At this point I've made a break through in my business (click here and any other colored text). In fact, it's a "?????" break through.
But first, let me give you a little history.
Some of this may be old hat for some of you (seeing I'm sending this to multiple people), so you may want to skip parts of this (if need be). But this is also to my dad, who is 97, and has Macular Degeneration and has never seen a computer screen before. So I need to describe different thing's for him (which you may already know). Because he was an engineer, he should be able to follow everything I say.
Eileen, would you read this to him for me??? And because I am detail orientated (and long winded) this may take a couple hours to get through, so you may want to read this to him over a few days. This will also let any information I present be assimilated . As such, you may want to copy and paste this to a word document to keep your place. But read the online version so you get the "Pop Ups" that I used for ?????.
When I was in college I would go to my guitar lesson, and my instructor would say "Your strings are shot, Tom!! When are you going to change those things?" Then, two hours later, in performance class (with the whole guitar department present), he would say "I'm going to order some strings, how many sets do each of you guy's want?" Then he would go around the room and ask, "Joe, how many do you want?" He'd say "I'll take 6." Then, "Sam, what do you want?" "I'm going in on a dozen with Bill!!" Then, Dave would say, I need 3.
But when he got to me, I said "My strings are still good." Why? Because I didn't have the $5 dollars for a new set (let alone the $30 for 6 sets). But, when he placed the order, it was with a "Mail Order" string selling business. If you bought 1-9 sets, it was one price. But 10 or more sets, it was a cheaper price (per set). I thought (or wished), why isn't there a company that sells one set for the same price as ten sets?
Then one day while in the music library, I saw a book that listed every music faculty (teacher) of every university in the nation. Violin, horn, piano, guitar, etc. It had them all. I knew I had found a way to get to a block of guitar customers (as well as any other instrument [like violin] that I wanted).
"Notes From Tom" was born.
I established contact with the makers of classical guitar strings. Made up a price list. Ordered the mailing list of the names of the faculty (some 2,000). Of coarse it wasn't the faculty I was after, but their students. So I made up 9 X 12 packets of 13 flyers in each (2000 teachers X 13 students = 26,000 total flyers) and mailed them out to the faculty, who I'd hoped would give to their students.
And I did this each year for over 15 years.
But, this was a month long process, and a couple of thousand dollars in costs (I would do it once a year at the start of the college school year, or in the fall).
But, I had found a "Niche" that every one else;
1) Didn't know about (because they didn't know about the directory)
2) Wasn't willing to take the time to do (a month worth of work)
3) Didn't have the money to invest (or wasn't willing)
I did this from 1983 to about 1998. At one point in time, I had about 2,500 people buying strings from me. Pretty good numbers (?????)!!!
Between my string biz, my delivery service, and my paper routes, I was making a descent wage (but not enough to buy property because of my tax deductions)!!
But the question soon came to me, "How do I keep track of my customers?" I first thought of a card system, where I would put the name and shipping information of my customers on a 3x5 paper file card. Then alphabetize them, and each time they ordered, pull out the card, write the new information onto their card, and put it back in the proper place.
But there was a new thing, called a computer, that would do this for me. When I was ready to set up a "Data Base", it was with the third generation of computers (or the 489, which I still have and use). So I got a computer (which is the hardware side of things) and added a "Data Base Program" (which is the software side of things). But during this same time period, there was a group of people (government) that had information on their computers that they wanted to share between each other. So they linked their multiple computers together from the many different locations to form what they called "the web." They then realized, this could be done with any computer on the planet, and the world-wide-web (or www) was born.
So what do people in the world wide web put into their computers? The same as in any book in the library, "Anything that is of interest to them"!!!! Only difference is, that in a book, the page size is limited to how big it is (as was NFT's order form at 8.5" x 11"). So the information is limited to the page size and page numbers. But a web page could be as short, or long, as the "web master" wants it to be. A web page can be 1 word long, or 100's of miles long. You can think of a web site like any book. The site is a multitude of pages, just like a book. But each one of these web site pages has a unique address (called a URL), that the "web browser" can find, and put that page onto your computer screen. Just think of it like this. Every single book ever written has an address. And each one of the pages (in all those books) has another exact, individual address. And if any address (from any page) is known, it can be put into the web browser to find that one page, in that one book.
So when all this started to happen, I avoided it. Why? because I'm the type of guy that has to know everything about everything. And I knew, if dealing with a world wide knowledge base, I could (or would) spend every waking moment trying to figure it all out because of the volume of information available. Really more than I wanted to attempt. So I didn't jump on the wagon and get into the web, but avoided it like the plague.
But the rest of the world did jump on board. And on-line businesses were formed selling the same thing I was selling, guitar strings. As such, my client base began to drop by 300/400 customers per year. And combined with the down turn in the economy in Feb 2001 and 9/11/2001, my income began to fall like a rock. But I've never had a problem spending money or managing money, just earning it. So I began to cut and adjust my expenses to stay afloat. I was able to do this for around 6 years.
But it finally got to the point that the fear of the unknown was less than the fear of the know. In other words, I knew in dollars what I was getting from StopWatch and NFT, and that was scarier than what I may get if I shut them down and did something totally different. So I did shut down StopWatch, but not NFT. But now what to do? Follow 1 or all of 3 paths;
1) Try to expand NFT (i.e. get a website)
2) Try a new Business Venture
3) Get a Job
So a business opportunity came my way helping people get free major pharmaceutical prescription medicines. And the back end of their website was for the "Agents." Alas, I finally was forced onto the internet. That didn't pan out, but I was now on the web and the next thing was to form a website for NFT. But not one, I needed two.
"Notes From Tom" for Strings.
"Notes From Tom" for Performance.
Whether it was a hard ware problem, or software, or just general information, one thing led to 10. 10 to 100. 100 to 1000. And 1000's to where I'm at now. Part of that chain of events included the stock market. But I wanted to trade stocks not to be a "Stock Trader," but to be and stay a musician. As implied earlier for my client data base, the computer is used for organizing blocks of information. Including things related to the stock market. Which now I was seeing in a whole new light, because of the multiple software programs I had found. But that's a whole other story.
So where am I now?
Let me back track a little.
At the start of the time line of the web, all these people were forming the multitudes of web sites. Each site could have a multitude of pages, and each page had a unique URL. So any individual page could be found, if the URL was known and put into the web browser. But the problem became "With as many sites as are now in the world wide web (undoubtedly into the multi-billions by now) how do I make my site stand out? So people see it (or more precisely = "Find It"), instead of some other web site?" You could do normal advertizing, or maybe an email blast (send an advertisement to known customers email addresses all at one time).
But a thing called a "search engine" had come online. The three main search engines today are;
With the most well known and most used being Google.
What a search engine does is finds web pages in relationship to words. Now, not only can every URL be found, but also every word, on every page, in every web site. These words are known to the search engines as "KeyWords". A user will put a keyword (or keywords) into the search box, and the search engine will give a listing of web page URL's dealing with that keyword, for the user to choose from. Depending on the keyword, the URL search results can go into the 100's of millions.
Because there are so many different people, there really is a multitude of different keywords which are used to find the exact same thing. An example would be the keyword "Ford" (or should I say Nissan, who my brother Billy works for). That's a singe word "keyword." But you could also use "Ford Motor" as the keyword. That is a multiple word "keyword." The two keywords may pull up two totally different listings of URL's that the search engine will give the user. The display will also show the "Listing Results". For the keyword "Ford", there are about 700 million URL's listed to the user to find the information he is looking for.
This brings us to the next point of discussion. The definition of two words. The listings that go down the center of a keyword search is know as the "organic" listings. These are ??? to the web site and have been compiling since the search engine went into business. The URL's may be moving around in ranking (up or down) as new or improved web pages are added to the www. On the right side of a keyword search are "Sponsored Links". Or, as known in the business world, PPC's (or Pay Per Click's). The PPC's are set up by a business using only the keyword's they choose. The businesses compete with each other on a bid system, to get closer to the top and on the first page. If business #1 will pay $1.00 per click, and another $1.10, the second one will move above the first. Until another business bids $1.20. Then each time someone clicks on the ad, the search engine charges the business the bid fee. I've heard the click bid has gone as high as $20 per click. Even at a dollar bid, if the ad is seen 100,000 a month, and 10,000 searchers click on that ad, the business will owe the search engine $10,000 for the month. That's if the searcher buys anything or not, and a lot of people are just looking. That's how the search engine makes money, and keeps the search free to the user. Luckily, the business can set any "Per Day" fee total. If it's $25 a day, when that amount is reached, the ad will come off the search listing until the next day. As such, sometimes people see the ad, sometimes they don't. This may give the impression that these businesses are less than legitimate. It may mean that they are just keeping their advertizing costs in check. One way to get around the "Pay Per Click" is to copy and paste the URL from the ad directly into your browser, saving the click fee. And as a businesses job is to recoup all costs, and then ad in a profit to stay open, you are really saving this cost to yourself.
So last summer, I set up an extensive PPC ad campaign for NFT (Strings and Performance). I had literally thousands of PPC ads.
I tried to include every thing I could think of (with variations). The largest string manufacturer on the planet is J. D'Addario and Company, and their most popular classical guitar string is a EJ45 Normal Tension.
So I created PPC's for;
J. D'Addario EJ45
and on and on and on for every string with every manufacturer.
I did the same thing for my guitar playing, which I decided the best avenue at that time was for weddings. So I used keywords like;
"Wedding Music Denver"
"Wedding Music Boulder"
"Wedding Music Aspen"
Every town North, East, South, and West for 150 miles.
As far as my P.P.C. campaign went, I really got very few clicks. The ad software keeps track for you, because that's how they charge businesses, was per click. About a thousand buck's (or a thousand clicks) in 3 - 4 months. Not enough to break the bank, but enough to hurt for sure (seeing I was now going on more than 3 years of "Unemployment" or not working, so to speak). And plus, I had more lookers than buyers. Why did I get so few clicks? Because no one thinks like me (thank God). I think in details, everyone else thinks in generalities.
But my PPC campaign led me to find something. What was it? Of coarse, it was ????. Because a search engine is nothing more than a computer software program, it can keep track of not only every keyword that is put into the search box, but also how many times that keyword is used. And this information is sold to other websites to generate income. Also, if you give this website a keyword, it will give you 700 variations on any keyword. Variations that the multitudes of people were using. I no longer had to think of what I would use, I could now see what everyone else WAS using. Now some of these variations had no practical use for what I was trying to do (sell strings). Some did.
The website also gave me another important bit of information. How many times in a month a particular keyword is used. This is known as an "Impression." A impression is how many times a keyword is used in the search box in the coarse of a month. Lets say "Ford" has a monthly impression rate of 30,000. What that means is the keyword "Ford" is put into the search box thirty thousand times in the coarse of a month, and then someone clicks "Search". But this keyword may be used more than once by one user. Say someone was looking to buy a car, and everyday after work they came home and searched the keyword "Ford." The count from this one user would be 30 for the month. If a thousand people now did the same thing, the impression rate would be 30,000. But the end user number would only be 1,000. But 30,000 times in the month, someone's eyes did see the listing of URL's the search engine compiled for that keyword.
But there was something else that I had noticed about this time. And that's where "Notes From Tom" was falling in the organic listing for that keyword search.
For Google (at the time of the writing of this letter), the keyword "Notes From Tom" had 135 million URL's listed. So that got me thinking, "How did I do that? How did I beat out 135 million other URL's for me to be in the #1 spot on the #1 page?"
And that of coarse led me to; "If I did it on one keyword, why not any other keyword? Or, any keywords I so choose?"
Now trying to configure NFT's website for each keyword I had used on the "Sponsored Links" side of the search page was more than was practical. So I put the "Keyword Tool" to use to find fewer words. This is when I found how much differently other people think than me. As said, I think in specifics, most everyone else thinks in generalities. The keyword tool showed me I just needed a few words to reach lots and lots of people.
So I began to re-configure my website. Now the webpage YOU see on your screen isn't the webpage a "WEB BROWSER" sees. A web browser is a program ("Internet Explorer" being MSN's product). What you see on your screen, the web browser produces from something called HTML, or hyper text markup language. If you right click on any web page, and click "View Source" you can see what a web browser is looking at. But some of this language isn't for producing what is on the screen, it's for the search engines. Knowing which text is for what, can help you get up the search engine rankings.
So the search engine takes what you see on your screen, as well as information you don't see on the screen but is in the HTML code, and compiles them all into what is undoubtedly a number. There are many differing parts of a web site that are analyzed by a search engine. These parts, which the total are known as the ???? are used to then form this number. The search engine then organizes all the URL's acording to number and displays each to the user (with a little text included) when the user clicks the "Search" box. Getting to the top of a keyword search means your URL can now be seen by many people using that keyword. But most people will never go past the first 30 URL's listed during a search, or to the 3rd page. And most not past the first page, or 10 URL's. So if there are 300 million URL's desplayed, only the first 30 matter, and the first 10 are the most important. That is, if you want you web site to be seen by anyone who is using a keyword through a search engine.
But the "Algorithm" is a secret. No one really knows what it is. But people do speculate (????). And it's different for each search engine. The search engines keep it secret so no one manipulates their website for a particular keyword. And it may be/or is changing all the time. But some people are analytical (????), and are trying to figure these things out. So I set up a web page on my site for Dolores Palizzi (Dean's mom) to test my ideas about the algorithm that I had formed from the "Notes From Tom" keyword. The results were;
Ya-Hoooooo (????). The #1 spot on the #1 page on Google. That's how it's suppose to work. But that keyword was easy, because the keyword had no competition. But it showed me what could be done.
Once again luck was on my side, and I found a website out of Germany which would analyze the many different parts of a website (maybe which were parts of the ????). It would categorize these multiple parts into a number formula, so I could easily see how my website was doing in each part. But more importantly, it would analyze any other website in the www as well (not just mine). So I could see what they were doing, and then I could reconfigure each particular part of my web site. And then, hopefully, beat them on each part of the algorithm. This would then move my site higher than theirs in a keyword search, and hopefully me into the #1 spot.
What makes the computer hard isn't any one piece of information, but trying to figure out and assimilate the multi-billion bits of information. So trying to keep my site easy was at the for-front of my list when I set things up. When someone searches "Notes From Tom" with a search engine that's a lot of letters. I have always sent out my envelopes with NFT as the sender. So, it would also be easier for people to put "nft" into a search box than "notes from tom" if they were using the business name. Wa-La-------
I then re-configured "all" my web pages to promote the easier NFT search engine keyword. Three letters is a pretty easy way to look for a business, easier than 14 spaces, and much easier than most of my competition.
I did this because;
1) If someone found my URL using some other keyword.
2) Then used my services, and liked me.
3) But then wanted to find me from what they saw on my website (Two business names), instead of the original keyword they used.
So, whether someone used "NFT" or "Notes From Tom" as the original keyword, they will find me (because I am in the #1 spot on both "Notes From Tom" & "NFT" keywords). That is if they tried to find my site by using either business name.
So now I had 3 different keywords on the first page, in the #1 spot, of the major search engine results. Maybe I was on to something in figuring out the "Algorithm". But now it was now time to work on money producing keywords. As I said earlier, the website that analyzes keywords, showed me exactly what keywords people do use. And that there was only just a few words that I needed to focus on. The 7 keywords that I needed to focus on were;
7) Classical Guitar
6) Guitar Strings
5) Guitar String
4) Bass Guitar
3) Electric Guitar
2) Acoustic Guitar
So what kind of impressions were created from these 6 keywords? Seeing I am no longer dealing with 2000 instructors with maybe 10 students each, but the whole of the United States (I have no interest of sending a $8 set of guitar strings to someone in Chile) the numbers have changed somewhat. And, if I'm going to sell on line as oppose to sending out a flyer (my how times have changed), I may as well sell not only Classical Guitar Strings, but Acoustic, Bass & Electric strings as well (which I added when I originally set up my web site. But only the string line of J. D'Addario, which I already had a direct supply from the manufacturer). The last censes for the U.S. was about 307,000,000 people. That is now my client base, because most will (and do) use a search engine at some point to find things they are looking for.
And the impression rate for the 6 keywords as listed by Google are;
7) Classical Guitar = 135,000
6) Guitar Strings = 135,00
5) Guitar String = 165,00
4) Bass Guitar = 301,00
3) Electric Guitar = 450,00
2) Acoustic Guitar = 550,00
For a total of about 1,800,000 impressions a month. Now we're talking some serious numbers. Or are we?
If you noticed I have left off keyword #1. Why? because this is the crowning jewel in the NFT keyword hierarchy. This keyword is a single word. So easy, so sweet!!!!
What is it......
I haven't formulated my web pages to the other 6 words yet, but check it out for the keyword "Guitar"
Now I know what your wondering!!!! How many impressions per month does Guitar have?
Google, which I'm sure rounds the number off, and I hope is telling the truth, says the impression number is ???.
I'm ranked as #3. Why not #1? Because I could read between the lines when I first learned the difference between the "organic" listing and the "PPC" listing. Eventually, the "PPC's" would move to the center, unbeknownst to the end user. The listings above me have to be un-advertized PPC's, because I beat them in every category of the "Algorithm" but they are still above me. It's ok, I'm still on the first page. And everyone who uses this keyword needs what I have to sell.
I have no idea how much business 13,000,000 eyes a month (until I work in the other 6 keywords, then 15,000,000 a month), who see a page with my URL listed in the #3 spot will generate!!!
But I do know 3 things;
I always knew something like this would happen!!!
And why? Because I always had;