How to make money online…
It is the one burning question that I’ve been asked more than any other, from 1996 when I started, until 2020 — and likely until I die.
So why do people ask me how to make money online? Well, I guess it’s because I’ve been making my own living online for over two decades now.
And here is my answer to that burning question…
Read this manual. Then read it again.
Then implement my strategies and be persistent, but patient. This stuff takes a little time. If you’re looking to get rich overnight, you can leave this page right now. It ain’t gonna happen.
But if you read this entire manual and put my information into action, it could happen for you — just as it did for me.
But I have to warn you.. it’s a loooongg post. Over 35,000 words. That’s because this post contains the entire text of my Online Money Making Guide called EzWebBusinessBuilder2.
Thousands of people have purchased it over the years.
So without further ado, let’s jump right in…
Copyright JDD Publishing Company
All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication or the accompanying training site may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, sold, given away for free or transmitted in any form, by any means without prior permission of the copyright owner.
Every effort has been made to ensure that this book is free from error or omissions. However, the Publisher, the Author, or their respective affiliates, shall not accept responsibility for injury, loss or damage occasioned to any person or business acting or refraining from action as a result of material in this book whether or not such injury, loss or damage is in any way due to any negligent act or omission, breach of duty or default on the part of the Publisher, the Author, or their respective affiliates.
I put a lot of work into this course and I think you’ll really get a lot of inside knowledge and resources from it. I really enjoy sharing this stuff with my friends and subscribers.
The information you’ll find in this course is the result of my continuous experimenting, learning, and adapting, especially over the last few years as the online marketing landscape has changed so rapidly.
Things such as rapidly changing technology, the steady shift from computers to tablets and smart phones, and the expansion of outsourcing avenues have changed the way business is done online. As an entrepreneur, you need to adapt to this shift in order to thrive and survive.
Additionally, the Internet marketing niche has become more and more crowded. This prompted me to branch out with projects in other niches over the last few years. I’ll share my experiences with this, so my readers can learn how to branch out as well.
Experimenting with different web development and marketing methods is fun for me and I enjoy sharing my experiences.
The material in this course is a direct result of my continued research, studying, experimenting, implementation, failures and successes in creating a variety of new income producing web properties.
Who is this course for?
I’ve developed this course specifically for people who either have no idea where to start online, as well as for people who are bombarded with conflicting advice, shortcuts that often lead to dead-ends, and never-ending solicitations for IM products and opportunities.
If you don’t already have a steady online income source, it is likely due to at least one of the following reasons;
You lack profitable ideas
You lack money to start a business
You don’t have time to do everything required
You don’t possess the technical expertise to do it all
You just don’t know how to get traffic and buyers
And even if you’ve cleared some of those hurdles, chances are, you lack a proven, reliable plan to generate steadily growing income.
With all the conflicting information online these days, it’s no wonder. Information overload is one of the biggest killers of small business dreams nowadays. I’m going to do my level best to fix all that for you with this course.
Welcome To The New Internet…
As I mentioned earlier, things really have changed dramatically over the last few years online. A lot of so-called experts point to this fact as a negative. In fact, you’ve probably heard many gurus pronouncing the death of Internet marketing. (While they sell you their latest “survival” manual.)
I say that the Internet will continue to bring home based income to more and more people in the coming years than it ever has!
New tools and resources, most of them freely available, have made it cheaper and easier than ever before, for the average person to set up income producing web properties.
You no longer need to buy an expensive web design program and learn how to use it. You can (and should!) use WordPress, the web property building tool that is 100% free and simplifies every aspect of growing your own profitable site.
But even more significant than the new, easy-to-use tools is the fact that there are now thousands of people all across the web and the world, willing to do all your dirty work for you and do it dirt cheap.
Sure, some gurus may disagree with me and say that earning money online is getting harder, but that’s mostly because they’ve seen their own income decline online. But that’s usually due to other factors such as lower email delivery rates than they’re used to, plus a ton of competition in their niche!
But the Internet marketing niche is just one niche. There are countless opportunities out there for savvy marketers. If you have no idea what you want to do online, this course will show you how to find an idea and a niche that can earn you money this year, and be worked in a few short hours a week.
I’ll show you everything you need to do to set up multiple, long term income streams online. You can set up one, or a handful like I have, or you can go all out a build a dozen or more. It’s all up to you.
For folks who are just about flat broke and tired of having to buy one thing after another from the multiple gurus you follow, I’ll show you how to do it all on a tiny budget of a few bucks a month.
For folks who are time challenged or lack technical skills, I’ll show you how to get nearly everything done for you like I’ve been doing for the last few years.
(Oh, and I’m not talking about outsourcing like you’ve heard of where you search and search for the right people to do everything for you. I’m going to literally give you the exact people you can pay tiny sums of money to build and grow a business for you one step at a time. I use many of these inexpensive “subcontractors”, as I like to call them, to work on my own web properties. I’ll also show you the exact things you need to have them do to grow your income for you.)
Finally, I’ll lay out a step-by-step action plan for you so you can get started right away. It shows you what to do each week and takes you through the crucial first four months of your business, growing your property, your traffic and your income.
By the time you finish this course you’ll have a unique, individualized idea, a proven plan, and a step by step checklist to make it all happen — this year. You can start from scratch and have a fully functioning web property you can be proud of. One that gets traffic and earns you income. You can then rinse and repeat this process over and over and create multiple income sources you can enjoy for years on end.
So let’s get started, shall we?
I’ve broken this course down into the following sections to keep things as simple as possible…
The Big Picture lets you step back and see the entire process before you get started. It explains exactly what you’ll be doing.
Chapter One explains the process I use for finding profitable niches and finding a way to enter them, including a selection of my own personal ideas you can steal.
Chapter Two gives you an overview of everything you’ll need to set up for each niche you decide to enter and how to do it all on a really, low budget of a few bucks a month.
Chapter Three explains how to monetize your web property including what I call my “money machines”, the top 10 methods I use to monetize my web properties.
Chapter Four shows you how to get traffic to your web property without spending money.
Chapter Five explains how you can grow a collection of profitable web properties without doing it all yourself.
Chapter Six gives you my step by step action plan, each task you need to complete, plus people to do each task for you (the “subcontractors” who work on my web properties.) This section brings you to the how-to videos at the private site as well.
Chapter Seven explains the mental side of web business that nobody talks about. What’s in your brain as you go along is as important as all the business building tasks. Don’t skip this section.
The Big Picture
Before we jump right in I want to share an overview of exactly what this course will teach you.
If you’ve been on my subscriber list for any length of time then you probably know that my main area of focus is Internet marketing and helping small and home based entrepreneurs do business online.
While I have no plans to give it up completely, I have been experimenting with many other niches over the last few years. Some of the niches are related to Internet marketing, and some of the niches are completely unrelated to web business.
In the process of growing a variety of new income streams, or Web Properties, as I like to call them, I’ve uncovered quite a bit of new information and resources I want to share with you.
The information is based on my successes as well as my failures. Once you know what strategies work and which ones simply do not, you’ll know the best ways to start creating your own profitable web properties.
Each of the web properties I now own take up just an hour or two of my time each week and combined they earn me a very nice, full time income from home, all in my spare time. The short hours and completely flexible work schedule make for a very nice lifestyle, one I hope to help you obtain in time.
OK, so here’s an overview of the process…
Identify a niche and find a way in. (Where most people get stuck – but I can help you here. You can even outsource this if you want!)
Set up a content-based web property using WordPress. (Until a few years ago I’ve used and recommended WYSIWYG web design tools. Not anymore. WordPress is free and easy. Before you think about this as a bloggers platform like I used to, you need to know that it is really now a complete website and content management system, and that’s how you’ll be using it. Call yourself a blogger if you want, or a web property developer, who cares. What matters is that this platform really makes things easier than ever.)
Add content regularly. This is crucial as it will attract your traffic AND serve as your first product for giveaway and for sale. (Don’t worry, you don’t have to write any of the content yourself if you don’t want to.)
Set up a monetizing strategy. I monetize my web properties many different ways and and I’ll explain them all in this course. (The good news is that monetizing is now easier than ever with the help of some new WordPress themes and plugins I’ll show you.)
Start a traffic flow via search engines then ramp up your traffic and income via other more reliable, strategies I’ll share with you.
That pretty much sums up the process. If it sounds like a lot of work, let me assure you that it isn’t. You can do it in your part time, you just need to commit to making a steady effort.
The reason why this plan works so well is that it’s focused entirely around one thing… informative Content.
As I’ve been repeating for nearly two decades now, the number one reason people go online is to get information. This will never change. And providing this in-demand information in specific niches, via content based web properties, is your secret doorway into creating web income streams.
Many people keep looking for short cuts.
But content is the short cut!
You don’t even have to write it yourself if you’d prefer not to. I’ll cover that in detail later. For now, just commit to content as your solution and you’ll be on your way.
Once you wrap your brain around this concept and start building content based web properties, you’ll be able to start earning money reliably. It will become much easier to get free traffic from multiple sources, but traffic is just one of many reasons you need to embrace content.
You’ll be able to monetize your content in a variety of ways if you want to. This includes packaging it up and selling it, giving it away as a lead-in to related products and services via affiliate links, and many more methods I’ll go into detail on.
You’ll be able to share your content via “push” methods that grow even more traffic and income. You’ll grow a web property that has a real world value that you can continue to earn from or sell for profit.
Now that you know what you’ll be doing, let’s start getting into the how.
Finding Profitable Niches
(For The Idea Challenged)
This first section I’m about to cover is the trickiest for many people — finding a niche, or a market to work in. It’s easy to over-analyze niche selection and get stuck here for a long time – sort of paralysis by analysis.
Just remember this, if you pick the wrong niche all is not lost.
Sure, you may not get as much traffic or income as you expected. But you will get some invaluable experience. Experience is something you’ll always have and something you can use to increase your results the next time around.
So, my advice before you read this section is this. Try your best to find a solid niche the first time, but don’t let fear of failure keep you from jumping into a niche where you’re not completely sure will earn you money. As long as you don’t give up, you will eventually find some great, profitable niches that you enjoy working in.
Remember, when you are a tiny company such as myself, one person working from home, you can change gears easily. That includes trying new niches, reworking or selling off under-performing sites, refocusing efforts of your best producers, etc. Basically stay nimble and flexible, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes along the way.
Niche research can be challenging and time consuming. Just remember, you don’t have to do it yourself if you don’t want to. I’ll be sharing a few great places where you can outsource this entire task for just $5.
You may have a niche or two in mind already, that you want to work in, or you’ve started working in. If so, great! You can skip this entire chapter, or breeze through it to verify you’re in a solid niche.
Since you’re going to be spending time setting up a new web property, getting content up, growing traffic, etc., you should at least spend some time verifying that the niche can work for you.
Specifically, you should verify that…
There is a big enough interest in the topic
There is a way to monetize it
Once you’ve verified those things, and I’ll show you how I do that, you’ll need to determine the best way to enter the niche.
So let’s start from scratch right now.
Grab a piece of paper and a pencil . We’re going to make a list of 10 to 20 ideas for niches that may be ideal for you to work in.
Step One: Write down all the things you’re personally familiar with, that others may be interested in.
This includes things such as:
A unique skill or knowledge you may possess
A hobby you have or had in the past
A past or present work experience
Most people have a handful of each of those at their disposal. Selecting from these choices will make it easier and a bit more fun when you are working. Write a few of these “personal experience” niche possibilities down on your list.
We’re not picking these niches and running with them just yet. We need to check them for potential profitability first, so just write them down for now as potential candidates.
Of course not everyone has knowledge or experience they can draw from, and if you’re in that boat, that’s OK. You can skip to to the next step…
Step Two: Write down 5 things you are interested in knowing more about.
My guess is that you at least have a few things you are interested in. You can start your list with those. Maybe it’s dating or maybe it’s woodworking, or ballroom dancing. Whatever interests you or has interested you over the years, write a few of these personal interests down.
Step Three: Write down at least 10 things you and your friends and family purchase.
I’m not talking about things you can grab at the convenience store or supermarket. This is a little different. Starting with yourself, mentally go though all the people you know, one by one. As you do, think of things you or they either…
a. have to pay for every month or year
b. willingly spend money on because of a passion for the subject
c. have paid for in the past 5 years online.
That may take you a while. But I’m guessing you’ll come up with a sizable list of potential niches to research. And many of the things you uncover may end up being profitable niches you can build a web property around.
In fact, step three is how I uncovered my contractors insurance niche. Insurance is something everyone has to buy in one form or another, right? One of the people in my circle of friends has to carry contractors insurance. So I built a web property for that niche to help small businesses and contractors make insurance decisions. I earned thousands of dollars from that little niche I knew nothing about.
OK, you now should have your own list of potential niches on paper, even if it’s small. If you still have nothing on your piece of paper, then you can simply start researching the web looking for “money niches” that might interest you.
You can do this by going to your favorite search engine such as Google or Yahoo, and start typing phrases such as “how to” or “how to take” or “how to take a”. The search engine’s prediction tool will fill in many possibilities for you, based on popular search phrases being used by real people.
By now you should have a list of potential niches. You don’t need 100 ideas. Anywhere from a handful to 20 is more than enough to get the ball rolling.
Next Step: Can You Monetize That Niche?
You’re building sites and blogs to earn money. And you have many choices when it comes to monetizing a site or blog.
The first possibility I usually consider is selling info-products. If a niche really interests me, I can easily write about it (or buy content) and then compile an ebook with my content.
Or I can monetize a bit quicker by plugging in info-products others have already created, and promoting them as an affiliate.
To find out if info-products sell in any given niche, just take a look on Amazon. If you find lots of books in the niche you want to work in, and there are lots of reviews on those books, then there is a market.
Another place I usually check are at the Clickbank affiliate network. All you have to do is simply browse through the categories and sub-categories on their home page. The top selling niches have the most products.
Another place I look is at Amazon. Are there books selling in that niche, and are there multiple reviews?
OK, one last thing to check…
Is Your Niche Evergreen?
Next you need to make sure your niche is evergreen.
Evergreen means that it will be around for a very long time.
Example: Weight Loss
People will always be searching for new weight loss help and advice. Google search volumes on weight loss and related terms are enormous and there are many sub-niches you can target as well.
Non-Evergreen Example: ipods
iPods were a great niche for a few years. Then technology moved onto smartphones.
See the difference? You want an evergreen niche so you don’t build up a web income only to see it slowly disappear as the niche does.
So rather than have you go through a long exercise of keyword research, I’ll cut right to the chase. Below is a list of 72 of the web’s most profitable evergreen niches.
Musical Instrument Playing
If you see the niche you’re interested in on this list, you’re golden. If not, you still may be onto something worthwhile, just be sure people are buying info in your niche.
Oh, and if you’re worried about competition, forget that. There are people in these niches making a killing and there is certainly room for more.
It’s No Longer Just About Keywords and Google Ranking
In the past, niche research and selection was focused on picking keywords you could rank for and building sites around those keywords.
Unfortunately, about 95% of people trying to get sites ranked usually fail. And of the few who do get ranking, many of them see it disappear as Google updates their algorithm again and again.
Nowadays, the best strategy is to find niches where money is being spent, then focusing on creating great content for that niche.
Because there are lots more ways than search engines to get your content in front of the people you can help.
By aiming to make your content better than any other content available on your topic, you will grow your search engine traffic naturally.
Sure, you’ll be using relevant keywords in your content, but this should be a secondary concern.
Creating great content for your audience first, that is easily consumable and shared is today’s secret to success online.
In fact, you can wiggle your way into just about any niche without the use of search engines.
That’s right, a clever web marketer does not need search engines at all. In fact, you need to understand one critical web business aspect I’ve been trying to drive home to small businesses for over a decade, and that’s this….
A web property that relies solely on search engines for traffic, it is destined to fail.
That’s right, I’ll say it again… it’s not all about search engines.
In fact, success in any niche can actually come faster without search engines. It’s about topic selection and finding an entry point.
Here’s a real world example of the “non-seo” method that I’ve witnessed many clever marketers use to back into my own profitable Internet marketing niche…
Step 1: They identified a topic that was sub-niche of the Internet marketing arena — ideally, a growing trend in the niche.
Step 2: They set up a site that focused on helping people with every facet of that sub-niche.
One marketer I know focused on video creation as it was becoming popular a few years ago. There are a lot of facets to video marketing from creating and editing videos, video sharing sites, youtube promotion and more. Another focused on email marketing and growing a small, powerful list of buyers.
Step 3: They started contacting email newsletter publishers and blog owners who had followings in related niches. They let them give away their excellent material in the form of ebooks and training videos, via an affiliate link that paid 100% commissions if anyone upgraded from the free offer to a “deluxe” version.
Within months they were able to grow their own large subscriber base and customer list, all without the use of search engine traffic.
They then migrated into offering help with other online marketing strategies either with their own new products and services, or by offering help via affiliate links.
Here’s what you need to take from this lesson…
This strategy can work in almost any market. Virtually every market has sub-niches that offer the opportunity to enter that market. These sub-niches offer less competition than the broader niche and they offer growth potential as you tap into more sub-niches and larger audiences on the way to the broader niche.
Now that you understand the process of finding and evaluating niches, I want to make a few closing comments about niche research.
Some experts will tell you to focus only on your passions and hobbies. Others will tell you to forget that and go for money niches by providing instant help to urgent problems, like “get my ex back” or “cure my cold sore”.
I say it’s not that clear cut and dry. While I love earning my living online, I don’t want to write about relationships gone sour, or cold sores for that matter. Some people won’t mind doing that at all, and if you’re one of those folks, that’s great. Personally I prefer working in niches I at least enjoy somewhat, and if you enjoy helping people with that stuff then go for it!
Just remember, if you have a market you really want to enter, but it seems too competitive, before you give up on it altogether, focus on the sub-niches within the market. If it is a huge market you can even go deeper into keyword phrases with very low search counts.
Here’s one last example:
I love golf. But I would not start building a site around golf keywords such as golf tips, golf lessons, etc. I’d want to focus deeper in the niche while I make a name for myself.
So instead, when I start working in the golf market, which I plan to do soon, I will build my web property around keywords such as “putting like a pro”, “golf swing tempo” and “how to put backspin on a golf ball”, etc.
See the difference? My domain name will contain the word golf but by targeting less popular phrases I can get traffic faster and then eventually start attracting traffic from more widely used search terms.
I can establish myself with a growing audience and start working with some of the more established sites by offering their followers specific help with sub-niche topics they may not cover at their own web properties. All the while I’ll be growing my own list of potential customers by offering them an irresistible freebie at my web property in exchange for their email address. (More on that later too!)
As you can see, there are really no niches you can’t enter if you go in slowly like that. Plus, there are plenty of other ways to get traffic besides search engines, and you’ll uncover some clever methods as you read on.
OK, I think I’ve covered enough about niche selection for now. If you’re feeling overwhelmed right now, that’s normal. This has been a lot of information for you to take in, especially if you’re new to all this.
But don’t worry, once you do this once you’ll find that it is all pretty simple to repeat if you want more than one web property. Also, if niche research is not your thing and you want to just start a web property, I’ll show you how to outsource the entire task when we get to the Action Plan. That’s right, you can even outsource this task and get a profitable niche, a list of keywords to focus your content on, and a domain name picked for you!
Before we move onto the next section, I want to share with the folks who are at a loss for ideas, my own short-list of potentially profitable niches.
I’ve done initial research into nearly100 niches, and these were the most promising. In fact, I planned to research all of the following areas in depth, but got too busy with this project and others to do it! Some of these have really great profit potential and you’re welcome to steal any of these ideas and run with them…
Specific Internet marketing help areas:
E-Reader Publishing (Kindle)
Blogging and Vlogging
Specific Stock Market Related Advice
Forex Related Advice
Debt Elimination Strategies
Level 7 Certification
Specific Insurance (Event insurance, wedding insurance, per insurance)
How To Make Money With [insert niche here ie: woodworking/crafts/yardsales]
Fitness and Exercise Advice:
Latest Weight Loss Techniques
Latest Exercise and Workout strategies
Education/Career Training/Certification Programs:
New and Hot Career Paths
Home Health Aide
Natural Cures and Remedies for Specific Conditions:
Acne, Scars and other Skin Issues
Stress, Depression, Anxiety
Green Energy (Solar, Wind Power)
Organic Gardening Techniques
Things to remember from this chapter.
While niche research not an exact science, try to select a niche with…
And remember, you can outsource your keyword research for just $5 and get great results. I’ll show you who I use for this in my Action Plan in Chapter 6.
What You’ll Need, And How To Do It All On The Cheap
Tools of the Trade
In this section I’m going to show you everything you will need to set up to make money in the niche you’ve chosen, and do it on the cheap.
You do not need to start doing everything just yet. We’ll dive into the step by step action plan a little later. For now I just want you to read this section so you can see what your project will entail and how inexpensive it can be.
Nowadays, a complete income producing web property can be set up and operated really inexpensively. In fact, the only things you have to pay for are a domain name at less than $10 per year (that’s less than a buck a month) and web hosting for less than $10 a month. And you can put multiple domains and web properties on that same hosting account.
I also highly suggest an autoresponder service which can be had for $19 a month.
That’s it. You do not have to pay another dime beyond that if you do not want to.
Of course doing it on the cheap means you’ll be doing all the work yourself. It’s not hard work, it just consumes time. The more time you put in each week, the faster you’ll get results.
Depending on how much time you can put in, you can do it all literally on $30 a month and have income flowing in a few months in most cases. (How much income depends on the niche you chose and the time you put in.)
I’ve done this over and over in a variety of niches and sub-niches. Of course I have the luxury of working from home as many hours as I want. But if you can spare 2-3 hours a day, a few days a week, you can get fairly quick results.
But what if you have very little time at your disposal?
That’s OK too. You can simply pay “subcontractors” a small fee to do each task you do not have time for. It’s simply a function of trading time for dollars.
During many of my projects I decided it would be much easier if I didn’t do all the work myself, so I paid others to do almost all the tasks of building my web properties. I’ll share all my helpers with you in this course in case you decide to go that route.
If you’re extremely time-challenged or technically-challenged, you may need to pay others to do most of the work. And if that’s the case, don’t worry — it still can be done really inexpensively.
In case you’re nervous about how much you’ll have to spend to have others do the work for you, here’s a breakdown and comparison of the cost of doing it all yourself vs. having others do most of the work…
Estimated Cost Comparison:
Do everything yourself:
Domain name: approximately $10 per year (we’ll call it $1 a month)
Hosting: approximately $9 per month
Autoresponder account: $19 a month
TOTAL: $29 per month (the cost of dinner for two at a modest restaurant)
Note: Each web property you set up can share the same hosting and autoresponder account, so the only added cost for each new site is a new domain name for that niche.
Outsourcing most of your project:
About $150 per web property for setup, initial content, link building
+ $10 a month for domain/hosting
+ $19 per month for Aweber or another autoresponder
+ $30 per month for ongoing content and link building
As you can see that’s still relatively inexpensive. Outsourcing most of the project like that still requires some of your time, but much less than doing it all yourself.
You’d basically be “overseeing” it and “plugging in” the outsourced work. This strategy still only costs about $150 and then $59 a month ongoing. And again, the hosting and autoresponders, can be shared across multiple sites lowering your cost further.
Yet I realize even that is too expensive to many people. If you’re one of them, don’t worry, you can do it for a lot less by simply doing some things yourself and paying others to do some things. That’s what I usually do.
For example, on my newest web properties, I set up the blogs, theme and plugins myself, which takes me anywhere from a day to two days depending on the specifics of the project. This is pretty easy to do and I’ll be showing you how. In fact, I recommend you do most or all of the setup work at least once by yourself so you can see just how simple it is.
I then write some of my initial content and outsource some for a total cost of about $75. I then pay about $20 a month for my ongoing content, $10 a month for link building, and do some of the link building/SEO tasks myself (tasks I’ll show you how to do later).
I’ve used that “partial outsourcing” technique multiple times and it has yielded web properties earning a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars in income every month.
Now let’s get into the details on exactly what you’ll need, including the domain name, hosting, a website/blog with theme & plugins, and most importantly, solid content…
Domain Name & Hosting
Choosing the right domain name is very important. You’ll want to go with .com if you can, and .net or .org if the .com is not available. And you’ll definitely want a keyword or two in the domain name.
My best advice is to get a domain name containing at least one or at the most, two of your best niche keywords, plus your brand name. This will help you benefit from new search engine algorithm updates designed to thwart over-optimized sites.
As I predicted years ago, the importance and effectiveness of exact match domain names (domain names that match your best keyword phrase exactly) is starting to fade. In fact, Google recently lessened their effectiveness with an “EMD” algorithm update.
You also want your domain name to be a name you can “grow into” – a name that will make sense as you expand your reach in the market.
For example, if I decided to go into the orchid growing niche, a domain name such as plantingorchids.com would not be a good choice in my opinion. Sure, you might attract people searching for planting tips, but what about all the other searchers you’ll want to reach as your property expands? Folks looking for growing tips, feeding tips, etc.
You want your domain name to encompass the larger niche, even when you’re starting out in a sub-niche. That leaves you room to grow.
Additionally you want to stamp your domain name with your personalized brand. Something like AlliesOrchidCare.com would be a better choice in my opinion, especially for today’s changing search environment. A name like that brands you, it takes a gentler approach at search engine optimization, and offers plenty of room for growth.
Now lets talk about web hosting.
As far as hosting goes, it’s real simple. Pick a web host that offers the user interface called Cpanel. I recommend HostGator. They are cheap and reliable and their low cost packages include Cpanel with easy WordPress installation via Fantastico and Softalicious. These programs let you make a few clicks and have a WordPress setup and running in minutes.
You can also get your domain at HostGator at the same time. They’ve revamped their entire hosting line and their service is again second to none.
Again, you don’t have to use the host I recommend, just make sure whatever host you choose offers Cpanel so you get simple point and click WordPress setup, as I’ll show you in the step by step action plan.
The new clear choice for building your web property is WordPress for many reasons. Mainly because it is 100% free and it is the easiest platform for anyone to learn.
What’s more, WordPress is as “plug and play” as you get and with literally thousands of themes and plugins available you can change the look and even the monetizing strategy literally overnight.
Google ranks WordPress sites well because of the way it organizes content. You’ll love it for how simple it makes everything from adding content to making changes. Way nack in late 2011 Google also stated they had added “freshness” to their search algorithm, meaning that a site or blog that is updated often, can outrank a static site that does not get frequent updates. WordPress makes updates and adding content super-simple and the new content is easily recognized by search engines like Google.
With WordPress you can easily setup a blog where you post regular content, sales pages, squeeze pages, member sites and more. I like setting the main landing page as a content based blog, focused on my best keyword phrases. This usually attracts the most search engine traffic, and from there I can send people to products, services, affiliate links, etc.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. For now just know that WordPress is the way to go these days. Practically every day a fresh plugin is released for WordPress users that makes getting visitors and income easier and easier.
It should be noted that when I mention WordPress, I’m not talking about WordPress.com where you get a username and host a blog there. You need a “self hosted” WordPress site. You can download the software for that at WordPress.org and it’s 100% free. And if your host has cPanel and Fantastico or Softalicious, then the WordPress software is already there waiting for you to start using.
Getting started is as simple as getting a domain name, a web host and then installing WordPress via Fantastico (or Softalicious). The installation process literally takes minutes and I’ll walk you through it step by step in a little while.
Themes & Plugins
After installing WordPress you’ll be picking a theme for your site and installing some plugins.
A WordPress theme is simply the framework that gives your blog it’s appearance and layout. It’s sort of like a website template on steroids, and it eliminates all the setup work traditional website templates require.
There are thousands of themes available on the web from free to premium. Your theme selection will be based primarily on how you plan to monetize your site. There are great themes for affiliate marketing, membership sites, direct sales, list building, Adsense and more. I’ll recommend some of the best free and premium themes for each monetizing strategy, so don’t worry about that now.
WordPress Plugins are simply little programs that perform specific tasks for you. Again, there are thousands of WordPress plugins available on the web from free to premium. Your plugin selection usually starts with core plugins like an SEO plugin, a contact form creator, etc., then extends to plugins designed to help you with monetizing your blog, getting subscribers, etc. I will go over this in more detail later, and here are some of the free plugins I’ll be recommending.
All in One SEO automates onsite Seach Engine Optimization.
Contact Form 7 creates a clean contact form for your site.
Google XML Sitemaps builds your sitemap for easy search engine crawling.
Sociable automates the sharing of your content by your visitors.
Akismet filters spam comments.
Kalin’s PDF Creation Station instantly creates PDF ebooks from any combination of your posts and pages at your WordPress blog. You can then give away the PDFs to grow your subscriber list and even sell PDF’s for profit.
I will also be recommending other plugins for things like growing a list, running a membership site, selling advertising, etc. Again, most plugins are free and install in about a minute.
Solid Content Is Crucial
The next thing you will be needing is content. Content is your doorway to success. Whether you write it yourself or you outsource it to ghost writers, you need to know that content is what your success will hinge on. So let’s take a little time right now and go into more detail on this subject.
You will be using your content in many ways. It’s not just ‘write and post’. There’s much more to it than that. In fact, here’s an overview of my “maximum profit” content publishing process that shows the life cycle of my content…
I write or have an article written for me.
I add it to my site as a page or post to attract visitors from search engines.
I share it with my subscribers via an email broadcast. (If the site is brand new with no subscribers, I skip this step.)
A week later I share it with other sites to get more readers and backlinks. (I usually outsource this step and I’ll show you how.)
Once I have a collection of articles I convert them into a PDF ebook for giveaway, to grow a subscriber list.
Once my content arsenal grows large enough I convert it into a PDF document to sell. I may even sell limited rights to some content so other publishers in the niche can sell it as their own.
As you can see, one article goes a long way when you’re writing or buying solid content. By solid, I mean informative, thorough, well written, helpful content. Frankly, this is precisely what the web revolves around. So lets talk more specifically about your content.
Grammar, spelling and punctuation are all becoming increasingly important. The fact is, Google is making a concerted effort to weed out garbage. Google and other search engines love fresh, niche specific, original content. Whether you write it yourself or have others do it for you, it needs to be high-quality for many reasons other than just the search engines liking it.
Note: Your content will be mostly in the form of articles, though once you have a solid base of written content at your web property, you can and should also share video content as well.
Original content gets better ranking than content that Google sees as duplicate content. Fresh content that is indexed first by Google (before any copies appear at other blogs, article directories, etc.) is almost always seen as the original content and is given preference over “copies”. That’s why any content you write or buy for your blog should go on your blog first, before it is shared anywhere else online.
It’s OK to share your content after you post it at your own web property. Personally, I share about 25-50% of the articles I publish at my own sites, via my own tweak and submit strategy that I developed. The reason I do this is two-fold. It helps me get more readers and visitors. And it increases the number of links into my web property from other places on the web. I simply add a link into the article that points to a target page at my blog.
But before I submit the content I first create multiple unique versions of it either on my own or by outsourcing the task of spinning the article.
Now I’m sure you’ve heard about article spinning, which is the act of taking an article and creating many articles from it.
My take on spinning content is this – be very careful with it.
Article spinning is a common practice and there are now many automated programs that spin your articles by replacing words and phrases with similar words and phrases. Articles that are spun, in many instances can look unique and original to search engines, but only when done carefully. And that’s the catch.
While the idea of stretching your content so it goes further is sound, unfortunately, many spun articles do not have the best grammar or even make sense to the reader. The problem is, that even the best spinning software only works as well as the person using the spin syntax, or “spintax”, and doing the proofreading.
I believe that Google will eventually weed out most automatically spun content, especially the poorly spun content, by devaluing or perhaps even de-listing web pages that contain it.
In fact, spun content devaluing by search engines may already have started.
Therefore, “blind spinning” the technique of quick-spinning and not thoroughly proofreading an article, is rapidly losing effectiveness. In fact, any strategy that tries to “outsmart” Google via too much automation, usually lasts only a short while. Matt Cutts (Google SEO Expert and Spokesman) himself has said that automation is useful as long as it does not go overboard.
In my opinion, quick, automated content spinning that yields barely readable content is going overboard. Sites and blogs that use shortcut strategies such as this may occasionally benefit in the short run, but usually end up penalized in some way, shape or form.
Rather than spinning articles with automated tools, I prefer to get extra use from my articles using a combination of spinning and manual rewriting, along with a good quality check proofreading session.
Before sharing my content across the web via my outsourced link building campaigns, I take the extra step of replacing multiple, entire sentences from each paragraph, with similar but distinctly unique copy. This allows me to create multiple articles from one single concept, but articles that are still good reads and look almost completely unique to both humans and spiders.
I’ve used a variety of tools to assist me with my spinning/rewriting strategy. The best one I’ve used is a web based tool appropriately called spinrewriter.com. It produces clean, readable article spins though it does have a small learning curve.
Nowadays I usually just outsource my spins/re-writes for a couple bucks each to save time.
I then share the article via my content sharing / link building strategies I’ll share later.
My spun/rewritten articles get impressive results and I’m fairly certain it is because the articles are all grammatically correct and reader friendly, and automation is kept to a minimum.
Length of content is also very important.
I’ve experimented with content ranging from 350 words up to 1000 words or more and it seems that the longer the content is, the more search engines like it.
In fact, I’ve been able to get many of my blogs’ home pages ranked well for many search phrases they are not even optimized for, and one of the large contributing factors is that regular content posting has resulted in home pages with twelve 500+ word posts. That means Google is seeing some 6,000 words of highly relevant content.
As I mentioned earlier, each article you write (or have written for you) will be used in many ways. First, you’ll add it to your web property as either a Page or a Post. I usually start each web property with between 4-6 pages of content, each page targeting a different keyword phrase related to your main keyword phrase.
Once you have your pages added to your blog, you’ll start using all subsequent articles that you write or purchase, as posts. These will target multiple sub-niche keywords and phrases and should be a minimum of 500 words, the longer the better. Anything related to your niche is fair game and a wide variety of articles on related topics is recommended.
Why so many words? Simple. Search engines, especially Google, do not like thin sites with little content. While every site starts out that way, it is important to understand the value of adding content regularly. You must do this not only to feed search engines that valued, fresh content, but to grow your content arsenal and give you more options for monetizing, as you’ll see in the next section.
Also understand that you’re not likely to start seeing some ranking in Google and other search engines until you have at least a dozen or so items of content for them to index, whether they are posts and pages or a combination of both. (You don’t need to set up too many pages as long as you keep adding posts. I’ve had blogs go right to number one with just three pages and 20 or so posts. What’s important is a consistent adding of fresh content regularly.)
Finally, it is important to understand that if you want good search engine results you need to feed Google and other search engines what they’re looking for. With that in mind I’ve pasted below a page directly from Google’s Official Webmaster Central Blog where they explain what their algorithm looks for in content.
I feel that the following ten are the most important items in that list to focus on.
1. Would you trust the information presented in this article?
There’s a reason that was number one on the list. Trust is key online. You can earn trust with great content and a respected platform such as WordPress. You can earn trust with the way you write, with proper grammar, details, relevant facts, sharing both sides of an argument and more. You can earn trust using Google Authorship.
2. Is this article written by an expert or enthusiast who knows the topic well, or is it more shallow in nature?
I never agreed with the experts who said that when monetizing a content based site, especially with a strategy like Adsense, to be general and don’t give too many details. Their logic was that if you shared content that was “too good” your visitors would not click your ads or links to products you sell. I say the stronger the info the better, and the more details the better. Knowing a topic well and sharing your knowledge without holding back gets you more traffic from search engines via more long-tail searches and better overall ranking! And it instills that ever-valuable trust into you visitors’ minds.
3. Does the site have duplicate, overlapping, or redundant articles on the same or similar topics with slightly different keyword variations?
Duplicate content is a tricky subject. Many people think Google punishes sites for duplicate content. That’s not really true. Instead, pages with duplicate content simply do not rank as well, especially after Google’s panda update. With this statement Google is basically telling webmasters and bloggers not to try and game the system by rehashing content, and to instead publish fresh, unique content on a variety of subjects related to the core topic. That takes more work but enhances the experience of searchers.
Note: Unfortunately, many site owners have had their original content hijacked after publishing and lost credit for being the original author. Something needs to be done about this by Google in my opinion.
4. Does this article have spelling, stylistic, or factual errors?
This is easy enough. Fact check everything before you publish it online. Write in a tone that is easy to follow. Edit everything before you publish it. If you take time to do this your pages will likely outrank poorly written content on the same topic.
5. Does the article provide original content or information, original reporting, original research, or original analysis?
This one is a little trickier. Original content should be no problem, but the sources where you get your ideas, such as other websites and blogs, can pose a threat to true originality. Your analysis of a topic is often closer to opinion however, and it seems Google does want webmasters and bloggers to share their opinions in addition to simply reporting facts. Think of some of the top blogs you read and you may find that is the style the writer uses. This can be challenging to adapt but over time it gets easier.
6. Does the page provide substantial value when compared to other pages in search results?
This is an easy one. If you’re slapping up short blog posts that are vague and general in nature, you’ll likely get outranked by others who go into more detail on the same topic. People visit sites and blogs for information on a subject of interest. If they have to search through 5 pages at 5 different sites to get their answers, those pages can easily be outranked by a site that shares all that same info on one page.
7. Is the content mass-produced by or outsourced to a large number of creators, or spread across a large network of sites, so that individual pages or sites don’t get as much attention or care?
This one really irritated a lot of webmasters with large amounts of useful content from multiple users. Personally, I do not feel they should be penalized for curating content in this manner, however I do understand that Google is trying to make the search experience better by giving preference to webmasters and bloggers who are passionate about their subject and give every page personal attention. While outsourcing content is certainly OK, personal attention to each web page or post needs to be a priority.
8. Was the article edited well, or does it appear sloppy or hastily produced?
It seems as though Google is finally cracking down on spun content that is sometimes impossible to read. That’s good news. Every piece of content you place on the web should be edited so that anyone can read it easily. If you’re spinning your articles to get more use from them, take time to do it right with some manual rewriting of sentences and paragraphs and you’ll stand a better chance at getting more mileage from your content.
9. Is this the sort of page you’d want to bookmark, share with a friend, or recommend?
I think this sentence should have read… Is this the sort of page you’d want to leave a comment on, bookmark, share with a friend, or recommend? In my experience, posts and pages at my blog that have user comments tend to move up in ranking and do better than content with no comments. It could be because of the added length of content on the page when users comment, but one thing is for sure… content that people want to share does better, especially lately. That’s why it is important to make it easy for users to share your content by offering a share link with all the common social networks. With WordPress, a free plugin like Sociable makes this easy.
10. Are the articles short, unsubstantial, or otherwise lacking in helpful specifics?
In my experience I’ve found that blog pages and posts with more than 800 words do better than blog posts with 400 words or less. In fact, I’ve gone through some of the pages at a few of my blogs and added more content to go from 500 to 800 words and the pages moved up several positions in the SERPS within a few weeks. I feel that is a direct result of increasing the length and depth of the content.
In addition to these 10 points, Google has since revealed a few new insights into recent algorithm changes. One significant change is the fact that they now factor in “freshness” of content. That means that sites and blogs who regularly add fresh, original content stand a better chance at outranking sites that do not update regularly.
Another update called Google Penguin effectively penalizes sites who overreach in their SEO efforts. This can includes over-optimization in on-site content and linking, as well as unnatural linking strategies via either unrelated sites or with too frequent use of the same anchor text in backlinks.
I’ll explain more ranking tips throughout this text but for now just know that you need to walk a fine line when it comes to Google. (All the more reason NOT to put all your traffic eggs in their basket.)
Things to remember from this chapter.
Monetizing Your Web Property
Building web properties can be fun and exciting. But the real excitement comes with the money start flowing in. That’s why every web property you build should have a plan for monetizing before you get started.
Even though you won’t be implementing a monetizing plan until you’re getting some traffic, you need a plan before you start doing any of the work. That’s because the way you set up the property is largely dependent on how you plan to monetize.
There are many ways to monetize your web properties including selling your own products and services, recommending products and services as an affiliate, Google’s Adsense program, selling advertising, and more.
The best strategy for each web property depends on both the niche you are working in, and your own personal preference. It sometimes takes a little trial and error to determine which plan will work best for you. Each strategy requires different amounts of time and dedication and some strategies that work well in a specific market don’t work well in other niches.
One good thing about a web property built on solid content is that you can change to a different monetizing strategy very easily. In most cases you can be monetizing with one strategy and be completely shifted to a new strategy literally the next day.
WordPress makes it quite simple to shift gears by changing themes, adding a few plugins and trying another monetizing strategy.
The main thing to understand about monetizing, is not to get locked into one strategy and stop there. Be willing to try different methods. You’ll never know where your maximum profit zone is until you’ve tried a few different strategies.
So let’s talk about the ten ways I monetize my own web properties so you can get a feel for which strategy or strategies may be a good fit for you. These are not theories, they are the actual methods I use to monetize my different web properties.
Important: The monetizing methods I have listed below appear in the order of overall effectiveness, reflecting my own personal results. Results from different monetizing strategies will certainly vary from one person to the next, but what you see below represents real world results from continual experimenting and testing online.
Many factors went into ranking this list from 1 to 10. Among the ranking factors I considered are the amount of money I have made with each method, the time each method requires to set up and maintain, and the overall ease of which the income arrives and continues to arrive.
Money Machine #1:
Selling Your Own Info-Products
This is one of my favorite methods for monetizing a web property, though it does require more work than some other methods, at least initially. Most of the work is in the product creation which can seem like a daunting task. But it doesn’t have to be.
If you can commit to posting to your blog just 2-3 times a week, you can use that content and have your own ebook in a month or so. The best part is that you do the work once, then sell it over and over and earn money from it for years.
One way I’ve created info-products easily is to copy and paste all my most recent content into a free program called OpenOffice Writer. I then rearrange the content so it flows easily and edit into an ebook. When done, Openoffice Writer lets you export as PDF by clicking File, Export as PDF and you magically have an ebook you can sell over and over to your web property visitors.
Another secret ebook creation tool not many people know about is Kalin’s PDF Creation Station which instantly creates PDF ebooks from your WordPress property. You simply install the plugin then access it via your WordPress Admin area. From there you select the pages or post you want in your new PDF ebook and it does all the work for you. You can then give away the PDFs to grow your subscriber list and even sell PDF’s for profit. This saves hours over traditional PDF ebook creation methods, and is yet one more example of the power of WordPress plugins.
Having your own products has another built-in benefit that can pay huge dividends — you can open your own affiliate program and get others promoting for you.
If setting up and running an affiliate program seems like a lot of work, you can simplify the process by using a service like clickbank or JVZoo. They take care of the whole process including taking your orders via credit card or Paypal, handling refunds and even paying the affiliate commissions.
One tricky aspect of this strategy is writing a sales letter or creating a sales video. An insider secret of the gurus is that they spend almost as much time on their sales letters as they do their info-products. That’s because they know that the sales letter is the biggest factor determining the success of any info-product.
While I could write volumes about sales letter creation, I will not go into detail in this course. Instead, I urge you do do a little research on how to write effective sales letters online. Maybe read this ebook about writing conversational sales copy and learn the nested loop strategy I use. (It’s an old book but the technique will work forever.)
If you simply cannot write effective copy, you can outsource the job very inexpensively via a place like fiverr.com. Once you have a basic sales letter you can tweak it to make it more effective and have it converted to video, which converts better on today’s Internet. You can even outsource this task nowadays for less money than you might imagine. I’ll share some of the people I use for this later on.
Recommended WordPress Themes & Plugins:
Free Blog Theme + List Building Plugin such as the Free Newsletter Signup Plugin.
Or Thrive Theme
Money Machine #2:
I think everyone doing business online (and offline for that matter) should have at least one membership based site.
I went without a paid membership site for my first 10 years online. What a mistake that was.
There are a lot of people out there who are willing to pay anywhere from $15-$40 a month or more, for real help with something they are passionate about. They’ll pay for training, software solutions, advice, product rights, and more.
The numbers just make so much more sense than selling products for a one-time fee.
Think about it. Let’s say you sell a product for $27 and sell for instance, one a day for the first year – a very modest and attainable goal. That’s 30 sales a month and about 360 over the course of a year. You’d earn $9,720.
However if you expand a little on the product, maybe convert some of it to video and offer personal help along with the content, you can easily package it into a membership site instead.
You can then sell access to the membership site for $27 a month.
Sure, less people may buy it because of the monthly fees, but I’ve found that the number is not significantly lower. Let’s say that instead of 30 sales a month you get 20.
That’s $540 the first month and then $540 a month additional for the whole year. By the end of the year your earnings would look like this…
New Revenue With 20 Sales
Total Monthly Revenue
When you total up the year’s earnings, you’ll see it adds up to a whopping $42,120. That’s more than 4X what you would have making one-time sales.
Of course you need to factor in churn rate and attrition. And that can cut those income estimates by as much as half. The fact is, people will drop out no matter how good your membership value is.
Member sites with below average value for the cost can see dropout rates of close to 50% within the first three months each member joins. However member sites with very good value get less than 20% drop outs. And some people stay on-board with you for years and years.
I won’t go into all the attrition and churn rate math, but assuming your site loses 25% of members by their third month of membership, at the end of the year you would still have roughly 100 members paying $27 a month.
That’s a nice little recurring income stream, especially when you have a few web properties doing that. When you compare it to selling products for a one-time fee, you would easily be earning 2x to 3x what you would with the non-membership model.
Of course these are small numbers compared to what many web properties experience. I’ve had new member sites get more than 200 members the first month alone. That was before I opened an affiliate program and ramped up sales even faster! One site got to well over 1000 paying members. And I’m just one small marketer working part-time from home.
That’s the other great bonus you get with your own membership site — the ability to offer residual income to affiliates who promote for you. Give them 50% of the monthly dues for all the members they refer and you can expand your program easily.
So, what’s the best way to get started with a membership site of your own?
Well, the first step is to take a close look at the niche you enjoy working in most. Are there others making money with a subscription model in that niche? More than likely, there are lots of people doing it already, and you probably can too.
Getting started with this model simply entails loading up your best content, products, training or whatever it is your niche wants and needs, into an area of your site that you password protect. Thanks to WordPress this is easy…
If you are budget conscious, (otherwise know as thrifty like me!) a WordPress plugin called S2 Member is very stable and easy to use, and it comes in a free version as well as a premium version with more features. It makes setting up a member site easy, and you can collect payments via Paypal
If you want to buy a solution, a plugin called Wishlist is a great choice for setting up and managing a member site. You can even outsource the setup work.
Yet another option is the combination of a theme called OptimizePress which gives me all the framework for a professional member site, and added a plugin called Digital Access Pass (DAP) to protect the content, handle signups, etc.
There are many more plugins being introduced every month now, that make running a member site easy. Pick one with good reviews from users and you’ll be off and running.
Once you’ve set it up and started promoting it, all that’s left is to support your members.
If you’re worried about the support a membership site requires, here’s a secret about member sites most people don’t know – most of the work is done in the setup phase of a member site. Once it is up and running you can outsource your ongoing content creation if you want to.
And here’s another secret you may now know about running membership sites…
One thing that scares many new membership site publishers is a fear of offering personal help to members, but in my opinion it is your best selling point.
At my member sites I offer a personal “member only” email hotline where my members can contact me. Do this with your member sites and you’ll see significantly higher sales.
What may surprise you is how little of your time helping people personally can take up.
Even with hundreds of members only a few messages a day arrive. I simply retrieve the messages via my iphone, open a free app called Dragon Dictation, speak my reply and send it off to the member. I can do that while I’m waiting for my son to come out of his track meet or while I’m sitting in my kayak taking a break. Now that’s using technology to your advantage!
You’ll find that running a member site can be rewarding — both on a personal level and a financial level. And in case you’re wondering why I’ve ranked Membership Revenue number two on my list behind Info-Products, I don’t blame you a bit. In fact, it was a close call. But info-products edged out a slight win based on the fact that they are an easier sell, and offer more flexibility.
As you can clearly see, I really want you to start creating your own content and info-products. Even if you approach it as a long term process that you slowly grow into. Creating helpful information for your niche is an incredible model that serves as a launch pad to bigger things — such as membership sites, affiliate commissions and other revenue streams I’ll be talking about in this section.
Recommended WordPress Themes & Plugins:
Wishlist or S2 Membership Plugin. (If you’re willing to pay a little more for a faster, simpler solution then a service called ValueAddon is another option.)
Money Machine #3:
Selling PLR Products
Some people are not up to the task of creating their own products, even basic info-products. It scares many people, especially newbies, and that’s OK. You do not have to do it right away if you don’t want to. PLR can rescue you from this dilemma.
It may surprise you to learn that many of the products you’ve bought from gurus were simply products they bought the rights to, then tweaked as their own.
Anyone can do this including you. There’s nothing underhanded about it as long as you’re offering solid content at a fair price. If you want to sell products of your own but you do not have the time required to create them, then this is a good option.
Remember, when you buy the rights to products you do not have to sell the products “as is”. In fact, when working with PLR the real secret to success is to customize the products just a bit. Even if that means simply taking multiple PLR products and combining them into one big package.
One of my favorite strategies is to purchase the rights to a training product, especially video or audio sets, then tie them into my own package. It lets me expand my product and training level while saving me dozens of hours, heck, sometimes 100+ hours of research and product development time.
In fact, without PLR I probably would have worked twice as many hours as I did the last few years.
The main sources I use for plr products to customize and sell as my own are JayKay Bak’s product vault and the IDPLR site. Members get access to more than 1,000 products in all sorts of niches. The products can be used to monetize websites and blogs in a huge variety of niches, and you can even start your own affiliate program with many of the products.
(Note: Jay Kay’s program is one I recommend as an affiliate. His site earns me a residual affiliate income – another monetizing strategy I’ll be talking about below. In fact, it’s an excellent affiliate program you should consider joining if you’re in the IM niche.)
No matter what your view of PLR content is, you need to be aware that it is used by many of the gurus you know. I’ve used it myself with excellent results, and I know of many big name gurus that use it almost exclusively, although they’d never admit it.
Again, the secret to success with PLR is to “repackage” products by renaming them and getting new artwork for e-covers, e-membership cards, etc., so the product is private labeled as your own.
A good strategy for selling PLR products is to offer a product for less than $7 then when the sale is made, immediately offer an upsell for a larger product or a membership.
A percentage of customers will always buy the upsell and even the customers who stick with the basic product get a great value for their $7 or whatever you decide to charge. Plus, you get to build a super-responsive “buyers list” that you can sell other products and services to.
No matter what your opinion of PLR and resale rights happens to be, know this… it is a super-lucrative business for many web property owners.
You can work this strategy from either side, as a product reseller or a rights seller. I’ll share all the details on working the other side of resale rights a little further down this list. You may decide to profit from both sides as I have.
Recommended WordPress Themes & Plugins:
Free Blog Theme + List Building Plugin such as the Free Newsletter Signup Plugin.
Or Thrive Theme
Money Machine #4:
Many people would expect this to rank higher, and for many web property owners it ranks number one. But affiliate marketing usually plays second fiddle in most serious online businesses.
That’s because the top earners usually prefer to focus primarily on selling their own products and services, which has one distinct advantage over affiliate marketing – it lets them benefit from the massive force of affiliate marketers out there who multiply profits for product creators.
That’s not to say that affiliate marketing in itself is not a very powerful income generator when done correctly, because it is.
You probably already know the basics of affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketers earn a commission from sales of a product or service they recommend at their web properties. But there is much more to it than that, as I’ll explain here.
Affiliate marketing has been around for many years now and it has changed quite a bit through the years.
“Review sites” were popular for a while until Google Panda knocked most of those down the SERPS (search engine return pages), especially the sites with thin content. That’s when marketers began realizing that recommending products and services at a web property is not nearly as effective as doing it via email.
While I earn some of my affiliate income by recommending products and services at my web properties, the real secret to success with affiliate programs is to recommend products and services via your own opt-in email lists. There are two reasons for this.
First and foremost, when you recommend products and services at your web property you are usually not doing it to a warm audience. By that I mean that most of the people seeing the recommendations are not “regulars”. Some of them may be familiar with you but many of them will not be. Conversely, when you send special email messages to your opt-in list subscribers, they know you and hopefully trust you.
That means a much higher percentage of them will actually click on the link you recommend and go there with an open mind, sort of pre-qualified to buy. As you can see, not only can you get more people to an offer via your email list, you get a much higher conversion rate as well.
The second reason affiliate marketing works so much better via your email list is that you are “pushing” the recommendations out to users, rather than hoping they find them on your web property. In fact, anything you recommend to your list, even your own products and services will do much better when you push the messages out to potential buyers. Even though it’s much harder to get email though the myriad of spam filters nowadays than it was say, 5 years ago, this is still the best method.
So it goes without saying that the most important step to monetizing with affiliate links is to get a list building strategy in place at your web property.
There are a few plugins you can add to your WordPress based web property to help you with affiliate marketing. Naturally, the first is an opt-in list building plugin. I’ll recommend a few of those when you get that task in the Action Plan later on.
For now, here are a couple plugins you should know about that will give you control over linking out to affiliate offers.
PrettyLink – Great for creating shortened affiliate links and tracking their performance.
There are also entire themes made for WordPress that help you setup and monetize using the affiliate revenue model. One such theme is called Affilotheme and you may want to look into if affiliate marketing interests you.
As far as what to promote, you just need to stick within your niche or a closely related niche. There are many networks where you can search by keyword to find affiliate products and services to promote, such as JVZoo, clickbank, CJ.com and more. You can also go directly to merchants who offer affiliate programs.
No matter what you decide to promote, here are two more secrets to doubling or even tripling commissions every time you promote a product as an affiliate.
First of all, in addition to adding the links to your web property at multiple locations via a plugin, you need to send emails to your list. Notice I wrote emails, not email. That means you need to mail more than once for each offer. After much testing, I’ve found that a 3-email promotion works best. I mail a pre-launch message if the publisher has a pre-launch phase, then a launch message, and a final reminder message, all within a week of each other.
The second secret is to offer a bonus they can only get from you. Let them know if they buy through your link you get a commission, so to reward them for doing so, you’ll give them x product or service as a bonus. Make it something worth as much as the product price or more and you can get a nice spike in affiliate commissions!
Recommended WordPress Themes & Plugins:
Free Blog Theme with PrettyLink and List Building Plugin such as the Free Newsletter Signup Plugin.
Recommended Plugin for Amazon affiliates
Money Machine #5:
Licensing Your Products
Licensing is a huge money maker for many content publishers and anyone can get into this market. It’s not as difficult or complicated as you may think.
You basically take a collection of your own products, or products you own master rights to, and bundle them into either a membership site or a downloadble PLR package, and sell it to others who need their own content. Along with the content, you include the rights such as private label, resale rights, giveaway rights, master rights, etc.
This usually works best when you have your own original content that you can license, which takes time to create. Obviously, this is a strategy you may want to try in the future after you’ve had time to publish your own content.
Or, if you want to get into it sooner, there are places online where you can purchase products with master rights that allow you to resell the rights to others. Just make sure you do not buy a package that is already being sold cheaply online, or you’ll be faced with lost sales when potential customers find the same package at a lower price. One way around that problem is to use a brand new title and have all new artwork done for your package to make it unique. (A task you can easily outsource.)
If you decide to try this licensing strategy, here are some tips based on my own experiences that will help you make more money…
Always limit the availability of your licenses by selling either a set number of packages or by only opening the offer a few times a year as I do.
When selling product licenses, use either your own merchant account or a service such as JVZoo.com to process credit card orders for you. It is better than working with Clickbank since they have restrictions on selling PLR, and it is better than working with Paypal as they can be unreliable in certain situations and PLR can be one of them. JVZoo takes Paypal anyway so you won’t miss out on that important payment option.
Offer as much “supporting material” such as sales letters, ecovers, autoresponder series, squeeze pages, etc. as you can with your licensed material. This can boost sales significantly as it makes it as “plug and play” as possible for people buying your rights. Remember, people who buy the rights to products are looking to save time and get a business started without all the usual hassles. Take as many of those obstacles out of picture for them as you can and you’ll see significantly higher sales of your rights packages.
Have text based products converted into mp4 audio or video for your clients. This can also boost sales significantly, as marketers want to be able to offer products that can be used on today’s platforms such as ipods, and iPhones, iPads and Android phones and tablets. I’ll be showing you many people who will do this for you rather inexpensively, later on.
Recommended WordPress Themes & Plugins:
Money Machine #6:
Residual/Recurring Affiliate Income
If you’re going to get into affiliate marketing, you need to always be on the lookout for opportunities to earn residual/recurring income.
This is affiliate income you earn over and over after making an initial sale for a merchant.
A few examples of programs that pay me monthly recurring commissions include Aweber, Unselfish Marketer PLR, TrafficSwarm and more. I am a customer at all those sites and use the programs to increase my own traffic and product arsenal.
Since I’m comfortable with the value of each of those services, it’s easy to refer my subscribers and members to them, so they too can benefit from their services. In return I earn a monthly commission from each member I refer, for as long as they stay a member. I believe that’s the best way to earn from residual income affiliate programs. First use them yourself and see what you think. If it’s a good value, then tell others about it.
If you’re going to try affiliate marketing, you really should plug a handful of residual affiliate programs into your marketing portfolio. You’ll build a nice base of commissions that will hold steady, even through slow times that come and go through the years.
Recommended WordPress Themes & Plugins:
Free Blog Theme with PrettyLink + List Building Plugin such as the Free Newsletter Signup Plugin.
Money Machine #7:
Once you have a steady stream of traffic in place, an easy way to monetize your site or blog is to sell ad space.
I sell a variety of ad space at my web properties including banner ads, sponsorship newsletter ads and even solo blasts to my opt-in subscribers.
Once you have a growing following, companies will pay you to reach your audience. These ad dollars can provide a nice, steady stream of income for you.
If you’re just getting started, chances are you will not have much of an opt-in list or newsletter subscriber base yet, but that’s OK. You can sell banner ads at your WordPress web property via a free plugin such as AdRotate or any other of a variety of similar plugins available for WordPress. The best place to find these plugins or any plugin for that matter is either by searching for plugins within your WordPress Admin area, or by going to:
You should know that there are some drawbacks to using this particular monetizing method. For instance, most sites who successfully use banner ad sales as their number one monetizing method, have a lot of traffic. Also, a monetizing strategy that’s geared to sending traffic away from the property is not the best for long term viability in my opinion.
That’s why you find this method ranked in the number 7 position on this list. I feel that other methods of monetizing are better for most web properties, since driving traffic, especially to a new web property can be challenging. When measured against the other methods above, this method has yielded a lower payout per visitor in my own experience.
However, once your email list begins to grow, ad sales as a monetizing strategy becomes even more attractive. It lets you expand your offerings beyond banner ads. With an email list you can offer sponsorship ads in newsletter issues that you email out regularly, which demand higher prices than banner ads.
As an email list owner you also have the option to sell solo ads. For a set advertising fee you can send an advertisers email directly to your subscribers. Naturally, this is one of the most lucrative forms of selling advertising and advertisers will pay a premium for this service.
If you’re worried about burning out your list members with offers, keep in mind that you don’t have to mail solos to your entire list. For instance, advertisers will happily pay you for a solo mailing to just a segment of your subscribers. Pricing goes up depending on how many subscribers the advertiser wants to reach.
If you decide to offer solo ads, be sure to carefully screen the advertiser’s offer and website before you agree to mail for them. You want only the best offers in your niche, since your subscribers will be getting them directly in their email inbox. Also, keep these solo mailings down to a minimum of one for every 4-5 “pure content” mailings such as newsletter issues. Personally, I never mail more than one of these solo offers per month.
Recommended WordPress Themes & Plugins:
Free Blog Theme + Free Komoona Plugin or Premium OIO Publisher Plugin + Free Newsletter Signup Plugin.
Money Machine #8:
Selling Web Services
Performing web services for clients such as website or blog setup can be lucrative, although sometimes time consuming.
A popular service these days is link building for SEO. If you look through fiverr.com you’ll find people offering just about any service you can think of. And many of them offer upgrades to their services for an extra $10 to $100 and more, so you can do well with this if you’re willing to work at it.
However I feel that instead of focusing online for clients where the competition is stiff and the service fees are lower, a better strategy a lot of people overlook is offering their services locally.
I’ve done SEO work for clients offline who almost always refer new clients to me. In fact, I’ve had to turn away clients because of just a few jobs that got sites to the top of Google. You can charge quite a bit of money for this and it’s easier in many local niches with little competition.
There are other services you can offer local businesses as well, including blog setup, graphics design, link building, directory submissions and more.
If you want to try selling web services locally, you don’t even need a website. You can simply place an ad in Craigslist under small business services. After placing your ad, here’s a trick for getting the ad to the top of Google for the keyword search phrase “your area + your service.” (Example: Fairfax VA blog design.)
Create a craigslist ad. Create an RSS feed using the URL of your ad at feedity.com. Then submit the URL of the ad along with the RSS feed using a fiver link submission gig. I tried this with an ad for a local service and a week later it was ranked number one and I started getting calls. Of course it all depends on how much competition there is for the service you’re offering in your area.
Another way to earn money easily offering web services is with the use of “arbitrage.” This means taking advantage of the price difference between what someone will pay for a service versus what you can get it done for.
For instance, many clients, especially in the offline world will gladly pay upwards of $100 or more for services such as ebook creation, blog setup, graphic design, video creation and more.
Once you start using outsourcers you will easily spot many exciting opportunities for arbitrage based profits.
Recommended WordPress Themes & Plugins:
Free Blog Theme + List Building Plugin such as the Free Newsletter Signup Plugin.
or Thrive Theme
Money Machine #9:
Here’s another strategy that sends traffic away from your property, and while many web property owners have made lots of money with it, including myself, I am not a huge fan.
That’s because your web property is at the mercy of Google and that’s not something I’m comfortable with. I’ll explain more about that in a minute. First let me explain more about Adsense.
Adsense is Google’s program for publishers of content. Basically, ads are inserted from their Adwords advertising program into your web property, and you share in the revenue each time an ad is clicked.
The publisher’s share is 68% in the content network. If the best keyword phrases in your niche have more than a half dozen advertisers and they’re paying at least two bucks a click, you could do well monetizing with Adsense. (You can use s site called Spyfu.com to get this data.)
Personally, I prefer to monetize with Adsense only when I can confirm via Spyfu.com that multiple advertisers are paying a cost per click of at least $5 on many keyword phrases. Unfortunately, many of the niches that meet that strict guideline, contain tons of tough competition.
Also, beware that the average cost per click displayed at Spyfu.com is much higher than what the publisher earns per click. For instance, one of my Adsense blogs targets keyword phrases that advertisers pay an average of $10 per click for. At 68% commission that would be $6.80 per click earnings, right? Yet my blog averages just over $2 per click. That’s because many advertisers will be paying less than that average depending on many factors. These factors include but are not limited to where the ad appears at your web property, and how much they’re willing to bid.
If you still want to monetize using Adsense, I do not want to discourage you. After all, it’s pretty easy to get into. All you’ll need is an Adsense account, which is free, plus an Adsense theme for your WordPress blog. An Adsense theme simplifies the setup task allowing you to simply paste in your adsense code and getting a layout that is conducive to generating Adsense revenue. There are free Adsense themes and premium themes such as Heatmap, all designed to simplify setup and display your ads in all the right places.
If you plan to use Adsense, here are some special rules you need to know about as well, or risk losing your Adsense account.
Never, ever click ads at your own site.
Never encourage or ask your visitors to click ads
Never participate in traffic networks or “get paid to click” schemes
Pay close attention to Google Adsense guidelines
Now the downside to monetizing via Adsense…
When using this method for monetizing, you need the bulk of your traffic to come from organic search results. In other words, you need good search engine ranking. That’s the type of traffic that converts at the most acceptable level with Adsense. And as I explain over and over in this course, while getting good search engine ranking is certainly far from impossible, keeping good ranking can become a full-time job with no guarantees.
That’s because Google “changes the rules” too often with new algorithm updates such as the infamous Panda, Penguin and EMD updates you may have heard of. Each time they do it, countless web properties lose valuable ranking they spent many hours and dollars to attain, and along with the ranking loss comes loss of income. If they are relying on Adsense income and have no other traffic sources, their web property is basically left for dead.
See the problems with this monetizing method?
Trust me on this one, I’ve been down the road and seen my own web properties that were monetized via Google Adsense, drop as much 80% in traffic and income overnight. Regaining lost rankings can be difficult and near impossible, especially as Google shares less and less over time about how they rank sites.
Why build a business that gives you no control over the outcome?
One final downside to this monetizing strategy I should mention is that you’ll likely find that you need lots of web properties before you can earn significant income. That means that Adsense monetizing usually comes down to a numbers game, the more web properties you set up the more you can earn. I’ve know marketers with more than 50 and even 100 web properties, all earning a few dollars a day each.
That takes lots of setup work and even if you’re outsourcing your content, the work can ad up quickly as you maintain more and more web properties.
This is yet another reason I prefer other methods such as info-products, affiliate marketing and membership revenue, where one web property can earn significant income.
Recommended WordPress Themes & Plugins:
HeatMap Theme or CTR Theme + Email List Building Plugin such as the Free Newsletter Signup Plugin .
Money Machine #10:
This is the one income stream I’ll talk about here that I have not used to date. That’s mainly why I’ve ranked it number 10 of 10.
That said, I do know many entrepreneurs who do really well with this, and I plan to use this method eventually. If you want to try this strategy, you need to get familiar with Flippa.com.
Flippa.com is an auction site for websites and blogs. Web properties typically sell for about 10 to 15 times monthly earnings. But you can sell web properties and even domain names that have absolutely no earnings at all. You just need to hit on the right buyer and offer something professional.
I plan to sell a few of my own blogs at Flippa.com eventually. While I’ll probably keep most of my busier, business related blogs and sites, I plan to sell off a few of the less focused blogs with lower earnings.
For instance, I built a little blog about forklift certification where I share information on forklift training and certification. (I was a forklift operator some 25 years ago and I thought it may be fun to write about it.) I monetize that blog with Adsense and as of the writing of this it’s earning a few hundred bucks a month, so I figure it should fetch a few grand at auction.
The benefit of selling web properties that are earning steady income is that you lessen your work load and free up time for more projects. Plus, if you have a web property that is ranking well in the search engines, you need to remember that the ranking probably will not last forever.
Cashing out while it has great ranking is much more profitable than holding onto something too long and losing ranking and income from a Google algorithm change.
While it can be difficult to part with something you put a lot of work into, you need to think of it strictly as a business decision. Sort of like when a major league baseball team trades away a star player who they feel may have peaked in performance. They’re maximizing their return while it still has value.
In addition to selling properties you’ve already monetized, you can also sell properties you’ve just built. This is a very viable strategy for folks who enjoy the web property setup phase such as domain registration, WordPress setup and initial content implementation, but do not like trying to get traffic and monetizing the property. You simply do all the setup work then sell the property as a “potential” money maker in a proven niche.
While these web properties will not sell for as much as a site that has traffic and is making money, I’ve seen web properties like this go for as much as a few hundred bucks to $1,000 or more depending on the niche, domain name and site quality. It saves a new would-be business owner a lot of work and many are willing to pay a decent price at auction.
If this is something you want to pursue, you can easily crank out a few sites a week. Just use the simple blog setup instructions in the Step by Step Action Plan later in this course.
You may even find that this strategy climbs right up your own ranking of “money machine” monetizing methods in no time flat!
Free Blog Themes
Important Closing Notes About Monetizing:
Many people wonder how many web properties they’ll need to earn a decent living online. And the answer is different for everyone.
I worked with just one property for years and did quite well. Then I slowly branched out to test different monetizing strategies and different niches. So while you do need to start with one web property, I urge you to not stop there.
Creating web properties in a variety of niches, is something anyone can do. And anyone can test the waters with the many ways to monetize a web property. I can attest to the fact that all those strategies above can be quite lucrative. When you make your long-term goal to have more than one web property, it will open up more options for your business.
You may decide to dedicate most of your time to your best performing site, you may decide to take some time off and collect recurring income, and you may even eventually sell off properties for larger chunks of cash on an as needed basis.
You can even combine the different ways to make money at each of your sites. However some methods play well together and some don’t. At most of my web properties, I prefer to stick to just one or two of the above monetizing strategies per web property.
For instance, if I set up a web property to sell a product, I make the sales page and the product the focal point.
If I set up a property to sell memberships I usually focus on giving away a free membership then offering an upgrade to a paid membership after signup. (That helps me build my lists.)
If I set up a web property to make affiliate sales, I focus on the blog and getting people to my recommended products and services, both one time sales and recurring programs.
However, I’ve also experimented with using as many as 3 or 4 different monetizing strategies at one web property, and I’ve found that many combinations can work well.
For instance, promoting your own products and services can mix well with promoting affiliate products and services, residual programs and even selling PLR products or product rights. You just need a section of each property dedicated to each of those tasks.
However, there is one exception to this mix and match strategy…
If you plan to try monetizing with Adsense on your web property, I suggest you stick with JUST Adsense on that site. (Although you can certainly flip the site using monetizing strategy #10 once it is earning money.)
Here’s the reason monetizing with Adsense does not play well with other methods at the same web property. Google’s Adsense per-click payouts are dependent on many factors, one of them being CTR (click through rate).
If you monetize with a variety of strategies including Adsense, you’ll be lowering the CTR on your Adsense ads, since visitors will be choosing to click other places at your site. You’ll also be cannibalizing your product or affiliate sales with those Adsense ads. So it makes sense that if Adsense is your top choice for monetizing a particular web property, that you use only Adsense at that site.
Oh, and if you’re in the Internet marketing niche, you should know that Adsense CTR will be MUCH lower than in many other niches. Internet marketers seem immune to Adsense ads so expect 1-2% CTR tops, compared to the 8-10% I’ve experienced in other non-IM niches. That means you need a LOT of traffic in an IM related niche to earn substantial Adsense revenues.
One positive I should note though, is that Adsense works much better than many people suspect in other niches, with high CTR’s and high payouts per click.
Things to remember from this chapter.
Getting Traffic To Your Web Properties
My Proven “Two-Prong” Traffic Approach
Now that you know everything you need to have in place to start generating income, including your domain, hosting, WordPress, content and a monetizing strategy, obviously you’ll need to start getting some traffic to your web property.
While we’ll start with Google and other search engines, they are by no means the end of your traffic gathering resources. I have lots of other techniques I use and will share with you in this course.
The first thing you should know is that you do NOT have to spend money for traffic. Since we’re focusing mainly on the free route with everything else, traffic should be no exception.
Over the years I’ve tried both free and paid traffic. Some years I spent thousands of dollars on traffic and other years I’ve spent literally $0. I’ve had success with both strategies, but here’s the rub on paid traffic – it adds risk to the equation.
After all, if you’re spending money buying traffic, it’s money you may not get back if your web property’s monetizing strategy does not do as well as expected. It could fail because the traffic quality was poor or it could fail because of your site’s strategy. Wouldn’t you rather find out for free that your site may not be as profitable as expected?
This is why, especially when starting a new web property with an unproven monetizing strategy, I feel that free traffic is the way to go. It takes almost all the risk out of the venture. It effectively buys you all the time you need to test different monetizing strategies and tweak your web property so it earns money.
So the next question is, where will this free traffic come from?
The answer is ALL OVER. We’ll start with search engines — at least in the beginning. (But don’t make the mistake of stopping there.)
Traffic Source #1:
Search engine traffic is high quality traffic that will help you confirm the profit potential of each of your niches. If search engine traffic does not turn into dollars for you, then paid traffic won’t either, in nearly every case.
The best part is that traffic from search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo can start arriving at your site as early as a few weeks after you build it, especially if you follow the action plan I put together for you later in this course.
That’s because as you add more and more content to your web property, long tail search traffic will begin to find your site. In other words, people searching with multi-word phrases that match content within your pages, will end up at your site.
It will be slow traffic early on but it will gradually increase as you add more content and do some link building and other tasks I’ll share with you. In fact, all this search engine traffic arrives pretty much on auto-pilot if you follow the guidelines in this course and the step by step action plan.
However, search engine traffic is not enough.
It is a huge mistake in my opinion to rely on just one traffic strategy. Search engine traffic can dry up literally overnight, especially Google traffic. They are notorious for changing their algorithm (the way they rank sites) every few months and thousands of sites suffer loss in ranking every time.
I’ll say it one more time so you don’t misunderstand…
If you build a web property and rely on search engine traffic as the sole source of traffic, you’re making a huge mistake. How well will you sleep knowing that virtually all traffic and income at your web property could drop 50%, 80% or even 100% literally overnight?
I’ve followed world-renowned SEO experts and still had sites slapped by Google algorithm changes such as Panda and Penguin. I’ve also had sites improve after each algorithm change. While I don’t consider the web properties that lost ranking as failures, because in most cases I earned thousands of dollars with the sites before they lost their ranking, I do have one regret with some of the sites. They only place I failed in my opinion, are the web properties where I did not put a list building plan in place while I had great ranking.
Again, I’m trying to get across to you that SEO is a great way to start building traffic, but you cannot stop there no matter how much success you have.
Some people think they can just follow their favorite SEO expert and keep great rankings, but even the best search engine expert will be wrong eventually about many of the things they are telling you. That’s because none of them have a crystal ball. They can’t predict how Google or any other search engine will rank sites in the future. All they can do is tell you what is working currently.
Sure, all the SEO stuff you learn can help you get your initial traffic, just remember this…
A real web business, with a chance at long-term viability and profits, does not have to rely on search engine traffic.
Every web property absolutely must utilize other highly effective, low cost traffic strategies.
In my experience, there’s one strategy that is head and shoulders above all others, including search traffic, and that’s called…
Traffic Source #2:
Email List Traffic (Your List and Others’ Lists)
Email lists form the other primary traffic “leg” your web properties will be standing on.
There are primarily two ways to use email lists to grow traffic. You will need to grow your own list and leverage existing lists in your niche.
Obviously, if you’re starting a list from scratch it will seem like a daunting task. But it’s really just a few hours of setup work for years of payoff and traffic “security”. That’s why in my opinion, email list building is imperative and should be part of every web property.
I’ll show you exactly how to get set up to grow a list later on. For now, I just want to drive home the importance of growing your own list. Here’s the main reason…
Because your growing email list will slowly become your bread and butter.
My list has carries my business. I send newsletters with helpful information, I send gifts to my subscribers to increase loyalty, I recommend products and services via affiliate links, I bring them back to blogs where Adsense ads appear, and I offer my own products and services to my subscribers.
I’ve also built other smaller lists at additional niche web properties.
There’s no disputing it, a good list is a great money maker. But a good list is more than a great money maker, it is a “traffic safety net” for each of your web properties.
Again, I’ll get into how to set up a list growing machine a little later. It’s much simpler than you think. For now I want to show you what can be done once your list starts to grow.
Once you own a list you can leverage it by trading mailings with other list owners in your niche or a similar niche. This is where it gets really exciting. Because trading mailings with other list owners grows your list even larger, and generates windfall commission days you can’t get with other free forms of traffic.
If you’re naturally competitive, there will probably be a few bloggers and website owners in your niche that you won’t like. They may have a bigger market share or they may do things differently than you. You’d probably never consider working with them.
But if you’re big enough to set your ego and competitive streak aside, you may find something interesting, just like I did. You may find that instead of trying to beat your competition, working with them can easily double or even triple your annual revenue online.
Through the years I’ve discovered that making the right connections with the right people online has expanded my business profoundly. So why is it that so many Internet entrepreneurs try to best their competitors, rather than teaming up with them?
Well, if you’re promoting a product or service that does the same exact thing as another marketer, it might be difficult to form some type of profitable alliance or joint venture with them. But every niche contains virtually countless related products and services. That’s where you’ll find your best opportunities for teaming up with others.
Another factor that keeps people from working with their competition is the fact that most marketers have no idea how to approach other business owners to form alliances. Yet online, it is easier than ever.
When done properly you can increase your profits substantially, no matter what niche you are in. In fact, it’s the plan that put me into six figures a year.
The step by step process of finding and “signing up” joint venture partners.
Pay close attention here because this stuff is gold…
Every time you start a new web property you’ll want to sit down and make a list of “dream team” marketers in your niche. You simply write down a list of 10-15 popular newsletter publishers, webmasters or bloggers in your niche, as well as niches that are closely related to yours.
Get on their subscriber lists if you’re not already on them. Read the information they publish regularly. Look closely at their products and services. Basically, lurk for a few weeks to a month.
During that lurking period, familiarize yourself with their writing style, their personality and their likes and dislikes. Take notes on each one of these potential partners. Save all that information along with each publishers first name and their email address or contact page. You can use an excel file, a text file or even hand written notes. Just keep it organized.
Once your web property is up and your own list is growing, you’ll start slowly approaching your potential partners one at a time.
Many marketers, especially new marketers, feel intimidated when it comes to contacting other marketers who’ve managed to grow a substantial following. But it’s easy if you know how. The secret is to go slowly and be personal.
If you start emailing everyone on your list of potential partners using some automation tool, chances are you will be considered a spammer. You won’t get the partners you want, or even worse, may destroy your reputation in the process.
Rather than hit them all at once, email or even contact them by telephone individually. Introduce yourself as someone who works in a niche similar to theirs. Don’t hit them with a specific JV proposal or ad swap request right away. Let them “meet” you with no pretenses.
Compliment them on their work. Tell them you think their newsletter or blog is great, and why. Tell them you can send some customers their way if they’d be interested in forming an alliance.
Then give them some traffic and earn their trust…
Once you get to know them a little, before you try to set up a joint venture, consider mentioning their site or blog in your newsletter or blog. This strategy of giving them a mention with no strings attached is a great ice-breaker. It shows them you’re willing to send business their way without demanding or even expecting reciprocation.
When people have done this with me in the past, I was much more open to working with them in the future, and in some cases even felt somewhat obligated to do so!
One you’ve groomed them a bit, then it’s time to approach them with a JV offer.
You have their attention and their trust, so you can ask them if they’d like to do a joint venture. That’s where the real money starts to flow.
Here’s a working example of this strategy…
Let’s say you are a blogger who writes about Labrador Retrievers. You have a growing following of dog lovers and your blog is starting to get some decent traffic and subscriber numbers. You’re even considering writing an ebook for people who are buying a Labrador retriever, or offering a paid membership area where you help people with training and other problems.
Let’s walk through each step from above and implement the strategy of finding and working with joint venture partners.
Step 1. Start your “networking dream team” list.
Make a list of some keyword phrases to search, that fit your market then start searching them at Google. In this example a few quick searches at Google for the search terms Labrador Retrievers, Yellow Labs, Chocolate Labs, Black Labs, Labrador Retriever ezines, Labrador Retriever newsletters and other related keywords yields plenty of sites and blogs to check out.
After 10 minutes of poking around you’ve started a list of popular newsletter publishers and bloggers including clublabrador.com, labpups.com, justlabradors.com and a dozen or so more. You bookmark all the pages, get on their subscriber lists, sign up in their web forums and start lurking for a few weeks to a month.
Step 2. Get to know the potential networking partners.
During that lurking period, you familiarize myself with each publishers’ writing style, their personality and their likes and dislikes. As you do, you take down that info, along with each publisher’s first name and their email address or contact page.
You also categorize your list of potential JV partners by moving the best potential candidates up on the list, as you uncover more information about each one.
One strategy that’s helpful is to place the publishers with subscriber and traffic numbers closest to yours, at the top of your list.
Step 3. Start slowly approaching potential partners one at a time.
Now it’s time to start contacting one publisher at a time and complimenting them on their site. Again, the secret here is to go slowly. Let them know what a Lab fanatic you are and how you love spending time reading all their posts and their newsletter issues. As you get replies, make notes in your list next to each publisher so you know which ones you’ve “broken the ice” with.
Step 4. Give them a free mention to earn their trust.
Once you’ve conversed with a few publishers and gotten to know them a little, work in a mention of their blog or site into your Lab related newsletter or blog. Then drop them an email telling them you mentioned their URL and your readers really liked it.
Step 5. Hit them with a JV offer!
Once you have their attention and their trust, a week or two later you can ask them if they’d be interested in a joint venture. That’s where the money starts to flow.
If they are interested, obviously you need your own product or service if you don’t already have one. But that’s easy. If you’ve been writing articles and blog posts for even a few months you likely have enough material for your own ebook or membership site. You could easily put together a quality ebook or member site with tips and help for new Lab owners. It takes just a few days to do it yourself, or you can outsource it with one of my recommended subcontractors. It does not have to be anything big, just something helpful with good value.
Once you have a product you can put it into the Clickbank or JVZoo marketplace and you’ll be able to give your new JV partners an affiliate link. Then you simply agree on a joint venture with each partner.
Basically, you recommend their product or service, via an affiliate link, and the other publisher does the same for you. Depending on the size of your following, this can result in thousands of dollars in sales and commissions for each publisher each time.
But more important than the monetary results, is the new alliance you’ve formed that can earn you both added income for years. When you repeat this process with 5, 10, 20 or more JV partners you may be shocked at how your business will grow. As your business and partnerships evolve over time, you’ll have a list of valuable partners you can count on to recommend every new product and service you add.
This whole strategy is not theory, it is a proven tactic I use in my own business over and over. In fact, the first year I tried it my income shot up to six figures a year.
Looking back over nearly two decades of web business, I can clearly see that my best years were the years I did the most joint ventures. This JV stuff is quite powerful.
The best part is that I still work with many of the JV partners I formed alliances with long ago, and each time we work together the profits are substantial.
While it may seem like a challenge to grow a list of high-producing JV partners, remember, you only need one or two to see significant results. Having even a handful of JV partners at your disposal is like having a guaranteed profit source you can count on any time you want to boost your earnings.
I’ll share more traffic strategies later on, just know for now that you’ll use Google and other search engines to start your traffic flow, then you’ll build on it rapidly by growing your own email list and leveraging lists owned by others in the niche.
Things to remember from this chapter.
Doing It All Without Doing It Yourself
(For the Time Challenged Or Technically
My Secret “Sub-Contractor” Strategy
Now that you know everything you need to have in place to start generating income, you may start seeing a problem…. time.
There is a good chance you will simply not have time to do it all yourself. You may also feel that you lack either the knowledge to do it all yourself, or the will to learn how to do it.
Or perhaps you simply won’t want to do it all yourself.
That’s OK. Never before has it been possible to spend so little time on an Internet project and still make money. That’s because of outsourcing. Not outsourcing as you probably know it. You know, the time consuming chore of searching for qualified outsourcers, getting lousy results then starting all over again.
Over the last couple years I’ve wasted a TON of hours going that route. I went through all the popular outsourcing sites like odesk.com, elance.com, the works.
And while those work great for some businesses, it was really hit or miss for me. I would get some good results mixed in with a lot of not so good. What I found was that most of the low cost contractors on those sites were not so fluent in English and they were difficult to communicate with. That language barrier wasted a lot of my time. Even when language was not a barrier, the results I often got were sub-par.
After a lot of trial and error, I switched my outsourcing strategy dramatically, and I urge you to copy my methods. This section will show you how I now get everything I need done quickly and inexpensively, without doing it myself.
The secret is in hiring what I call “sub-contractors” to do tasks, rather than hiring outsourcers or companies for entire projects. If you were to hire an SEO company or outsource a job such as search engine optimization, you could pay literally thousands of dollars a month. I know plenty of marketers who have done that and got little to no results.
But what if you had a checklist of all the things they were going to do to get your site to number one, and you could simply oversee the job by hiring people to do each task for a few bucks. In the end it would cost you a fraction of the price.
I’ve managed to pay as little as 3% of the cost of hiring an SEO company. That’s right, rather than paying $5000 to get my blog to number one on Google.com for my best keywords, I did it for $150 – a full 97% less.
And this strategy works for more than SEO. You can literally “sub-contract” everything you don’t want to do, don’t like to do or don’t have time to do. And most of the jobs I get done cost me $5 – $10 dollars TOTAL.
As I write this manual, I currently have a handful of different niche projects in the works. That’s possible because I’m outsourcing nearly all aspects extremely inexpensively, including my blog setup, my content writing, SEO and link building, video creation and more.
So how and where am I getting all this work done so cheaply?
I do all of this now, primarily through two websites.
One site I use to get all my content and one site I use literally for everything else. And I mean everything.
While you may have heard of these sites before or even tried them, you need to read this. The real secret is in how you use them. I’ll share that with you now and in the step by step action plan later, I’m going to give you a link to all the specific contractors I use and recommend for all sorts of different tasks.
This little outsourcing strategy was never possible until a few years ago. It has generated fantastic results for me. There are just so many people out there now who are eager to do my dirty-work for me, it’s never been easier to live the lifestyle I’ve come to appreciate and expect from my home-based web business.
OK, let’s move on. Here are the two main sites I’m using to get my work done on the cheap…
TextBroker.com – Research + Article Writing, Dirt Cheap
Textbroker.com is my secret weapon and huge time saver when it comes to niche content. And you’ll need plenty of that, especially during the first few months.
I was writing my own content for my web properties early on and as you know, researching and writing 500+ word articles can take at a minimum of an hour per article. Some people can do it faster, most others take FAR longer.
I really wanted to outsource this task with my niche sites and I tried and tried. The problem was, I couldn’t find anyone who could write articles as well as I could, affordably. That is until I found Textbroker.com.
Now I pay about $6 for an all-original article, that’s well researched, written, proof-read and copyscape checked. And frankly, most of the articles I buy are written better than I could write!
Chances are your time is worth WAY more than $6 an hour (or $3 a hour if you take two hours!) I know mine is.
But using textbroker.com is tricky for newcomers. Here’s my strategy that will get you the best quality articles at the best prices possible…
- Grab a free account and log in.
- Fund your account with a credit card or Paypal I usually use Paypal for simplicity sake, and I add $25 at a time.
- In your Textbroker account, click New Order, then Open Orders.
- Select Project (or create new), Choose category, and Select quality level 3 from the General Order Information box that looks like this… (I’ve tried level 2 and they require lots of editing. Level 3 is the best pricing for high quality content.)
- Then choose the processing time (I choose 2 or 3 days) and enter your word count for your article. I usually choose 350-450 words then after I receive the article I add an intro and a summary myself, to get beyond 500 words.
- Enter your article title or titles in the article title box further down on the page. (If you have no idea what you want your articles to be about, do a few searches on your niche topic at Google, to see what specific info people are searching for.)
- Then paste the following text into the Order Description box for Author Instructions…
“Please write an informative, original article about the article’s title. Write in English with your very best grammar, punctuation and spelling, using a third-person, formal style of speech. This article is for a blog post and to submit to other sites and blogs. By writing this article you agree that I may publish it with my name or my pseudonym, and that the article is owned solely by me once purchased and cannot be sold to others.”
Once you have all that done, you simply click calculate order then submit it.
Articles are usually written within a day or two and you can then accept them or request changes. I find that 95% of articles of quality level 3 are immediately acceptable, and as I mentioned earlier, most are better quality that I can produce myself!
After accepting an article, you can edit the article and add or subtract information from it, save it in your account, copy and paste it into your blog, and add a live link or two to other pages in your blog. A week later you can make a few new versions of it, submit it to other sites and blogs and get lots of mileage from it. I’ll go over all the details on how to do that shortly.
Again, you’re getting more than an article for your $5-$6. You’re getting a topic researched and a unique article written. This saves me 1-2 hours every time I use it. I certainly think your time is work more than $3 an hour, don’t you?
Oh, and if you don’t want to go through the trouble of using TextBroker then you can simply get your articles written for you at Fiverr.com for $5 each. Which leads me to my other new favorite site for getting great work done on the cheap…
Fiverr.com – Subcontracting At It’s Finest!
You’ve likely heard of this site, and probably already followed a few links from this course to fiverr.com. But chances are you have no idea the potential fiverr.com holds for your web properties, especially when you use it to it’s fullest capacity.
In fact, I doubt I’m even using it to its fullest capacity, yet I’ve used it to grow entire new profit streams over and over already. That’s what I want to show you how to do.
The secret to using fiverr.com properly is knowing what jobs (or gigs as fiverr calls it) to hire. Remember, even if you’re having your project done from start to finish, it is YOU who is responsible for overseeing the entire project.
You’re sort of like a general contractor in the real world, bringing all the best of the best sub-contractors together, and all in the right order, so that your project is completed in a timely manner and done properly.
You can use fiverr.com for just about everything from setting up a blog to having a logo and header designed, to video creation and submission, to having link juice pages set up for you at web 2.0 properties like hubpages, and much, much more. I’ll give you links for all those things and more later.
The trick to getting the most out of Fiverr.com is to make sure you hire only the best gigs. I find the proven, best of the best by searching for the service I need and then sorting the list by rating. This sorts all contractors who offer a particular gig, by the ratings that buyers have given them. You can read reviews from customers and save time by hiring only contractors who you know can do the job right.
Here’s another one of my biggest secrets about fiverr.com…
One of favorite ways to use this resource is to outsource all my SEO work – specifically my link building. After lots of research and experimenting, I’ve found some very effective link building gigs on fiverr.com that very few people know about.
(You won’t see this in any of my newsletters or other ebooks. Why? Mainly because I don’t want these resources and strategies to get overused or abused. The more a true “shortcut” strategy or resource gets taken advantage of, the less effective it becomes. So please, you’re welcome to copy these strategies and even all the exact experts I use, but don’t tell anyone else. Sure, some of the other people reading this material may use it, but let’s all keep it to ourselves, OK?)
Now that that bit of housekeeping is out of the way, of all the ways I use fiverr.com there are couple gigs that I combine to boost my search engine traffic on niche sites. In fact, these gigs have boosted sites in very competitive niches, right past many sites from large well-known corporations.
Here’s how I use this strategy…
I sit down and write an article of 600 words or more (or buy an article) then I create a few more versions of the article. Even this step of article rewriting can be outsourced at Fiverr and I’ll share an outsourcer for this task later.
In each version of the article I create one backlink to my home page in the text. Each version of the article uses a different keyword phrase as the anchor text in the link and at least one version uses a non-keyword link such as “click here” or “more information”.
(Remember, your entire link campaign should focus on varying anchor text so that no more than 20% of all the incoming links you get from external sites use niche specific keyword phrases. Any more than 20% can work against you when trying to rank at Google. (You’ll find evidence of this when researching the “Google Penguin Update”.)
Again, if you do not want to create new versions of your article yourself, you don’t have to. You can simply outsource this task at fiverr.com if you want.
Once I have my articles ready, I then order these link building gigs at fiverr.com…
Link Building Gig 1: To start getting the content some traction, I use an article submission gig to submit to multiple social media blogs. (Cost $5)
Link Building Gig 2: Your Niche + Guest Blogging (Cost $5)
Each of those gigs turn my articles into incoming links at a diverse combination of web properties.
In the action plan (next chapter) I’ll share the exact contractor I use for the first link building task. The other you need to do a little poking around at fiverr.com for since you’ll be looking for link building in your specific niche.
You’ll basically be searching in fiverr for blogs and sites in your niche that will link to your web property. Guest blogging is great, because you can submit your article to them for publishing. Other blogs will do a site review and still others will simply mention your URL in a post.
Of course you could do those tasks manually, without fiverr.com if you prefer, it just takes a lot more time and in most cases more money.
Now I’m sure there are link building strategies that work just as well or better than mine. But the combination of those gigs have really given my new blogs a boost in ranking rather quickly. Probably the best limited dollars I can spend on SEO.
The combination of the the gigs help me get a jumpstart on my link building campaigns which need to include links from many different sources. Other sources I use include comments at niche blogs, established web directories, social sites like facebook, and other places you’ll see in the Action Plan. And don’t worry, most of that other link building can be outsourced as well. The thing to remember is this…
You must be extremely selective when outsourcing at fiverr or anywhere else for that matter – particularly with link building. Growing links too quickly or in the wrong neighborhoods can be costly and result in de-listing or loss of ranking at Google.
I will be sharing some of the specific gigs I use at fiverr for link building and other tasks, and also show you how I find them. You may choose to use the same gigs or find your own, but do keep that above caution in mind when building links.
For instance, you’ll find many useless link building offers on fiverr.com among a smaller percentage of gigs that actually help. Some fiverr contractors use crap strategies and cheap tools, others use proven techniques and expensive tools designed to automate diverse link building.
Oh, and in case you’re wondering if outsourcing your link building is considered blackhat or not, my opinion is that it is not. It automates a time consuming task in many ways that search engines recommend you build links.
I don’t get into moral dilemmas. If you don’t have a moral issue with outsourcing link building, but you’re concerned it could get your site penalized by Google, you can always do what lots of others do – build links to web pages that link to your money site, instead of building links to your money site itself.
Just know this about Fiverr.com – it is the one site that has made the biggest difference in how I get things done online. It lets you use tools and strategies that yield big results, without having to spend time or money going through the usual learning curve.
Things to remember from this chapter.
Step by Step Action Plan
Congratulations. You made it through a lot of reading and a lot of learning! Now it’s time to get down to business.
This section shares my business building action plan, that you can copy step by step. You can use this section every time you want to start a new web property from scratch and take it to profitability. You can also apply it to existing sites that are not earning money and need a serious makeover.
This is the part where you actually start doing everything we’ve discussed up to this point. Please don’t try to take a short cut and start here without reading everything up to this point.
You really need to read everything before this section at least once before jumping in. Once you feel you have a grasp on all the ideas presented in this course, then and only then is it time to come back here to Week 1 below, and just start doing the steps.
With many of the steps you’ll find recommended “sub-contractors” who can perform the step for you, in case you don’t have the time or the will to do it yourself.
Even though you can hire almost every task out, I do recommend you do most of the steps at least once yourself. There are a few reasons for this.
Remember that you are the “general contractor” on your project. You are in charge of everything. You keep track of each project and check off tasks as they are complete. You also have the responsibility of performing some tasks yourself, which means you need to be familiar with each aspect.
For example, if you order some content for your blog at textbroker.com or elsewhere, you need to be able to log into your WordPress Admin area and paste the content in correctly, spell check it and assign a good keyword rich title to the post or page.
Call it quality control if you want, but you’re ultimately responsible for the work you put out. The results you get will be directly proportional to your quality control and project management skills. It may seem overwhelming at first, but you’ll start to flow after a while.
Also beware of burnout. This comes from the lack of results you get early on with these projects. It stops more than 80% of people from reaching success. The fact is, these projects, like all worthwhile projects, take a little while to get off the ground.
I’ve purposely spread the work over many weeks and months not only to ease you in, but because there are things such as link building that need to be done at the right pace. Too much link velocity can actually hurt your ranking so the process needs to be taken a step at a time. This means your results will not come overnight, and without patience you’ll give up before you see the fruits of your labor.
Pick a Niche and a Domain Name
Decide which niche you want to get started in. If you need to, re-read Chapter One on choosing a niche, at the beginning of this course.
If you have no idea what niche you want to work in, or you want a potential niche checked out, you can actually outsource this step. Here’s a niche research expert who will identify or confirm a good niche for you, including keywords to target and a domain name.
Take the whole week to decide, as this is an important step. Always sleep on an idea at least one night before settling on it, as the extra time gives you a better perspective on an idea.
Once you have decided on a niche to build your web property in, the next step is to find a domain name.
You can use a free tool such as NameBoy.com to find the ideal domain name. Ideally, you want a domain that includes your brand name plus at least one top keyword phrase for your niche. In my opinion it is best to go with a .com address and do not use hyphens.
Once you find the domain name you want, buy it from your web host when you order web hosting, and it will save you the step of having to set the DNS.
Install WordPress On Your Host
Get Familiar With The Dashboard
Find And Install A Theme
Add SEO Plugin and Set Permalinks
This may seem like a lengthy section but trust me, the whole process above can be done in an hour or two. The first time I did all this it took me about two hours. By the third time I had it down to under an hour. I’m giving you a week so that you can really get familiar with WordPress.
Note: If you are a technophobe, you may prefer to outsource this WordPress setup to a WordPress Installer. However I strongly urge you to at least try to go through the setup process at least once, so you’ll be you familiar with how it is done. Like most things, its easier than it looks on the surface.
OK, let’s get started...
To start the website setup process, find the email that your web host sent you, which includes your cPanel login username and password. Then log into your web hosting cPanel interface and install WordPress by clicking either QuickInstall, Fantastico or Softalicious, depending on your host.
This video from HostGator walks you through how to do it on their site.
Once you’ve completed the steps in that video, you have a site.
Admittedly, there’s not much at your new site yet, but it is a real website and you can go visit it.
Type your URL into your browser (e.g. http://www.yourdomain.com) and you’ll see a simple site with a white background a colorful header and a small entry titled “Hello World!”
This is the standard (default) WordPress theme. You can easily replace this with one of thousands of free WordPress themes or even a paid premium theme. A new theme can completely transform the look and feel of your website and we’ll see how to do this in a minute.
First, however, we’ll just log in and get familiar with the WordPress interface itself.
After you install your WordPress site you’ll need to log in to the admin area. The address where you log in will be: www.yourdomain.com/wp-admin or yourdomain.com/wp-login.php – either should work.
Whenever you want to edit your website you will need to log into the admin area with the login username and password you chose during installation.
Now, before you go too much further I recommend you take a little time to PLAY with your new software. Click around and get familiar with your “dashboard”, which is the main page you see when logging into the admin area.
There are so many things you can do I won’t talk about them all right now as I don’t want to overwhelm you.
But – I also don’t want to underwhelm you! I want you to understand how powerful and fantastic the program you just installed really is! To help you along, let’s do a quick overview of the different sections of WordPress:
On the left side of every page inside your WordPress dashboard you’ll see quick links to navigate to different area of the admin area. If you click on any of those options you’ll get a drop-down menu with more options.
Let’s go over what each link does.
Dashboard – Click this to go to the main page of your WordPress admin area. At the main page you will see various items relating to your WordPress site. It will give you a summary of your posts and pages, comments, etc. You will also see recent comments, incoming links, etc. You can customize this page as I’ll show you in the next video below.
Posts – If you’re going to set up a blog on your site this is where you create, view and edit your posts.
Media – You can use the media section to upload images, videos and documents.
Links – If you want to use the links ‘widget’ so you can link out to other people this is where you would fill in the links.
Pages – This is where you create, view and edit your pages.
Comments – Here you can view all the comments you’ve received, check your spam comments, edit or delete comments.
Appearance – This is where you upload a new theme, you customize your widgets and you can also set up a custom menu. You can also work in the css and php files if you have some advanced coding knowledge.
Plugins – We’ve yet to talk plugins but here is where you can upload and activate them.
Users – Lets you set users and other administrators to your site or update current users.
Tools – Import or export WordPress files.
Settings – You can set options about how people read your blog, how many posts they see, how the permalinks are set, etc. Any plugins you install will often show up here too.
Choosing and Installing Your Theme…
What is a WordPress theme or template?
WordPress comes with a default ‘theme’. A theme is what sets the layout of your website. It is a bunch of advanced php and css coding that allows you to have a more customized look.
There are literally thousands of themes to choose from. You can choose from a current selection of thousands on WordPress.org right here if you want:
But before you take ANY time looking for a theme, here’s what I suggest you do:
First, decide what you need the theme for…
Get a very good idea in your mind what you want from a theme and your search will be much, much easier! That’s right, before you start looking for a theme, you need to have an idea of what you want and need from a theme.
Will your site be primarily a blog?
Or do you want a more traditional website layout?
Perhaps you want both?
Maybe your site’s main focus will be a sales letter?
A membership site?
As you see, the most important question to answer at this point, is how do you plan to monetize the site?
Once you decide how you want to monetize your web property, it’s easier to pick a theme.
If you’re just not sure yet, you can keep your options open with your initial theme selection. You can always update to a new theme later or add an additional theme by installing another copy of WordPress in a sub-directory of your site, then put the new theme there. (Tricky eh?)
In fact, the Action Plan we’ll be kicking into gear later on, will be content based, so you’ll set your main page as a blog, and you’ll post content there regularly. After a few weeks of writing posts about a topic, you’ll start implementing your monetizing plan.
Now lets say that plan is to recommend some affiliate links. Then a free theme would work just fine. You could then use a plugin to manage the affiliate product links you recommend. If you were primarily going to promote Amazon products, you could use a theme like this one.
Now lets say you plan to eventually add a product of your own. You’ll need a sales letter page and a squeeze page to direct affiliate and JV partner traffic. For these tasks, I feel that a paid theme like Thrive Theme is best. It’s not free, but it gives you a fast and easy way to have a polished sales presentation, including squeeze pages, sales letters and more.
But you do not have to start with Thrive or even upgrade your existing theme to Thrive at that time. When you are ready to start selling products, you can buy and install Thrive.
So as you can see, if you want to start out with a free theme for now, that’s absolutely fine!
Anyway, once you have an idea of what you want to do at your site, you’re ready to go searching for your theme.
WordPress – You can search a huge database of free themes here:
WordPress – You can search a huge database of commercial themes here:
Thrive Theme makes for easy squeeze page and sales letter creation. Ideal for info product sales.
StudioPress – Brian Gardner is well known for his great themes. Beginner to Advanced
Thesis – This is a great theme that is beginner to advanced.
1-Click Affiliate Site Builder – Actually a plugin that works with any theme – a great choice if you want affiliate marketing to be your primary income source.
Associate Goliath – THE theme for selling Amazon products as an associate.
Heatmap – A great theme if you plan to monetize your site with Adsense.
OK, that will get you started. Just make sure you don’t take weeks choosing a theme! You can always switch later, the main thing for now is to get moving.
Once you’ve chosen your theme you’ll need to install it. To do this you click the ”Appearance’ tab on the left sidebar of your WordPress admin area. Then click ‘Themes’ and ‘Add New.’
From there you can choose to search the WordPress.org database for free themes or you can upload your chosen theme (in zip format) from your computer and install it…
Finally, you’ll click on “Install Now” then click “activate” to make the theme live. The theme installation process takes seconds.
There you have it! That’s all you need to do to install WordPress and add a new theme.
I can’t tell you what a simple process this is compared to the ‘olden days’ of website design. I built my first website with Microsoft FrontPage and I can tell you it was a tedious process to get the simplest of websites going. These days you can have a super-powerful robust website platform in a matter of minutes!
If you run into a snag or a problem, and it happens, the first thing to do is see if your web host can help, most times they can. The next thing to do is search Google and see if anyone else has had the same problem. That will usually do the trick.
Next let’s talk about the header at your new web property.
Customizing Your Theme’s Header
Lots of folks who install their own WordPress theme may want to customize the header. How you do this will be dependent on the theme you use. Most themes come with details on customizing the header. Pay particular attention to the recommended header size required.
When I build a new site with WordPress I almost always customize it with my own header. Sometimes I’ll create one but I usually just outsource this task.
But most times I just want a professional level header without any of the hassles, so I just hire this awesome header designer at fiverr.com. I think you’ll find that for $5 the quality of work and value is ridiculously good. You basically tell them what you’re looking for and let them go to work. Then you are free to move onto other things in your project.
Finally, let’s wrap up week one by installing and activating a Plugin and setting our permalinks.
We’ll use a plugin to help with your search engine optimization.
Log into your WordPress blog’s admin area, click Plugins then Add New.
You’ll then see a page with lots of plugins to choose from, as well as a search bar to find new plugins.
You simply enter the name of a plugin, then click install and activate it.
(To see how to best utilize any plugin, just click to the included documentation or search youtube for the plugin name + tips.)
Let’s install a plugin for SEO now.
Rather than explain it word for word, it is easier to just show you how to set up an SEO Plugin and set your permalink structure. Here’s a video for you to show you exactly that.
Finally, let’s set our Permalinks…
Changing your permalink structure only takes a few minutes, and is crucial for good search engine results. Please make sure you do this step every time you set up a new website or blog!
What it does is change your website page and post links from a bit of meaningless code to actual WORDS. If this doesn’t make sense right now just follow the steps anyway, you’ll thank me for this tip later!
Here’s a video that shows you how to set permalinks for best SEO practices.
That wraps’er up for this week. It was a busy week if you’re new to all this!
Add Initial Content
Add More Plugins
- This week you should add 3-5 pages of content and 1 post, each focused on one of your top keyword phrases. Also add an about us page to your site. (Now is a good time to spend a little time watching the training videos on making posts and adding pages here.) Page content should be 800 words or more. Post content should be 500 words or more, but if you can do 1500 or 300, the more the better! Be sure to include the keyword phrase you are optimizing for in the title once and in the content near the beginning, near the end and throughout the content 1-2 more times. Don’t overdo it. When tempted to use keywords over and over, use synonyms instead! Also add an “about us” page with details of how your site will help visitors. Recommended Subcontractor: Textbroker.com or Fiverr.com (Search “original article”.) Cost $5-$10 per article
- Add Better WordPress Google XML Sitemaps Plugin: This plugin generates a special XML sitemap to help search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo better index your blog. It helps their crawlers see the complete structure of your site and retrieve it more efficiently. It also notifies all major search engines every time you create a post or page. Just go to your WordPress Admin area, click Plugins and Add New. Then search for it by name. When you find it, click install then click activate. Setup is simple. Go to your plugins and find BWP Google XML Sitemaps plugin then click settings. Next click the sitemap Generator tab, scroll to the bottom and save changes. You can then log into your Google Webmasters account (if you don’t have one, signup is free) and submit your new sitemap. The URL you’ll submit will be: yourdomain.com/sitemapindex.xml
- Add Sociable Plugin: This cool plugin is all about gaining social traction. It lets your readers tell their friends, family, co-workers and anyone else they want, about your content. It displays an easy tool with each post you make, that gives them a wide variety of social sharing tools. This plugin can help you get more traffic and eventually, better rankings as “social signals” are really gaining traction in the world of SEO. You can find Sociable by searching for plugins at your WordPress admin area, then install, activate and follow the instructions included with the plugin.
- Add AstickyPostOrderER: This plugin lets you arrange your sticky posts in any order you want. I’ve found this to be helpful with SEO. WordPress lets you assign the sticky feature to any post and have them display at your home page permanently instead of getting pushed off by new posts.With this plugin you can have the posts with the most relevant keyword phrases show up near the top of the home page and stay there. You can find this plugin by searching for plugins at your WordPress admin area. Just search for AstickyPostORderER, then click install, activate and follow the instructions included with the plugin.
- Add JetPack or another stats plugin: You’ll be getting traffic soon and you’ll need to keep an eye on where it’s coming from. There are a variety of apps available for that but I like JetPack. This is actually a whole suite of free plugins from WordPress. It used to be available only to wordpress.com users, but they have now made it available for self-hosted blogs. JetPack is a really nice stats package and ideal for people who don’t want or need the weighty Google Analytics statistics most small businesses rely on for stats.You can find this plugin by searching for plugins at your WordPress admin area. Just search for Jetpack, then click install now, activate and follow the instructions included with the plugin to start getting traffic statistics. You will need a WordPress.com username and password but you can grab that for free if you don’t already have one.
- Add a few of these helpful WordPress plugins for Internet marketers.
Add More Content
Start Building Links
Setup Google Authorship
- Add 2-3 more posts at your web property making sure each post is at least 500 words long Remember, your posts should include the keyword phrase you are optimizing for in the title once and in the page content near the beginning, near the end and throughout the content 1-2 more times. Don’t overdo it. When tempted to use keywords over and over, use synonyms instead! Here are the article writing subcontractors I use to have my articles professionally researched and written.
- Start looking for places in your niche to submit your URL for free. Ideally, you want to find high ranking web pages where you can leave a link. Start by searching Fiverr.com for “your niche” + “links” and then check the rating of any gigs being offered. I’ve found many awesome niche link opportunities there using this method. Make sure you alternate the keyword used with each link by providing a variety of keyword phrases you want used in your link building campaign. Include 3 instances of generic anchor text links such as your company name, click here, etc., for every ONE instance of a niche specific keyword phrase.
- Set Up Your Google Authorship: Although Google recently discontinued their “AuthorRank” factor in 2014 some experts still say you can improve your ranking using Authorship. This is as simple as becoming an author on Google and verifying authorship. Here are the steps to completing this task…
- Open a Google Plus Account and fill out your profile page. Be sure to add a picture and also to add your blog(s) into the “contributor to” section of your Google+ profile so they know where your content is.
- Log into your WordPress Admin Area and install and activate the AuthorSure WordPress plugin. Follow the directions with the Plugin.Note: This is a tricky, multi-step task and one that I definitely recommend you outsource. Here’s a recommended contractor that will set up Google Authorship on your WordPress site for $5!
Set up Monetizing Strategy
Add List Building Strategy
By now you should know how you want to monetize your site. Will you be doing it with affiliate links, via advertising such as Adsense, by selling your own products, with a paid membership site, or a combination of these strategies?
Now that you have a small trickle of traffic it’s time to implement your monetizing strategy. Implementing your plan is as simple as getting the right theme and plugins set up to do the job for you. There are countless combinations of themes and plugins you can use for every monetizing method.
You can stick with a free theme or go to paid theme. A few premium themes I’ve used and recommend include the 1-Click Video Site Builder (a plugin that works with any theme) for affiliate marketing, Thrive Theme for selling products, Value Addon for running membership sites, and HeatMap for monetizing with Adsense.
Note: When you are ready to monetize, you can buy a premium theme such as one of those above if you want, and you can replace your existing theme.
Or, let’s say you like the theme you’ve been using and want to stick with it, but you want to start selling info-products. (Perhaps products you’re creating or buying the rights to.) That means you’ll need professional sales letter templates, squeeze pages for your affiliate traffic, video sales tools and more. A perfect solution would be to install a premium theme such as Thrive on a separate install of WordPress, in a subdirectory at your site.
If you’re just not sure how you want to monetize, now would be a good time to reread the monetizing section of this manual. There you’ll find details on each of the strategies I use, along with recommended themes and plugins to simplify the task.
The next important facet of monetizing is put into place via list building.
No matter what your plan is for monetizing, you need to give email list building a top priority. It will take a little time but it is crucial to your long term success and survival online. So lets get that important component set up right now.
I’ll cut right to the chase. This is something you need to spend a little money on. A responsive email list will create a solid foundation that your business can stand on for years to come. You could take away all your traffic, but if you have a responsive list, your business could still survive. Think about that for a minute and hopefully you’ll see the importance of an email list.
The only thing you really need to pay for is a web-based list management tool that helps you grow, manage, broadcast and get emails through to your list. In my opinion, Aweber.com is the best at all of those tasks. That is the service I use and recommend. I have used many in the past, and none compare. Lots of marketers say it is too expensive, but it only gets costly as your list grows large, and by then you’ll likely be making plenty of money to afford it anyway.
Hopefully you understand the importance of having a list and why Aweber is the service to go with. Now let’s talk about how to set it up. I won’t go into details of using Aweber itself, there are plenty of Aweber training videos at their site to teach you autoresponder setup and how to use their service. What I want to talk about are strategies for implementing it at your WordPress site.
First of all, most people miss the boat with Aweber and other related services. They create an opt-in form, put it in one place on their site and then plan to broadcast to subscribers after their list grows. This is NOT how a smart web property owners uses email marketing.
Here are the high-octane steps…
Step 1: Get an Aweber account, watch the Aweber training videos and set up your first list.
Note: If you struggle with getting opt-in forms set up, this expert can help you for $5.
Step 2: Write a series of email messages for your follow up campaign.
This is a step way too many people skip altogether, but I consider it the most important step of all! Remember, email marketing means growing relationships one at a time. You do that with email follow ups that build rapport with subscribers by offering them helpful tips, asking them to email you back if they have questions, and only very occasionally sending them to an affiliate link or other monetized link that earns you money. Skip this step at your own peril.
If writing is not your thing, then outsource this step. Here’s an excellent email autoresponder series writer that will do a great job for you.
Step 3: Strategically place your Aweber signup form at your web property in multiple locations.
Once your list is set up and your follow up campaign is in place, it’s time to start getting subscribers. Too many people miss the boat here too. In fact, I’ve been quite guilty of this myself. The fact is, one small signup form on your site will get you only a tiny number of subscribers compared to when you place your signup form at multiple locations. These locations should include…
a. The top of your sidebar at all your pages
b. Immediately after each post
c. On a dedicated squeeze page detailing the benefits of signing up
d. As a check box when they comment
e. On an entry or exit pop-up
f. In an above the fold feature box if your theme offers that option
Note: There are lots of free WordPress plugins such as the Newsletter Signup Plugin that can help you get opt-ins.
Oh, and as far as what to put in your signup forms when you are creating them within your Aweber account, here’s the inside scoop…
You should ask for first name and email address only. If you want to simplify things further you can ask for email address only, which does increase signups slightly, however you lose the ability to personalize your follow-up emails, which I feel is important.
If your blog is full of great content, then you can simply offer a “Get Updates” button along with why they should get on your list. Or, if you want to sweeten the pot you can offer an irresistible report or ebook. If in your short “pitch” you hit on all their emotional triggers and the reasons why they likely came to your web property in the first place, you’ll get signups.
If you struggle writing a short ebook to give away, hire a ghost writer or create an ebook yourself by pasting some PLR articles into the freely available OpenOffice Writer program, organizing the content so it flows nicely, then clicking “File”, “Export as PDF”. If that’s too tricky for you, get a membership to this PLR site that I use and grab an ebook with full giveaway rights. Whichever route you choose to take, you’ll need a “virtual ecover” and you can order an eCover for $5 as well. You’ll then have a complete ebook ready for giveaway.
One other question a lot of people have is single opt-in vs. double opt-in, where subscribers need to confirm their opt-in. I’ve tried both and I like single opt-in better. I’ve been able to build lists faster with single opt-in and they perform almost as well as my double opt-in lists. It’s really a comfort level thing. If you are more comfortable knowing that nobody can get on your list without confirming, therefore virtually eliminating potential spam complaints, then go double opt-in. Either way works if you follow all three steps above.
Once you have all three steps completed, you’ll start collecting lots of subscribers and you’ll be on your way. In a few weeks I’ll show you how to start using your list effectively and leveraging it to get more subscribers and sales.
Submit URL to Biz Directories
- Add 2-3 new posts at your web property (It is a good idea to cross-link your posts to other posts at your blog, at least occasionally. So get in the habit of doing that when adding new posts. Make it natural and vary the keyword phrases in your anchor text using synonyms and longer phrases instead of just a keyword or two. For instance, instead of using the anchor text “growing orchids” over and over, mix it up and use “how to grow strong plants”, “feeding your orchids properly”. Also mix in some generic links such as “try these tips” and “read this”. It’s also good practice to link off-site to an authority site in your niche in the occasional post.)
Submit your URL to these biz directories and at least 3 niche specific directories.
Submit your site to dmoz.org in the appropriate category (See dmoz site for exact instructions.) Then grab a free listing for your business at manta.com and hotfrog.com.
Next, look for niche specific directories where you can get a free or low cost listing. For example, if your niche was orchids, you could submit a listing at OrchidWire.com and perhaps at the American Orchid Society so you appear in their directory. Virtually every niche will have at least a handful of directories you can get your URL listed at. These relevant links provide more link juice than links from less related sites. To find web directories in your niche search Google for “your niche + site directories”.
Add New Posts
Submit Press Release
Add 1-2 new posts at your web property
Consider hiring this subcontractor to submit your content to multiple social media blogs. I have had great results when using this as a supplement to all the other link building methods throughout this action plan.
- Comment intelligently at 5 blogs in your niche. To find blogs in your niche, use Google and search for niche+blogs. Enter your URL in the URL space provided at each blog so that you earn a free backlink. Use your name or site name for anchor text, not a keyword.
- Write and Submit a Press Release
A press release will help your incoming link profile more than you think. Just be sure to use a professional writer and submit the release to all the best sites. Also, do NOT use exact match anchor text in your release. The only link you should use in the release is your actual URL.
Recommended Press Release Writer
Take a look at your site traffic using a free Google Webmaster Tools account. By now you should be ranking for some keywords and getting some organic traffic. You’ll be able to see how visitors find your site using this tool. Beware though, this is something people spend far too much time worrying about and checking, that’s why I haven’t mentioned it until week 7. While it’s good to check once in a while, your efforts need to stay focused on completing tasks. The ranking and traffic will come with steady content sharing and link building efforts.
Another web-based tool I like to use to monitor my link profile is MajesticSeo.com. You can get a free account there and get reports on your link building progress. Go to their Tools section and enter your URL into their Majestic Site Explorer search bar and click Explore. You’ll find out some interesting things about your link profile including the number of external backlinks you have and more importantly, your anchor text profile. Remember, on today’s Internet you need a diverse assortment of links with “non-keyword” anchor text. To read more about what an ideal link profile looks like in the “post penguin” era, see this article.
Build Social Signals
Start Guest Blogging
Create And Share Video
- Ask a friend or colleague to comment on YOUR blog posts. Google likes blogs with user participation. Plus, comments at your blog will naturally add more keyword rich text and expand your long-tail keyword reach. Recommended Subcontractor
- Build Social Signals by getting links and shares from social media sites. You can significantly boost your “social profile” and search engine ranking by getting social link shares from real people. While I spend some time with Facebook, I prefer to automate much of my social signals since it can take up so much time. I use this fiverr gig and it has really helped many of my sites’ traffic and search engine ranking.
- Start Guest Blogging.Guest blogging is one of the best ways to grow credibility, traffic and incoming links. Now that your site has been up a couple months, it is time to start writing for other blogs and establishing more credibility. Plus, the links you get from guest blogging are pure gold! Start by grabbing a free account at myblogguest.com which is a community of guest bloggers. This will help you find guest blogging opportunities. You can also search Google for “your niche” + “submit a guest post”, or “your niche” + “guest post by”, or even “niche + “guest post guidelines”.Also search at fiverr.com for guest blogging + your niche. There are a LOT of gigs there that offer guest blogging slots at niche specific sites. Stick to your niche and you’ll gain some valuable links for $5!
- Start Using Video. Either record a fresh video or convert one article to video for the purpose posting to your site and submitting to videos sharing sites. You can do this with Powerpoint and Camtasia, you can use Prezi.com, or you can simply outsource it to a Fiverr.com contractor.Here’s an awesome fiverr video creation gig for excellent video presentations using Prezi. Simply write a text script for the video and record an audio voiceover by reading the script into your PC or smart phone. (I use an app called “Recorder Plus” for decent quality audio recordings.) Then order the gig, paste in the text, upload the audio and they do the rest. Within days I have a high-quality mp4 video for my site and for submitting to other sites…
- Submit your informational videos to multiple video sharing sites. You can do this one at a time or use a submission tool such has Traffic Geyser. Traffic Geyser submits your video to youtube, Bfunk, photobucket, Vodpod, Gawkk, Multiply, Bofunk, Tagworld, Yourdailymedia, Hictu, Vidipedia, Videobash, Vimeo, iviewtube, Dailymotion, Myspace Videos, Fark and more. You can get a video right to the number one spot in Google using this tool. But the tool costs $97 a month so you may want to save a bundle and have this Recommended Subcontractor submit for you.
- After your video is on Youtube, link to the Youtube video watch URL from one of your blog posts or pages. Embed the youtube video on your site as well. Then submit an article using one of last week’s submission subcontractors. In the article, link to the video page using the keyword phrase you want the video to rank for, as the anchor text.
Add New Posts
Submit Previous Content
Start Mailing to Your List
Add 1-2 new posts at your web property
Consider hiring this subcontractor to submit your latest content to multiple social media blogs.
- Once your list has reached a few hundred subscribers or more it’s time to start broadcasting special messages to your subscribers a few times per month. These messages will be a variety of personal messages offering help, free advice, tips, free downloads, etc. And at least once a month send a personal recommendation for your own product or service, as well as affiliate products and services. Don’t be afraid to be personal in these emails and let your subscribers get to know you a little. Talk about your hobbies, your interests, your family. Let them see there is a real person behind the emails. Here’s how you promote something via email to your readers…
- First, create a great offer or find one that you want to promote as an affiliate.
- Next, write an email message to your subscribers explaining why you feel the product or service would be a good fit for them.
- Send a test email to yourself first to make sure all the links work correctly. If so, then release it to your list.
- If the email converts into some sales, don’t make the mistake most publishers make and stop there.
- After a day or two, send a follow-up message. You should see almost as many sales from this message. Then, a couple days later, send one final message with the subject line “firstname, last call” or “last chance on this firstname”. I’ve found that more sales are sometimes made with the final email than either of the first two.
Add a Product and Traffic From Strategic Alliances
Put together a product or service for sale
Open an affiliate program for your product or service
Contact top ranked sites, email list owners, leaders in your niche
OK, you’re now a few months into your web venture. By now you likely have some ranking, some traffic and a growing email list. Now it’s time to take things up a notch.
Step 1: Get a Product or Service of Your Own.
If you don’t have a product or service of your own that you can sell, you’ll need to put something together. By now you should have plenty of content at your web property and you can transform a good portion of it into a decent sized PDF ebook. Again, use OpenOffice Writer which is freely available and lets you “export as PDF” or try Kalin’s PDF Creation Station plugin to automate this process further.
Another option is to outsource this work by using a PLR database such as the one I use here. They charge a small fee for access to thousands of ebooks, videos and software. You can download products with master rights and private label rights, and sell them as your own.
You will also need a great sales video if you want to make lots of sales. Take 15 minutes and read this free PDF on writing “nested loop” sales copy. Then write your sales letter then have it converted to a video presentation. If you’d prefer to leave this to an expert, try this fiverr video sales letter writing gig.
Remember, the main goal when doing joint ventures is not always to make lots of sales. Another goal that you should consider just as important is to rapidly grow the size of your email list. For this reason, you must make sure you route all traffic from your JV partners to a professional video squeeze page.
Here’s a recommended subcontractor that will create a high-converting video squeeze page for you. I suggest you use MP4 format nowadays, as it lets users view your videos across multiple platforms including iPhone, iPad, and other tablets and smartphones that may not be flash compatible.
Step 2: Get your affiliate program set up.
Clickbank and JVZoo offer the easiest way to do that in my experience. It’s fast and they handle everything from refunds to paying your affiliates for you. Once you have a product to sell you can sight up as a seller at Clickbank or JVZoo and start recruiting affiliates.
Step 3: Start contacting potential JV partners – here’s the honey pot…
Remember how I wrote earlier that Google changes its algorithm regularly and it is virtually impossible to keep top rankings for the long term? Well with every shake-up at Google comes an opportunity hardly anyone ever talks about.
Think about it… each time the top raked sites in your niche are pushed down the SERP’s literally overnight by a Google algo update, they are obviously replaced with other sites and blogs.
These newly top-ranked web property owners will see a sharp increase in traffic literally overnight. So much they may not know what to do with it. This is where you step in!
Take the top keyword phrases your niche market searches for and search Google for five of these terms every week starting now. Then contact the top 5 ranked sites for each keyword phrase and offer them something irresistible. (More on that in a minute.)
That’s 25 personal invitations going out every week. If you get even one or two favorable replies you’ll have a lot more traffic in a few weeks. Here’s how…
It’s all about the “irresistible” proposition you offer. Here’s an example of what works so well it can change your life…
About 5 years ago when my own site was ranked number one at Google for the popular term “Internet Marketing”, I received an email from someone who was trying to squeeze their way into my crowded niche. This person had created a nice video training series on clever list building techniques. He introduced himself and sent me a link to the training series, so I could verify the quality of the program.
Then he made me an irresistible offer.
He offered me a 100% commission on all sales if I would tell my readers about it. That was hard to pass up. In fact, I couldn’t pass it up! My readers needed training like that and I was given the opportunity to share it with them at a fair price, and in the process I could earn as much profit as if I had created the training myself.
I promoted the product and hundreds of readers bought it on my recommendation. I cashed a nice commission check and the smart marketer who approached me added hundreds of buyers to his database. He did this with a few dozen other marketers over the next year or so, offering anywhere from 70% to 100% commissions in the process.
He didn’t make a ton of profit that year, but the next year he hit pay dirt.
He released a new product to his newly formed and now quite sizable list of proven buyers, and his income shot well beyond six figures a year. In fact, for the next five or so years he sent recommendations for various products and services to these same buyers and won affiliate contest after affiliate contest.
He raked in huge profits without relying on Google or any other search engine. In fact, I’ve never seen him talk about SEO even once in all the years I’ve known him.
This is a strategy that works in virtually any niche, in fact it is untapped in most niches and ripe for a smart marketer to step in.
But the real secret is to form alliances with MORE than just top ranked sites. While approaching top ranked web property owners, especially after a Google shake-up is a great start, you need to expand your thinking.
Start searching for the leaders in your niche and contacting five of them every day as well. Heck, you took the time to put together an irresistible offer, why not approach other well known publishers in your niche.
Specifically, find all the largest email list owners, you know, the publishers of email newsletters that lots of people in your market like to read. Get to know them by dropping them an email or two and thanking them for all their great info. Offer them an article or two of your own they can publish anytime they’re in a pinch for content. Guest blog for them. After getting to know them a little, tell them about your new product and the 100% commissions then can earn. Believe me when I tell you that these alliances can last a lifetime.
Just like that person I described above, I’ve built my business on strategic alliances as well. My search engine ranking at many of my successful web properties has been marginal at best.
This strategy works so well because at the core is something every successful business has – a customer list. (Incidentally, it’s also the one thing missing from most web businesses built on search engine traffic alone.)
My customer and subscriber lists and the lists of my strategic partners have carried my business for nearly two decades now. It’s no accident.
I send my subscribers newsletters with helpful information, I send gifts to my subscribers to increase loyalty, I recommend products and services via affiliate links, and I offer my own products and services to my subscribers.
Once you own a list you can leverage it to the hilt, by trading mailings with other list owners in your niche or a similar niche. This is where it gets really exciting. Because this leveraging grows your list even larger, and generates windfall commission days you can’t get with other free forms of traffic including search engines. Plus, it helps your readers even more by sharing the best and most current solutions available to them.
If you haven’t set up your list building strategy, go back and re-read week 5 above and do it right now.
Once you have a responsive list, you could literally take away all your search engine traffic, and your business could still survive.
Think about that for a minute and hopefully you’ll see the importance of not relying on search engines for all your traffic. Get started building your own email list(s) and forming strategic alliances right now. When the next major shake up at Google comes you’ll be be able to shrug it off completely and find a bunch of new partners in the process!
Migrate Some Tasks Off PC
As I tried to stress throughout this course, a major benefit of owning a web business is time freedom. Working when you want and where you want is liberating. With that in mind, it is time to consider migrating some work to your mobile devices if you have one.
You don’t really need a computer to have a successful online business nowadays. You can do most things using a tablet, such as an Android tablet or iPad, and even a smartphone. (Yep, there are apps for that!)
Apps let you work on the go if you want to. They’re easy to use and free in most cases.
To the right is a screenshot of the 8 core business apps I use regularly. (These are all iPhone apps but most of them have Android versions as well.)
Here’s a quick rundown on each app so you know what each one can do for you.
Google Search lets me search Google via voice instead of thumb typing.
Dragon Dictation is one of my favorite free apps. It allows me to speak lengthy email replies, blog posts, comments and more and then email or paste anywhere I want.
JotNot Pro lets me scan printed documents and email or fax them. It’s very helpful when I don’t have access to my copy or fax machine.
Documents Free lets me edit documents on the go including OpenOffice, Word, Spreadsheets and more.
Recorder Plus is a free app I use for recording voiceovers for training or sales videos. After recording the audio, the app connects via wifi to my PC so I can save the audio file. Then I can then send the audio file to one of my “subcontractors” along with the written script. They take the written script, create a “Prezi” video and lay my voiceover on top!
Facebook Pages gives me instant access to my Facebook business page for updates and more. (Incidentally, I did not go into Facebook marketing in this course, though I do recommend you get a Facebook account for your web property and integrate it via the Sociable plugin. Obviously there’s plenty more you can do with Facebook as well as Twitter, and I recommend you explore those opportunities.)
Sype lets me talk with JV partners for free and even video conference.
WordPress by Automatic Inc., lets me update my WordPress sites on the go including adding pages, posts and approving comments. If you are an Android smartphone or tablet user, you can get an app called WordPress for Android at android.wordpress.org which is even more powerful than the iphone app.
Oh, and here are a few more apps I use that you can’t see in that screenshot above…
Splashtop is a really cool app that gives me full access to my home computer no matter where I am. Using my ipad or iphone I can access everything on my PC including documents, videos, the works!
GoodReader is a PDF reading app that lets me highlight PDF text, take notes, save all my documents and more. You have to try it to see the full value it offers.
There are even FTP apps available for smartphones now, that let you transfer files to and from your web host. Just search for “FTP Client” and download an app with solid reviews.
I’ve also started writing and editing content in app based word processors. An app called Pages lets me save my documents as PDF so I can distribute them as ebooks.
And don’t forget about all the great photo editing apps. They can be a huge time saver and a low cost or no cost alternative to expensive programs like Photoshop.
I strongly urge you to take a few minutes and try some of these apps on your smartphone. They can give you more flexibility with your web properties and save you lots of time.
And don’t forget, you can also access your WordPress Admin area via the built-in browser on most any tablet or smart phone, and it will function nearly the same as it does through a PC. This gives you more options such as adding plugins, etc., that many apps do not yet offer.
Mobile computing platforms such as smartphones and tablets offer a big advantage over the days of needing a PC. So take advantage of this, get familiar with these apps and you’ll be able to get work done whenever you need or want to, no matter where you are.
Week 12 And Onward…
Evaluate Your Progress & Schedule Ongoing Tasks That Generate Traffic and Income
After a period of about 3-4 months your web property should be generating some decent traffic (a few hundred or more page views per week) and some income via search engines and your strategic partnerships. Even if it has not reached that level, that’s OK. As long as your efforts are steady, it should be trending up.
It it is generating some income, even a small income that is on the rise, you can set a regular schedule that will give you more time to focus on other marketing tasks. For instance, you can cut down to 1 content post every week or two, containing 700+ words or so. You can even outsource further by adding a user at your WordPress Admin area and giving them edit and post permissions, and letting them manage the content.
So, your weekly schedule from here on out should look like this (a few hours work in total)…
- Add one post to blog. Be sure to write about new and different topics in your niche with decent search volume. This can help you get better ranking for other popular search terms.
- Send an email notice to all your subscribers about the new content. (An easy way is to use Aweber’s “blog broadcast” feature to email your subscribers a summary of your best blog posts.)
- Spend at least two hours per week seeking out strategic partners and opportunities to guest post, perform joint ventures, etc.
- Comment intelligently at 3 blogs or forums in your niche.
In addition to this weekly schedule, there are other tasks you should be doing regularly. Here are the ongoing tasks you should perform twice per month to increase income further…
- Submit different versions of your best article to ezines, article directories and blogs in your niche, for the purpose of link building. You can rewrite different versions of your articles yourself, or use this subcontractor to do that for you. This will help you start ranking for more popular search terms, by increasing the number of relevant backlinks to your web property.
- Mail a special offer to your list at least 1-2 times each month. (Take note of what special offers others in your niche are mailing, this is how I find a lot of my most profitable promotions.)
In addition, here are the tasks you should perform every 1-2 months to increase income further…
- Update your autoresponder series so it includes your most successful recent promotions, and weed out the unsuccessful messages.
- Add a new product or service of your own, that you can sell to the growing traffic. (Remember, you don’t have to create it yourself. You can outsource it!)
- Once you’re making money, consider buying some traffic. You can buy a “paid review” at sites like SponsoredReviews.com – they match you up with bloggers who will write an honest review of your website in exchange for a few dollars. Many of the blogs they match you with are high PageRank blogs with lots of niche focused content, so in addition to the traffic you can see a nice boost in the SERPS.
- Use the video creation and submission subcontractors to get a fresh video created and distributed.
- Boost your “social profile” by getting social link shares from real people. I use this outsourcer and it has really helped my ranking.
- Update WordPress version and all plugins. This takes literally two minutes and you should do it every month. Your WordPress admin area lets you know what needs to be updated, you just click “Update Automatically.”
When Is It Time to Start a New Project?
Once you have a web property getting regular traffic, growing a opt-in list and generating income, it is time to consider starting another web property in a completely different niche.
This may sound like a crazy idea to you if you’ve gone through all that work once. But trust me, it is much easier the second time around. Not only do you get to fall back on all the experience you gained building your first web property, you also know what stuff you’d prefer to outsource and what stuff you like to do yourself.
If you simply have no desire to enter a completely different niche, that’s fine! You can find a market that is somewhat related to this first site, but not directly related, and build a new web property in that area. This lets you take advantage of linking the sites together, using your existing author profile at article directories, etc.
For instance, if you built a web property about video marketing, you may want to put up a related web property about a rising social marketing platform such as Pinterest. The two sites would have synergy and could easily benefit each other, while reaching new audiences with very different needs.
Again, you want to evaluate your first project to find your strengths and weaknesses, your small successes and your struggles. It’s also a good idea to consider different monetizing strategies with new web properties, especially when they are in completely different niches.
This process of evaluating, building on your best successes, and starting new properties can multiply your earnings over and over.
But you have to be careful not to spread yourself too thin. One question many people ask is how many web properties they should build. I’ve seen online entrepreneurs build more than 100 web properties (especially when monetizing with Adsense) and I’ve seen many others focus on just one or two.
I prefer to have a active portfolio that stays somewhere in the area of 6-10 web properties. Some I monetize primarily with my own product or service, a few I monetize with affiliate programs, I sell licensing at a couple sites, I make membership profits at two, and few properties I’ve monetized with Adsense. Some of the sites combine monetizing strategies, but most of them do not. I find it easier to focus on one or two monetizing strategies with each property.
If managing more than one web property sounds like a lot of work, remember — many web properties can be virtually “hands off” after the initial build stage. You can even eliminate many of the tasks required when building sites in niches related to web properties you already own. That’s because you can utilize your existing email list and JV partners and “shortcut” your traffic and income generating, cutting out the need for initial search engine traffic completely!
One thing that is important to remember is that as you build web properties you’ll have successes and failures with different niches and different monetizing strategies.
You’ll also prefer some niches and monetizing strategies over others, and naturally gravitate to the strategies you prefer implementing and have the most success with.
Remember, success isn’t always measured in money made. Sometimes it is better to make a few hundred dollars a week with a primarily “hands off” property, than it is to make a thousand dollars a week with a property you spend 30 hours a week on.
Also keep in mind that you can sell off properties you no longer like working on and that will free up time for you to start something fresh.
Once you get the hang of building money-making web properties you’ll have a skill you can use forever. While you’ll adapt as things change online, the basic skill-set will stay the same.
Get good enough at it and you’ll to never have to worry about money ever again. You will be able to simply build a new property any time you want to increase your earnings. That sure beats getting a second job!
Things to remember from this chapter.
What’s In Your Head Matters Most
Beware These Mental Aspects Of Web Business
Before you think you don’t need to read this section, beware that not knowing this stuff is exactly what keeps most people from succeeding.
I’m not a psychologist and don’t pretend to be one. But I’ve been doing the online business thing a long time. In fact, I now consider myself semi-retired. Rather than work long hours, I prefer to spend time lots of time with my family, play golf a couple times a week, hike with my dog every day – things I couldn’t do when I was in the 9-5 grind.
But I wasn’t always able to work short hours in my online business. I struggled early on like everyone else. And it can be stressful – especially if you let your brain start focusing on things like…
whether or not you can make it online
if you’ll ever be able to quit your regular job
why it’s taking so long to start making decent money
whether or not that new thing a guru is promoting may be better than your idea
why anyone would buy anything from you when there’s so much free online
how far ahead of you others in your niche already are
whether you should forget the whole thing
If you start having any of those thoughts, you need to recognize them as 100% normal, then immediately refocus your mind onto something productive. Like one of the tasks in the step by step action plan.
The thing is, your project is not guaranteed to succeed. That’s why the very term “entrepreneur” is congruent with “risk taker”. The risk in this case is failure of a web property to be profitable. Fortunately, the monetary risk involved using my strategies is minimal — at most you’ll lose a few hundred dollars and some time.
Don’t quit you job yet. Heck, don’t even tell anyone other than your significant other what you’re attempting. This takes some of the pressure off. I kept my job for months after my web income surpassed my take home pay. I didn’t even tell anyone what I was doing until I was doing really well.
You can do all this stuff part-time a few hours a night. I know it’s no fun working a regular job then working the web at night. I’ve been down that road. But it was worth the short-term sacrifice!
The thing is, if you are focusing your thoughts on those bullet items above, then you are focusing on the fear of failure. That is wasted energy. Even if you fail in your first project, it does not mean you failed. That does not happen until you choose to give up completely.
In fact, each failure should be looked at as a learning experience. I’ve put up many web properties over the years and continue to build. Some of the web properties have been huge hits, others were mildly successful, and some flopped so badly they weren’t worth renewing the domain name. But when I put them all together, they add up to one thing – they have enabled me to make a living online in my spare time.
As I mentioned, I’ve been making my living online for many years. My point is, I know these strategies work. I’ve proven that you can do everything on a shoestring budget and rely on free tools, free and low cost traffic solutions and smart marketing such as email list leveraging, affiliate marketing, and multiple monetizing strategies.
Now I can already hear some people thinking – “What’s that? I’m going to need more than one web property to make a living online? I can’t even get one making money yet!”
My answer to that question is…. maybe you’ll need more than one. And maybe not.
Some people make their living online with one web property. Their first project is a hit and it grows and grows. It’s quite possible. Others fail a few times or have minor successes, then slowly succeed as they learn the ropes.
Succeeding at online business just takes a steady effort, a good dose of patience and above all, focus.
It is OK if you are starting from scratch. You can still do it!
My BIG point here and something I want you to take from this course is that the web offers home based income in many different ways, as long as you’re willing to put some time and effort into building effective web properties. You’ll just need a steady effort with each web property and a good dose of patience, but the payoff can be huge.
Remember, making lots of money is fun, but the real reward is time freedom – being able to work as little as a few hours a week is something that can have a significant impact on your life.
Now that I touched on tackling doubt with a steady dose of effort and patience, I need to cover one more thing, something I think is the most important and challenging mental aspect of web business. It’s called focus.
Focus is Everything
At least once or twice a week as you grow your business online, you’re going to be invited onto the “easy road.” And it’s going to be extremely tempting to take a step down that path. But let me assure you, it is a dead end.
The invitation may come into your email inbox from a guru, or from someone you’ve never heard of before. It will probably be described as a “loophole” or something like that. Don’t fall for it.
How do I know this is going to happen? Because I’ve been doing business online a long time and I have multiple web properties and subscriber lists. So I get solicited by the owners of those “loophole” sites constantly.
A webmaster or product launch coordinator emails me asking if I’d tell my email subscribers about their new site. Sometimes I recognize their name, most times I do not. They’re emailing me simply because they know I can make them (and me) thousands of dollars by telling my readers about their offer.
What happens next is kinda funny.
If I have time and I like the tone of the invite, I head off to their site. I sit through some (usually lengthy) video sales presentation showing how much money they’ve made and how easy it was. If it’s a really professional presentation without too much hype, I return their email. I simply ask for a review copy of the product so I can review it for my readers.
That’s usually the end of the conversation. I never hear back from most of them.
That’s because 9 times out of 10 times they know deep down they spent far more time on the sales copy than the product itself. They know I’ll see through that when I see the “product” they’re selling.
I’m not saying there are no good products in the Internet marketing space, but for every good one there are 100 hyped-up heaps of junk with no value whatsoever.
The saddest part though, is that thousands of people flock to almost every launch hoping it’s finally the solution they’ve been waiting for.
They see a snazzy sales letter or video with huge income promises. They read about how easy it was for the “hero” of the day. They see more “social proof” from the hero’s friends and partners. Their emotions are played like a fiddle and the next thing they know, out comes the credit cards of hundreds, sometimes thousands of people.
They’re buying a dream, or at least trying to.
The problem is, most of the people buying into every new “system” are the same people who bought the last big thing. And they’ll buy the next one too.
And it’s not their fault. They want to trust. They want a better life. And they certainly don’t want to miss their big chance.
So why do so many of those people end up dropping out only to eventually buy their way into the next big opportunity that comes along?
It simple: Shortly after getting in on the latest big thing, they discover that it’s really NOT easy like they were promised. The easy button doesn’t really work and neither does the loophole. There is work to be done. A learning curve to get through. This causes most of them to lose interest.
Meanwhile, the company that sold them on the “easy money opportunity” has cashed in and is already creating something new to sell them on.
What a vicious cycle.
So make me a promise right now. Promise me you’ll forget about the next big thing when it hits your inbox. Unless it can tie in directly with what you are doing, and help you save time or money in your existing business, just trash the message. You do not want to be one of the masses chasing business opportunity after business opportunity.
You want to be one of the eventual success stories who focused on building your own business.
You do that with steady effort and determination in these areas…
Sharing information with your target market
Growing your traffic
Growing your following
Reaching out to other marketers in your niche(s) and working with them
Constantly striving to create and/or recommend only the best products and services to your following
People who you’ve helped will be happy to purchase your products, click your links, and act on your recommendations again and again. You’ll begin to make money. Real money doing what you like.
This is not a secret formula or a loophole or anything like that. Heck, countless people make a comfortable living using this formula. This includes people you may have heard of, like the self help guru Tony Robbins, to that down to earth wine guru Gary Vaynerchuk, and all the way down to lesser known folks like me.
So please, when the next big thing comes out, if you absolutely must look at it, then put it through a quick litmus test.
If the sales letter’s focus is on showing you proof of all the money they’re making from some loophole, run away fast. The people they’re targeting are the “get rich quick” crowd who don’t realize or won’t accept that a real business takes work. Sure, they’ll probably make lots of sales, but make sure you’re not one of them.
OK, I’ve said enough on this topic. Just remember these key points…
Things to remember from this chapter.
Now that you’ve gone through this material, it’s time to put together your own plan and get started.
It’s time for you to get busy building your own web properties.
Have fun. Make some money.
And start moving toward the lifestyle your desire, and the lifestyle you deserve.