Thursday, 26 April 2007

Site building software

It's hard work building a website with software that works like a word processor, such as Nvu. Although this is great for producing one page, and easy to use for anyone familiar with WYSIWYG applications like Microsoft Word, it has serious disadvantages for dealing with anything beyond a few pages.

Serious site development software includes Ken Evoy's tremendously popular Site Build It! aimed primarily at producing medium sized commercial websites, and XSitePro, suitable for producing as many smaller websites as you like. These packages are very popular with good reason. Each provides a wide range of hugely useful functions that make producing and managing high quality websites that make money.

Both of the big two packages provide some degree of automation of the development of a website, such as XSitePro's nice feature of turning a long text document in to an online book in one go, complete with navigation links on every page, but there is other software around that takes the process further. It is necessary to be very careful using software like Targeted traffic or Traffic Hurricane, which are capable of producing thousands of pages of search engine oriented pages. If used without major editing of all of the output pages, the use of this sort of software will get you banned from using adsense, and from the google search engine database, and smaller search engines and providers of context dependent advertising are likely to follow. Some have reported using this sort of software to produce a shell of a website and then edit the pages beyond recognition to avoid any accusations of doorway pages, search engine scraping, etc., but I'm not sure it's worth the trouble, and the risk.

HyperVRE is a rather more respectable package, aimed at producing smallish content-based sites automatically. The basic idea of HyperVRE is to pick a theme, find public domain (or, in the paid version, any other source, including private label documents) around that theme and automatically generate a decent looking website, with context dependent advertising, affiliate marketing, and text link advertising.

HyperVRE has some nice ideas, such as the inclusion of RSS feeds to pages to add some freshness, a facility to include random snippets of other pages within a page to allow a reader to wander through the site. However it is rough and ready in some respects, has a few things that are more bugs than features. I think of HyperVRE as a toy rather than a tool for developing serious websites, although at least one person has made $9000 a month with websites produced with it. It is possible to produce something which looks like a website very quickly. But the organisation of the site is chaotic. To make it into a website that is well-organised would be a lot more work, and probably better done using other software.

With the hindsight of experience, I think for someone aiming to produce a real business rather than grab a few quick pennies before the roof falls in, XSitePro is best for building small websites, and Site Build It may be worth considering for a single larger site, especially for someone who would not feel concerned about being able to use scripts not included and produce multiple domains (without paying additional $300 a year).

Sunday, 22 April 2007

Alexa Toolbar

I often use the Alexa traffic ranking tool to get a rough idea of how active a website is, and how it's activity is changing over time. I've not installed it up to now, mainly because of a few scare stories about compatibility problems, and also that my antivirus tool gives persistent warnings about it (it is classified by some as adware, or a "potentially unwanted program" or PUP). However, as I often refer to in a typical day, the advantage is considerable, so I have taken the plunge and installed it. The immediate impression is that everything is fine.

Alexa - Alexa Toolbar

Friday, 6 April 2007

Seeking the truth

This has been a very exciting and critical week. Interesting that it encompassed the changeover from one tax year to the next and leading towards Easter, making it an important time for many people for different reasons.

I have changed my occupation again. Well slightly, and very much in the right direction, I think.

Last weekend, Joel Comm convinced me to sign up with It wasn't very difficult for him to do so, as they were offering a $1 introductory offer for 2 weeks trial of software that sounded very useful indeed to an affiliate marketer, dealing with some of the things that are difficult.

Specifically SMM builds 1/2 page mini websites specifically for the purpose of preselling any one chosen affiliate product. Wayne van Dyck (the CEO) sells these machines in packs of 5 and 15 (a nice pitch) for $300+ a year. Well, it was good enough for me to get a few affliate business models off the ground in a few days, but then I got sidetracked to a quite different business model.

I've always liked the idea of putting good quality content on the web and getting paid for adsense ads on it, though I've only done this in a tiny way, without getting past the crucial traffic issue. Then I came across HyperVRE. This has real wow factor, using state of the art viral marketing and an Internet feed of PLR articles to allow the building of websites around any chosen keyword group. Wow. One trick it uses is to include RSS feeds to individualise the content adequately.

There seem to be a few glitches in the software - RSS feeds seem to get garbled sometimes for no obvious reason - but I reckon they are workable around. The big problem I noticed is the very mixed quality of the content. I have heard that if you put adsense ads in lousy content you get a lot of clicks, but I couldn't live with that. I would prefer to create a website that people would regard highly, and maybe even remember and come back. It is a service to increase the average quality of content on the Internet, especially in areas where demand exceeds supply.

In order to do that, I need some extra arms and brains to produce material fast enough. Fortunately, I can hire in the services of ghost writers through syndicated Public Label Rights publishing of original quality material written by experts.

There are relatively cheap PLR providers around, from about $20 a month upwards, but on a recommendation from an existing user, I signed up with Articles Underground. I doubt that I will regret it, but time will tell. If I am wrong, I lose $97. If I am right, I reckon on gaining a good income.

Watch this space.