Adsense drives me mad – thank god for affiliate schemes!

I have never managed to break through the $100 a day barrier with Google Adsense. I have been very close on a number of occasions but never managed to limp over the three figure line.

The usual pattern over a couple of months is that adsense earnings build up and continue northwards and then suddenly fall back (usually at the beginning of a month). It’s like I am always starting over again and I find it impossible to have an consisitency.

On the other hand my affiliate links are much more stable in terms of income and much higher. I am considering ditching Adsense soon on sites where I have a steady affiliate income. There is nothing more annoying than getting 10 clicks and earning 50c for all of them! Some call it smart-pricing, I call it getting cheap traffic.

So I would strongly advise people to look at the affiliate side more. It takes more setting up and work to manage things but the financial rewards usually outweigh the extra maintenance.

Home has moved, for now at least

So I am also starting to formulate a plan for the next chapter of my life. I have recently purchased a car and will be heading off through the Channel tunnel in a month or so bound for France and Spain.

I find the longer I spend away from the UK the harder it is to get back into life here. I am sure other long term travellers and expats know what I mean. It’s hard to describe but in essence I feel a bit of an outsider in my own country.

When I am overseas there seems to be a lot more people like me about and I find this comforting. I love catching up with friends at home and family is important but feeling part of a like minded community is important too. When I eventually settle down and perhaps have a family of my own I am sure things will seem different.

I have applied for the English Village teaching week again for later in the summer and I am also looking at langauge training myself, probably French, sometime before that.

France has many advantages for me with the major plus that home, familarity and family is only an hour or so away.

CSS, where have you been all my life?

This past week I’ve been working on the complete overhaul of an old site and I’ve decided to break free from my usual same old template and try something new for a change.

This has meant attempting to move away from using my beloved tables to lay out the site, instead opting for a bit of CSS. Not knowing anything but the basics, this has been a bit of a challenge but I think I’m slowly pulling it off and learning how powerful CSS really is.

Using tables, I’d be able to hammer out a site layout in a matter of hours. With CSS because I’m still learning, it’s taking a lot longer and I’m still tweaking things a week after starting. But the thing with CSS is that I have a greater feel of control and flexibility than ever before so I don’t feel like I have to nail the design straight off the bat. If I get sick of it, I can easily tweak little things here and there or even change the entire look with little effort. I’m still learning so I think my CSS file is unnecessarily long and unruly but that’s something I can go back to later once I learn more about it.

I think the more I use it the more I’ll see what it’s capable of so, like the design junky I am, I’m kinda looking forward to learning more. CSS – it’s the way forward!

Books on being a Working Nomad or working remotely

I would be very interested in hearing about books on the subject of working remotely. I am sure there will be lots of books on similar subjects such as working from home, affiliate marketing, teleworking etc but I have looked pretty hard and never found anything similar to this site.

This book on is the closest I have seen.

I have been thinking for a while how cool it would be to write a book on the subject and the topic has come up on our forum. I do wonder whether there is a market for such a topic though?

I am now back in England by the way. Due to certain circumstances I decided to come home a week or so early. I am about to start my second crop of websites and look forward to sharing all the ups and downs with you of starting again!

I Wish I Were a Proper Geek

You know my life would be so much easier if I would have stuck with computer science in university instead of jumping ship once I discovered it actually took lots of hard work and I couldn’t stay out drinking 6 nights a week.

I’m feeling really frustrated these days and it’s nothing to do with my income or running out of ideas. It’s actually the opposite – too many ideas! I’ve got all kinds of grand plans for sites running through my head and not enough tech savvy to pull them off.

I’m finding it quite hard to strike up a balance between working on my sites and working on myself – ie. educating myself in CSS, PHP, mySQL, Google Maps and all those things that will make the web publishing game much easier in the future. But when I sit down and dedicate my time to learning something new I wonder if it will pay off as much as I think it will.

Adding to my frustration is my wifi connection at home. It’s gone a bit haywire and I’ not sure what the deal is. It sounds like it’s my wifi card but I just wish I knew more about these sorts of things. I think I wrote a post in my early days saying that you don’t have to be a huge computer nerd to be able to publish successful websites, but I think it would help!

I think I might leave the other tech things I mentioned for awhile and concentrate on learning CSS as I’ve avoided it for far too long now and not knowing it really causes headaches when I want to alter WordPress templates.

Starting over again – catching webby’s second wave

I have decided to change my emphasis on this blog by starting another web empire that will hopefully compliment the current one. This will benefit me as it will help to focus on new web projects and will benefit you as you see it evolve from the very beginning. Will I make it there faster with experience?

I will be following the plan in the working nomad ebook the five site model, but this time I will be showing you what I am working on, my ideas and techniques and of course my new crop of websites. Lets call it webby’s second wave!

There will be less chat about where I am / moaning about airlines and more information what I am doing which will hopefully help anyone thinking of becoming a working nomad!

I will split my earnings reports into two and give more of a breakdown. There will also be a new category, probably named Webby’s second wave or something like that.

I am still keen for people to sign up and contribute to the blog at whatever stage of the WN cycle you are at, particularly any of our regulars on the WN Forum.

Please also note any newbies that you must now email me after you have signed up to the Forum. This is to stop the millions of spammers out there!

So I feel that the WN blog is coming back to life now, especially with our new bloggers and this new beginning for me.

So I am off now to look for a new niche area and I can honestly say I am pretty motivated now.

Working as a webmaster is a bit of a roller coaster ride with many emotional ups and downs, but the financial rewards, low barriers to entry and the freedom to be your own boss is simply unbeatable.

One Year On…

Firstly, thanks to Webby for setting me up with an account to blog here. As someone who wants to "make it" but is not quite there (yet!), I hope my scribblings will be of interest to some of the newer people here.

A few days ago I celebrated the first anniversary of my first ever money-making website. Back in April 2006 I launched A Year in the Life a 500-page website featuring my day-by-day backpacking diary I had written whilst on the road. That month I made $5.08 in Adsense income, and was chuffed to bits. I bought a pint down my local with it.

I worked a few hours most nights promoting the site: posting on forums, exchanging links, and reading hundreds and hundreds of articles about newfangled concepts such as Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and trying to apply the concepts. But after six months of hard slog, my monthly income had only risen to a paltry $8.

I was close to throwing in the towel. I had invested all that time – at the expense of my increasingly non-existent social life – for seemingly no return; I was even in the red after taking hosting fees into consideration.

Then it all started to come together. I was suddenly awarded a decent Google PageRank, which meant I could start selling text links, which like Kirsty has since become the staple part of my monthly income. I then had a flurry of small affiliate sales through from another site of mine. I started to climb the Google rankings as other sites naturally linked to my content, resulting in increased traffic and a healthy Alexa rank.

As a result, I’m happy to report that as of last month, the end of my first year in this game, my total monthly income from the handful of websites I run has risen to just over $1400.

So what did I do to celebrate? I took $5 out the bank for a pint down my local, and put the rest in my travel fund 🙂

My message is simple: if you are just starting out on the Working Nomad way, or have been going for a while without seeing much return, Do a little, often; keep regularly building links at a steady rate and keep refreshing your content. Experiment with lots of different income streams and see which one works for your site(s). If it ever becomes a chore, take a break. But keep coming back to it, because eventually you make it.

Singapore Airlines and the bloody lolly

Just a note on Singapore Airlines while I sit here patiently at the Airport that is their hub.

I have never flown with them before and was quite full of eager anticipation to be flying with one of the best airlines in the world. I have to say they did not meet my expectations.

The leg room was really poor and it felt like a budget airline. The food was tasteless, poorly presented and cold. The staff were not the friendliest and one got the impression we were just in the way.

The ice cream they served after lunch took the skin of my lips as it was too frozen and I ended up with a bloody lolly. The same thing happened to the guy next to me as well. There was sheer panic in his face as the flavourless lump of orange ice dangled from his bottom lip.

On a positive their in-flight entertainment was excellent even though the brightness control on my screen was broken and set too dark.

I’m off to the airport bar now.

Earnings report for March 2007

Coming live from my favourite airport here is the earnings report for March. I did not match my previous two months but at GBP 2600 / USD 5100 I cannot complain particularly as I am still GBP 1000 up on March 2006.

Despite a poor start to April (how many times do I say that!) earnings look like they are levelling out at which still justifies continuing this as a ‘full time’ job. When I get back to the UK in three weeks I am going unleash a new wave of sites and updates to push on to the next level.

So now I am half way home now and awaiting my onward flight here at Singapore to my favourite holiday destination (an Indonesian Island famous for surfing!). I then head for Hong Kong before heading home.

Always nice to be back in Asia, particularly after the expense of Australia but I am kind of glad that I am not ‘bumming’ around here for too long this time. I think that having less time someplace makes you appreciate it more, particularly in this job.

Give your website visitors what they want and they’ll return

One good piece of advice is to see what your visitors have been searching on to find your site and give them what they want. So therefore I have a little Q&A below of genuine questions that have appeared in my keyword search referrals. It’s quite amusing how people can find your site!

Q. Bali belly how much weight did you lose?

A. After my ‘meat?’burger at Tubes Bar quite a bit seeing as I did not eat for three days. Its times like this you appreciate your own en-suite!

Q. Surfing in perhentian island?

A. Yes it is possible, but only during the monsoon momths of Nov – March. Bring your own board as well or your end up on a windsurf board like me!

Q. Cheapest place to retire to in Europe?

A. Hmm, I would say one of the Eastern European countries, perhaps Bulgaria or Romania.

Q. Travelling with no money whatsoever?

A. Not a good idea unless you want to end up like the foreign beggar on Silom Rd in Bangkok trying for his airfare home (or his flashy condominium rent).

Q. Impression of Switzerland?

A. Singapore minus the humidity.

Q. What is Singapore like?

A. Switzerland with humidity.

Q. Going to France to lose weight?

A. I cannot think of a worst country to go to! Try the UK or Finland (according to the soon to be ex-President Chirac of France who may have influenced the 2012 Olympic vote by declaring that British food is the worst in Europe apart from Finland, and apparently losing the support of the Finnish Olympic representative for the Paris bid. Ce la vie.)

Q. Best items to declare stolen when not?

A. Naughty naughty.

Q. How to collude playing online poker?

A. See above.

Q. What happens if you overstay your working holiday visa in australia?

A. Bad things so I’ve heard and that’s before they stamp you deported and ban you for x number of years.

Q. How to travel the world by working?

A. Now we’re talking!