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  1. #1
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    Hi all.
    I'm curious - how long was your learning curve?

    I've been online for about 5 years, and when I sustained an on-the-job injury and was forced to change occupations, I decided to go back to college. (yeah, at age 47...)

    Anyway, I originally was going to get networking certification, MCSE or such, but saw the field was crowded with fresh-faced 20-somethings.

    So I switched to E-Commerce. I figured that since I liked computers, knew how to surf the net, I might as well jump in and sell stuff. Heck, it couldn't be that hard to throw up a page or twenty and rake in the cash, right?

    Sooo...I took HTML 1&2, Javascript (still get lost) DHTML, Databases (Excel), Spreadsheets (Access) networking 101, and other related classes.

    The point is, I have tons of books, a somewhat college background, and decided that I'd "make web pages and get rich!"

    When reality hit, I realized how much I didn't know.
    The books didn't teach how to FTP a server. They didn't teach what an affiliate program was. They didn't warn of all the gotta-get-my-incredible-can't-live-without-it latest from the net "Gurus" who have upteen affiliates all claiming that their latest (book, tape, conference)is the greatest thing since sliced bread.

    I stumbled across this forum. I must say that it was one of my wiser moves.

    After lurking, learning, laughing, I decided to get my feet wet.

    I've been designing like crazy. I had an affiliate program picked out, hand-coded around 32 pages, and was ready to upload them when I decided to "validate" the pages. Sheesh. I didn't realize browsers were so picky. Back to coding, testing, ect.

    I plan to "go live" Sunday or Monday. I've got the next affiliate program already picked out.

    How long was your learning curve? I've been through hours of aggravation, building pages that were cheesy, (but learning as I went)and finding out that I didn't know as much as I thought I did.

    Not to mention, this takes work! It sure isn't the get-rich-quick path the internet "gurus" would have you believe.

    I'll tell you this much though, I'm bound and damn determined to make affliliate promotion pay off eventually.

    I know that if I hang around here enough, I might pick up a tidbit or two.

    Who knows? Maybe one day I'll figure out Webmerge and get started on datafeeds.

    So how about it? Do you have any words of encouragement or inspiration for folks like me?

    Later,
    Rick K.
    "Whether you think you can, or whether you think you can't...You're right!" -Henry Ford-

  2. #2
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    Exactly why I opened shop for ABW members. It amazes me to this day how much people do not understand, yet are capable of making money in spit of there lack of knowledge.

    It may not be about the learning curve but the desire and NATURAL talents of a sales person?

  3. #3
    ABW Veteran Student Heyder's Avatar
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    It's more of a constant learning loop than a curve . In a curve you get to an end result or a know all point. In reality it's a loop where you circle around and hope to be faster than everyone else with whatever comes new.

  4. #4
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    Rick,

    The quick answer to your question is that you never stop learning. eCommerce and affiliate marketing are very fluid. Your learning curve may flatten out a bit, but it will never flatten out entirely.

    The biggest problem (and challenge) I see in affiliate marketing are the crooks and the parasites. You'll never entirely beat them, but you can try to keep their activity to a minimum. The biggest problem is keeping up with their newest antic to steal other's money.

    Good luck.

    Bob

  5. #5
    ABW Ambassador mousejockey's Avatar
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    Hi Rick, words of inspiration and encouragement...just keep growing and learning and don't let anyone or thing get you down.

    As for the learning curve, there is always something new to learn in affiliate marketing, always new challenges and learning curves.

    Get Rich Guru's would have you believe it's the easist game in the world and when things are running smoothly it is like having an automated cash machine. It's the sweetest thing you can imagine but even then you have to be prepared for Murphy's Law.
    Most of the time, it's just plain hard yakka, late nights,square eyes and various aches and pains and plenty of aggravation even so, it's still a cash cow.

    Every success with your new site and don't get down if things don't happen immediately. Sometimes the payoff can come quick, other times it can be a slow grind.

  6. #6
    Chick with Brains Tracy's Avatar
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    I'd have to say it never ends. I work on my website every day, and I'm still finding new tricks and shortcuts ... I learn something new every day.

    You're right that this is the best place on the web for inspiration. In fact, I think the most inspiring message I read was the one (and I forget who posted it), but basically year before last somebody posted that she had set a goal to be making $10K per month by the end of the year and made it in July. She thanked all here, and said the page a day/website a month rule was what made it happen for her. That's when it hit me ... this is a numbers game. In order to succeed in affiliate marketing I had to keep adding pages to my site.

    I started my website in August 2000, and discovered affiliate marketing by accident that October. I remember my first commission was $2.00, and how excited I was to see it. I labored for over a year in the dark before I found ABW. Up until then, it was just a hobby. When I read that post, I got serious about affiliate marketing ... and what a difference it has made. I quit my job in March of last year, and it's the best thing I ever did. I'm earning more now than I ever have working for somebody else.

    You're right about one thing ... it does take work, but more importantly dedication. It's not a get rich quick scheme. But, I'd much rather be working at home in my pajamas on my own schedule, than for somebody else. It's an opportunity to be creative, and the more I put into it, the more I earn.

  7. #7
    ABW Ambassador darkstar7's Avatar
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    I've been doing this since '98. My learning hasn't stopped yet. I learn some new little tidbit everyday. ABW has helped a lot.
    Luke
    Have you promoted your brand name today?

  8. #8
    Member lourlour's Avatar
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    ...........I also remember thinking that one day I would know everything there is to know about web marketing and earning $ at it. But the truth is that everytime I try something different with my sites, I learn something new.

    It helps to keep me on my toes knowing that there isn't just one way to market a product and to keep experimenting with new ideas and designs if something doesn't seem to be working.

  9. #9
    notary sojac Herb ԿԬ's Avatar
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    Rick: sounds very familiar.

    I DID get my MCSE, back in '98, and also saw the young crowd get the jobs. I already had some sites up so while jobhunting for several years I worked on them. Later a family member went into permanent nursing home mode at which time I stopped job hunting and collected my social insecurity checks.

    I'm certainly not getting rich but this is a very good supplement to the tiny checks I get. (at least, when the reporting is turned on.)

  10. #10
    ABW Ambassador ToughTurkey's Avatar
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    My biggest leaps came when (in no paticular order):
    1) I figured out datafeeds
    2) I found ABW
    3) I invested in Dreamweaver
    4) I found this
    5) I realized that my weblogs were my best friend (Can you believe I used to stare at the list of referral words and think "Why's that idiot looking for purple widgets on my site?")

    And some more I can't think of at the moment.

  11. #11
    Full Member kapsat's Avatar
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    i would also say the learning never stops. i learn something new at least weekly. However when its all said and done i try and keep it simple.
    dave

  12. #12
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    Its a little about learning and a lot about looking into the future. See what the future holds and make the connections NOW ! Are you still designing your site for 56K 800 x 600 IE6 ? If you are, then you are stuck in the 90's (last century ). The trick is to 'Marry' Now with the FUTURE.
    www.joeytomatoes.com :: Day Care For Your Brain

  13. #13
    ABW Ambassador swampy_webber's Avatar
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    I'm planning to finish my 'learning curve' tomorrow. Check back and I'll let you know how that went.
    Life is like a dogsled team. If you ain't the lead dog, the scenery never changes.

    -- Lewis Grizzard

  14. #14
    ABW Veteran Mr. Sal's Avatar
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by joeytomatoes:
    Its a little about learning and a lot about looking into the future. See what the future holds and make the connections NOW ! Are you still designing your site for 56K 800 x 600 IE6 ? If you are, then you are stuck in the 90's (last century ). The trick is to 'Marry' Now with the FUTURE. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Joey, while it's good to see what the future holds, I don't think it's wise to do all the pages now the way you are suggesting. I visited joeytomatoes.com and I had to scroll left and right many times in order to read just the index page once.

    I might by wrong but, I guess that most of the web visitors won't like to have to scroll left and right in order to find the product description in one side and the buy it now on the other site, specially after they already had to scroll up and down on a long page.

    I have visited many sites that have more than 800 x 600 but, they have an script that auto adjust their screen size to the visitors screen size and that is good but, on your site you're forcing the visitor to scroll left and right if they only have 800 x 600, I think you might be missing money on some (56K 800 x 600 IE6) stuck in the 90's (last century ) internet shoppers.

    I am not criticizing the way you make your sites, I am only saying that I guess I am not the only one that leave a site fast if I have to be scrolling all over one page in order to read it all.

    Sal.

  15. #15
    ABW Adviser Panel Dynamoo's Avatar
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    I agree.. you never stop learning in this game. It's a little like swimming against the tide or paddling upstream.. you have to constantly keep making the effort. Sometimes you'll slip back, sometimes you'll rush ahead. But to begin with you might feel that you're not getting anywhere at all.

    As for site design.. I think the majority feeling is that affiliate sites need to be fairly simple but presentable. Your main aim is to attract the visitor in the first place, maybe give them a little sales spin and then pass them to the merchant.
    Innovative advertising with Slimeware Corporation and Telephore. Mail-order fuel with Petrol Direct.

  16. #16
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    Thanks Sal,
    Only 18 percent of the views are using 800 x 600. 82% are using something else. only 8% is on 56K. 92% is on BroadBand. While 70% is using IE6 we see the number dwindling as open source browsers become more popular. We are designing towards the more savvy visitor. But thanks for your thoughts and thanks for visiting us.
    www.joeytomatoes.com :: Day Care For Your Brain

  17. #17
    Fear and Arrogance jrrl's Avatar
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    92% use broadband? Not according to anything I've read or seen. For example: http://www.internetnews.com/infra/article.php/3406121
    There's a reason army's wear uniforms even though it makes them easier to spot. Sometimes that's what you want. Uniforms suggest organization, power, and numbers. These, in turn, inspire fear. And, as any good operative knows, there is no more effective weapon than fear.

    Hosting Comparison - HostScope - jrrl.com

  18. #18
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    Joey, not sure where you're getting your numbers but they're way off.

    Typical user:
    1024x768 about 45%
    800x600 about 40%

    92% using broadband? Don't think so.

    I got about 76% using IE 6 and 18% using IE 5 = 94% with various Netscape browsers using 5%. So less than 1% of typical users are using something other than IE or Netscape, maybe more computer savvy people, i guess it depends on your traffic.

    As far as learning curve, always learning, i don't even know html but luckily my editor does, i know enough to make an affiliate site. Marketing, SEO, conversions are more my thing. Site design, keep it simple as possible. Part of what my brother does for a living is advising companies on their sites and usability, so i got that pounded into me from the start. Links blue and underlined , having every page within 2 clicks from the home page, that kinda stuff.

  19. #19
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    Info is off our server logs. Those who visit us. We are not talking about general or generic stats.

    BTW More than 50% of the US is now Broadband according to this weeks Google news.

    //Edit
    Our interest was peaked so we did a little search. California is in our top 10 States who visit us.

    NEW YORK — September 15, 2004 — Nielsen//NetRatings, the global standard for Internet audience measurement and analysis, reported the top local markets connected via broadband at-home during the month of August 2004. Tracking 35 local markets in the U.S., Nielsen//NetRatings found that the cities of San Diego, Phoenix, Detroit, New York and Sacramento represented the top five wired local markets connected via broadband access with penetration rates of 65 percent or higher among the active Internet population of 148 million

    Table 1. Top Local Markets Connected via Broadband, August 2004 (U.S., Home)
    Local Market Percent of Broadband Within Local Market

    1. San Diego
    69.6
    2. Phoenix
    68.4
    3. Detroit
    67.0
    4. New York
    66.8
    5. Sacramento
    64.9
    6. Orlando
    64.7
    7. Seattle
    63.0
    8. San Francisco
    63.0
    9. Los Angeles
    61.6
    10. Boston
    61.4

    Table 2. Local Markets Most Connected via Narrowband, August 2004 (U.S., Home)
    Local Market Percent of Broadband Within Local Market
    1. Baltimore
    50.1
    2. Miami
    49.6
    3. Chicago
    48.4
    4. Denver
    48.3
    5. Minneapolis
    46.9
    6. Milwaukee
    39.3
    7. Salt Lake City
    35.3
    8. Pittsburgh
    33.3
    9. Charlotte
    31.6
    10. Columbus
    26.9
    Source: Nielsen//NetRatings, September 2004


    // Source 2 clickz Stats Broadband

    The study says that broadband users were specifically targeted, as they represent the next generation of Internet users. This assumption is supported by findings from Nielsen//NetRatings that put home broadband at 49 percent of all U.S. Web connections as of May 2004, surging from just 9 percent of the active online population in 2000.
    www.joeytomatoes.com :: Day Care For Your Brain

  20. #20
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    "We are not talking about general or generic stats."

    I know, that's why i said "i guess it depends on your traffic." The typical affiliate site there is no downloading.

    Your site is not the typical affiliate site, most people go to your site to download stuff, why most of your users would be using broadband.

  21. #21
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    a week to pick up html and learn dreamweaver, the next few months screwing around with adwords and learning SEO stuffs, 2 months of moping as google traffic dropped to zilch, up to now been overhauling some parts of sites with php and mysql, adding datafeeds, etc etc.

    Picking up pieces of object oriented php bit by bit.. I get most of it.. I just haven't implemented anything.

    my dreams have been crushed by reality.. traffic is not easy to aquire, I lack ad copy writing skills, and graphic design.

    started in Sept 03.

    Over a year and I can't say I'm having a lot of success.. I still see the potential.. but I also see the roadblocks and pitalls and sharks.

  22. #22
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    Thanks to everyone that replied. I did learn a tidbit or two, mostly common-sense type stuff that you ordinarily wouldn't think of unless you've "been there, done that".

    Tough Turkey pointed me to the overture suggestion tool. Thanks, T.T., but I've been doing my homework, and found the overture split-screen tool that gives keyword bid amounts as well as search term suggestions. It's at http://www.pixelfast.com/overture/ .

    Plus you quoted, "5) I realized that my weblogs were my best friend (Can you believe I used to stare at the list of referral words and think "Why's that idiot looking for purple widgets on my site?")

    Something I wouldn't have thought of till later down the road. Thanks, T.T.

    I found another neat little tool you-all probably already know about, but I'll post it anyway. It's the Geeyo Niche Market Research tool, and it's great. It helped me find good meta-tags and keywords for my first affiliate website. I found related search terms that people were looking for, that had a supply/demand ratio of 1000% or better. I'm sure this tool will come in very handy. It's at http://www.geeyo.com/docs/market_research.html

    Mr. Sal wrote, "I have visited many sites that have more than 800 x 600 but, they have an script that auto adjust their screen size to the visitors screen size. "

    I ran across the script for that. Do you think it's best to design two different sites for different resolutions? One for 800x600, one for 1024x768?
    Is it really worth the time? And how would you call for the different webpages...widgets.com (800x600) subdirectory widgets.1024.com?

    Thanks, all.
    Most of all, thanks for sharing some of your wisdom. I've been to other forum boards, and posted questions. But, no one really got back to me. There seemed to be 6-10 "members-of-the-clique" that would only answer each other. Oh. I got replies, mostly ones that didn't answer my question and only wanted to leave their signature file link.
    So I appreciate you folks taking time out to reply to my post.
    Rick K.
    "Whether you think you can, or whether you think you can't...You're right!" -Henry Ford-

  23. #23
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    Learning curve never ends and the biggest asset is to be open to learning. Don't get set in your ways and decide it's "your way or the highway".

    Stats on some sites show only broadband users with high tech monitors and computers, but the shoppers are still using Windows 95 and the 800x600, webtv, and all kinds of different funky browsers. And they are connecting with dial up, AOL, satellite (good and bad!) and broadband. High tech sites only show high tech stats, since the rest of the visitors go away before the page can load.

    Just things to think about. Surveys and stats and what other people tell you are great, but you have to go with your gut. My gut says, keep it simple, keep it real, keep it easy to use and make sure it works on old computers and new computers.

    Final word from me: Go watch people shop online. Go watch your friends and family. You will learn a lot. And it won't be what you expect. Ask everyone you meet what kind of computer and OS they have. You will be shocked.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  24. #24
    ABW Adviser Panel Dynamoo's Avatar
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    My stats show between 10%-25% use 800x600 pixels. Joeytomatoes.com ain't your typical kind of site, so the demographics will be different.

    You can design for 800x600 and higher with care. Once you've set up a basic template that you've tested in all three major resoltions (800x600, 1024x768, 1280x1024) then you should be OK. You *can* do this with tables, although if you have the patience you can apparently do it with CSS.

    Personally, I don't use PHP, CSS, ASP etc. The only thing I regret not doing for ALL my sites to begin with was using SSI (server side includes) and frankly it's too late now, because I don't want to change my .htm endings to .shtml on sites that are doing quite well. I curse myself for not using SSI when I have to go through hundreds of pages to change something simple like navigation links.

    Don't forget to test your site with Firefox or Mozilla rather than just IE. Opera would be a useful thing to try too.
    Innovative advertising with Slimeware Corporation and Telephore. Mail-order fuel with Petrol Direct.

  25. #25
    Full Member kapsat's Avatar
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    It's Never To Late

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>The only thing I regret not doing for ALL my sites to begin with was using SSI (server side includes) and frankly it's too late now, because I don't want to change my .htm endings to .shtml on sites that are doing quite well. I curse myself for not using SSI when I have to go through hundreds of pages to change something simple like navigation links. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    i know exactly how you feel!

    i had the same problem then i read that if you ad a few lines to your .htaccess file in your root directory you can have your .htm or.html file parse as if they were .shtml

    this is what you need to add to your .htaccess file
    <pre class="ip-ubbcode-code-pre">
    AddType text/html .shtml
    AddHandler server-parsed .html .htm
    Options Indexes FollowSymLinks Includes
    </pre>

    i have done this to a few sites i have with out any problems.

    Note: it is a *little* more work for your server.
    dave

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