For everyone who is starting out trying to make money online it is important to work on building a site first. Having a site should come before a Facebook page, LinkedIn, Twitter account or anything else. Your site should serve as the foundation for all of your best content and is the place where you work on building your following. Your site is where you will be sending all of your traffic to. Writing quality content is not easy, but if done right your site will help you make money online from the start.
Take a look at the reasons I recommend you build your site content first before worrying about posting on other sites or using social media.
1. Your articles will be read for months and years down the road. Evergreen content is the key to making passive income. Write something valuable that will stand the test of time, post it on your site, and watch the article attract traffic and links for years and years with little to no extra effort on your part.
2. You are building up an asset. As you build content on your own site over a long period of time you demonstrate yourself as an expert in the field. Plus, each article you write adds value to your site as a whole and you'll see traffic accumulate and grow with every new quality post.
3. You can build a list. You have to host your opt-in box somewhere. By driving traffic to your site you can use squeeze pages, hover boxes, footer ads, and above the fold signup forms to get visitors to sign up to your newsletter. You can also use your site to build your Twitter follower count, RSS feed readership, and get Facebook likes to your page. All are different forms of lists and a smart marketer will use them all. The key is having the site first so you can cross-promote.
4. You have control. I use article directories, guest posting, and social media to drive traffic and links to my site. However, the problem with posting on other sites is that you have no control over the content. Other sites can decrease in value, go out of business, or bury your articles deep within their site. Social media sites can go offline, lose popularity, or ban your account completely.
5. You decide on the layout. If you are posting on other sites you can't really control what surrounds the content. If you have ever written a guest post or submitted to an article directory then you have likely viewed the published article and seen ads for competitors right next to your text. If you post the content on your site you can either choose to promote competitors by using affiliate links or advertise related, but non-competitive offers.
If you want to get started making money online one of the quickest and easiest ways to do so is by creating niche sites. These are smaller, mini sites that focus on a very narrow topic. If you start with a general idea you will want to drill down a few categories from there. Let's say you are interested in Video Games. That is a broad topic covered by the likes of IGN and others, but if you drill down to say Civilization V, you will cut out a lot of the competition.
There are a ton of products and keyword terms to go after here, but how do you get started? Zac Johnson has a nice guide on building niche sites that you should check out. Let's take a look at some of the key points.
Find a Profitable Niche
The first stop should be Google's Keyword tool to see how many searches there are for your term each month. You don't want too many, otherwise you are going to be competing with the bigger sites, but you do want a decent cost per click (CPC). That is a sign that the niche is profitable. Then search google to see what advertisers are using the Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Ads to drive traffic to their sites. You don't want to see Amazon, but if you can find affiliate sites that's a bonus.
The easiest affiliate market to use is Clickbank. All you have to do is type your keyword in to their search box and see what pops up.
Building content on your site is easy. You want to continue to do some keyword research with Google's tool to see what kinds of variations are listed. Check out competitor sites to see what they are writing about. Then start posting as much content as you can. Don't overthink this.
Great, so you built the site but how are visitors going to find it? You have to build links to your site. You can submit to paid directories like Yahoo and/or start writing articles for directories like EzineArticles. The more you write, the more links you will get coming back to you site for the keywords that you desire. With any luck, other sites will pick up your articles and maintain the link.
There is a quick how-to guide on how to get started with niche marketing. The good news is that the more you create the more practice you get at figuring out what works and what doesn't. Plus, the sites continue to give you residual income for years down the line, even after you have moved on to another niche!
If you are thinking about starting your own online business then the first thing you will have to plan out is your budget. It doesn't matter if you are going to run a simple blog or move your existing physical store to an ecommerce site. Create a budget and form a plan on how you are going to start making money. So what are the expenses that you need to include in your budget?
1. Domain Name
This is something you don't want to go cheap with. You want 100% uptime and you want your site to load fast. If you are running a blog and don't expect many visitors to start, then go with a shared hosting plan at HostGator. You can always move up to a VPS or dedicated later. If you are running a complex site that will have a lot of processing, go dedicated right away.
3. Site Design
If you aren't a designer then pay someone to design the site for you. If you are starting a blog, then a WordPress theme should not set you back more than a couple hundred dollars. If you are creating an ecommerce site then you may have to spend more on custom programming. Shop around at a few different places to make sure the price is right before committing.
You've heard it before I'm sure but I'll say it again, Content is King. You want quality content and you want a lot of it so you are going to have to hire writers. This isn't just for your own site, but also if you plan on doing any article marketing then it's going to be tough to keep up with everything on your own.
This could include Pay-Per-Click (PPC) or any other sort of advertising as well as a good email broadcaster. I use Aweber on all of my sites because they are reliable and fairly cheap.
Those are the five main costs that every online business should have as they try to get off the ground. Down the road you will want to look at purchases like a laptop to keep you up-to-date while you are traveling or if your Internet goes out at the home office. Once you grow bigger you will probably have lawyer and accountant costs as well.
The first step to optimizing your sales funnel is to take stock of what you already have. The best way to do this is to just take a step back and think. Here are the questions that you need to ask yourself:
How Do People Enter the Funnel?
Detail each and every way someone can get to your site. What are the characteristics of these visitors in terms of age, gender, income, etc.? How far along in the buying cycle are they?
What Can They Do When They Come to the Site?
The first thing most visitors are going to do when they come to a site is read something. What do they do after that? Read more content? Subscribe to your newsletter? Sign up for your RSS feed? Follow you on Twitter or Facebook? Comment on a post?
What Metrics Can You Use to Track Visitors?
Unique visitors, pageviews, pageviews/visitor, time on site, subscriber counts, followers, number of sales, and sales dollar amounts are all a good start. Is there anything else you can think of?
Put it All Together
Go through the actual process of doing some of these things. How easy is it to sign up for your newsletter or follow you with social media channels? Do you have a clear call to action for what you want visitors to do?
Test out different changes to your site, track them, and then compare to what you were doing before. If you keep testing you should keep improving your conversion rate and make more money.
One of the biggest mistakes that I made when I first started running my online business was focusing too hard on getting traffic to the site. Sure, it's important to have as many eyeballs as possible viewing your site, but visitors don't translate directly into making money. Making sales translates into money. That is something that every online entrepreneur shouldn't forget and is a big reason why improving your sales funnel can help you jumpstart your profits.
I'm definitely not saying to ignore avenues to bring more traffic to your site, but just to realize this is but one step of the process. What methods are you using to drive traffic? Some common ones are organic SEO, PPC, affiliate campaigns, and social media. Are there more ways to drive traffic to your site? Make sure to explore every possible channel.
When a visitor comes to your site they are either going to take some sort of action or else they are going to leave. Are you just allowing them to buy? You should give them the opportunity to connect with you on Facebook, sign up for your newsletter, or subscribe to your RSS feed. If there are any additional ways that you can get an email address or phone number to follow up then do it! Not every buys the first time through and if you lose them forever there is no chance of making a sale in the future.
How easy to use is your checkout process? Do you have enough payment options? Do you do all that you can to ensure that they are able to purchase the product or service right for them?
After a customer pays for your wares, are you following up with them? You know that this is a person that has spent money on something that you provide so they are a great audience to hear of any new product ideas, complimentary products, etc. Don't bombard them with irrelevant offers, but don't forget to take advantage of this database of previous customers either.
When you first get started trying to make money online with your own site, chances are you will be balancing your workload with your career. If you are going to build your site into a success then you are going to have to be prepared for what's ahead. Here are some tips on how you can make it work so you can either turn your site into your full-time job or at least have a nice secondary income.
1. Be Ready to Give Up Free Time - If you enjoy reading, watching TV, or doing any other hobbies then you have to be prepared to make the sacrifice. Since you won't have as much down-time from work, it is important that the site you create is about something you are passionate about.
If you enjoy smoking cigars, then starting a cigar store or a blog that reviews popular smokes would be an easier transition than if you were to start a site on something you don't care about.
Don't worry about the money, make sure you are going to stick with it first.
2. Focus - When you are at work it's easy to start day dreaming about what you want to do with your site. This can affect your work performance and hurt your career if the site doesn't pan out. If you think up a great idea then write it down, email it, or text it to yourself so you can come back to it when the time is right.
Don't use your company resources for your personal project either, this is could get you fired.
If you have time over lunch or while making your commute, use it productively. You can think up new ideas, research keywords or competitors, or whatever tasks you need to do for your site.
3. Outsource - If you need a programmer then it might be best to find someone in another country. Most of the time these guys are cheaper, plus you can use the time zone difference to get things done without interfering with your job.
If your wife stays at home, have her help you out by answering emails, posting to social media, or even helping you develop the site.
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.
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.
It seems like most new Internet marketers focus very heavily on traffic. They want to get as many visitors to their site as they can. In their minds, the more eyes on their signup box or that see their product offer, the more money they are going to make. The Internet marketers who only worry about traffic are only taking care of the first step of their sales funnel. What is a sales funnel you ask?
The sales funnel is the process that begins when you capture the attention of prospects. This would be the visitor to your site. As you move down the funnel the visitor interacts with your site in some way, whether it's filling out a form, following you on Twitter, liking your Facebook page, whatever. As you continue to interact with the potential customer you need to demonstrate to them that you can solve some kind of problem or need for them. As you continue to move down the funnel, customers fall off who are not all that interested in what you have to say, so the ones that are left are very targeted. This targeted list is a gold mine as you can offer highly tailored products and services to them at higher prices. This is where the profits are made.
You need to optimize your funnel each step of the way. Are you using PPC ads? Then make sure you are targeting the right traffic. Are some keywords performing better for you than others? These are the ones to focus your SEO efforts on. How well does your hover ad convert visitors to leads? Have you tested it against different wording, a different special bonus, or just a different design? Continue testing until you have achieved the highest conversion rate of visitor signups. Once the visitor has signed up, how well are they reacting to your offers? Do you need to tweak your autoresponder system to get better results? How about your email blasts? Are you trying to upsell former customers? The different ways to optimize your funnel goes on and on.
Now you can see why the marketers who focus on the sales funnel and optimizing it to perfection make the most money. Even if they do not get as much traffic as someone else, they refine their funnel so that they get more money out of each one of those leads. In the end that is all that matters. Traffic stats are nice, but how much money you make is really the only thing you should care about.
Another great way to make money online is to write reviews of sites, products, or services. You can make money with review posts either by advertisers paying you directly or by earning a commission when reviewing products that you are affiliated with. Sponsored posts can either be a solid money maker or can turn out to be a real dud. The trick is to give your readers a comprehensive, honest review of the product that you are reviewing. Don't just throw something out there that you haven't used yourself and can't give an honest opinion on. It goes back to building up relationships with your subscribers. You can't do anything that will jeopardize their trust in you or this method of making money will blow up in your face.
The amount of money that you will be paid to write paid reviews depends on a few different things. If you have a higher Google PageRank, the outgoing links will be worth more. If you have a high Alexa rank and can show how many visitors and page views your site gets, you will get paid more per post. Some advertisers want to make sure they are getting click throughs to their site, so the visitor information will be more important to them. Others are trying to build up their presence in the search engines, so they are trying to acquire pagerank to help their rankings. It won't matter to them how many visitors you send them, they just want the bump in rankings for their keywords.
What should your review cover? Basically you should answer the questions your readers would have about the product like, what does it do, how is it different from the competition, what are the advantages and disadvantages, who is it tailored to, and where can you go if you are interested in buying. By answering all of a reader's question about a product, you are encouraging them to take action. If you include pictures, video, and examples those will help alleviate any doubts the reader has with the product.
Whatever you do, make sure that you include both the good and the bad with your review. No product is perfect for every person. There are going to be things that you either don't like about the product or it's going to do something that isn't for everyone, just be honest.
While you are getting paid by the sponsor to write the review, you have to remember that your real customer is the reader. Keep them in mind while writing your review and explain the product in their terms. Do not get overly technical and definitely do not recommend a product to them that you can't see giving them value that makes it worth the price.
If you want to start writing paid reviews on your blog, then make sure to add that fact to your advertising page. It also wouldn't hurt to put that information on your contact page if you want to increase the number of leads you receive. If you want help finding products to review, then take a look at Sponsored Reviews. It's easy to signup and to add your blog. You can then look for opportunities to bid on and once accepted, get paid 50% of the price for writing the review. Payments come bi-weekly and you can earn $5 to $1,000 per post, with no minimum payout.