Castaway Island - Internet Marketing Blog
Birthday Surprise to New York City! (Wed, Oct 22nd 2008, 00:00)
My wonderful wife surprised me with a trip to New York City for my birthday. This is one of the reasons why I love her so much. I have never been to New York City and always wanted to go. My wife is originally from New York, so I knew we would be visiting one day... But I didn't know it would be now. We did more in the 4 days that we were their then most people who live their do in a life time.
I will save you the boredom of a long drawn out story and just list the things that we did while in New York.
Thursday - Day 1
- Arrived at my wife's cousin's apartment in Flushing.
- Went to Time Square.
- Walked around Central Park and took a bike trolley ride (I know we didn't do the horse carriage, Sorry).
- Museum of National History - this place is easy to get lost in. It reminded me of the movie Night at the Museum.
- And probably my favorite experience the whole time in New York, was watching the Lion King on Broadway. It was my first Broadway Show and I couldn't have been happier. We had front row seats to enjoy the entire musical which goes through the whole movie from beginning to end.
- Oh yeah, can't forget about the slice of pizza at Time Square.
Friday - Day 2
- Helicopter ride over the city - this I recommend to everyone. The view you get is unbelievable and it's a great way to see the Statue of Liberty without having to take the ferry.
- Wallstreet and the New York Stock Exchange
- Ground Zero - all though construction has moved forward and the huge hole is no longer visible, to see two city blocks completely empty is still a shock.
- Ate dinner at Pio Pio, one of my wife's favorite restaurant's.
Saturday - Day 3
- Visited Shea Stadium which is being demolished and Citi Field right next door.
- Flushing Park and the home of the World Fair.
- FAO Schwartz and bought a bunch of candy.
- Madison Square Garden
- The world's largest Macy's, it's like 5 stories.
- The ice rink was up and running at Rockefeller, but I actually thought it would be bigger.
- Top of the Rock - we went to the top of Rockefeller Center and looked over the city at night. This site was just as amazing as the helicopter ride, definitely recommend it.
- On the way back to the apartment we stopped by my wife's old neighborhod and ate their favorite Papooseria (I probably didn't spell this right).
- Trip to Jersey for the New York Giants football game. This was a great last minute surprise. My goal is to visit every NFL stadium, and I was so happy I could get this one in.
- The famous Steinway Kabobs - I've heard about these things for years from my wife's father, and let me tell you they did not disappoint. They have been selling these kabobs on the same corner for over 30 years. I ate two right their, and ordered four more to take back to the apartment.
Sunday - Day 4
As you can see we packed in a lot in just four days. This was the best birthday present I could have ever wished for. Thanks babe for the trip.
Keep a look out for our next adventure!
At the Lion King
Top of the Rock
New York Giants Football Game
Heart Walk West Palm Beach (Sun, Sep 28th 2008, 14:24)
Yesterday I participated with my wife in the Heart Walk at Downtown West Palm Beach. The walk had a great turn out. I can't give you the exact number, but there had to be over 1,000 people who walked the 3 mile course on Flagler. The crowd included people of all ages. Parents pushing their babies in strollers, little kids skipping and walking along side their parents, teenagers and adults. One of the most impressive participants I came across was a fireman in full gear including the heavy oxygen tank strapped to his back. I hadn't reached the half way turn when I saw him speed walking back the other way with such determination on his face. He must have finished the 3 mile walk in 25 minutes. Now that my friends is a very powerful statement. Many of the area hospitals were represented including my wife's hospital Bethesda Memorial in Boynton Beach.
The Heart Walk holds a very special place in my heart. My father Dr. Roberto J. Miquel passed away from a massive heart attack just a few days after my 17th birthday. This life changing moment was a very hard pill to swallow. It took many years for me to finally make peace with what happened. Probably the most impressive outcome from this horrific situation was to see the transformation of my brother. Heading on a path to no where, he decided to pursue his life long dream of following in our father's foot steps and becoming an M.D. Leaving family and friends he departed to the Dominican Republic to study medicine. After nearly 8 years suffering in this third world country he graduated from Med School, passed the U.S. boards, and is now in residency in Texas. I am very proud of my brother's accomplishments and can now see the good that can happen from a bad situation.
At the heart walk there was a large memorial board for the participants to sign. When my wife signed "In the memory of Dr. Roberto Miquel. We love you Chris and Karla Miquel." on the board I was getting all choked up. It is during times like these when I realize how much I miss my father. The walk helps me to bring a piece of my father back into my life and for that I am thankful.
We were able to finish the walk in about 45 minutes. Nothing stellar, but our goal to complete the entire walk was accomplished. I thank all the people who participated in this event, and look forward to walking again next year.
In memory of Dr. Roberto J. Miquel
What you need to be an Internet Marketer (Tue, Sep 23rd 2008, 15:30)
Website Development (Website Editor / HTML)
To be a successful internet marketer it helps to know how to build a website. At the very least you should take a basic website development course to learn how to program in html (hyper text markup language). Try to stay away from just using website editor software like dream weaver or Microsoft front page. I use dream weaver for all of my development work, but I develop 99% of my websites through source code only. Most sites and internet applications I develop are developed using the CAKEPHP architecture, which requires you to hard code our applications. Not everyone will be capable of hard coding websites, so for that matter dream weaver is my preferred website editor software.
Click to purchase dreamweaver.
The design of your website is one of the most important factors in determining if a visitor to your website will stay or leave upon arrival. I use two graphic software applications to create all of my graphics from logos, to print advertisements, to banner advertisements and websites. For all of my design needs I use Adobe's Creative Suite which includes Photoshop and Illustrator. Photoshop CS3 is a powerful pixel based editor capable of creating, editing, and altering the highest photo quality images. Adobe Illustrator CS3 is a vector based graphic editing software that is used to create images through vector shapes. These images are best suited for logos and illustrations. A vector image can be enlarged exponentially without losing quality, where a pixel based image loses quality the more it is enlarged. It is to your benefit to be capable of creating your on images. A good internet marketer not only can program his website, but can also design it.
Click to purchase.
The first thing an internet marketer should do is open a Google AdWords account. Google AdWords is the application which allows you to place text and image advertisements through the search engine giant Google and its network of partners. I recommend that you go through all the lessons that Google has for your disposal before trying to create your first marketing campaign. There are two forms of advertisements available through Google, Pay Per Click (PPC) and Pay Per Impression (PPI). Both forms of advertising are based on an auctioning system, where the advertiser who pays the most per click or impression, and has the highest performing ad is ranked at the top of the results. In a PPC campaign the marketer pays Google each time his or her ad is clicked on. In a PPI campaign the marketer pays per thousand impressions or each thousand times that their ad is displayed. I prefer to advertise using PPC, so that I can plan my budget based on how many leads I want to generate to my sites.
As an AdWords customer you are given access to Google Analytics the premier website analytics software in the industry. With Google Analytics you can track the visitors to your site, where they are coming from, what they are doing when they get there, what are your conversion rates, what pages are not performing, who referred your visitor and much more. You can even run A/B and dynamic page testing to help optimize your website.
Keyword Research Tools
The key to internet marketing success is to know... what are people looking for? People run millions of queries a day using the major search engines Google, Yahoo, AOL, MSN, and Ask.com to find information on products, services, news and entertainment. What you need to know to be a successful internet marketer is what are these people searching for. The best way to gather this information is by using a keyword research tool such as Wordtracker and Keyword Discovery. If you enter a specific keyword or phrase into these tools, you will be given information on related keywords, how much these words are searched, and how competitive the search term is (how many search results exist for each keyword). Based on this information you can analyze consumer search patterns and identify less competitive keywords and phrases to capitalize on. Based on this analysis you can plan a strategic marketing campaign through pay per click and search engine optimization (SEO).
- Word Tracker
Search Engine Optimization
All websites should be properly designed so that search engines can index them properly. Take time to research and learn different search engine optimization (SEO) techniques to help raise your site rankings through the major search engines. SEO is not a science it is more of an art form. It is impossible to guarantee that your site will be ranked at the top for a specific keyword. It takes a lot of time and dedication to help navigate your site to the top. If someone tells you that they can guarantee your site a #1 ranking in the search engines, they are full of you know what. There are a few reasons why this is impossible. First, search engines like Google have a secret algorithm which calculates their search results. No one knows exactly what factors are included or their weights. Secondly, the search engines like to tweak their algorithms, to help provide better results and to beat black hatters who try to beat their system through discovered loop holes. This mystic algorithm which is always transforming makes it impossible to ensure your rankings on any of the search engine. The things we can control like keywords and content are things that you should concentrate on, as well as a link building campaign to generate in bound links to your site.
Email Marketing Software
Keeping in contact with your current and potential customers is often an overlooked service that a company should integrate into their internet marketing strategy. To perform a quality email marketing campaign proper email marketing software must be used. The software should allow you to manage your subscriber lists with a double opt-in and unsubscribe features. It must also include advanced email tracking features to analyze an email blasts deliverability, open and click through rate. This information is necessary to determine the effectiveness of different email campaigns.
- Constant Contact
Click for from Constant Contact.
Affiliate Marketing Networks
A great way to help promote and market your website is through affiliate marketers. These individuals make a living by driving traffic to affiliated websites to help generate leads and sales. Developing a successful affiliate campaign takes proper management and recruitment. Recruiting affiliates is no easy task. The best way to start recruiting affiliates is to join one of the affiliate networks. Each network offers different services and recruitment features that can be used to help you recruit quality affiliates. You should join and focus initially on one of these programs. Once you have set up your affiliate program in one of the networks you should attend as many affiliate events as possible to help market it. The best event to attend is the Affiliate Summit held in New York and Las Vegas each year. Here you will be able to network with affiliates and learn what is happening in the industry. Click on Affiliate Summit to register.
- Commission Junction
Also known as CJ, Commission Junction is the largest affiliate network in the United States. If you are an affiliate you can join their network with no problem, but if you are a merchant they require a certain amount of online revenue to qualify for the network. It is quite expensive for a merchant to join CJ, so if you are a small or upstart e-commerce or lead generation site I recommend one of the other two.
- Share a Sale
Share a Sale is one of the most ethical affiliate networks around, and is a great place to start if you are a merchant looking to set up an affiliate program. The start up costs are low, and the support is great.
- Link Share
Link Share is another popular affiliate network that many affiliates are using. For more detailed information you should visit their website.