The Unfashionable Value Of Alexa And PageRank
10 Giveaway Signs That You Work Too Much
Enhance Your Creativity With Binaural Beats

The Unfashionable Value Of Alexa And PageRank

If you’ve ever stumbled in to the trenches of marketing communities like The Warrior Forum or Digital Point – and let’s face it, most of us have – you’ll have been greeted by thread after thread of newbies asking questions like “How do I improve my PageRank?” or “How do I get in to Alexa’s top 100,000?”

It has become popular geekspeak to dismiss both PageRank and Alexa as useless metrics from a prehistoric age. Neither are accurate depictions of your site’s success, so why bother paying attention to them? This advice typically comes from the same mob who insist on not providing support for IE because it’s the worst web browser, in their expert opinions.

I agree with the sentiment, but I completely disagree with their interpretation of what equals value on the web. In my opinion, Alexa and PageRank will be valuable metrics as long as paying advertisers continue to use them as guidelines for measuring their investments.

Google PageRank has to be one of the most misunderstood concepts on the web. If I check my junk mail right now, I’m guaranteed to find a whole bunch of sales pitches from so-called SEO professionals offering to improve my PageRank so that I can drive more traffic to my site. This evidence, right here, goes a long way to explaining why their shit lands in my junk box.

Toolbar PageRank is disconnected from the actual ranking algorithm that Google uses to place your pages in it’s search listings. They are not related, although they may share similar data. PageRank has developed a reputation as a useless metric. It’s the distant bastard cousin of the true ranking algorithm we’d all love to know.

However, PageRank can still add value to your website. There are swaths of advertisers with money to spend. Advertisers who will continue to place artificial value on PR. And if that’s the difference between your site attracting advertisers or not, wouldn’t you be a fool not to value your little green progress bar?

The Alexa rank is very similar. Most of us with our heads screwed on can appreciate how the data derived from Alexa is twisted at best, and complete bollocks at worst. But does this matter if advertisers are investing in what they believe to be one of the top 20,000 websites in America?

There’s a small but very active market for professional site-flippers who know exactly how these factors can be used as an advantage. I know one particular site-flipper who develops turnkey websites and massively inflates their value by playing to the perception.

He doesn’t bother with the chore of building a brand. No, that wouldn’t catch the eye. Instead he works meticulously to inflate PR, boost Alexa rank and improve a bunch of other key measurements that he knows the buyers are impressed by.

He banks a lot of money by simply knowing his market.

If you’re building a website from scratch with the intention of turning it in to an advertising machine, or flipping it for profit, look closely at what your market values – and then build it in that image.

PageRank and Alexa rankings are only useless metrics if you can’t find a way to sell them to the people who still care. I would never encourage somebody to base their marketing efforts purely around increasing these values. But to dismiss them as pointless is as dumb as not listening to what your customers are basing their purchases on.

In my opinion, your website is only as valuable as the money you make from it. If your primary income is through selling advertising space, you need to be speaking in the buyer’s language. This is something I stress time and time again. It doesn’t matter how much knowledge you’ve accumulated to tell them otherwise. Putting across the right image and ticking the right boxes is all you can do.

If the people buying ads are basing their decisions on search engine rankings, you need to rank well. If they’re basing their decisions on branding, you need to brand well. If they still cling to measuring scales like Alexa and PageRank, I hate to say it, but you need to consider them too.

I don’t want this to sound like a sweeping endorsement of PageRank and Alexa, because that’s the last message I’m trying to convey. I’d be about as popular as the guy petitioning equal rights for IE6. But I do believe that any measurement of a site’s value can be given a positive spin and used as bait to attract more advertisers. If this means agitating a few of the Google PR “myth debunkers”, then so be it.

We often confuse our webmaster ideology with real world practicality. What we know means precisely squat diddily compared to what the guy with the credit card in his hand thinks he knows.

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10 Giveaway Signs That You Work Too Much

It’s 3 o’clock in the morning and you’re stubbornly refusing to go to bed as long as yesterday’s campaigns still need fixing. Your eyes are sore, your back is creaking and your balls are mash potatoed from the chronic strain. Does this sound like last night to you? Even worse, does this sound like EVERY night?

I believe I could write an encyclopedia on how to live the most unhealthy life imaginable while working from home. It’d be pretty fucking girthy too, because I’ve learnt every trick in the book.

This is not my attempt to claim a medal or the dubious honour of “Guaranteed to be Dead Before You”, but rather a wake-up call for any other affiliates who are putting themselves under an unhealthy amount of strain. It’s something that applies to everybody, whether you’re making money or not.

Blistering tension headaches – Last year, I went to get laser eye surgery only to find that my eye pressure had soared to such a level that some crazy popping shit would have probably gone down if they’d operated on me. Okay, they weren’t ready to explode, but I was on the receiving end of some blistering tension headaches. You remember the high school advice about taking a fifteen minute break every hour? We are the square eyed gremlins that should actually be listening.

I’ve managed to get rid of my constant headaches. Which is a relief because they can be quite debilitating for anybody who works in front of a screen. Drink lots of water, maintain good posture and take regular breaks. A good backlighting helps too.

Days become one – Is your 2011 Christmas calendar marked with “same shit, different day” from January to December? Right from a young age, we’re given structure in our lives through the regularity of school on Monday to Friday. Most people then find themselves in day jobs that follow the same pattern. For those who wake up one day realizing they don’t have to go to work anymore, days tend to merge together and it can be very easy to grow tired through the absence of a healthy fixed schedule.

It’s not a sin to take the weekend off. But if you have no recollection of what day it is, or the date, or even the time, you probably need to introduce greater structure to your day. One thing I’ve noticed is that I budget to spend whatever time I have on the same tasks I’ve set. Give myself too much time and I’ll simply work twice as slow. So by giving yourself two days off, you can force greater productivity out of the remaining work days.

Checking your phone constantly – How often do you find yourself having your ear chewed off in a really boring pub conversation, quietly wishing the bastard across the table would just drink up so his bladder bursts and you can check your Gmail? Just because technology is at your fingertips 24/7, that doesn’t mean you’re constantly on the job.

I haven’t used a mobile phone in over 7 months since I moved to Thailand. That’s partly down to a desire to be disconnected from distracting pocket vibrations, and partly because my instruction manual is in Thai. Either way, your emails aren’t going to disappear. And you don’t want to end up acting like this.

Volatile mood swings – Does your mood correlate with your stats? Are you a whimsical little treasure on good days and a WickedFire poster on bad days? Most full time affiliates are passionate about their jobs to such an extent that the pride and engrossment of running their business can cloud all sense of judgment. So if you have a bad day and your ROI plummets, it can be very tempting to let the stats control your mood.

Part of overcoming volatile mood swings is your ability to recognize that the good days are closely intertwined with the bad days. None of us are enjoying profitable campaigns without a rich memory of the nights spent bashing our heads at a brick wall. You have to embrace that this is the way it goes. You chose not to have the security of a guaranteed salary. In return, you have the freedom to excel and earn as much as you deserve.

Fleeting bouts of insomnia – When you’re eating pizza for breakfast, you know you’ve got problems. I prefer to do much of my work at night, but I still get a lot of sleep. So much so that my maid is probably convinced I’m a vampire by now.

It’s a simple fact that the brain cannot and will not function at it’s optimal level if you’re not getting enough sleep. If you work through the night, take a two hour nap, then get up and go again – you’re going to hit a wall sooner rather than later. It might not come directly in the form of passing out at your desk, but the body will find it’s way to hate on you. Lack of sleep also ties in very closely to volatile mood swings.

Sore back, neck, shoulders and abdomen – How is your posture? Most of us spend unhealthy numbers of hours sat at our desks, and this will wear the body down if your posture is all wrong. For me, the most important things to remember are to keep my back straight to avoid stomach and abdomen cramps. And also to have the correct line of vision with my monitor.

Those of you with multi-screens are much more likely to suffer from eye strains and pounding headaches because the eyes have to work that much harder. You should be eye-level with the top of your screen. If you’re constantly craning your neck and switching to new screens, it’s going to increase the tension. Ryan Eagle probably has the headaches of a squashed badger with his 17 screen setup.

Social butterfly to Friday Night Hermit – A side effect of days becoming one, it can be very easy to lose grip on your social life if it becomes the afterthought of running a business. I’ve mentioned in many posts how I used to be much more social before I took on the responsibility of earning my own wages.

Back in my day job, Friday felt like Friday should. You’ll often see that entrepreneurs and affiliates find it very difficult to capture that same Friday feeling when in their minds, they’d love to have one extra day to get done everything they’d sat down and planned on the previous Sunday night. Either way, you can’t afford to become a hermit. There’s no point in earning a fortune if you can’t muster the freedom to actually enjoy it.

Shortened attention span – One of the primary reasons why I have become a total sucker for white noise and binaural beats. Ever since high school, my attention span has been nothing short of a pain in the arse. I’ve often been left wondering how so many great ideas could slip through my fingertips, only to be distracted by the next. It’s a painful cycle and I can’t stress highly enough how focus and concentration are kingpins to any entrepreneur’s chances of success.

The good news for me is that binaural beats and white noise have done wonders for my focus. It all depends on the individual, but I recommend them highly if you suffer from a lack of clarity in what you’re trying to achieve when you sit down at your desk.

Failure to recognise your successes – This can be devastating, truly devastating, to your mood. If you can’t recognise a success – no matter how tiny it is – you will never be successful. Success isn’t born out of the look of envy in other people’s eyes at Affiliate Summit. It comes from within. You have to be able to acknowledge your own triumphs as often as you kick yourself in the balls and resent those inevitable failed campaigns.

Similarly to appreciating success, you need to be able to say “Enough is enough” on those rare days where you cross off all your tasks and still feel you could do a little more. In the end, you’ll work yourself to the brink. Giving up against your will becomes the only option. Why spoil a good day? Reward yourself when you achieve your goals!

God awful dieting – Hold hands, I have a confession to make. I am currently cleansing my system with raw food. This probably sounds, to my typical readership, like a genuine pussy move. But listen, there’s only so many Jumbo Sausage Rolls one man can handle before he starts to feel like the casting director of Biggest Loser is stalking him in the streets. While I have no interest in becoming a vegetarian, I do see clearly how a bad diet can leave me feeling half-baked.

After bitching about my pain last night on Twitter, dearest Barman of ppc.bz offered this cookie of advice:

“hit the gym to build some muscle you lazy git”

I usually only trust Barman’s judgment where weed porn and cutting-edge Billy Mays gifs are concerned, but in this case, he has a point. Exercise and dieting are fundamental cornerstones for not feeling like a lazy slob. My excuse for eating poorly has always been that I don’t have time to cook. And it’s not so much the cooking, but more the subsequent fire that keeps me occupied. But this is just another symptom of working too hard. Any excuse to avoid the alternative.

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Enhance Your Creativity With Binaural Beats

White noise is something I rely on enormously as a way of channeling my focus and getting work done at home. You could probably guess this by my last post, or by the endless endorsements on Twitter. It’s something I genuinely believe in. Some of you are now fans of SimplyNoise.com, while others I’m sure will remain skeptical.

When I discovered the benefits of white noise, it got me extremely interested in how the brain could respond differently to various audio signals. I inevitably found myself researching the controversial subject of binaural beats. Before you judge that I’ve disappeared up my own arsehole in to a world of mystical hyperbole, allow me to explain.

So… what the Scooby are binaural beats?

Binaural beats have divided mainstream and scientific opinion for a long time. They were discovered in 1839 by a dude called Heinrich Wilhelm Dove, who was clearly meant to be a scientist from the second he was named.

Heinrich determined that by playing two audio tones at slightly different frequencies, the brain could be lured in to any number of artificial states by what’s known as the entrainment of brainwaves. If I sound like I’m speaking with a Wikipedia tab loaded by my side, it’s because I am.

By tapping in to the right frequencies, it’s argued that your brain can be induced in to one of many subconscious states. You may feel anything from surges of creativity, supreme focus, states of healing to even telepathic understanding. Now whether you believe this shit or not, it doesn’t really matter. As somebody who investigated the effects for himself, I can say that I’ve found enough common ground to keep myself intrigued.

If you listen to this binaural beats sample, you’ll get an idea for what they actually sound like. Now in terms of raw beauty, Regina Spektor it most certainly ain’t. I should point out that headphones are a must. You can’t expect binaural beats to be effective if you don’t have a good pair of headphones to funnel the frequencies through each ear without crossover.

There are thousands of binaural beats scattered around the Internet. Some are free, some are not. Each beat is crafted to create a shift in consciousness to a desired state. For the self-help freaks reading this, you’ll find a binaural beat for practically every state imaginable. Whether it’s giving up smoking, losing weight or improving your work ethic, sites like The Unexplainable Store have a beat for the occasion.

It would be easy to dismiss these websites as manipulators of unproven science for financial gain. But there truly is a great deal of confusion over just how influential these beats can be. Not too long ago, they were the source of a media backlash dubbing them illegal narcotics.

Personally, I don’t want to oversell what binaural beats may or may not be able to do for you. I believe the effects are psychological and unique to the individual, in such a way that science has no reliable method of classifying them.

If you’ve ever read The Power of Your Subconscious Mind, you are probably familiar with the idea that your state of mind determines the exact environment around you. There is very little concrete scientific proof of how binaural beats can produce identifiable changes in your life. But if your state of mind is right, it’s highly probable that science is still playing catch-up.

All I know is that I’ve extracted a great deal of productivity since trading Spotify for these looping beats. There are many free binaural beats that you can sample for yourself, and if you liked the white noise post, I suggest you check them out!

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