Please Don’t Get Stuck on Google!

Is it laziness? Is it narrow or closed mindedness? Is it lack of direction?

Maybe I’m just lucky. I stumbled upon the right information online early in my online business to avoid this pitfall…

For some reason, people think when you have a website, there is only one way to promote them and make money. And that’s why they will ultimately fall someday!

Gee, I get all this Google traffic and make some good money… And then one day Google changes something in their Algorithm and their business is toast…

I know it’s cliche, but don’t put all your eggs in the Google basket. Not even just Google… but search engines in general.

The reason I brought this up today is because someone called anything other than SEO (Search Engine Optimization) a fad… Wow.!

The reason he said that is because I said that Webmaster’s have to evolve and think outside to the Search Engine box.

And I guess there are types of websites that thrive in the Search Engine environment or don’t care if they make money… and that’s fine. But if you want to make a living online and make some money, you have to expand your horizons.

The things I was suggesting are not fads. These are techniques and ideas the are tried-and-true methods that have been used for years to make a lot of people a lot of money…

People (that I know) have made millions of dollars online without ever giving Search Engines… and even Pay Per Click advertising… any attention at all. They don’t care. They don’t need them.

I’m not going to get into all the different ways you can make money or get traffic without search engines in this one post, but they are out there…

Don’t think I’m saying I don’t think search engines aren’t a good way to get free traffic. They are! At the very least though, go after multiple engines… don’t get stuck on Google…

I think long term. There are things you MUST do to protect your long term objectives.

Just worrying about SEO isn’t going to secure that.

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Rewrite URLs on the Fly (Classic ASP)

Use HttpContext.RewritePath to “fake” URLs within an application.

One of the more obscure – but potentially useful – methods in the portion of the .NET Framework that comprises ASP.NET is the HttpContext class’s RewritePath method. Used internally by ASP.NET to strip session IDs from URLs when cookieless session state is enabled, RewritePath can also be used to “fake” URLs within an application. To demonstrate, consider the following ASPX file, which we’ll call RewritePath.aspx:

<html>
<body>
<h2><asp:Label ID=”Output” RunAt=”server” /></h2>
</body>
</html>

void Page_Load (Object sender, EventArgs e)
{
string id = Request.QueryString[“ID”];
if (id != null && id != String.Empty) {

switch (id) {

case “1”:

Output.Text = “Give me chastity and ” + “continence, but not yet.”;
break;

case “2”:

Output.Text = “A programmer is a device ” + “for turning coffee into code.”;
break;

case “3”:

Output.Text = “Blessed is the man who, ” + “having nothing to say, abstains from ” + “giving wordy evidence of the fact.”;
break;

}

}

}

If this page is deployed in a virtual directory named Foo, then the following URLs invoke the page and display three different quotations:
http://…/foo/rewritepath.aspx?id=1
http://…/foo/rewritepath.aspx?id=2
http://…/foo/rewritepath.aspx?id=3

So far, so good. Now suppose that you’d like users to be able to display these quotations by typing the following “phantom” URLs:

http://…/foo/quotes/page1.aspx
http://…/foo/quotes/page2.aspx
http://…/foo/quotes/page3.aspx

You can accomplish this little bit of magic – converting a URL of the form …/quotes/page1.aspx into a URL of the form …/rewritepath.aspx?id=1 on the fly – with HttpContext.RewritePath. The trick is to grab each request for /quotes/page1.aspx, /quotes/page2.aspx, and so on as it enters ASP.NET’s HTTP pipeline and convert it into a request for /rewritepath.aspx?id=1, /rewritepath.aspx?id=2, and so on. Here’s a Global.asax file that does just that:

void Application_BeginRequest (Object sender, EventArgs e)
{
// TODO: Convert a path of the form
// …/quotes/page1.aspx into a path of the form
// …/rewritepath.aspx?id=1

HttpContext context = HttpContext.Current;

string oldpath = context.Request.Path.ToLower ();
string token = “/quotes/page”;
int i = oldpath.IndexOf (token);
int len = token.Length;
if (i != -1) {

int j = oldpath.IndexOf (“.aspx”);
if (j != -1) {

string id = oldpath.Substring (i + len, j – (i + len));
string newpath = oldpath.Replace (token + id + “.aspx”, “/rewritepath.aspx?id=” + id);
context.RewritePath (newpath);
}

}

}

Application_BeginRequest fires at the beginning of every request. This implementation extracts the path portion of the URL targeted by the request (for example, /foo/quotes/page1.aspx), replaces it with a path that refers to the real page (for example, /foo/rewrite.aspx?id=1), and calls RewritePath to retarget the request. Try it: Drop RewritePath.aspx into wwwroot on your Web server and try to invoke it by typing this URL into your browser’s address bar:

http://localhost/quotes/page1.aspx

That should generate a “page not found” error. Now copy Global.asax to wwwroot and try again. This time, it should work just fine, thanks to the indirection afforded by Application_BeginRequest.

RewritePath has many applications. You can use it, for example, to convert query strings into path names so pages that use query string parameters to drive content can be bookmarked in browsers. You can also use it to obfuscate path names within your application for security reasons. Now that you know RewritePath exists, you may find other uses for it, too.

By Jeff Prosise

Building Your Mailing List with Downloads

A mailing list is the lifeblood of your online business. The old adage “the money is in the list” cannot be true enough — if you had a targeted list of prospects to contact each time you have a new product, you will be able to save a lot of effort by marketing it to your existing list of targeted prospects.

You can actually build up a targeted list of prospects that are interested in your products by offering a relevant download on your website. For example, let’s take a look at a very good example — apple.com. When you download the free iTunes and Quicktime software from their site, they will ask you to fill in an optional name and email form so that they can send you offers on songs that you can purchase via — guess where — iTunes!

In reality, you do not need to offer such a “heavyweight” download such as a full-feature software like iTunes. You can attract prospects equally well with some quality freebies such as a simple report, a free wallpaper, and so on. The important thing is that your download offers enough value for the prospect to be willing to give away his/her own email address to get it.

However, slapping together a simple download and putting a link on your website won’t be enough to attract qualified prospects. You will have to do some homework in order for your lead-generating mechanism to work well for you.

First of all, you must place your download form prominently on your website. Preferably, dedicate a page to it and link to that page from every other page of your website. That way, there is no way your visitors cannot find the download page, and when they do, you’ll get some of them converted into your prospects!

Also, you have to put a little effort into promoting your download. Explain and elaborate on the values of the download, and why your visitors should download it. You might think why would anyone want to pass on a freebie, but most of your visitors would be too lazy to take the effort to download it because most of their downloads just sit on the harddisk collecting virtual dust. It is hence important to show your visitors why they should download your freebie.