Archive for December, 2007

My New Inspiration: BMW E92 M3 Tested On Top Gear

The new BMW E92 M3 that I wrote about back in April is finally coming out soon! Who better to drive it then the guys from Top Gear. They took the BMW E92 M3, Mercedes C63AMG, and Audi RS4 in a German’s best auto saloon shootout. The videos are a must watch for any car enthusiast…it makes me want the new M3 very badly!

The final conclusion that Top Gear makes is that all of the cars are amazing. They found the RS4 to not be so flashy, but powerful and the all wheel drive was nice. The C63AMG was just a beast, with a monstrous engine and difficult to hold traction due to all the power. The M3, which had the fastest time on the track, was an aggressive “masterpiece”. I personally love of front end of the Mercedes, but do not like the rear…but the 6.2 liter V8 should make up for that and then some.

Which of the three would you choose?

BMW E92 M3

Mercedes CL63 AMG

Audi RS4

Dining At BLT Steak In Washington DC

On Wednesday night a few of us went to dinner at BLT Steak in Washington DC (About a block or so away from the White House). I have to say it was definitely one of the better meals I’ve had in my lifetime, and I got a chance to try Kobe steak for the first time.

Here’s the entrance for BLT Steak:

BLT Steak Washington DC entrance

I’ll just list out everything our table ordered outside of the wine as everything was a la carte. I personally got the NY strip as my entree.

Appetizer

  • Caesar Salad
  • Grilled double cut bacon

Entrees

  • Filet Mignon
  • 10oz Japanese Kobe Strip
  • Rib Eye
  • New York Strip
  • Diver Scallops

Sides

  • We wanted to order the grilled jumbo shrimp, but it was out
  • Blue cheese tator-tots
  • Parmesan Gnocchi
  • French Fries
  • Grilled asparagus
  • Poached green beans

Dessert

  • Chocolate chestnut sundae
  • Crepe Souffle
  • Peanut butter chocolate mousse
  • Blueberry lemon meringue pie

Here’s a shot of the 10oz Kobe, at $26 an ounce that steak was $260:

Kobe at BLT Steak

You can see the inside here (the top two pieces) and how marbled it is:

Kobe at BLT Steak

CD got the filet mignon:

Filet mignon at BLT Steak

Steph got the diver scallops:

Kobe at BLT Steak

The desserts were amazing, the peanut butter chocolate mousse may possibly be one of the best I’ve ever had. Here’s the blueberry lemon meringue pie that I got:

Blueberry lemon meringue pie at BLT Steak

The chocolate chestnut sundae looked to die for:

Sunday at BLT Steak

All said and done our check was about $1,000 for the 5 of us (Thanks Andrew!). After dinner we went by the white house to take a quick gander:

Me at the white house

It was a great night and dinner…I think I’m still stuffed a day later. I highly recommend going to BLT, they have locations in DC, New York City, San Jua, Dallas, White Plains, Los Angeles, and Miami.

The Secret Best Hidden Feature In AIM 6: AOL Radio

Many of us AIM as our main instant message application. There is a built-in feature in AIM 6.x that I’ve found almost nobody knows about, but everybody loves once they do…and that’s AOL Radio. For those of you that have never used AOL Radio before, it’s time to get on the bandwagon because it is simply awesome. AOL Radio features a ton of stations in all of the categories that you can think of, and you’ll be surprised to hear that even has the majority of stations from XM Radio channels are included…for free.

Surprisingly enough, I think the AOL stations are actually better than the XM channels!?? So now that you know AOL Radio is so good, you’ll be happy to find out that it’s actually built into AIM. Simply click the headphones on the bottom of your buddy list:

Icon for AOL radio

Once you’ve done that, click the listen now button (you MIGHT need to install an ActiveX file), choose the category of music, and then the station:

AOL Radio AIM

I actually don’t even really listen to MP3′s anymore, I just pop open AOL Radio through AIM since it’s already open. I know this probably sounds like a big ad for AOL Radio, but I’m just a huge fan of the product.

Did you already know this existed?? So far everybody I’ve told about it did not know, but now uses it.

Caps Sabres Game In The Luxury Box

Last Friday I had an opportunity to go to the Washington Capitals vs. Buffalo Sabers hockey game at the Verizon Center in Washington DC. I’m always up for going to a professional sports game, but this one was a bit better because they were tickets for the luxury box!? I went with a few friends, as well as a few people that I didn’t know.

For those that have never been in a luxury box at a professional sports game, it’s a great experience. You have a great view of the game, the room is usually pretty nice with free food and free drinks, plasmas on the wall, a private bathroom, etc. Our room had a ton of wings, hot dogs, cookies, cakes, gummy bears, jelly beans, chips, nuts, beer, wine, etc. Take a look at the pics:

Here is the hallway for the Lexus suite level:

Lexus suite level at the Washington Caps Verizon Center

?Here’s? a view of room looking towards the stadium:

Lexus suite at Verizon Center

Here’s the kitchen side of the room:

Lexus suite at Verizon Center

Here’s the other side of the room, the bathroom is on the left, and there is a closer straight ahead:

Lexus suite at Verizon Center

Here’s a view of the game from our 3rd level suite:

Caps game

Here’s a random picture of Allie and Bethany. You’ll notice nobody left in the stadium, the game was over, and we decided to keep drinking for a bit :)

Allie and Bethany at the Caps game

I’ve been to a luxury box game before (At the Baltimore Orioles for a baseball game), and it was a pretty similar experience. If you’ve ever been in one, how did it compare?

The Process Behind Launching Carbon Fiber Gear

Last weekend I launched Carbon Fiber Gear, my first site in experimenting with affiliate marketing. For more of a background on the site, check out the post I made earlier this week. I wanted to talk about what processes I went through to get the site launched so quickly.

What First? Domain Name

When I thought of the idea to do a blog about carbon fiber, I started off looking for a domain on GoDaddy (Use coupon code OYH3 for $6.95 domain). I searched for a variety of things like carbonfibeproducts.com, carbonfiberstuff.com, etc. Using thesaurus.com I found the word gear, and gave that a shot…luckily it was available, so I picked it up right away.

I later found out that carbonfibergear.com had previously been registered, but expired back in October. It looks like it was just a placeholder, lucky me :)

Setup Hosting

The next step was to setup the host in order to get this new .com up and running. We have a dedicated server through my IT company, Tri Megatech, so this made it easy enough for me. I set everything up on the back end, and uploaded a clean install of WordPress to run the site.

Setup The Site

Here’s where a majority of the time was spent to get the site going. Once I had a clean install of WordPress on the server, I went out to find a clean looking, well coded theme to work off of. This is just a side project, I didn’t want to spend much money or put too much time into it until I know it will be worth it. I’ve always been a big fan of Chris Pearson’s work. For those of you that don’t know who he is, he did the design for Copyblogger, a popular blog on copywriting. Chris converted Copyblogger’s old design into a theme, which I picked up and slightly modified to look the way I needed.

I popped up Photoshop, and I already had an idea of how the logo should look. A few minutes later and with the help of a couple suggestions from Crystal, I had a nice logo design.

Another important aspect was setting the site up for SEO so that it could get picked up by Google as quickly as possible. There are a few standard things I do when setting a WordPress site up:

  1. Setup a Google Analytics account and implement it on the site in order to track stats
  2. Install the all in one SEO pack plugin
  3. Install the Google XML sitemaps plugin to automatically build a sitemaps file
  4. Install the Feedburner Feedsmith plugin in order to have my feed tracked through Feedburner
  5. Install the subscribe to comments plugin so that anybody that leaves a comment can choose to get an e-mail when there are any updates
  6. Install the related posts plugin to easily promote content within the site
  7. Setup the site through Google Webmaster Tools

Content and Making Money

Luckily I already had some basic accounts setup to monetize the site like I had in mind. I wanted to start off with Amazon, eBay, and AdSense. I found some carbon fiber products that I wanted to write about online, and wrote a few posts so the site wouldn’t be completely blank for new visitors. I also setup a few post ideas for future posts I wanted to make in order to get things rolling.

Once that was done, the site was ready to launch!

Little Bit Of Promotion

Unique carbon fiber parts are very “diggable”, so I’m hoping that works out for me over time. I’d like to use Digg, but I also want to wait a little bit until I have more content on the site so that I can hopefully have a higher retention rate. I figure in about 1-2 weeks I can start trying to utilize Digg (unless the readers Digg themselves :)). I’ve noticed a good amount of traffic already come from StumbleUpon, but this isn’t very valuable traffic…lots of people just going in and out. I think the best traffic will be organic (aka search engines), but it will take some time before I see a buildup of that. I’m also doing some conservative advertising using AdWords to target traffic directly to posts that I can monetize on. We’ll see how that works out over time…I have noticed really high CTR percentages on the ads I do have (8%!).

Conclusion

Setting up a new site is pretty easy, especially once you’ve done it a lot of times!? If there is anything you think I’m missing, please let me know. Are your new site processes pretty similar?? If anybody needs any help or has any questions, I’d be happy to do what I can, just ask.

Client Profile: La Feria De La Familia

We (Tri Megatech) recently finished a website for a client that I figured I would feature on here. The client is throwing a Hispanic fair at the DC Armory in Washington DC called La Feria De La Familia. The client is an affiliate of Telemundo, a Spanish channel I’m sure many of you have heard of before. Take a look at the website that we did for them:

La Feria De La Familia screenshot

Feel free to take a look at the live version at LaFeriaDeLaFamilia.com. What do you guys think? It’s one of my personal favorites that I’ve done so far.

Out of curiosity, are you guys interested in seeing more of the type of work that I do for my businesses?

For anybody out there interested in having us do a web design for you (or your business), feel free to get in touch with us through Tri Megatech.

VideoExperiment For Sale

My friend Jason and I started VideoExperiment.com a little over a year ago. Our original intention was to produce videos we thought could go viral, and then see how we could monetize on it. This was the “experiment”. Unfortunately we had no time/were too lazy to make videos, and it turned more into a, lets share our favorite online videos sort of blog.? It was cool because instead of our circle of friends IMing links to funny videos, we could just post it on the site and our friends would see them there. The downside was it completely lost scope of what we planned.

On that note, we decided now is the time to take it off our list responsibilities and sell the site. It doesn’t generate that much traffic (about 500 uniques a month), but it’s a great domain name with a decent PR3 ranking. I posted the site on the SitePoint marketplace, and a first bid came in for $50. We’ll see how things go as there are still about 14 days left in the auction.

I’m hoping that my new Carbon Fiber Gear project is worth a bit more over time :)

New Project Using Affiliate Marketing: Carbon Fiber Gear

Carbon Fiber GearLast week I made a post about a carbon fiber wallet that I really liked. I posted about it on a couple car forums I was a part of because it’s something I knew guys from there would be interested in as well. The posts received a good amount of comments, and was even re-posted on some other forums. The cool thing for me was that I had actually used an affiliate link to eBay, which ended up getting a couple hundred clicks and converted into 3 sales that made me a few dollars.

For those of you that aren’t familiar with eBay’s affiliate program, you make a percentage of eBay’s revenue from any sales, as well as $25-$50 if the user has to actually sign up for eBay.

I know that carbon fiber car parts are quite popular, and I’m sure there is a ton of competition in that market. The wallet got me thinking about any sites out there that specialize in non-car part carbon fiber products…such as gifts, accessories, novelty items, etc. I started my search, and I could not find anything out there.

*BING*, that’s when the light bulb turned on in my head. This was a great niche to get into, carbon fiber is popular, it’s not that cheap, and nobody is really in the market. So I started thinking about how I can try and monetize on this, and I thought of a few ways:

Build An eCommerce Store

I could try and go out there and find a variety of carbon fiber products, build an inventory and/or a list of drop shippers/suppliers and open a store. This is potentially a great idea, but it will take a good bit of money and time to get everything setup. At the same time, it’s probably also the most potentially profitable option.

Create A Store, But With Virtual Products And No Inventory

As an alternative to the above option, I was thinking about creating a store with products in it, but when you click “Buy Now” it actually takes you to a product page on something like Amazon via affiliate link.

This isn’t bad, I would basically find as many products a I can find, and really work on promoting the site to generate conversions.

Blog It

The last option I was thinking about was doing a blog about featuring cool carbon fiber products. Obviously each post can have affiliate links in it to generate conversions. The benefit to this option is that I can really optimize for SEO to generate as much organic traffic as possible. Carbon fiber has enough of a cool factor to potentially have some Digg worthy articles I can write to boost some major traffic through the site.

I decided to do the blogging route, with a potential in eCommerce. The blogging route allows me to build the site over time, and become the trusted source for carbon fiber products. As I analyze which posts are generating the most interest in a product, I can consider actually having an inventory of that product and selling it directly to increase the amount of money I can pull in. First things first though, build the site up, generate traffic, and make some money through affiliate links.

On that note, I’m pleased to announce Carbon Fiber Gear dot com!? I’ve already posted a few cool carbon fiber products on there, so feel free to check it out, post some comments, and help get things going :)? I’ll make a post later this week about the process behind actually getting the site setup and launched so quickly, so look for that. This is really my first opportunity to do any sort of affiliate marketing, so I expect this to be quite a learning experience. ? If you have any suggestions or feedback, please share!

For You Car Guys: Carbon Fiber Wallet

For anybody that reads my blog, you’ll know that I’m a huge car guy. That’s why I was excited to see Autoblog’s 2007 Gift Guide. The only thing in the guide that really caught my eye was an awesome looking carbon fiber wallet.

Carbon fiber wallet

Carbon fiber wallet

Carbon fiber wallet

I love the look of carbon fiber, and the mixture between it and leather looks really nice as a wallet in my opinion. I think I’ll be picking one up for myself :)

November In Review

Traffic

Traffic has definitely been on the decline for this blog, and this month was no different. I’m still getting a decent amount, but it has been going down. I’m not very concerned about this because I know things I can do to increase traffic, and much of it is coming from Google Images in the first place. I need to work on getting more non-Google traffic. Take a look at the number of uniques and pageviews over the course of this blog life:

Total traffic

We can see that over time the traffic has been decreasing, but there will always be ups and downs. I’ve been talking about a new design forever, and things keep coming up that delays that. I really want to put an emphasis on building traffic, but I’m also half tempted to wait on going full force until I’m ready with the new look. I also understand that design is not everything, but it’s a personal decision I am making. I’m now hoping to have it launched between the end of January/beginning of February. Or maybe I’ll try and get it launched for the new year, but that would deviate from a plan I have. We’ll see, stay tuned :)

Monetization

Last month I mentioned that I had something unique and unexpected that brought in some revenue for the blog. I had a request for a company that wanted to purchase the rights to an image in order to use it as a backdrop for a trade show booth. I totally did not expect anything like that, and I ended up selling the rights for $300. It may have been the easiest $300 I’ve ever made. On top of that, I did my first private ad sale (and you’ll see more of that in November), for a big increase in revenue:

Text Link Ads: $6.92
Kontera: Kontera was removed from the site for now, so I will no longer be pulling money in from this.
AdSense: $11.74
Private Ad Sales: $225

Total: $243.66

Not much new going on here besides the $225 in private ad sales that I mentioned last month. Until I start increasing the percentage of traffic away from Google Images, I can’t see these numbers growing too rapidly. AdSense was only located on the homepage and the bottom of each post. I just added a 468×60 bar to the top of single post pages, so I do see those numbers increasing this month.
RSS Subscribers

RSS subscribers have remained steady, so there is no major news to report here. In the charts we can see two days of downtime from Feedburner. We can also see a slight dip in the middle of the month, and then a slight jump back up to the 100 level.

RSS November traffic

RSS all-time traffic

Search Engine Goodness

The last two months have shown a good 20% decrease in search engine traffic. This month it dropped some more, but only 6%. Is this a sign of some leveling off?

Lets take a look and see which keywords were used most to find my blog last month:

  1. e92 m3
  2. virginia mansions
  3. texas de brazil coupon
  4. chima steakhouse tysons corner
  5. mansions in virginia
  6. blog title ideas
  7. chima tysons corner
  8. www.davidpitlyck.com
  9. best corporate websites
  10. chima tysons
  11. northern virginia mansions

That’s the 2nd time #8 davidpitlyck.com made the list. For those of you that don’t know, you can just go to DavePit.com if you don’t want to worry about trying to spell my name :) ? e92 m3 continues to top the list.

Popular Pages/Content

Here was the most popular content in November:

  1. Hot Import Nights 2007, Washington DC Pictures
  2. April (Month)
  3. The 45 Best Technology Sector Corporate Web Designs:H-O
  4. David Pitlyuk (Homepage)
  5. Cars (Category)
  6. The 45 Best Technology Sector Corporate Web Designs: A-G
  7. Off Topic (Category)
  8. Picture gallery of mansions in Northern Virginia Part 1
  9. New Virginia Civil Fee For Traffic Tickets Is Nuts
  10. A Raunchy Dora The Explorer

Top Referrals

Here’s a list of the top referrals that do not include search engines:

  1. StumbleUpon
  2. tnmedia.nl
  3. Nevblog
  4. Naver
  5. Technorati
  6. Delicious
  7. Facebook
  8. Smashing Magazine
  9. Sanalkurs.net
  10. TimeForBlogging