Setup A Google Custom Search On Your Blog

And it’s nowhere near as hard as you may think!

Now as much as I love WordPress, there is one element that needs worked on. And that’s the built in search feature, which is why I decided to change the way a visitor could search my blog.

1 – What we do first is create a new page, giving it a title something like ‘Search’ but it’s completely up to yourself. I decided just to go along with that as I liked the clean look of /search/ as the directory! Yes I know it’s just as easy to change the permalink structure, but I still like it better.

Moving on!… Deactivate the comments along with pings, and publish. I know we’ve not added anything to it just yet, so don’t worry about that! Grab the URL for the new page, and save it somewhere for later.

2 – Visit Google’s Custom Search Engine and click on the ‘Create a Custom Search Engine’ button to get the configuration started. Like everything else with Google, you’re required to login to your Google Account, and if you’ve not got one then just signup. It won’t cost you a penny, as it’s free! :D

Once you’re in, just fill in the required details needed for your Search Engine.

  • Give the Search Engine a Name
  • Along with a Description
  • Insert some Keywords for your Search Engine
  • Choose which Language you’d like
  • Select ‘Only Sites I Select’ option
  • Insert your website URL
  • Select ‘Standard Edition’
  • Check the ‘Terms Of Service’ (If  you agree!)
  • Click Next

A new page will open and you can try out your new custom search engine.

So give it a bash, then click Finish when you are ready!

The following page will then appear!…

Google Custom Search Control Panel

Click on ‘Control Panel’.

3 – We’re going to style the Search Box that appears on our blog by visiting the ‘Look And Feel’ tab up the top. For the search results that are displayed, you can pick the colour scheme for that too. Choose the colour wisely though, and try to pick the same colours as you have on your site.

4 – If you feel like earning a little from your custom search, then everything you’ll need can be found under the ‘Make Money’ menu tab.

I don’t have an AdSense Account myself, and while my search page still shows the odd ad, I don’t get a thing or mind either. This option is still better than the built in WordPress search function!

5 – We now need to put it all together, by inserting the Search Box and the Search Results code. In the menu at the top of your screen, there should be a ‘Code’ link, so head over to that page. Select the iFrame option when the page loads, and you’ll see a couple of extra things appear!

Insert the URL of the page you’d like the search results to appear, you know that one I told you to save at the beginning of this post? Just copy it from wherever it was noted, and paste it into the text field.

Decide on the place you’d like the AdSense ads to appear and select the option you prefer. Personally I went for Top and Bottom, but again, it’s your decision!

If you scroll down, you’ll find the relevant codes you need to place on your blog. Talking of which, they can also be placed on your site too, you’re not just limited to the custom searches for a blog!

Copy the first code, and paste it were you’d like the search box to appear. Most of the time it’s the sidebar, you can see mine to the right of this post! – Under your Theme Editor, just add the code to the sidebar.php file, remembering to save the changes.

The second piece of code Google has provided you with needs to be added to the page we published earlier, so go into your admin area and find the particular page created. Click on the ‘Edit’ button, and switch over to the HTML View before you do anything else. (Top-Right of the page editor!)

Paste the code in and hit the ‘Update Post’ button to save the changes!

With that it all done, you can take it for a test-run. If you did everything correctly, then there shouldn’t be any problems, and everything works just fine!

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and found it interesting. Don’t forget to comment! :D

6 Days In, What Have You Done?

Believe it or not, but we’re already 6 days into 2009. And as if time isn’t already flying by, I’ve still got plenty more things I’d like to get done before 31st January! I must admit, it’s taking a little longer than I first thought to get back into the swing of things after taking time off and having a bit of fun during the holiday.

Since I last posted, I managed to get a few things ticked off the to-do list. :D

The main one being was that I contacted my programmer, and talked about a few little tweaks we could make to the script. And out of the 4 or 5 simple things that we can tweak, it will ultimately make the users experience much more enjoyable, but easier too!

I’m not exactly sure of the saying, or even if there is one, but often it’s the smallest things that make the biggest difference! In fact, let me give you this example.

When you first setup a blog on WordPress, it comes installed with a default theme. That theme may be what you’re looking for, but for for most it’s not. With a quick search in the Theme Directory, you may be able to find another that’s going to be more suited for the kind of blog you’re creating.

…See how small that tweak was, and how much of a difference it can make?

Along with that email tennis, I’ve been giving this PC of mine another little spring clean. It’s not something I like spending hours upon hours doing, so I’ve really just been working my way though little chunks at a time. I’m amazed when I see multiple copies of the same file saved in completely different areas.

On a lighter side of things, I was very pleased to see a couple of commissions in my ClickBank account over the weekend (Friday and Saturday actually!) But considering the fact I wasn’t really doing any work, it’s a great feeling.

What have you been upto? I look forward on reading your comments!

Start SMALL And Work Your Way Up

(This sadly wasn’t the post I wanted to bring to you today, let’s just say I’ve misplaced the sheet of paper that I’d written it on! Saying that though, I think you’re going to enjoy this post just as much!) :D

Just like when I first got started online, all I was looking for was some quick cash! After a week, I was very upset that I hadn’t even made $1. Yip, on measly dollar! – In other words, I was a complete newbie who didn’t really know what he was doing!

Moving on!…

A few days ago I headed on over to my domain registrar, as I wanted to just see how many domains I had exactly. Over my past couple of years online, I’ve gathered a few over the time. I can safely say though, that I don’t own anymore then 20. Considering there are people with 100+ I don’t think I’m that bad, maybe I still am!

So after taking a look at them all, I decided that there were a few I didn’t want to keep, so instead of just letting them expire I decided to sell them on the NameCheap Marketplace. Now remember, at the time of purchasing these domains, they cost me $8.41 or something like that.

I picked this particular domain and set upon listing it into the marketplace. After writing a small description, I set the price I was asking to $12. The default 7 days was just left the same, and I hit submit and there we had it. The domain was successfully listed, and I’d hopefully get $12 for it if someone wanted to purchase it from me.

3 days later I logged back into NameCheap, and there was my $12 (Minus 10% NC take!) sitting there in my account. Now I know it wasn’t much, but there was still a slight smile coming from me. But WHY some might ask?

$12 -$8.41 = $3.59 PROFIT

Now that’s not bad for what turned out to be 10 minutes work.

I still enjoy making these small profits though, even after I made $269.32 through ClickBank for the first time. (As I blogged about here on my blog!) – I mean, how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time! ;)

Looking To Clean Up Your Links, A Smart Move!

Before we begin, lately there has been a few things that really irritate me and as I see it, this COULD well be hurting your business! One of the things happens to be regarding affiliate links, so sit back, relax, and enjoy what I have for you today! (If you’re a popcorn lover, then grab some, but remember to leave some for me.)

Cloaking Your Affiliate Links

So it’s time for a product promotion to your subscribers whither it be a broadcast of just a followup message, and you get to the stage were you’ve written an absolutely amazing email, but it’s not time to insert your own affiliate link. Meaning that if one of your subscribers likes what they see, then you can get credited as the referring affiliate.

Now, a little question!…

“What would you think of a marketer, if all you had to click on looked something like http://markmcw.smsdigital.hop.clickbank.net and worst of all you had a few placed throughout the whole email?”

…To start with, it doesn’t appeal to me! It looks very messy, and completely unprofessional considering the fact that you can cloak your links. Just think about it, if you went that extra mile to make things look clean and professional, then will it not increase your reputation and possibly earn you a little move?

I’d much prefer to go and click on a link that looked something like http://www.mark-mcwilliams.com/recs/smsdigital and see what the marketer promoting the product is actually saying in their email. Does that last sentence make any sense, I hope so anyway!

The beauty here (Or the way I at least see it anyway!), is that you can set all this up however you like. You don’t need to put all your links into a ‘recs’ folder. Take a look at the following examples and you’ll quite easily see what I am talking about!

  • http://www.mark-mcwilliams.com/discount/whatever – Say this email was going out to all your newsletter subscribers, you might have been able to get a discount page setup. What better than TELLING your subscribers in the link, that it is a discount?! Smart move or what?
  • http://www.mark-mcwilliams.com/grab/kunaki- If you follow this link yourself, then you’ll find that it takes you to a FREE report all about Kunaki.com showing you basically how to get all setup, and ready to ship off your first physical product.
  • http://www.mark-mcwilliams.com/video/trafficblast - You can see from this, that it must be some kind of video, probably talking about traffic. Well if that’s what you thought, then you’d be right! :D

Well I hope you’re beginning to see what I mean when everyone creates these kind of links. Would you not rather click on one of them instead?

Below you’ll find the EXACT code that I use to create what could be called ‘powerful links’ if you used the right kind of text when creating the links!

So here it is!…

<?php $URL="http://markmcw.smsdigital.hop.clickbank.net";
header ("Location: $URL");
exit();
?>

Now I better explain exactly what I do with that code. (It would probably help!)

Firstly I open up a blank txt document and insert that code, as shown, but changing the link that I want to redirect too. Then when you go to save it, make sure you type index.php into the box and click save. So assuming that you’ve just saved that file to your desktop, the next step is to create an empty folder. For that we’ll go with ’smsdigital’ and it’s now simply a matter of moving that index.php file into the ’smsdigital’ folder. We then need to decide what the main folder is going to be called, but we will just go with ‘recommends’ and then, yip you guessed it, move the ’smsdigital’ one over into it. We now just need to upload the ’recommends’ folder to our webspace.

Why Use A TinyURL On Your Salespage?

I recently came across this on a few salespages that I’d visited for various reasons, and thought… “Hey, come on, are you NOT trying to act professional?!”- Don’t get me wrong though, there is a time and a place to go using TinyURL.com services, this however isn’t one of them!

Now we all appreciate that if you are using a service such as ClickBank, then the payment link will ALWAYS look something like http://1.smsdigital.pay.clickbank.net but believe it or not, there still is a way to make things look professional here!

Look, does http://www.whateverdomain.com/order.php that redirects to that same ClickBank payment link not look 10 times better? I have mentioned several times now about making your links look and feel professional. But it’s true, and you’ll see marketers like John Thornhill and Lee McIntyre use this very same technique. So why not go and follow something that works?…

The only difference here with the code is that instead of your affiliate link being inserted, you simple use the payment url. Then instead of saving it as an index.php file, you can go and use order.php and link to that from your salespage.

As I mentioned a couple of paragraphs ago, DON’T go and use a TinyURL as the payment link on your salespage! It’s going to put more people off, than it will encourage them to make a purchase. Don’t make the same mistake others are making.

What Do Comment’s Say About Your Posts?

So you’ve got the blog all setup and it’s filling up nicely with new fresh content, but that’s it?! You sometimes don’t even know if people are visiting and if they are enjoying what you write. Everyone gets that feeling, and I’ve had it before! While you may be driving loads of traffic, is there anyone out there that appreciate what you have spent that particular afternoon writing.

The topic I’m on about is comments. I love it when I’ve just posted something new on Mark-McWilliams.com and a few hours later when I check back in, I find that a few people have commented and added some value to the post in question.

I visit Robert Plank’s whenever he posts something new, and was really fasinated when he came up with this kind of rule. Now at first it a little strange, but with the amount of posts that can be found on his blog now, I can actually see why Robert did this! It’s called ‘The 10-Comment Rule‘ and can be found at the link on the left(ish!)

Comments will hopefully encourage new visitors to comment for their first time, and not only show other people that it’s a blog that gets visited often, but just add loads of value for everyone to see.

Now for that comment rule, is it required or not? Well I encourage all my readers to post a comment if they wish, I don’t force them into it, I don’t want to drive people away! Doing that would be pointless in my eyes as I could have just lost out on a potential new reader or even subscriber.

You’ll be glad to know that I won’t be implementing anything like this, although I’ve got nothing to do with what Robert is doing, and you are free to post a comment whenever (And if!) you like. I’ll always be posting new content whether I’ve received 4 comments or 44 comments!

Back to the content, and here’s an idea to generate comments for yourself!…

  • Have some unanswered questions, allowing the readers to answer the question for themselves. This is what could be classed as a call-to-action which encourages the reader to leave their thoughts and feelings.

In my last post, (Don’t You Just Hate It When People Won’t Reply?!) you can see that the title is asking my readers to tell me what they think! Before they even see what I’ve spent 30 minutes writing, you are getting them into the spirit were they WANT to reply.

There you have it. So what kind of ways to you like to encourage readers to post a comment on your blog. Do you just mention it at the end of each post, or just even turn your comments off completely. Now that’s something I wouldn’t do!

Always Remember To Back-Up Your Files!

This topic crops up more often that not, and we always seem to read about it every other day! So if you haven’t gathered what I’m talking about yet, then it’s to do with backing-up your files and folders.

I learned the hard way yesterday when I was working on my new blog theme! I was in the middle of editing the stylesheet and must have accidentally deleted most of it without ever noticing a thing! So I carried on as normal, and clicked the ‘Update’ button and then refreshed the screen (Ctrl + R) to take a look at the changes, and boy did they look a little strange this time!

So at first I wondered what on earth had happened and went back to undo the change I’d just made in the stylesheet. (At that point, I thought that changing the ‘padding’ had caused the problem!) I scrolled down and then it hit me, at least half the stylesheet was missing! :(

Sorting this problem was going to take me a good few hours, and possibly even more. I spent the time getting things back to normal (Although some parts still need work done on them today!), and I refresh the page once again hoping that things are back on track. But NO there was still a problem somewhere and I just couldn’t find it. I was almost ready to call the experts in because of it!

It got to the point were I had to start from the top, and work my way down. I remembered that I was doing something in the header.php file and so I checked there first. BANG! – I found the problem in 2 mins flat! It turned out that I had an extra </div> tag were I shouldn’t have. (Talk about bad luck?!)

The main point I’m trying to make is if I’d had a back-up, then I could have just re-uploaded that and been able to get on with my modifications. Instead I had to get this sorted. (While I’m here, the new theme will be with us pretty soon. It all depends on when I get it complete. HEHE)

I learned the hard way with this, but imagine if you lost EVERYTHING in your hosting account or even your Aweber signups! I can guarantee now, that it wouldn’t be a very nice sight!…

So spend 10 minutes now and go back-up your files and folders! :D

How Clean Is Your ‘Income Producing’ Office?

As we all know, the most important part of making your income online is by creating your own products right? Well I’d actually say YES and NO!

(Why you ask?)

Well I can phrase this several ways, but what about if I ask you this question… “What Do You Create The Products On?” Now that isn’t the only question I could have asked, but I hope you can see were I’m going with this?!

If it’s me, I feel that your computer plays a HUGE role in generating this income and it should therefore be kept in a good condition and not loaded up with what some people call junk. So most people will have a desk for their computer, that sits somewhere!

But were does that important desk of yours sit? For me at the moment, it’s kinda under the stairs as that’s the only place we have room for it! However, if I had my own way…then I’d have built myself an OFFICE in the attic/loft.

(Now onto the fun part!) How clean is your office? You would think that if it was nice, clean and tidy then you’d work harder. So if your looking at your office now, and don’t know were everything is…then you need to clean it out today! :D

My ‘office’ isn’t very tidy at all, but it isn’t very messy either! But what I really am after is a separate office with some units for me to keep all my important information in. (Another solution I might try is buying some plastic folders to put all my project ideas into!)

So if you currently don’t have an office-office then why not think about converting a small room in your house into one?! (I would do that, but then my younger brother wouldn’t have anywhere to sleep! HEHE) Plus I guess it’s also nice to leave ‘work’, were you can then go and relax on the sofa watching the TV and having something to eat.

When I do manage to grab my OWN office, then I’ll definitely tell you what the benefits are, but also if there is anything bad as well!

(That’s all for today and enjoy the rest of your weekend! I never knew I could write so much just about an office!…)

Get A ‘Seasoned PRO’ To Do The Work For You!

So Mark, what on earth are you talking about now?

Well it’s the simple process of OUTSOURCING some of your business tasks. When using this kind of method, it is going to allow you to get on with other tasks that could be more fun than writing 25 articles for example!

A prime example is Lee McIntyre! In the March videos for Standing Start Profits, he shows us how you actually go about creating a project on GetAFreelancer.com were Lee’s actually looking for… (I better not say without prior permission!)

Another (fantastic) example is me! You see, I’m having a short report written for me (complete now), and it’s only costing me $50. Now think of the endless possibilities with what I could do with it. I could turn it into a brandable report, hence sending me some traffic and hopefully sales in the process. I could even sell it at $7 for example, and use a well known script. ($7 Secrets)

So with this brandable report, many people could go and insert their Clickbank ID’s and sell the report on their websites. Another GREAT way is to give it away for free to someone who subscribes to your mailing list. (A service like Aweber!) – Now you could still sell it on eBay if you like, but that would need to be through the Classified Ad’s section since they have changed their policy!

When these type of books turn viral, in fact when any report turns viral, then it’s a simple way of generating targeted traffic to the salespage! So if your salespage copy converts well, then they should hopefully purchase the product! :D

Now then, how have your thoughts on outsourcing changed? (That is if they have!)

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