More to the point, you can’t really expect these ads to convert as well as some other things you could do with the same space.

Now, ideally website monetization is something you wrap into the initial planning for the site; its focus and audience. You’ll always need to be flexible but you should have in mind a place to start. So, what other options are there? Check this out:

Adsense Alternatives

Say your passion was antique furniture, and you started a site and created quality content on where to buy it, how much to pay for antiques, how to care for them, etc.

This quality content would attract free, targeted visitors from Google and other search engines to your site. To create a more lasting connection to otherwise casual readers you’d start an email list, where you could offer premium tips, or just connect more directly with your readership.

Over time it would make sense to create products in the form of books or courses on say, refinishing furniture, how to spot fake antiques, etc.

You’d market these products to your email list subscribers. Can you see how effective and lucrative it can be to show your own offers to people who know you and trust your opinions on your topic?

Especially compared to using Google Adsense.

If you went into building this site with this sort of plan, you’d make far, far more than contextual ads. A site making a coupe hundred dollars per month can make thousands if it is properly monetized. I’ve seen it.

And know this: you can go much further with this kind of monetization custom-made for your readers than I can outline in a few sentences, as you get to know them better.

Of course, you could already own a site that you created or purchased without having much of a plan in place. That’s why I have Adsense on this site, Digital Media Minute.

Is this site well-suited as a tool to build an email list and for selling digital or physical products in the tech niche? Of course!

And I do have a plan for a course, geared toward geeks who’d like to earn more from the Internet with their skills…

In closing, I’ll mention one monetization model for which Adsense is appropriate. No doubt there are others, but this is interesting and chances are you see Adsense on this kind of site every single day.

Viral websites succeed based on the sheer number of posts they can push out each day, and the number of views (and Adsense clicks) their content gets. Resources are put toward getting as much distribution and reach as possible using social media, etc.

Matching a piece of content with an offer that might be appropriate for readers of the article would have a cost associated with it, and you do see affiliate links in content on these sites.

However, Adsense ads normally reside in the template or code of the site and don’t have to be manually inserted into maybe dozens of posts per day, so they’re a quick solution here that makes sense.

My point isn’t to dissuade you from using Adsense at all. I’m just encouraging you to have a flexible monetization plan in place if you’re just starting a site, and always be thinking about how to better monetize as you get going.

If you have any comments or questions please drop me a line below.

 

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How To Live In Bali As A Digital Nomad

How To Live In Bali 2017 edition

In 2005 I bought a little place in Bali, Indonesia. In that time I’ve seen profound changes here, most of them good in my opinion.

Bali sits in a sweet spot between exotic and familiar, inexpensive but comfortable.

Why would I be mentioning this bit of personal info and talking about how to live in Bali on a tech-oriented website?

In the early 2000s I remember meeting a couple of people who were blogging about their travels. I was intrigued at the time, though it didn’t seem too lucrative and I wasn’t sure how it could be. By 2009 I had over a hundred websites, both niche and authority sites bringing in enough Adsense income to support things here.

I never cracked the travel blogging niche, but I did have WageFreedom.com, a non-commercial site where I’d put some of my writing about my experience of Bali, and the idea that if a person is sick of cubicle life or working for someone else that the Internet had changed the situation, that you could wage freedom if you were willing to seize the opportunity.

It was the attitude I’d kept alive in myself, thru years of working jobs I didn’t like, doing things in which I had little interest.

I was surprised to see that eventually most of the emails I got–soon they were coming every day–were less about living in Bali and more about breaking free from employment. How to make enough money from the Internet to live in Southeast Asia, or simply to quit your job and be your own boss in your hometown.

For me these were all related topics, so I put my answers to the most common questions I’d get into a PDF that I could send to people who had questions on the details of living in Bali for longer than a tourist, and some of the ways you can use the Internet to fund it.

Along the way we all became aware of the term ‘digital nomad’. Bali has become a huge destination for them.

My PDF went thru a few incarnations and the latest edition, all new for 2017, is a book with almost 30,000 words.

I thought it might be appropriate to mention it on Digital Media Minute, since I know the average reader has more tech skills than they need to support themselves using the Internet in SE Asia.

The book won’t be of interest to many readers. But for people like the guy I used to be, desperately looking for a way to break out and live a bigger live, you’ll find more info at this link.

My Favorite Keyword Volume And Related Keywords Free SEO Tools

Free SEO keyword research tools

Free SEO keyword research toolsI want to point you to two SEO tools I’ve been using for a long time now, tools that work together to let me do two major SEO tasks very, very quickly: finding related keywords and get keyword volumes/CPC amounts. Even better, they are free. Sometimes a lean tool with fewer features is best, and these tools are a good case in point.

When you’re doing keyword research it’s vital to get a wide range of keywords related to the topic you intend to create content around, or the primary keyword you’ll be targeting, if you have it defined. Keyword Shitter (sorry, but that is its name) allows you to put in one or several keywords and then quickly get dozens or even hundreds of related keywords returned to you.

These related keywords serve a dual purpose. First, you can discover keywords worth targeting which might be even more attractive than the keyword you’re currently targeting, in terms of relatively high search volumes or low SERP competition.

Second, to include as many LSI (latent semantic indexing) keywords is good onpage SEO practice. You’re sure to find many to include in your article or blog post that’s you’d never have otherwise thought of. There are more thorough tools for this but I still find myself using this tool because it’s so fast.

The second tool is Keywords Everywhere. First, find and install the browser extension. Then, paste as many keywords as you’d like into it and immediately get the search volume and CPC amounts for each keyword. Choose to get stats from several different countries or ‘global’ for the whole world.

See video for the 90 second workflow.

Editing Google Analytics User Access–When It’s Not Your Website

A friend of mine was considering buying a website and asked my opinion on it. After checking to see that the site did in fact have Google Analytics installed (just click your right mouse button and look for ‘view page source’), I told him to ask the seller to add me to their Google Analytics account.

In case you aren’t aware, you can share read-only access to your Analytics account stats for any website in your account.

I looked at the site, gave my friend a thumbs-down (way too little traffic for the asking price!) and then attempted to remove myself as a user, so that the site in question would no longer show in the list of sites in my own Analytics account.

After granting someone read-only access to the Google Analytics stats for a website you own, removing their access is simple enough, but I just spent too long looking for a way to remove someone else’s website from my Analytics account so that it  would no longer show in the list of sites in my Analytics admin.

A little Googling didn’t help me, even searching more recent results, so let’s see if I can help someone else here without getting too convoluted in my explanation.

Go into your Google Analytics account and–on the desktop dashboard–look for the gear icon in the far left bottom corner. In the upper left hand corner in the pulldown menu find the website you want to remove from the list of websites in your admin area–the site in the case owed by someone else.

Now, simply click on “User Management” in the Account column:

google analytics user access

Assuming you do not own the site you have selected, you will now see the following. Click the blue “Remove myself from this account” button and you are done!

User management remove myself from this account

Fake Word Generator

Marc Liyanage has a neat web-based tool that allows you to Create Fake Words. This tool is handy when looking for a unique Top-Level Domain (like I did with braxio.com).  The need for new business names is on the rise because nowadays many “businesses” are little more than websites that fulfill a need in one niche or another. Here’s an enormous problem though: too many people spend weeks (or even months!) searching for that “perfect” catchy business name. A fake word generator helps you come up with a catchy brandable name for your idea so that you can quickly move on to the hard stuff, which is getting the business actually going!

It’s not unusual for a single person to need a name for their one-person service business; freelancers and self-employed consultants seem to be rising quickly in numbers since the Internet has made it so easy for people to market their services online. In any case it’s nice to know that there is a tool that can very easily generate fake words that we can then register as domains if they’re available, and get on with the business of running our business.

Most dictionary words have already been registered, so using a fake word generator can be a big help!

Understanding Git With Gitk Tutorial

Joshua Flanagan at Los Techies has a really excellent 2-part gitk tutorial to look at if you want to understand git, starting you at the beginning with creating a branch and making commits in this article. Part two is on understanding merge and rebase with gitk. We are doing more and more articles on Git because clearly it is becoming more widely used over time. I’m always looking for good tutorials on Git especially for beginners as I think a lot of people are intimidated especially by the idea of merging and making commits with it.

It’s not as difficult as you might think in reality, and it’s a shame if you aren’t using it already because you are intimidated by it. To get over that hurdle I suggest you go take a look at both this 2 part gitk tutorial article.

Looking for a Business Name?

Starting up a new media firm? Need digital media company name suggestions? Looking for a company name and a catchy tagline to suit branding for just about any business at all? New Media Company Generator will display a random company name and tagline for you! As more and more people catch the entrepreneurial bug and start their own companies, of either the online or traditional brick-and-mortar type, free tools like this becomes more relevant dreaming up names for so-called ‘brandable’ company names. You can stop bothering your friends for naming ideas for this business concept you have that doesn’t seem to want to go away, by making use of random name generators on the Internet that provide you with an endless source of potentially catchy, branded business names.

Viewing Browser Cache in Firefox

In need of a fast solution for a Firefox cache viewer? Firefox has a nice way to view files that are in both your memory and file cache. When using Firefox view cache by going to the the Address Bar, and type about:cache. This will take you to a page that allows you to view a summary of your browser cache and also will allow you to browse the files stored in the cache. There are various reasons why you might want to view Firefox cache–for example if you’re looking for files you might have downloaded while using Firefox whose name you cannot remember, or if you are interested in keeping closer tabs on your kid’s internet usage. By the way, this Mozilla cache viewer functionality will not work if your cache is disabled in Firefox.
Hit this link to change Firefox cache location.