Making money with the Internet, the basics

I’ve always thought that making money online is really a numbers game, but it isn’t complicated. Most of it is common sense, but a quick overview is always useful. I’m talking about marketing your own or others products here. Anything else, such as freelancing, surveys, viewing ads, writing posts, is not marketing. It’s work.

Websites tend to generate profits either directly, by selling a product, or a service, or passively – perhaps by allowing paid advertising, promotions, and the like.

This is true for almost everything online. For example, behemoths such as Amazon mirror a traditional store model. There’s a range of products, that a visitor can buy directly. There’s a profit on each item, just like a bricks and mortar store, but apart from all the neat tricks such as recommendations, ¬†customer interaction, allowing other people to sell on your store (for a small price), and the subtle push to make impulse purchases (by storing your details, having a quick one-button checkout) it works just as , say, a Walmarts would.

eBay and Paypal offer a storefront and they charge fees to list your item, big blog networks such as Gawker will do promotional posts, run joint ventures with other companies, and display ads, and services such as Mailing List providers and Web Hosts will charge a fee (often recurring) to use their services.

What everything needs however customers, and on the Internet this translates as visitors and hits. Getting as many customers, to the right product, is essentially what marketing is all about.

Not all these visitors will buy from you. Through some simple tracking on your site you can see how many hits/visitors there are, and how many of those actually buy. That’s your conversion rate. This rate is bolstered by two things. Obviously, have a great product and a great site that sells it well is one, the other is the type of visitors you attract.

Let’s take a fictional example. You have a book to offer all about fishing. The site is a simple sales page, just one page, that acts as an advertisement. ¬†You get 100 visitors a day, and sell 1 book per day. That’s a conversion rate of 1%. To increase this, you can get more visitors. Or you can ensure that more of the visitors are not just random hits, but people actively looking for your fishing book.

You can get quality visitors by making your site show up in search engine results for relevant terms (such as “fishing tips”, “how to catch carp”, ” fly fishing for beginners” etc). You can advertise directly, perhaps by buying ads on fishing sites. You can advertise passively by joining in discussions on fishing forums, or perhaps even pay others to sell your book for you, for a cut of the profits (affiliate marketing). Any kind of marketing to attract visitors will use carry some kind of Cost per Acquisition (CPA), unless it’s free.

Increasing profits is down to the price. Is it better to sell 100 books for $2 each or 10 for $20 each? This is a simple balance on paper, but price can prove to be a very careful balancing act. People might feel your book is low quality at $2. Perhaps $20 is too much. Perhaps it’s such a niche subject you’d struggle to get visitors in bulk, or perhaps there’s so much competition the lowest price might be the best strategy. In order to make a profit you have to take into account how much it costs to sell the item. If your book costs you $5 per copy to print, for example, or if it’s costing you $100 to attract those 100 visitors ($1 per customer), you have to incorporate them as overheads into your sales price.

In short:

Visitors / Conversion x price = profits

More visitors, a higher conversion, a higher price, more profits…

Get the right product with a website that sells it effectively, and get the right customers, then you can start making profits. Increase any of the figures and watch the cash roll in!

 

 

 

Free One Way Backlinks

Here’s a free guide that shows you how to get smart, safe, and clever with your linking strategies.

Smart And Safe Backlinks

(It’s a PDF file, so right-click if you want to download it).

This guide comes from the amazing Free Traffic System site, where you can get hundreds of one-way links to your site, for free!

Since this uses some advance techniques, it’s something I’m testing right now – but by all accounts it works well.

This is not a link farm, or any type of scam, since you submit articles you’ve written to the site which in turn gets that article published across member blogs. You can specify “spun” text within the article, as well as rotating titles,links and link-titles, so each article is different on each blog it is published on. This avoids the duplicate content trap.

If you want to publish these articles, that is also possible – and you’ll get a steady flow of quality articles to your site.

It really takes a few minutes to set up and submit your first article, with perhaps a few more to start adding rotated/spun sections to ensure uniqueness. As I said, it’s totally free to use and join this service – and anything that can help your traffic and ranking has got to be good :)

The Free Traffic System

* It is an affiliate link, and I’ve left it plain, so you can see I have nothing to hide. If you want to join and become an affililate yourself it works on two tiers and helps you get even more backlinks.

Update: I’ve looked into this a little more and it seems it provides the same service that many PAID linking tools do. My first article is already submitted, and as soon as I see it published across the web I’ll give you an update with how well it is doing. I haven’t targetted links yet – just linking back to this blog – but I can see how powerful this could be if you needed to rank a certain site or link for a keyphrase. If you do join, consider promoting via their affiliate program. I don’t know what kind of sites will be linking back (yet) but even if they are low ranked, a link is a link. It seems legal enough, nothing black-hat about it, so everything should be fine at the search engine end.

Entrecard’s New Changes

Entrecard has long been a popular ad-swapping service for blogs.

You can see their widget over on the sidebar. The idea is you display cards on your site (which are 125×125 image ads) and you earn credits, and you can click on ads on other sites to earn more credits. You get to approve or deny which ads appear on your site. To place your ad on other blogs you simply purchase slots on them, using up your credits. Unlike a traditional banner display you always had the ability to choose where to leave your ads, and what ads to accept. The cost of ads, in credits, varied according to the popularity of the site in question.

It was a pretty useful service which allowed you to network with other blogs and share traffic. By using the Entrecard Toolbar you could quickly browse other blogs in the network and drop or click ads where you wanted.

Now, and rather controversially, the Entrecard network is accepting *paid* ads. This is so that the owner can monetize his network in some way and – he says – both pay for the service and share the revenue with its members by purchasing credits back.

Of course the Entrecard community, or some quarters of it, are up in arms. It seems a free ad swap network is turning into a paid network with paid ads popping up on users dashboards everywhere. Paid ads are mixed with free ads, and you can still accept/deny them as you see fit or automatically allow all ads according to various criteria – for example, automatically allow all ads, all free ads, all ads in your category, etc. As for the income sharing, it seems you have to register for it, and acceptance isn’t guaranteed…

Other issues like clearing the forum and asking all users to re-register have only made the matter worse. However, even though personally originally I wasn’t too happy about this and quite shocked now that I’ve calmed down a bit I see it differently :-)

Of course the owner has the right to make some money out of it. These servers and other features don’t come free. Also, the way it’s set up means you can still accept or deny paid (or any) ads at will. The traffic sharing element is still there, and the paid ads have a benefit too, as in you earn more credits for them. Closing the forum is probably a bad move, as it smacks of censorship, removing dissent. And the revenue sharing is a bit of a mess, either everyone automatically shares or no-one.

So it’s a bit of a mixed situation at the moment. Entrecard, in it’s favour, is an easy to use, popular, and quick loading / low overhead ads system for your blog. If you want paying for your impressions, there are many better ways – but kudos to the developer for incorporating it well. And if you want traffic from it, it’s success relies on the people in the network – and there are other networks.

At first glance it looks like Entrecard built a business by pulling the punters in to a free service then cashing in on them as many have done in the past. But if you think about it a bit more you see that this was inevitable, and it could have been worse. Nothing is really free in this world – so for now I’ll leave the card widget on this blog and we’ll see how things go. Any comments or suggestions are welcome.

The 10 Day Traffic Blueprint

Right after I posted yesterdays Dimesale, saying I haven’t seen them for a while, here comes another!

This time it’s Wes Blaylock’s 10 Day Traffic Blueprint. I love Wes’s work in general, since it’s always clear and to-the-point. No fluff, no bull – just honest information and stuff you can put to use immediately.

This is no exception. In a clear day by day system you are shown how to generate traffic for any site. Along the way you’ll learn many insider tips and tactics, such as leveraging your traffic, duplicating your efforts, and piggybacking bigger sites.

You’ll find out everything from SEO to JVs and setting up your website. This is an excellent course / book for anyone who runs a website and needs traffic – so that pretty much means most of the people reading this.

There are even two excellent bonuses included: Wes’s own “3 Step SEO” and a copy of the Blackbelt Click Tracking tool.

As I said, this is a Dimesale. At the time of writing it’s just launched so it’s just over $5 – but as time goes on this is rising as 5c every 30 minutes. Act fast for the best deal!

10 Step Traffic System

PS. As it’s a Dimesale, it also offers 100% Commissions for your referrals…

PPS. If you like Wes’s work, also check here.

All About Keywords

Keywords are at the heart of Internet Marketing. Whether you’re trying to make search engine friendly pages, websites that rely on advertising, or sites that focus on a particular niche you’ve no doubt be told to list your keywords.

Keywords are everything. Essential for getting targeted traffic, ad marketing, optimised pages, and so much more.

A keyword is simply the word or term that people will use to find your site. For example, if you wanted to look up a review about the Dark Knight movie, you’d type “Dark Knight Review” into Google. Or if you wanted advice on cooking a stir fry, you’d type “Stir Fry Recipe” or “Stir Fry Cooking”.

It’s the way people think and interact with the Internet that makes a keyword. You rarely see natural language here, even though search engines such as Ask attempt to serve that market. So you wouldn’t type “How Do I Cook A Stir Fry?”. People are accustomed to using simple, short keywords to look for information.

There are two important statistics about keywords: Search Volume (how many times that keyword is used) and Competition (how many sites are listed for that keyword). And a high rank for a popular keyword is what you seek.

Take another example. Your site could rank #1 for a very specific search term – such as “Watering Can Installation” (or any such random term). But what use would that be? It’s unlikely people would actually be searching for that information.

However, if you ranked #1 for “Garden Furniture” then all sorts of possibilities are open to you – not least becoming the #1 Garden Furniture store on the net :)

So… how do you find these important keywords, should you target them, and what to do once you have them.

Let’s answer the second question first. It’s unlikely that you can sneak into the top rankings for a very competitive keyword. And it’s unlikely you could be a success focusing on just one keyword. You’d be better off seeking to rank high for a larger volume of lesser searched terms. That way, the cumulative effect is the same – or better – than that single keyword, but it is easier to get higher rankings for each term individually.

This is the so-called Long Tail approach to keyword research. A great number of specific niche terms and/or products as opposed to a smaller number of broad, popular ones.

You need to make a list of the keywords you wish to target right from the start. These will then be the focus of your site content.

Luckily, Google has it’s own tool that will help you here. And there are also many third-party tools you could use. These rely on data from millions of searches on the web, so they are pretty accurate!

It’s https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal

Another way to find useful keywords is to spy on your competitors. You can see what keywords they use, then use those keywords to see what the ranked sites for those keywords use, and so on.

An excellent online tool is: http://www.spyfu.com

There are a few points you should keep in mind. First, are these keywords going to be profitable? A good indication is run a few searches on Google and see how many ads there are. More advertisers usually mean there’s a good chance the search term is profitable. You should also think about whether or not the keywords relate to a niche where the searcher is likely to spend money. Sometimes it is obvious, sometimes not.

It depends on your goal. If you are simply driving traffic to perhaps build a list or an audience, perhaps the monetary value isn’t so important (yet).

Secondly, what are these keywords for? You should really think about keywords before you build your site, but if you have an existing site then perhaps you want to reach out to a wider audience. Keywords are then useful for creating targeted, secondary pages – or perhaps blog posts.

If you aim to build an affiliate or sales site of some kind, then keywords are essential to reach your potential customers. And if you aim to build an advertising supported site of some kind, then keywords are needed to target the kinds of ads that pay well. But that’s another story.

Finally, if you want to purchase ads, perhaps from Google Adwords, then the right kind of keywords are essential here too. You want/need enough views to to keep your ads live and showing in the listings, but you don’t want the wrong people clicking those ads and costing you money. Again, the cheapest way are the long-tail search terms. The ad itself can also be used to discourage idle clickers. A price or a buy notice will dissuade people from clicking, unless they’re willing to purchase.

Keywords used for ad placement are to be used sparingly. You don’t want your credit card site showing up for people who want credit card debt tips, but you do want it showing for people who are searching for a new card. The right keywords can work wonders.

Keyword research and use is an ongoing task, and tweaking is essential. But if you do stumble on a profitable, lesser competed term then milk it for all it’s worth.

Important:

Don’t forget short-use keywords. Is there a big launch for the new Mike Filsaime product? Start generating keywords and ads around that. Is it Christmas? do the same. Are anglepoise lamps suddenly in vogue? Get searching. Jumping on bandwagons and hot trends can also be highly profitable – here’s one final link that can help:

http://www.google.com/trends

Traffic Tip: Tell A Friend

Tell A Friend systems have been around for a while, and the process is deceptively simple: the visitor recommends your site to his/her contacts.

This is a very powerful concept: It’s social marketing, to the nth degree. It can mean 2,3,4 or any visitors to your site per visitor that arrives. It can literally multiply your traffic.

Of course, not everyone will recommend their friends, so that is where an ethical bribe or two can come into play. For recommending, the visitor will receive a gift or bonus from you.

You can even direct new visitors to a special welcome page, with even more gifts, and ask them to refer their visitors too!

So this not just social marketing, it’s viral marketing.

While tell a friend boxes used to be prevalent on websites in the early days they’ve fallen into disuse lately. There is no good reason for this, yet it means the idea is not oversaturated. More chance for you!

There are various tell a friend scripts available, for free and for a fee, and there are also some commercial offerings. In fact, I’ve just come across a brand new program that does all of the above along with many more unique features. How about automatically importing the users address book for starters… Imagine the possibilities there.

Beware untried scripts: Some years ago I installed a “free” tell-a-friend at my site, and while it worked a dream it later became spyware, and tried to install more spyware and spawn popups on my visitors. The same thing happened with an exit-exchange I used at the time.

I’ll post a review of the new system soon. But this is a very useful traffic generation method you should be using on your website.

Update: As mentioned by Sean in the comments below, there’s a cool widget for wordpress, which I’ve started using. Roll over the button to see it in action :)

Traffic Tip: Download Sites

Most people are aware of the major ways to drive traffic to their sites.

The biggest and perhaps best source of traffic is the Search Engines, so SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is always an issue. Then there is writing articles, promotion via forums and blog commenting, feeds, and social networking.

But there are other lesser used methods. One is using Download Sites.

To use a download site to drive traffic you must have a product, an application or software program, to put there. Luckily you don’t need to know how to program. You can compile an eBook or create a simple tool using something like Software Maker.

Then you only need to submit that tool to major directories such as:

Download.com
Tucows.com
Versiontracker.com
Jumbo.com
freedownloadcenter.com
regnow.com
regsoft.com
5star-shareware.com
shareit.com
topshareware.com
passtheshareware.com
sharewarejunkies.com
softpedia.com
shareware.com

You can promote your website directly in your application, and even require “registration” if you wish to collect e-mails for your list.

More traffic tips soon!

Credit where credits due: I extrapolated this tip from this post in the Warrior Forums.

Stomping The Search Engines 2: Better Than Free!

I know I said I wouldn’t mention STSE2 any more, but I couldn’t resist – because the next stage of the incredible offer is now live.

Instead of “just” getting the Stomping The Search Engines 2 DVD and a trial issue of the new “Net Effect” magazine for free, the guys are now throwing in over $10,000 worth of bonuses!

Ok. Reality Check Time. We all know these bonuses are mainly there to help sweeten the deal, and are provided for free by marketers as it’s exposure of them. It’s probably safe to say no-one in their right mind would actually pay $10,000 for this lot, either. Even though that is what it would cost were you to buy them individually. Some of these products were originally $2,000 + seminars and similiar, which is where the cost comes from. But hey – the content still rocks! In fact, many of the bonuses such as those by Rich Schefren are part of their own main businesses.

Since STSE2 is truly an awesome deal these bonuses are just the icing on the cake. If you were planning to get a copy anyway (please do!) then the extras now on offer should be a welcome gift. And if you were sitting on the fence, there’s no better time than now to take the plunge.

Remember: You only pay P&P. You get the full twin DVD pack, plus the issue of “Net Effect”. And now the bonuses!

Go to the webpage for this offer and watch the first video to see what you’ll get.

These bonuses won’t last. It’s only for the limited promotion (until Sep 15th). They all compliment the core ideals of Stompernet and mainly consist of training material you can put to choice right now.

So if you want some top-notch bonuses, on a free product, take advantage today.

Bonuses include:

Jeff Johnson’s own SEO Videos from his high-priced workshop.
Eben Pagen’s Copywriting and Persuasion training.
A Month with Ed Dale :)
Brad Callen’s Article Submitter Gold.
Shawn Casey’s Super Affiliate masterclass.
Yanik Silver’s “Underground Secret Society Dossier”

And much more. I won’t go on (watch the video for all the contents) but you should note from this quick review two main facts:

1. Stomping The Search Engines 2 is Free, apart from a small P&P. You can choose to cancel “The Net Effect” right away if that is what you wish.

2. The bonuses end on Sep 15th. These are NOT your average bundled-in ebooks. These are full courses, seminars, and training materials.

Go here for the videos, and to claim your copy.

You can read my original review here.

Parasite Piggyback Traffic

I’ve just come across a useful traffic strategy called “Parasite Hosting”. It’s actually something I’ve been doing for a while, but that term describes it well. The idea is you can piggyback the traffic from major sites and direct it to your own.

There are many, many sites you can be a parasite on. In fact, any site that will host your pages. Here’s some popular ones:

WordPress
Blogger
Squidoo
Hubpages
Geocities
Typepad
GooglePages

…and hundreds more!

You may already have noticed how it works. Each of those sites have been ranked highly by Google, Alexa etc and can help you in a number of ways:

1. Linking to your own site from them to increase your pagerank. These backlinks are from authority sites.

2. Direct traffic from the users and fans of the services themselves.

3. The ability to create strong keyword-based pages on them, to help with organic SEO.

So if you create a hubpage, squidoo lense, Blogger blog, and WordPress blog on your choosen subject, you can put content there and also link back to your own site.

For example, if your site has movie reviews, you can create sattelite sites on as many parasite hosts as you can find. Each of these will be a movie-related theme, and each of them will link to each other, and to your own site.

If done correctly Google won’t mind. Just as long as you provide real content for the end user.

I’ve just bought the rights to a couple of products than can help you find and utilise these sites for driving traffic to your own. The first is “Taking Advantage Of Parasite Hosting” which is a full guide to this strategy, along with 13 Videos illustrating and explaining the concept. This also contains details of the best hosts to use, what content to put on them, and how to utilise the traffic-building potential to it’s utmost.

The second is “Profiting After The Sale” – a great guide to increasing the income you can generate from each main sale you make.

I’ve also thrown in a free copy of the 5-Minute Traffic Tip, since it really is a pretty cool technique in it’s own right :)

All three for only $7 — and that’s with full Master Resale Rights!

You don’t need this guide. This post outlines the tactic, so you can you try it yourself. But having everything in front of you in a PDF and Video form will certainly help you understand how powerful this underrated technique is.

Traffic Tools Pack

Brett Ingram has just released his new Web Traffic package.

This is a collection of tools that can help you increase the traffic to your web pages, in many unique and interesting ways. And, since traffic = profits , this is a very useful collection.

There are 15 products included in total, such as:

Give-A-Tron – How to get happy subscribers.
Intelligent 404 – Put your error pages to work
Exit Feedback Trapper – Interesting take on exit-traffic
PR Ninja – Boost your PageRank
SEO Spider – Essential competitor research
Content Clamp – Squeeze content!
Squeeze Buzz – Squeeze page maestro

Plus: a selection of top guides on List Building, Advertising and S.E.O. , the Multi Media Autoresponder software, and much more.

To see the full contents and to grab your copy, please click below:

Web Traffic Tools

(And… Shhh! …. Brett is offering 100% Commissions!)

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