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Inspiration: Taking A Peek

Inspiration: Taking A Peek

February 1, 2003
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" This snippet allows you to specify a number of target files and then automatically display a random file. "

During my recent “Jerky for the Puppy” article series, I discussed some of the various ways that you could make use of free content offerings from major sponsors to produce simple Websites well within the experience levels of even the newest of newbies. If you think this is something for you to try, but you weren’t quite sure of how to go about it, here’s a little inspiration for you!

While the process of optimizing and getting traffic to such simple “sites” is well beyond the scope of this article, I felt that pictures – being worth a thousand words – would help me to further explain some of the concepts I have already outlined. Of course, I could have just given you a URL to check out, but then it would be too easy to “borrow” my code and graphics – and that’s not the way to learn how to do it yourself!

But because I’m such a nice guy, I’m going to outline a sweet process for updating and managing a simple set of sites like these, and share a small snippet of code to ease your way. But first, let’s take a quick look at a few simple design concepts and the way that their used:

The first step when building a simple TGP site is to come up with a theme. In this case, a pic of my wife that reminded me of a Naughty Angel was all the inspiration I needed. A quick search of the Web for a suitable font provided a logo, and the site‘s ‘character’ was set. Since the sponsor offered a free video chat program with credit for membership up sells, a fast-loading text link promoting them was added to the top of the TGP’s ‘home page’ – as well as two links to our ‘filter pages’ underneath our logo image:

Underneath these initial ‘features’ was placed the current gallery listings. In this case, 15 listings were displayed between randomly selected Banner of the Week banners. A similar listing of previous galleries follows underneath, with BOTW breaks every 25 listings or so, until a final “Webmasters Click Here to Make More Money” link at the bottom of the page, linking to the sponsor’s Webmaster referral program:

Some of the site’s revenues will doubtless come from the ‘traffic filters’ linked to from the TGP. “Dirty Dog’s Top 25” is merely a listing of Top Buck’s free daily galleries, along with a basic graphical image for the title, as well as a picture of “Jack, the Cowboy Poodle,” along with a random BOTW ad:

It’s not just Top Bucks’ that can make effective (and potentially profitable) traffic filters possible, nearly all major sponsors offer suitable tools, like Shaw Internet and their Pic Of The Day (POTD) program that provides the content for my “69 Free Daily Sex Pics” page:

A Bit of Code
One of the most important factors to consider when building any Website is its ongoing maintenance requirements; after all, you don’t want to be spending all of your time working on your Web sites, do you? TGP’s can be particularly time-consuming to manually update, and since they typically rely upon repeat visitors, keeping your advertising fresh is a must. All of this takes time, time that can be minimized through the use of scripting, and any other resources you may have – like sponsors offering ‘Banner of the Week’ (BOTW) programs to their affiliates!

For instance, Naughty Angels TGP uses Top Bucks’ BOTW program, but with a twist: Since this sponsor offers hosted and weekly-updated banners for 25 or so sites in this program, why not offer the surfer a little bit of diversity, yet not serve up a banner farm with 25 ads? Naughty Angels currently has 3 banner slots, yet with a pool of 25 ways to make a sale, being limited to only 3 chances doesn’t make much sense, so the site uses the following PHP snippet as a sort of “poor man’s banner rotator:”

srand ((double)microtime()*1000000);
$randomnum = rand(0, 4); // NUMBER OF OPTIONS
$includefile = "banners/" . $randomnum . ".txt"; // FILE EXTENSION
include ($includefile);

This snippet allows you to specify a number of target files (in this case, 5 plain text files, numbered 0 to 4, each of which contains the code for a single Banner of the Week), and then automatically display a random file. This simple rotator could also work with an “.html” or any rich-media file. Simply change the location and number of files, along with their file extension (which must be the same), insert it into your PHP page, and your ready to go…

Selecting 5 banners to rotate was simple, as the sponsor lists their top converting sites making the choice effortless, but it would be a simple task to build 25 or so BOTW ‘include’ pages and rotate through the whole pool. In this case, time was the limiting factor, though other Web sites (and ads) may be added later.

Using a system of included text files to build a flexible and easily maintained sites makes sense, and is the basic way in which the TGP listings themselves are updated daily, using text files containing a quick copy and paste of select URLs from XBiz’ “Gallery Booster.”

Altogether two of these three sites require no maintenance whatsoever, while the TGP requires only as much time as it takes to visit the galleries you choose to list, and then a leisurely half hour or so to update the text files and URLs. There is nothing complicated in this approach, and it provides plenty of room to learn and grow. Why not spend a few hours this weekend trying a similar project for yourself? Good luck! ~ Stephen


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