Welcome my friend
Many of my customers are either very new to making money online, or they have been struggling to earn on the net. Some lack focus, and still others just don’t know what to do.
I know what’s it’s like. I’ve been there. All of the above.
I thought I’d put together a guide.
Clear away some of the smoke.
Behind the curtain?
This guide is only for people who want to make money with their websites. If you already have an online business that makes money, it might be a waste of your time to read this. Or maybe not?
Just saying, this is the bare bones of internet income generation.
Before we get started, I want to make one thing perfectly clear.
I am not a guru or expert and frankly I don’t want to be.
But I have been squeaking out a living online since 1998. Went full time in early 1999.
I’ve learned alot, made many mistakes and have made some money on the world wide webs.
Enough of my stuff, now it’s all about you.
Ready to go?
In this guide I’ll be talking about websites (could be a blog) and what they should contain and what is a waste of page space.
What You Need To Succeed
Hey that rhymes!
Seriously, there are a few MUST-HAVE’S if you want to have any chance of finding success online. I am talking about the opportunity to earn a full time income on the internet.
If you don’t want to fork out a couple bucks to achieve your dream, stop reading this right now and go read something else.
If you’re looking for a hobby or only want to make beer money, stop reading this and go read something else.
I don’t want to waste your time.
Still with me?
Good, I knew you were serious.
So, here is the short list of what you need:
Domain Name – This is of course your little piece of real estate in the internet. It’s your brand, niche or market. You need a paid domain name so that you have control over your business with less chance of losing everything.
Something like myblog.blogspot.com is NOT a real domain and it would NOT be your property, you have no control over it. Just an example.
Think about it. You could spend all this time creating a site, crafting content, and then all of a sudden, your website or blog get’s shut down. It happens. Why put yourself at risk like that?
Also, with your own domain, you can point your domain to any hosting company. This is important, I know from experience.
Paid Hosting – Did you see the word “PAID”? Yes I know there are free hosting services and I also know it can be very tempting to try and save a few bucks.
I get that.
But here again, free hosting is not really something you control. Since you’re not paying, you probably don’t have much say. Not to mention, free hosting is often limited, often lacking even the simplest of options and features.
Hosting is dirt cheap these days. Frankly, if you don’t want to pony up a few bucks a month for paid hosting, you’re not serious about building a real business.
Get mad at me if you want. It needed to be said.
If you’re on a tight budget and think you can’t afford hosting, think again. It starts around $5 a month and any one can find that. Check under the couch cushions. Take back returnable bottles or cans. Skip a fast food meal. Skip the energy drinks.
It’s that important.
One last important aspect about paid hosting, you need to do your best to find “quality” hosting. Hosting is by far the most important part of your internet business and to have the best chance of making money on the net, it needs to run smooth and quick. It also needs to be reliable. So it’s in your best interest to research a hosting company BEFORE you sign up and put the work and effort into your empire.
Last thing you need for an online business, is a computer and an internet connection.
Since your reading this I can only assume you already have that covered.
Okay, those are really the only bare basics you must have.
There are a few tools that will make your life easier and they are all pretty much free. Let’s check those out…
Make Your Life Easier Tools
WordPress – Free blogging software that makes it so easy and simple to create a professional looking and highly functioning website. When I say wordpress, I am talking about the software from wordpress.org. Just a FYI, wordpress.com is for free blogging hosting, but don’t even go there. We’ve already talked enough about free hosting. Not to mention, they do NOT like marketers.
I know because they’ve deleted my blogs on more than one occasion.
As you might know, I am a huge wordpress fan, but I also know that is it not the perfect solution for every single situation. Haters aside, for the average joe or joann looking to make a few bucks, it’s a great platform to get started.
Web Page Editor – On rare occasions, you will need to create or edit a webpage.
Even though you might be using wordpress, it’s still a good idea to know basic html code.
Dream weaver is my choice. Kompser is another free option.
FTP Program – This is a program that is you use to upload (or send) files from your home computer to your website/hosting space. Again, if you use wordpress, you won’t be doing much uploaded. BUT… and this is an important but… on rare occasion, you may have a problem with your wordpress site and the only way to fix it is with an FTP program. One example is if a plug-in breaks your site and you can’t get into your dashboard.
With an FTP program you could go in and delete the plug-in to restore access to your site.
TIP: Dreamweaver has a built-in FTP feature.
Word processor – If there was one tool I use the most it would be MS Word. You could also use Open Office as an alternative.
I use Word to create content, ebooks, reports and other text basedcontent.
Even though wordpress has a very nice editor screen, I personally prefer to write in Word first, then copy and paste into my wordpress post. Just my thing I guess.
Graphics Program – Another program I use quite often.
To make ebook covers, edit them, images for ads, for blog posts and more.
I personally prefer Photoshop, that is just what I am use to. A good alternative is Gimp.
hhhmm…. sure I am missing something, but that is all I can think of right now.
Anatomy of a Successful Website
Right from the beginning you need to remember this at all times…
The only things that should be on your website are the following:
Things that make you money – Could be ads, banners or text links. Could be links to your own products for sale. Affiliate links as well.
Content for Visitors – I doubt you could make money or get traffic to your website without content. Might be possible, but it’s a pretty slim bet.
Stuff that brings in traffic – This could be social buttons, email opt-in boxes, share lockers, blog subscription boxes, whatever.
Other than the three above, there should be nothing else. Please go back and re-read the three points above. Read them until they are engraved into your brain cells. Write them down on a sticky note and stick it on your monitor.
There is no need for a calendar. Your visitors have a computer with the date in their tool bar.
There is no need for a map or location pin. Unless you have a business that provides local services.
Huge header images don’t make you money and they take up valuable real estate. They might be cool, but are they doing anything for your business? The exception would be for branding, but for most of us, it’s not a necessity. Brand yourself with your content.
Focus Is the Key
Okay, we covered quite a bit. I’m not quite done yet, as there is another important part of setting yourself up for success.
I see all kinds of websites. Either people asking for a review. Or worst others who are struggling and not making money.
One thing I see from time to time is a lack of focus. It doesn’t happen that often, but it’s still something that needs to be addresses, to make sure your on the right track.
There are three things that should match on your website. When I say match, I mean they could all be along the same theme.
It’s simple really. Say you’ve decided to enter the diabetes treatment market. In this case your domain should be related (as close as possible), the content should be ALL about diabetes treatment and most importantly, your ads should be about diabetes treatment.
There should be NO other topic on your site. Highly unlikely your diabetes treatment visitors are looking for a new light bar for their truck.
Yes, I know it should be common sense, but sometimes people don’t realize then they stray off topic. Or they just don’t know better.
Thing is, the more focused you make your sites overall theme, the better qualified visitors you draw in.
And it’s only stands to reason that they will be much more likely to click your ads and buy something.
You get paid.
That’s the part I really like.
What about you?
I see some people try to cover too much and in the end they don’t make any money.
Even the smallest highly focused niche sites can make sales and with enough of them, it can add up and make you a nice income. Best yet, with a smaller niche, you should have less competition and it should be easier for you to get ranked in the search engines.
Ramp Up Your Earning
Thought I’d throw in a few extra bytes to help you increase the earning power of your website or blog.
Wanna make more?
Here’s some ideas:
Test Your Ads – The advertisements on your website should ALWAYS be in test mode. Did I say Always? Don’t know about you, but I have yet to find a unlimited traffic source. Since we all have a limited supply of visitors, it’s in our best interest to squeeze every click we can from that traffic.
Let’s do some quick profits math…
If you banner only gets a 5% click rate (you might be surprised how low performing ads can be), then for every 100 visitors, only 5 visitors will click your ad. If the product your promoting converts at 1:100, it will take 2,000 visitors to your site to make a sale.
Now if your ad converts at 20%, for every 100 visitors, 20 will click and it will only take 500 visitors to make a sale.
See the difference? You are now making more money with the less traffic.
Imagine if you bumped up the click rate to 30% or 40%.
Looking good now.
My point is, if you don’t test your ads, you’re probably losing money. As they say, your leaving money on the table.
Testing is just a matter of having several ads rotated for each given ad space.
Narrow, Narrow, Narrow.
I’ve already talked about this, but it’s something that has made smart marketers very good money on the net. So it bears repeating.
As I’ve said before, the more you narrow your focus down in your markets the more you could make.
I’ve seen people make money with a website about a certain brand sub woofer for cars. That’s narrow for sure.
Yes, I know they may not be big money makers, but as I’ve said, you’ll have less competition and higher quality (can you say buyer) traffic.
With enough small sites, you can make a sweet income.
Prime The Pump
Last, but certainly not least, is traffic generation. There is no end to things you can sell. Finding stuff to profit from is the easy part.
Getting eye’s on what your selling takes a little elbow grease. Did you know you can actually buy Elbow Grease? Who’d a thought. (don’t you dare click that link!)
Since traffic generation is a huge topic and too much to cover here in one post, I’ll throw out some quick ways to get the hits rolling in.
Blogging – You need content for your site anyways, blog you brains out and you could have plenty of spider bait for the search engines. With the social connections, and a properly set up blog, it could bring in and bring back visitors.
Blog Subscribers – If your blogging as I’ve just talked about, make sure to set up your blog so that your visitors can “subscribe” and follow your blog content. There is no better way to get people coming back and back again. The Jetpack plugin doesn’t this part very well.
Social Media – Do I even have to explain this one? I’ve already talked about social buttons and social connect on your website. So think we covered that one.
Search Engine Optimization – This one takes a little work, but these days it’s more about creating quality, or stellar content, so people will like to your website. Put out the best content you can, get it started by sharing it and it could come back in a big way.
Guest Posting – This is where you write blog posts for other bloggers. Although, you need to create great content for this one to work.
Article Marketing – I’ll admit this one takes some work and it’s no where near as effective as it use to be, but I still think, when it’s done right, it can draw in some quality and highly targeted visitors. Since it’s high quality, it doesn’t take as much to make some cash.
Forum Marketing – Another some what time consuming traffic tactic, but again, it can be highly targeted. Sure you know, there is a forum for just about any subject you could think of.
Content Locking – There is where you offer something, say a report, ebook or video and all your visitor has to do to download it is share your link with a given social media platform. A good example is, “Like my page on Facebook to download this free report”. Of course here is a automated way to build your social signals and get even more traffic from social sites.
Again, it’s the end all – be all of traffic generation tips, but it’s more than enough to get you going.
Draw Them Back In To Your Web
Something else I’ve already discussed, but I wanted to expand on it, and that it, your website needs devices or features that can bring people back to your site.
Once again, we have a limited number of visitors, so bringing even some of them back could add to your profits.
Few ways to bring traffic back:
Opt-in Boxes – Build a list and you have one of the best ways to keep “talking” with your visitors. Course, it can be even more than saying, “Here’s my latest blog post”. you could throw in some promotional emails.
Social Sharing Buttons – Don’t think I need to explain this concept. Every piece of content you put out, every page on your website should have the top social sharing buttons ready for your visitors to click.
Social Connect – Here’s one some people miss. Most everyone puts up social sharing buttons, but not everyone adds the, follow me on my facebook page, or connect with me on Google+. All very viable ways to get them back to your website. It’s at least another possible way to stay in communication with your target audience.
Pop-up’s – If you’re brave enough well-constructed pop-up messages can be a way to build a list, remind people to social share your content, or direct them somewhere else. This is not for everyone, as this type of marketing can be a little annoying. So, you choice.
Viral Reports – Here’s one that many people seem to miss. Now, I am not talking about your give-away reports you use to build a list. I am talking about reports that are free to download, no email address needed. Some people will tell you, you need to get that email address before you give them anything. While everyone should be building a list, there is nothing wrong with giving stuff away with no-strings-attached. At the very least you get your content in front of people who don’t want to give up their email address. Also, it is another piece of content with your name on it, sitting on people’s computers. Could be return traffic your site. Just MAKE sure you brand it will.
Okay, the dog needs to go out, so I’m going to shut this one down.
I realize this is not an incredibly detailed guide, but it should be more than enough to get any one start on the right track.
And, if you get stuck on anything, or don’t “get” something, hit me up and I’ll do my best to help.
I also created a PDF, if you want to download this post for later reading. Link below:
Do you have anything to add? Feedback? I’d love to here you thoughts… Leave a comment below.