In my opinion, the best way to make money online is through affiliate marketing. This is when you promote another companies products to earn a commission of the sale. If you are an affiliate then you will have plenty of tools to track your statistics (hops, number of sales, money earned, etc.) Each affiliate program will give you a sales link that is unique so that when you refer people to the merchant's site it will be tracked back to you.
There are a LOT of marketers out there who earn a full-time living off of selling other people's products. If you are new to the Internet marketing game then it might seems far fetched, but think about how many people you know shop online. Do they use eBay? Amazon? NewEgg? Plus there are countless others. That means that there are millions of potential customers for you to reach.
People are becoming more and more comfortable with shopping online as time passes. I personally wouldn't think about buying shoes online, but Zappos.com sold so many that Amazon recently purchased them for almost $1 billion!
With affiliate marketing you can get paid a number of different ways. Sometimes it's a flat fee and other times it's a percentage of the sale. I like percentages of products or services that are recurring. Take Aweber for example. I promote Aweber because they are far and away the best newsletter provider that I have found. They also pay a recurring commission. Since once you have a list with them you aren't going to want to use anyone else, I can get a % of the monthly fee for several years in the future. It works with hosting companies like HostGator too. Normally people don't switch hosts after they sign up, so you can keep earning passive income long after the first sale was made.
You don't even need that much money to get started! Sure they are some small fees for a domain name, hosting, site design, and newsletter provider. However, you don't need a store so you won't be paying monthly rent. You don't need employees (at least to start). You won't have overhead like utilities to worry about. The costs of starting your own business online couldn't be cheaper.
Some people are uncomfortable working only with commissions. These are the people that want a set income each month, working 8-to-5, traveling back-and-forth to their office and working for "the man." While I think you can make a set amount each month if you work hard enough, if you aren't comfortable with how hard you work determining how much you make, or you don't want the ability to go anywhere in the world and still be able to work, then this site isn't for you.
If you want more freedom and the possibility of setting your own income, then keep reading because I am going to do my best to teach you everything you need to know to reach your goals.
When people ask what I do I normally reply with a simple "Internet marketing." That's not a good enough reply for some though, as they want to know exactly what Internet marketing is. The truth is, Internet marketing covers quite a bit of ground and several different niche areas from affiliate marketing to social networks. There are tons of different ways to market something online, but they can all be boiled down to one thing: aligning people online with a product they want in order to earn money.
Of course, there are a lot of different ways to sell people a product that they want. It doesn't even have to be your product, you can earn a percentage of the commissions by selling products made by other people. It is very easy today to find products and services to promote in exchange for a piece of the action. Why are so many companies so eager to pay you to do their selling for them? Why not!? These companies use the reach of thousands of affiliates to target people that may not have ever heard of their products otherwise. Instead of investing time and resources in hiring someone to sell their product, they can pay a percentage to someone else to promote it without having to worry about wages, insurance, paid time off, etc.
You can also create and sell your own products too, but this takes time. Even if you do think that you have a really great, unique idea and want to spend the hours to put together a product doing affiliate marketing early on can help you test the market for demand and to build a list to market your product to.
List building is key to Internet marketing. If you have a list of lots of emails that you can send target product offers to, then you are going to make a lot of money online. If you don't have a list with a site like Aweber, don't worry. Continue reading through this site and you'll find tons of information on how to get started and then make the most out of the emails that you accumulate.
There are a LOT of people who search online each day for "make money online fast" or related terms that boil down to getting rich quick. Almost everyone is attracted to the idea of making a TON of money in little to no-time with little to no-cost in either time or money. Don't fall into the trap of thinking that this is normal, or even possible. The Internet marketers who make a lot of money online know that it takes times and hard work to get to where they are at.
There is no magic bullet out there that is going to enable you to make a six figure income in less than a month's time. If someone actually knew how to do that, why in the world would they be selling you an ebook for only $47? They wouldn't. If everyone else started to do whatever this trick purported to be, it would no longer make the person selling it anywhere near that much money.
Along with pointing out that there are no get-rich schemes that I can teach you I also want to make sure that you know that Internet marketing isn't all that hard. You don't need a masters in computer science, psychology, or marketing. I don't want you to think making serious money online is an unsurmountable challenge because it's not. You can do this if you do your research and actually put in place the exercises that I teach on this site.
What you have to get through your head is that if you want to have success in Internet marketing then you have to treat it just like you are starting your own business. That is exactly what you are doing. Don't worry about discovering the next secret that nobody knows about. There are no shortcuts. Instead, concentrate on building a successful business that you can run for the rest of your life, or sell for a ton of money to someone else. Over time you might get to the point where you can earn over $100,000 per month, but it's going to take awhile to get to that point.
If you want to build a sound online business then you need a solid base. This base is where you will do most of your work early on in order to ensure success down the road. What is the base I'm talking about related to Internet marketing? Market research. Unless you take time to research markets, you are setting yourself up to fail. It's the MOST important thing that you can do to make sure you are profitable. Market research training isn't difficult and I'll show you everything you need to know to get started with one simple article.
The market research that I do gives me an idea of what kind of products or services the market wants and will actually buy. It also ensures that there are quality products and services out there with affiliate programs I can join. When I am finished with my market research I know whether I am going to actually make money on that niche or not. Obviously if it's not worth my time I'll start over on something else.
So what all goes into the best way to do market research? It can easily be broken down into three categories: Niche, Product, and Keyword. You need all three or else you should move on to another market. I'll give a general overview of all of them below, and provide links to more detailed information later down the line.
Niche Research - Picking the area you are going to focus on. You need to find profitable niches that have plenty of customers that are willing to buy online.
Product Research - What can you sell? If you find products or services that have been selling at a high rate for a long period of time, you can rest assured that you will be able to sell it as well once you generate traffic.
Keyword Research - How many visitors can you generate based off of organic SEO?
The success of your campaign is determined by the three factors above. I've seen people fail because they pick out a niche that nobody is interested in, there isn't a large market for that product ONLINE, or there isn't enough traffic to be had through the search engines. Do the work early on, and you won't waste your time building a site and marketing a product that doesn't stand a chance to make any money. If you do the work early on, then you will at least know that you can make money in that niche and start generating some serious income.
A niche market serves a highly targeted group of customers. Why do successful markets focus on tiny niches instead of creating super-sites? Because sites that focus on a tiny segment of a larger market can be developed and promoted quickly. You can rank a whole lot easier for a small set of keywords than trying to capture a large number of them. Plus, when you get down to the tinier markets there is less competition.
The key to niche marketing is to do your research. You have to find people that are looking for a product or service to solve a problem. Once you know what the audience's problem is, you have to find products that solve hat problem. The perfect niche is one that finds people who are desperate for a solution to their problem and are glad to pay to have it solved.
What do you need to know about a niche and if it's a good one for making money online? The four things that I look for are:
Identify the Audience and their Problem
You want to be able to put together a picture of the members of your niche. Are they male or female? How much do they make in a given year? What do they worry about? Do they have kids or significant other? What do they do for fun and for money? What are they having problems with? What solution are they looking for? Get as specific as possible, that way when you are marketing to this person you can identify with their situation as closely as possible.
How Important is it to Solve the Problem?
You want to find people who are desperate for a solution. If someone has a few dandelions in their yard they might not be in a huge rush to get rid of them. If that same person has spiders infesting their house and biting their children you can bet their is a high urgency to find a solution. The more important a solution is to the audience, the more likely they are to buy something from your site.
Can You Solve Their Problem?
I don't mean that you personally have to be able to solve their problem. Are there products or services out there that do? Can you become an affiliate of those products? Do they pay out a high enough percentage or flat fee to make it worth your time?
Do I Like this Niche?
Some of you might not think it's important to have an interest in a niche as long as it makes a lot of money. I disagree. How are you going to spend hours of your life on something that you have no desire in learning about? Are you going to be able to write articles on the topic if it bores you to death? Pick something you are interested in and it will show in your finished product.
How to Do the Research
So now that you know the questions that you need to ask before deciding if a niche is worth going into, you might be asking how exactly I go about figuring out the answers. There might be other niche research methods out there that I don't know about, but I use these myself and can attest to their usefulness.
Forums - Do a google search for "(your keyword) forums" and check the results. Go into the forums and see if you can find a recurring question from users. If you see the question pop up multiple times, you know it's popular. If you see a thread about a problem getting a lot of views then again, lots of people are interested in the topic.
Yahoo Answers - This is very similar to finding forums. If you go to Yahoo Answers you can find questions from people all over the world. You can dig through the site to find the categories you are researching, or use the search tool to find your keywords. See if you can find a common pattern of questions being asked. Those are the topics that you want to find solutions for.
Google Hot Trends - The great thing about Google is they will tell you what people are searching for most frequently right now. These hot topics are obviously very popular and if you can give searchers a quick solution, then you can generate a lot of traffic quickly. The problem is that a lot of the searches are general in nature and about news topics. Is Bill Cosby dead is an example. I'm not sure how you could make money off of letting people know he's still alive. However the Princeton Review's best party schools for 2010 could generate a lot of traffic if you are targeting 18-23 year olds.
Clickbank - A great method for doing niche research that will quickly allow you to see if there are also relevant products is to search Clickbank. There are thousands of merchants looking for people to help sell their products. You can scroll through the categories or enter a keyword into the search box. A couple of other decent sites built off of the clickbank marketplace are CB Engine and CB Analytics. Those sites both display stats for Clickbank products in a user-friendly fashion.
As you can see, properly researching niche markets isn't all that difficult. With just a little work, you can find profitable niche markets where you can make money.
It doesn't matter if you think you have a profitable niche and you are getting tons of visitors to your site. If you are not selling products or services that people actually want, you aren't going to make any money. Don't waste your time trying to market a dud, do your product research first.
The first step to product research is to decide what kinds of products you are going to sell. Are they going to be physical products or digital? These are two different areas to tackle and while it's best to diversify into both down the line, it's better to start with digital.
This is anything that can be delivered directly over the Internet. The most popular digital product is the ebook, but can also include programs, videos, audio and much more.
The main advantage to digital products are the high commission rates. The merchant does not have a lot of costs to cover and does not have to keep an inventory.
These products actually have to be delivered to your customers home. This can include televisions, video game systems, cell phones, or about anything else.
You want find as big of commission rates with physical products because the merchant has a limited inventory, and has higher costs built in to their products. They actually have to pay people to put the product together and ship it to the consumer.
When searching for digital products a great place to get started is Clickbank. It's easy to signup and there are over 10,000 products that you can choose from. Clickbank makes it easy for you to find products that are selling. There is this thing called "gravity." Gravity refers to the number of affiliates who have earned a commission by promoting a particular vendor's products. The higher the gravity score, the more affiliates that have earned money promoting their products. The problem with high gravity is increased competition, but you at least know people are having success pushing that product.
I get contacted quite a bit through my various sites and in the offline world about my Internet marketing experiences. Some people see or hear about me working at home, setting my own hours, and running my business from whatever location I happen to be at and want in on the action. If people are unemployed, unhappy with their job, or looking for a second income the questions really start pouring in about how they too can become successful at Internet marketing.
One of the reasons that I created this site was to help guide people to make money online. I started off as a noob just as everyone else in this business did at one point so I wanted to create a site that would help people learn some of the creative ways to start their own Internet marketing business and be prosperous in doing so.
I am trying to amass as much knowledge as possible for those of you who are ready to work hard and want to learn different ways to make money online. You have to be able to do your own research and find your own niches. I won't be giving you mine so you can see what I make and try to put me out of business =).
However, I can't tell you exactly you can make $X amount each day, week, month, or year. I can't show you exactly how you can make your living online or how to invest $X amount of dollars that you have and have a ridiculous return on that investment.
If you have questions about a specific topic, I'll do my best to answer them with timely posts displaying what I do know about that area. I might not get back to you immediately via email and I probably will just delete the question if I've already answered it. If you don't bother using the search button, I won't waste my time with a reply.
So what exactly is Search Engine Optimization, commonly refered to as SEO? It is when you optimize your site to rank highly in search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing. There are other engines out there as well, but those are the Big 3 that really matter (and out of that group, Google is really the only one that matters.)
The reason you want to learn SEO basics is that it is the best way to get targeted traffic. The users finding your site will do so after entering specific keywords that are tailored to what your site is all about. You don't have to pay for this traffic and if you keep up your rankings you can ensure a steady flow of new visitors for a long period of time.
If you have been reading at all about SEO, then you probably have seen the term SERPs. SERPs is an acronym for Search Engine Results Pages. These are simply the pages full of site listings that is returned when you query the engine for a keyword.
There are two types of SEO that we need to worry about when optimizing our site. On-page and off-page.
On-page refers to the content actually on your site. While it isn't as important as off-page optimization, it will still play a role in how high your site ranks in the SERPs. The basics of on-page SEO optimizing are keyword density, meta tags, internal linking structure, and title tags.
The most important part of your SEO campaign is off-page. This entails building up the link popularity of your site with both quantity and quality of sites that send links back to yours. If you can get links back from high quality, high PR, and relevant authority sites that use the keywords you are going for in the anchor text, it's not going to take long for your site to rocket up the SERPs.
Those are the basics of what optimizing SEO is all about. We will get into more details about both on-page and off-page with additional articles down the line.