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Top 10 Newbie Mistakes

by PotPieGirl on February 22, 2009 · 21 comments

Oh, That Nasty Learning Curve

It’s a simple fact – As newbie affiliate marketers we are going to make mistakes. To me, this is GOOD news. Know why? Making mistakes means we are trying and we are learning and most importantly, we are taking action! Heck, I’m someone who has to totally break something in order to get it to work! lol! On the flip side, there are some other “newbie mistakes” that no one seems to say out loud. These mistakes can hurt you or your online reputation…possibly even offend fellow marketers. My hope is that this Top 10 list will help at least one new online marketer skip these nasty parts of the internet marketing learning curve.

Online Marketing Mistakes – Gotta Love ‘Em

Now, before I start I have to make my disclaimer. This post is not directed at anyone in particular. This list is a culmination of things I’ve seen, things that have been done TO me, and things that yes, I have done myself once upon a time (hey…easy now, I was a newbie once too! haha!)

Top 10 Newbie Mistakes

1. Looking For Shortcuts

How much time do you think is spent by many newbies as they look for a shortcut to creating wealth online? Product after product is bought… system after system is read….but nothing is DONE. I used to think this was a common symptom among new internet marketers, but now, I am starting to see it is actually more like an epidemic.

I am all in favor of learning. I am all in favor of finding ways to save time doing the things you are already doing. BUT, I am not in favor of spending all our time looking and looking for an easy way to the end result. There are no shortcuts to success, right? Right.

Funny story: I actually got a refund memo from Clickbank for my One Week Marketing Action Plan. Reason the refund was requested?

Process requires work. Please issue refund.

True story.

2. Not checking links

Oh, I am totally guilty of this one myself. Make a sweet Squidoo lens… see traffic coming and going…but no sales. I couldn’t figure out WHAT was going on – until I a few days later I checked my Clickbank links. Yup, you guessed it. I had my Clickbank ID wrong.

Moral of the story: If you make any new web page, check your links. Don’t just check that they work, but also make sure that YOU are being credited for the traffic.

3. Forum Signatures

This one is a two-parter.

a. Do not put affiliate links in the signature area of your forum posts unless it is allowed by the forum owners. Most forums do NOT allow this and adding an affiliate link to your signature will be a GREAT way to get banned from that forum.

b. Think twice about putting a signature link like “I make 50 Million a Day Online With THIS System – Click Here” and then posting to the forum about your inability to make your first dollar online. Not only is it a contradiction, it also can ruin your forum reputation.

4. Blog Comments

This is a tough one because I KNOW that many marketers tell you to go out and find relevant “do-follow” blogs and to leave comments there to get back links. Now, the theory is good, BUT there are some holes in the system.

To me, coming to my blog and dropping unasked for links into a comment is like breaking in my house to leave your business card on my kitchen table. Ok, that’s a little extreme, but not THAT extreme….lol

Or the “one liners”… you know, the “nice blog…visit my site here {url}“. That’s like walking in my house and saying, “Hey, nice house. Wanna buy some kitchen knives?

However, if I invite you in and we have a nice conversation, I will most likely be willing to tell others about you and what you do…. wouldn’t you?

I have opened up my virtual home – my blog here at PotPieGirl.com – to everyone who wants to join the conversation. For those that join the conversation, I am more than happy to allow a “do-follow” link back to your site. You joined my conversation. In exchange, I am proud to let the world get to know you, too.

All the cool kids hang out at PotPieGirl.com, right? So if you comment here, you MUST be cool! =)

Jackie has a great post on this topic of blog comments – totally worth a read – but in short I want to say this:

Moral of the story: The only blog you should be marketing on is your own blog. Trust me, if you add something cool or insightful to the post and on-going conversation, people will want to click thru your name and see who you are. Plus, your comments will be welcome and appreciated – and that is only a good thing =)

5. Email Subject Lines

This one might be a pet-peeve of my own, but I have a feeling that many of you might feel the same way. Nothing makes me more annoyed than getting an email with the subject line of “Urgent!” or “Emergency!” only to open it and find a basic question…. or a sales pitch. Let’s all be respectful of our fellow marketers time and not use those kinds of subject lines to get attention to our emails.

6. Email Replies

Yup, another email topic in this Top 10 list. This is one I am guilty of myself (…once upon a time… lol). I used to send an email with a question to a busier marketer and get so annoyed when it would take forever for a reply (IF they replied at all). I’d be thinking, “Gee, how hard is it to reply to a simple email??”

C’mon….show of hands…. who else has thought this, too?

Now, time has passed and I am learning first-hand just how hard and time-consuming it is to “reply to a simple email”. As I talked about it my last post, if I “only” have 100 emails each day that need “just” 3 minutes of my time, that is 300 minutes – 5 HOURS – of time needed to “reply to a simple email”.

Ok, another show of hands. Who else wants to spend a minimum of 5 hours each day replying to email? haha!

Moral of the story: Let’s all try to be a little kinder to our fellow marketers and not get so annoyed when they don’t reply to our “simple email”. In fact, many “simple email” questions can be simply answered on our own by following #8.

8. Google and Forum Search Tools

This is a big one for me. When I first started to learn how to make money online, the first thing I put in my “tool box” was how to effectively use Google to give me the info I was needing to know. No matter what your question is, there IS an answer somewhere on the internet.

In fact, here at PotPieGirl.com, at the bottom of every post is a special Google search tool. You can type in anything you want to know from me, and that tool will search this site and 6StepNicheSites.com for anything I have posted on that topic. I know blogs are hard to navigate as far as getting to older posts and info, but that search bar makes it WAYYYYYY easier. In fact, I use it when looking for posts on my own sites to link to when replying to simple emails……hahahahha!

Forums have search tools too. You can find some AWESOME information by using those search tools and their advanced search options.

9. Does It Work?

When I was growing up, the big “plan” for my friends and I (as dictated by our parents) was to graduate High School, go to college, get a job, and be “secure”. Sound familiar?

Know what’s funny to me? All that talk about college….all the money spent on college educations…and I never ONCE heard anyone ask – “Does It Work?” Think about it, that money is spent on an education – ok, on a degree- that enables you to be qualified to get a specific job. But, it does not guarantee you a job, does it?

A college education only “works” if you do something with it.

Now, I am so NOT knocking college. In fact, I had a great time in college… I even went to class occasionally…lol My point is this – why do we not question the thousands of dollars spent on college, but we stress and sweat over a $30 ebook or software tool that could advance our business or online marketing education?

We have little issue with a one-hour $50 dinner out, but when it comes to purchasing something that could even teach us ONE thing we didn’t know about online marketing, we hesitate?

I get a LOT of emails that pretty much say, “Hey, was checking out your One Week Marketing Plan – Does it work?

Yes, One Week Marketing works… if you work it.

Moral of the story: Don’t get caught in the trap of not valuing yourself or your online business enough to invest in it. Now, I was once where many of you are now – no extra money to spend. In hindsight, I wish I had cut back in other areas of life to be able to invest in a few more learning courses and tools that would help me advance my online business to the next level quicker. I took the LONG route, folks… the really long route…lol

10. Google vs. People

This one was tough for me to learn. Why? I’m not sure because a) it’s common sense, and b) I was, and still am, a CONSUMER, so I know what it takes to get ME to buy.

Once we start trying to make money online, we are pretty much force-fed the “rules” of what Google wants/needs for your site(s) to be rewarded with high rankings and to be found by consumers. Problem is, when we are new we tend to focus more on what Google wants….and not enough on what PEOPLE want.

I am here sitting on my couch in my living room typing on my laptop cause I’m still getting over this Mystery Flu that knocked me on my bottom all week – and I want to tell you this from my own personal experience:

Basic optimization skills mixed with good content WORKS.

Does it work over-night? Most of the time, No, it does not. But it does accumulate….and it lasts….

Moral of the story: When is the last time Google bought ANYTHING from you? ;) Learn basic optimization skills and then write for the people you are trying to connect with. While the internet is a web connected by links, without PEOPLE it is nothing more than a bunch of unseen web pages.


Falls-Down-Laughing February 22, 2009 at 6:11 am

Yeah, that sure sounds a lot like me in quite a few of those! ahahaha Well, I can’t say that I didn’t learn something here. That refund guy in #1 – that’s just *so* funny! lmao

Falls-Down-Laughings last blog post..Homemade Power Bars….

Sunshine February 22, 2009 at 6:45 am

You knocked it out the park with this one- Especially #9.

Unless you’re on your last dime, spending a few dollars to learn a new skill or strategy that will absolutely help you or even a client make money in this economy either in the short or long term should not be given a second thought. especially in today’s economy.

We all need an edge in business and he who knows more than the next guy or girl will always be able to thrive financially.

Leo Hanes February 22, 2009 at 11:34 am

Hey Jen

Hope you are feeling better….that flu bug was an international nasty!!

And the #1 item…..is even more complex….its about lack of focus, and trust in a product or business model too.

Often we do work it, to the point that we convince ourself it or we are not working for us …

As you know every product or idea by itself does not a business make ….

I think of all the “mlm” teachings that have been superceded over the past few years….yet the basics still work, if we work them.

Have a great day anyway you can!!

Leo Hanes

Internet Marketing Strategy for Beginners February 22, 2009 at 1:13 pm

Hey Jen,
Great post wanna buy some knives? Just kidding :)

This is a great post. One of my “email” pet peeves is when they start the subject line with RE: I’m always like crap I forgot someone! I end up opening it and then being mad ~ but I guess their objective worked ~ I opened it.

#8 is also a big one for me. It seems a lot of newbies don’t even think to ask their questions of google when they could easily find the answer in the top listed website. Not sure if they don’t think about it, or just don’t know how ~ or just want to have their hands held ~ but that can be frustrating sometimes. Google is your information finding friend! Use it. :)

Another great post, glad to hear you’re feeling better.


Internet Marketing Strategy for Beginnerss last blog post..Building Backlinks With Blog Comments the Right Way

Deliese February 22, 2009 at 4:58 pm

Thanks for the pointers, Jennnifer. I am guilty of sending emails in order to ask questions from other marketers. I only do it if I have bought several products from them. But since one of the comments here is from one of those marketers and they mentioned how annoying it can be. I will be sure to start Google searching my questions. I certainly don’t want to be a pain….lol


Rhonda Holland February 22, 2009 at 5:32 pm

That has to be one of the funniest refund requests I have ever heard of. I can see future disclaimers now “Method requires work.” LOL

Mary K February 22, 2009 at 8:47 pm

Too funny… and boy do these points hit home!

I wish I could say all ten points were a “boy, I remember when…” thing but I just got caught on #2 again…

Oh sure… the link worked but it sure wasn’t crediting ME!!! LOL

Thanks again for point out the (what could be/should be) obvious errors along the way! ;-)

~~Mary K

Penny @ College Classes Online February 22, 2009 at 11:30 pm

Hi Jennifer,
Just wanted to know, does One Week Marketing help you Make Money Online? (Lol, just plugging your keywords!) I just sent an email to get your banners etc. for the Clickbank Product, so I’ll give it a try to promote it. I watched the most amazing infomercial today about a guy selling shortcuts to making money online… I feel so sorry for the people that believe his pitch! He showed streams of happy people holding checks for $5,000. to $140,000. per day that did nothing other than buy his secrets shortcut to internet millions product. What a sad state. You, in contrast, have provided honest information on how to build your own information site, and how to monetize it, and how to drive traffic to it. I’ve built 2 using the exact formula for the 6 step websites, and they are both earning regular commissions. I’ve set up another 4 information websites that will be related to the community I live in, so they’ll grow larger than the 10-15 posts. (They’re not earning any money yet.) I’m so glad I learned how to do this, and I thank you every day. (*.*)

Penny @ College Classes Onlines last blog post..Online Community College Courses – Piedmont College

Brandon Walker February 23, 2009 at 5:15 am

Hey Jennifer,

Those top 10 mistakes you listed are very true.

#10 was something that I learned the hard way. I kept on designing blogs with a little bit of content here and there and then focusing heavily on SEO. It ended up I ranked for not many terms at all. Now I realize that If focused on providing valuable content and built up the blog – results would of come.

But you learn from your mistakes..and now with my new blog I find I am getting a nice amount of traffic from google without relying on SEO. I think I finally understand how to treat google :)


Brandon Walkers last blog post..StarMag – A Free, Premium 3 Column Wordpress Theme

Dawn February 24, 2009 at 1:17 am

I’ve just climbed on board with the One Week Marketing Guide. Am half way through my first week and loving it. Got my first four lenses indexed. Yay!

Just a thank you for what you’re putting out there for people. It is appreciated.

Neo February 24, 2009 at 5:40 am

I am reading your blog from last 2 months. I feel very motivated after reading your posts. Infact I have saved some of your posts in my computer.(hope it is not violation of any rules.) I also want to start my own blog or something and start want to make money like you. But I don’t know where to start, I have read in your articles that making mistakes is good thing and one will definitely learn from it. But I am affraid of making mistakes, thats why I want something unique to start with, with minimum mistakes. I hope I will start something as soon as possible.

Kendrick February 25, 2009 at 8:16 pm

Hi Jen!

I just want to say (again) how lucky I feel to have found you and all the information you provide. My only frustration is that I wish I found it while I was still unemployed and had all the time to implement it all.

I guess I shouldn’t be complaining about having a ‘job’ these days, but I truly think that following a plan like your One Week Marketing, is far better and more secure in the long run than any ‘job’ could ever be.

I am still trying to find the time to APPLY what I’ve been learning (#1 above :o) ), but it’s tough! I haven’t even been keeping up with your blog, but I see that, not surprisingly, there is a bunch of new, great info for me to catch up on. With that said though… and I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining, but… What happened to #7???

Your info is so good that if you accidentally forgot to add it in, I wanted to point it out to you. I’m sure it’s a worthwhile tidbit of information for us newbies (probably veterans as well).

Anyway, just wanted to drop in to say hello to you my friend. All the best!

MLDina February 25, 2009 at 11:11 pm

Great list…I love the comparison to breaking into your house and dropping a business card. I can definitely see that as the next guerilla marketing campaign for that LifeLock system, too funny!

Making mistakes as an affiliate is great, even if the process is frustrating. Testing different ideas is an important part of the process. You have to put in the work in order to get the results- even if it takes a few tries.

eric February 26, 2009 at 8:29 am

Wow, this is a great post. When I was a new I used to make all those mistakes. It’s like you reminded me of my past. You also reminded me something, some lady emailed me asking me what she should exactly do in order to get her younger ex boyfriend back after visiting my website that has all the resources and free info..I didn’t know what to tell her except refer her to the same info that was on my website..to her,she didn’t want to spend anything to learn on how to deal with a break up..It pisses me off that in the past I wouldnt spend $45 on an ebook but go out on weekends and get drunk spending $60 buks!!sometimes newbies ask basic questions (been there too) about online marketing that they can find answers if they just google or easily find online.

SEO Chris February 28, 2009 at 9:08 am

Some good points here. The email urgent header one reminded me of a customer of mine who gives all here email headers an exclamation mark, just to tell me that she’s more important than my other customers – not. It bugs the hell out of me.

France Pro February 28, 2009 at 2:22 pm


Many thanks for giving the moral of the story.
I know what must I do.


J. L. Jacobsen March 4, 2009 at 5:34 pm

I thought about #9. It’s true. A lot of people do go to college and never work in the field, yet they won’t spend money on other things to invest in their futures. However, I think people don’t invest the money in other things because they don’t know what things will help them and what things are scams. Especially on the internet, it is difficult to discern between the real thing and scams because it seems like everyone is pushing something.

shaun March 23, 2009 at 2:54 pm

hey there well i am so impressed with the information here it is nice to see someone genuine….now i really want to make a great income online. I have the desire and motivation to learn and do what it takes. I have been scammed left right and center. I have brought the “rich jerk” ebooks and “how to make a thousand dollars in 10 mins” crap and i realise you have to find a real system with a real blueprint. I will be buying your guide as soon as i have the money…i have recently lost my job and been left penniless. I think your guide will help me build my skills and then i will join WA to further enchance them…your a joy to read about and i thank you!!

Victor March 29, 2009 at 7:06 pm

I still have a lot to learn as a newbie, and this post has summarized it all. It would be better if I take it one step at a time, and never hurry things up, that’s why I am searching for some things I can do to improve my marketing for my blog.

Rosemarie April 20, 2009 at 7:13 pm

being a newbie I know to check to see if my link is working but how do I check to see if I am getting credited for the traffic or not? Thanks for your help

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