The 30 Day Challenge: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly – Part Two

The Bad

This is the second part of my series on The Thirty Day Challenge: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

While the 30 Day Challenge can teach you a lot as a beginner, there are a few things that can be very annoying about the program. One of the first things that I noticed when I first joined the challenge was that everyone is so cheesy – Ed’s team and all of the challengers.

It’s understandable why Ed’s team is so happy and pleasurable, because they have an image to keep up, but the 30DC participants are the cheesiest group of happy-go-lucky people you will ever enncounter. I haven’t heard so much life-affirming crap in my entire life. I guess this is what they need to continue on, but it’s really terrible to read it all day on the forums.

Maybe I’ve become hardened by working on the internet for so long, but I think it’s so annoying.

Another annoyance is that the 30DC followers are complete lambs. They do absolutely anything and everything Ed tells them to do. And don’t disagree with him or his team. If you disagree with anything the 30DC has told you, the fanboys/girls will tear you to pieces. They don’t want to hear your side and won’t give you the chance. Don’t even try, because you’ll never amount to Ed Dale in their minds.

I guess I really have it in for the participants because here’s another gripe against them. They are the biggest thread jackers ever. Nobody knows how to use the search function on the forums, no matter how many times they are told and people are constantly jacking threads and blog posts with their own completely unrelated questions. It’s really hard to find an answer to a question when there is a thread with 60 posts on it and only 4 helpful answers spread throughout it.

My final gripe is that the moderators and senior members on the forums are practically useless. If you ask a question, they basically tell you to use the search function. For lots of questions from the beginners, this is appropriate advice, but this seems to be the natural answer for just about any question anymore.

I know how to use the search function and quite often I’ve found that I just can’t find the answer. Sure, there are threads asking your same question, but they were never answered either. The moderators really do need to put some of these questions together and make them sticky. I’ve followed the forums for a long time, I even set up an RSS feed to catch all posts and I’ve noticed that people always ask the same thing. Setting up stickies for these questions would free up a lot of time for the moderators to answer some of the more advanced questions.

All in all, I don’t think this post was too mean. A few gripes here and there is all.

BUT!!!

Wait for tomorrows post. Out comes The UGLY side of the 30 Day Challenge. This one is sure to ruffle some feathers.

The 30 Day Challenge: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly – Part One

The Good

This is the first part of my series on The Thirty Day Challenge: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

I put this post together in anticipation of the 30 Day Challenge, now renamed as The Challenge, which starts on Thursday, or July 1st, 2010.

I’ve enjoyed participating in the 30 Day Challenge for the last three years. I’ve been doing internet marketing professionally for a little over 5 years, so I had quite a bit of experience before taking part in the challenge, but I have Ed and his team to thank for getting me started in the world of affiliate marketing. I’ve completed the challenge all the way through each year and I’ve watched every single video so I feel that I have a good enough grasp on the program to provide you with a sort of “review” of the challenge.

Firstly, Ed is seems to be a really nice guy. The whole team is very friendly actually. They are a likable bunch, which makes the challenge very comfortable to newbies. I’ve never met any of them in person, but I’m sure they are all great to hang around with.

The entire team is usually extremely helpful too, which is so important during the 30 Day Challenge because newbies need a TON of handholding. They obviously can’t answer all of your questions, but they try their best to get to most of the questions 30DC’ers have. It takes a lot of work to manage the forums, especially because a lot of these people can barely operate a computer. Hundreds of thousands of people take part in the 30DC, so can you imagine how many questions they get each day? Not to mention the repeat questions from all of the people who don’t know how to use the search function. The forums are a great resource for you though, since thousands of questions have been asked. Most of the time your question will already have an answer there.

Here’s what the 30DC is all about.

They teach affiliate marketing to newbie internet marketers and I mean a lot. The whole course is very basic, but to someone who has never done internet marketing before, this course is massive and very advanced. As mentioned earlier, many new 30DC’ers seem to barely understand how to use a computer, so can you imagine having to teach them how to set up a website, do keyword research, optimize it, sign up to affiliate program and set up a Pay-Per-Click campaign? Now way! It’s great that Ed Dale has a program to help people like this learn to make money for themselves.

The 30DC crew are very smart. Most of them have been in the internet marketing business for a long time so they have a good understanding of how it all works. Ed keeps up with the latest related internet marketing news, services & gadgets and always lets his followers know what’s going on.

He usually promotes some interesting products and classes from other well-known marketers in the industry also. Not all of them are great, but beginners can learn more and more if they have the money to purchase some of these more advanced offerings. I would recommend instead spending more time on the internet researching and reading than spending money on more classes though.

You can learn almost everything you need to know for free online by following top SEO and marketing blogs such as SEOMoz and Search Engine News as well as keeping up with the hot topics section over at Sphinn. That’s a usually a good start.

One of my favorite things about Ed is that he’s always looking out for latest internet marketing and geek tools. He introduced many people to the Flock browser (which now sucks, but was awesome then), the LiveScribe pen, cool cameras and microphones, firefox plugins and more. Even if all these things aren’t necessary, they’re definitely a lot of fun to play around with.

If you’re a beginner in any form of internet marketing I would highly suggest you take part in the 30DC Challenge. It’s actually shortened to just “The Challenge” this year, but it starts on July 1st, so you better sign up soon.

As mentioned above, this is the first part of the series of The 30 Day Challenge: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. Come back tomorrow for The Bad. I have a feeling it’s going to upset quite a few people!

Using Competitive Link Intelligence From Majestic SEO

To analyze link data from your competitors websites using Majestic SEO, you will need to purchase a paid subscription. There are plenty of plans available for whatever your needs may be and it’s very affordable.

Judging The Level of Competition

This is probably the most useful if you’re an affiliate marketer or someone deciding on selling a new product. Visit the Compare Domain Backlink History page to get a quick preview of the backlink progression of your competitors websites. You can register for a free account to compare more than one site. If your competitors are earning a ton of links, you might have a hard time overthrowing them from the search results. Keep in mind that if all of their links are low-quality, you shouldn’t have to worry much as long as you work on getting high quality links.

Finding Advertising Opportunities from Image Links

After creating a full report for your competitors website, you’ll find a column labeled FlagImageLinks in the Excel spreadsheet. Using this, you’ll often be able to find places that your competitor may have purchased advertising spots or banner ads. If that audience looks targeted, consider purchasing advertising from those same sites.

Getting Links Where Your Competitors Are

This is the low-hanging fruit and can be a great place to start obtaining links quickly and easily. One of the most common uses for competitor link data is finding out who is linking to their sites and trying to get links from them as well. Of course if they are linking to your competitors they should be interested in your site too.

Discovering Similar Sites That Will Link To You

Photo by D Sharon Pruitt

You don’t want your link profile to look exactly like your competitors and if you hope to compete you need to get links that your competition doesn’t already have. Review the types of sites that link to them and what their audiences are like. Start to think about other places similar to these sites for more places that you can contact for links. You can also search for those sites in Google and then click the “Similar” link to see who Google thinks is related.

fuit tree image courtesy of MrB-MMX

Fortitude is a New Online Magazine That Pays You To Write For Them

Fortitude is a new service from the creator of the popular Qondio service (formerly Quassia) created a couple of years ago. Fortitude is very similar to Qondio in that you write articles and submit them for everyone to read, but what makes it different is that on Fortitude you get paid for what you write.

You probably see crap like this on Twitter everyday, but I’m writing about Fortitude because this is finally one I have a good feeling about. You don’t get paid for every article you write, but you do get paid for every article that hits the front page. They have an algorithm in place that will choose about 1/4 to 1/5 of total submissions per day to place on the front page.

Fortitude isn’t an article directory like Qondio is, but instead an online magazine, so they are very strict on the quality of articles they place on the front page. Also, because of striving for quality and pleasing their readers, links are nofollowed meaning you won’t be getting any SEO love.

After reading the “invitation” email, I was ready to sign up right away, but when I got to the sign up page I realized that the service isn’t free and costs about $1.99 per month. After reading the FAQ’s and thinking about it for a while, I decided to bite the bullet and paid for a one-year membership.

Honestly I don’t think of myself as a great writer, but writing is something I absolutely love to do and hope to get better at. In fact, I plan to head back to college later this year to work on earning a degree in Journalism and signing up to Fortitude felt like a perfect first step in making me try that much harder to create “Front Page” quality articles.

While I don’t think I can get rich from writing for Fortitude taking into account my current writing skills, I do believe I can at least make my money back and more. They also have an excellent referral program too, so if you decide you want to sign up, please do so using my referral link ๐Ÿ˜€

The sooner you get into the program the higher your referral payment will be, but after June 7th you can receive $8 per person.

Sign up to Fortitude early and get three months free. Even if you catch this post late, the pricing they offer is still a sweet deal.

image courtesy of ionushi