This may interest some of you. If it doesn’t, don’t read it all – simples!
When you join a forum you need to come up with a name. Some people put some effort and thought into their name. Some don’t. I am somewhere inbetwwen the two. Years ago when I first connected to the internet – I think it was 1995 as my first email address ended in 95 – the “in thing” at the time was chatrooms. I was curious and joined one. I soon got bored with sitting in a room while the “Regs” chatted among themselves and threw crap at anyone who tried to butt in. That particular chat site (VP – Virtual places) let you choose an avatar or Av to represent you onscreen. These could be anything and I was able to customise the basic pics for other users, especially when they downloaded a patch that allowed the Av to show much larger.
I had my own site/room where others could visit, give me their basic avs and I would customise them. They were quite impressive if I do say so myself. In VP I was Shark and the room was SharkAvs.
So when I was thinking of a name for the Racing Traders forum it was likely to include the word shark. Having got that far, TradeShark didnt take too much imagination!
Why set up a site?
This never entered my head at first. Why would it? I knew nothing about trading except for the bits that I had worked out for myself. It seemed that just about everyone else on the forum knew a lot more than me and I was happy to be there and pick through the posts for bits that could be useful.
Most of my posts were ignored. My sense of humour just doesn’t often work when its written down. Its a very dry humour with a lot of sarcasm. My wife says that sarcasm is the lowest form of wit. I think that when I use it its a bloody artform! However in print it can often come across as agressive and/or rude. Can’t help it – don’t want to help it – I say what needs saying.
However as a forum all in the written word it soon became apparent that I could stop a thread with one post.
As I learned a bit more I was able to pass that knowledge on. I felt a bit better as I could give as well as take things from the forum. As the months passed and the forum became more and more popular it attracted more and more idiots. They didnt want to contribute anything but loved to put down those who were trying to help.
Over several months that led to the situation that the RT forum is in now which obviously hasn’t been improved by the software/API problems and everything that went with it.
But before it got that bad there came a number of ebooks. Not sure where I got the idea from to be honest. I had enough knowledge that i thought it would be useful to put it together in some sort of package along with videos and personal help from myself. I was talking with Darren from Bet72.com as he had asked me to write an article for his upcoming subscription site. He asked me what I thought of the Tennis Trading League. During that conversation I began to think that an ebook might be useful to new tennis traders to give them a point of reference to get them started.
Darren said he could promote it through his current site and as Wimbledon was round the corner it would good to do a Wimbledon feature and promote the ebook. Sounded great but i had a little over 2 weeks before the tournament started!
I threw something together in a couple of days with posts from the forum, videos and expanded on the descriptions of the strategies but it all seemed a bit naff. Also I think Darren and I had our wires crossed as nothing seemed to be happening from his end. So I pulled out. I wasn’t prepared to make something public that I wasn’t happy with.
I also don’t like to have to rely on anyone else. I have had sites before so thought I would set one up to promote the ebook. While I was doing this I asked a few people from the forum to take a look at what I had so far and give me some feedback. I was surprised that a couple of them were also writing or thinking of writing an ebook.
Tony (The Badger) was in the process of writing EasyTraderPro2 and gave me some advice on the layout of my sales site. I had by then decided that it would be better for anyone who bought it to have the content as a website. That way I could update it and keep things current.
My initial attempts at the sales site were awful ( jeez, you think its bad now?? ). It has been tweaked over the months into something that I am pretty happy with. Sure it looks a bit like all the other ebook sites but its there to do a job and the coversion rate from there is great.
Why start a blog?
Well, I didnt really! I wanted to have a page on the members site that I could update daily with tips/advice on the day’s games. I didnt want to update the site via ftp as this is blocked at work. I came up with the idea of having the info entered on a blog page that I could then feed into the members site. WordPress was free so I looked there first. I wanted just a simple themed blog with no sidebars and I soon found one that suited my requirements. With some googling I decided that the easiest way to feed the blog into the members site was by using IFrames. I knew nothing about Iframes or how to use them so I had to teach myself that. This is how I learn things. I find something that I can’t do and research it. As it turned out it was quite easy to have an iframe on the main site that displayed the blog page.
But I didn’t want non-members to be able to view the blog. I thought I had set it up so that it wasn’t able to be viewed but I got it wrong. Remember I was rushing to get the site up for Wimbledon.
I started posting my match tips even though I had no members! There were a few people from the RT forum who had access to the members site as I had given them the link as thanks for helping test the site or give me a testemonial etc.
So I pretty much thought I was posting to myself but it was a good chance to get into the habit of posting selections. I was advertising the site on google but no one had signed up. I paid for advertising for 2 or 3 weeks without a single sale. I began to think that all the work had been a waste of time. I had been told that there was no call for a tennis ebook. The only subjects that sold in large numbers were Racing and Soccer. But I felt that I could offer a decent service at a great price. Maybe I was kidding myself.
Then after a few days the stats for the blog started showing visitors. I didnt understand as no one was supposed to be able to see the blogsite. I checked the settings and the tick box that seemed to be there to keep the blog private wasnt ticked. Bugger! Do I leave it? Might as well.
On the 4th or 5th day I had over 70 hits. People were reading my waffle!! People were actually looking for a blog like mine and were reading it. Perhaps I hadn’t got it wrong. There WERE people who wanted to read about trading tennis!
As the weeks passed and the numbers grew people who were reading the blog were signing up for the members site. I cancelled the google adverts and haven’t paid for an advert since. The blog is my shop window. If my tips are rubbish, no one will sign up. No pressure then!
Some days its an effort to go through the selection process and post them but then I think of all the people who have my blog bookmarked and go there every day. The blog gets over 1000 hits a day and the highest was just under 2000. I have over 450 members who have signed up for the Guide and the members site. Absolutely fantastic!
Well, thats 1500 words so I should stop for now. In the next exciting installment I’ll talk about wordpress, moving to your own webspace ( and why) and the mystery that is adsense ads.