Is Content King?

If you believe the rhetoric from Google reps, you probably believe that content is really important for online success.  Many online marketing courses skip right over the subject.  Yes, you need content, but why?  Well, let’s take a closer look at content and why we need it. Content is king…

Content For Your Website

First and foremost, you need content for your website.  This content is very important because visitors to your website will judge you based on the quality of the content.  If you throw up something with no thought whatsoever, it can turn potential clients away.

It doesn’t matter if you have an e-commerce site or a consulting business, the content on your site is an opportunity to stand out and capture attention from your visitors.  If you think an “About” page doesn’t matter, you’re wrong.  People love to find out who’s behind the website.  Creating a unique “About” page is an opportunity to showcase your unique brand.

Content For Products

If you run an e-commerce site, do you use the same boring descriptions everyone else does?  If you do, you’re missing another opportunity.  Be creative, be original, be funny, be something other than just like everyone else.

Do you create information products?  Do you create sales pages for affiliate products?  If you do, I hope you know that creating crappy, run-of-the-mill products is not a long-term strategy.  You need to create mind-blowing content that will keep your customers coming back time and time again.

Content For Email Marketing

If you don’t have an email marketing program, you’re missing out on yet another opportunity.  Email marketing is consistently regarded as one of the most profitable methods for businesses.

If you spend the time to create value through your email marketing campaign, you will consistently get repeat business.  If you run a half-ass, spammy email campaign, you could possibly destroy your reputation.

Content For Search Engine Optimization

Not everyone performs SEO, but if you have an online business, it can definitely help you.  If you’re gonna do SEO the right way, you need content.  Content is important for article marketing so you can obtain backlinks.  The more backlinks you can get, the more free traffic you’ll end up getting from search engines.

Content For Guest Posting

A common method for gaining visitors to your website, building your authority, SEO, and attracting more customers is guest posting.  Guest posting is writing an article and posting it on another website, so you can provide value for their readers and potentially direct some of those readers to your website.

You don’t have to guest post online, you can write articles for magazines, professional journals or newspapers.  Of course, you want to maximize exposure for your brand, but regardless of where you post the content, you need to create amazing, unique content that showcases your talent.

Additional Content

In addition to the areas above, you probably need even more content, depending on the depth of your marketing model.  If you use social media, you need content.  Yes, social media is more about connecting and being a part of the conversation, but you need to bring something unique to the conversation.  If you have nothing to talk about, social media is probably not for you.

If you want to be a part of the 21st Century, you might want to create videos as part of your marketing campaigns.  That means, more content, more ideas, more opportunities for connecting with your market.

There are different types of businesses and different needs for content.  Whatever your business model is, it’s pretty clear that you’ll need some sort of content.  Slick sales pages might give you short-term success but a high-quality, consistent message is essential for building a long-term successful business.

What Is Good Content?

This is a question that really deserves an answer more than a few paragraphs.  Hell, people have written books on the subject and even that doesn’t do it justice.

In a lot of ways, good content is subjective.  It’s hard to pinpoint what makes content good because there are a lot of different scenarios, circumstances, topics, etc.  But, there are a few principles that always seem to dominate when it comes to good content.

Solve problems.  If you know your market well, you know what problems they face.  Good content solves those problems.  If they want to know how to get visitors to their website, show them how to get more visitors.  Teach them a new technique.  Help them solve their problem.

Add value.  Does your content provide value for the reader?  Are you giving them information that they don’t already know?  Is your content unique or is it regurgitated info that everyone else has written about?  Be original and provide value.

Be entertaining.  Writing is different on the internet compared to a professional journal.  Attention spans are short and you need to get to the point AND be entertaining.  Humor helps.  Interesting stories help.  A unique writing style helps.  Find some of your favorite articles and take a look at why you like them so much.  Then, implement those techniques into your writing style.

Be original.  Sometimes, we get so caught up in what everyone else is doing, we forget to think about new and innovative ways of doing things.  If you want to stand out, be unique.  Develop your own methods and show people why they’re better.  Become known as an innovator and this will provide a HUGE boost for your business.

This is really just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to content.  It’s very clear that content really is king, even if the search engine results don’t always reflect that.  In the long run, your business will benefit from high-quality content, a consistent brand message, and a solid reputation.

Google Pagerank, SEO, Traffic and Your Website

I noticed that the Pagerank for Superbad Internet Marketing was recently increased from PR0 to PR1 in the last few days, so I wanted to discuss a few concepts when it comes to Pagerank (PR).

Most people in the world of internet marketing know that PR is a number from 0 to 10 assigned by Google. Some people obsess over the PR of their website and do everything they can to increase it (through SEO).

Google claims that it’s not very important, it’s just an indicator for internal ranking purposes (or something like that). I’m not gonna get into what PR is and all of that, but I do want to take a look at a few specific examples.

If you don’t know how to find the PR for any given website, you can install the Google Toolbar or the SEO Toolbar from SEO Book.  They’re both free.  After you get it installed, the little green bar indicates the PR when you hover your mouse over it.

Pagerank is not an indication of the quality of the website. For example, Harsh Agrawal, a blogger at ShoutMeLoud ran a little experiment.  He set up a WordPress website with no content, other than the title tag and the navigation menu.  He wanted to see if he could increase PR just through commenting on blogs.  It worked.  The blog, with no content, was increased to PR 3 within 7 months, just based on backlinks from comments.

Since the most recent Google PR update (January 2011), his experimental website has decreased from PR3 to PR1, but the case study is still very useful.  I believe he is going to develop the website into something soon, but if you want to see the website he used for the experiment.

Pagerank is not an indication of traffic.  The website in the experiment above had less than 50 visitors per month, so it certainly wasn’t an indication of traffic.  You might think that PR is an indication of number of backlinks.  Well, let’s take a look at another website.

First, let me just say that I don’t know the person associated with this website and I have no connection with them in anyway.  I came across this example in a forum and it kind of surprised me at the time.  This website is a PR3 and it has only 3 incoming links.

One link is from the forum referring to it, so it was a PR 3 before that.  Another link seems to be broken.  The other link is from a PR4 website.  I’m going to link to it here, so that will make it 4 links to the website.

There’s nothing special about that website.  It has 5 very short pages and that’s it.  I don’t imagine it gets very much traffic, if any.  It’s more of a general website for an accounting business in Australia.  One link from a PR4 website brought it up to a PR3.

So, what’s my point?

My point is focus on metrics that are important.  PR is not an indication of traffic, it’s not an indication of number of backlinks, and it’s certainly not an indication of revenue, which is important if you’re running a website to make money.  Spend time on things that you can control and let Google do what they want with their PR system.

Internet Marketing, Time Management and The Pareto Principle

When you work in front of your computer all day, it’s easy to get distracted. It’s especially easy to get distracted if you work at home using the internet.  You check your email, then you see a breaking news story, which leads you to a video, which leads you to another video, which leads you to an interesting website, and I think you get the picture.

If you work in internet marketing, you probably realize that sometimes the hard work that you put in today, won’t pay off until some time in the future.  For that reason, it’s even more important that internet marketers get focused and do what needs to be done on a regular basis.  Yes, I know, that’s easier said than done.  But, here are a few tips.

THE PARETO PRINCIPLE

Also known as the 80-20 principle, this theory essentially puts forth the idea that 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.  What does that mean?  It means that if you spend the large majority of your time on the 20% of tasks that really matter, the tasks that are crucial for bringing in revenue, then that will account for 80% of your results.

This is confusing to some people because it’s common to think that everything we do is important to our business. We need to check emails, design websites, read blogs, and come up with new ideas.  While that may be true, the reality is that the more time you spend on those activities, the less results you’ll see.  The theory states that 80% of your results will come from performing those 20% of tasks that are crucial to earning revenue.

PRIORITIZE

Although prioritizing might sound very similar to the 80-20 principle, it’s actually different.  Prioritizing comes into play after you’ve determined what 20% of tasks you should be working on.

Once you’ve determined what tasks are crucial for bringing in revenue – the 20% – then you need to put those things first, before you do anything else.  If you determine that creating backlinks is THE most important contributing factor to your financial success then that should be the first thing on your list for the day.  If creating content for your website is crucial for your business, then that needs to be right after backlinks.

It doesn’t matter whether you do internet marketing part-time or full-time.  Before you ever sit down to work, be sure that you know your priorities and you focus on those priorities first.  Allocate 80% to 90% of your time on those activities that really matter.  If you only have an hour to work, that means 48 to 54 minutes of work on the important tasks, and 6 to 12 minutes of emails, website design, and brainstorming.

FOCUS

This might seem obvious, but staying focused can be a challenge. There are so many distractions that can keep you from being productive, you might want to consider implementing some techniques to trick you into staying focused.

One very simple method is to put a time limit on your task.  If you have to write 3 articles in an hour, set your alarm for an hour and get typing.  If you really want to push yourself, you can try to beat your time every day.  If you finish in 45 minutes, shoot for 40 minutes the next time.

The key here is to keep your mind focused on what needs to be done and avoid the many tempting distractions.  It’s actually surprising how much work people can get done when they’re “in the zone.”  It usually happens on a Friday afternoon, at work, 100 things to finish before you can leave and go to your party.  That’s when people become hyper-focused and finish those 100 things in a record setting time.  If you know something that will get you “in the zone,” be sure to use it.

Stay focused on the things that will actually bring in revenue.  With targeted internet marketing that usually means creating content and developing backlinks.  Prioritize your tasks and focus 80 to 90 percent of your efforts on those tasks that really matter.  When you do, you’ll finally see the results that you deserve.

5 Ugly Truths About Success in Internet Marketing

A funny thing about internet marketing is that people think it’s an “easy” way to make money.  Why?  Because internet marketers sell it that way.

Visit an affiliate sales page and I’m sure you’ll see all the popular trigger words – INSTANT, FAST, AUTOMATED, PUSH-BUTTON, SECRETS REVEALED, AUTO-PILOT.  Throw in a couple of Clickbank screenshots along with a story about how they make money while they sleep and it’s a tempting offer.

Internet marketers sell it this way because it works.  People don’t always want to hear the truth.  They want easy.  They don’t want to buy something that tells them with hard work, long hours and a bit of luck you MIGHT succeed in 9 to 18 months.  Don’t believe me, try it yourself.

The truth is that once you succeed in internet marketing, it can be easy.  Things can be automated.  You can make money while you sleep.  The hard part is getting to that point.

If you want to SKYROCKET your chances of succeeding in internet marketing, develop the 5 qualities listed below.

BE LASER FOCUSED

How will you make money online?

If you can’t answer this question immediately, you’re in trouble.  If you want to build a business with a serious income, you better start treating it like a business.

It’s not a hobby.  It’s not something you’re trying out.  You are building a business and you need to treat it that way.  Yes, there are exceptions to the rule, but they are exceptions for a reason – they don’t happen very often.

Successful businesses have a clear focus.  Figure out what your business is all about and how you’re going to make money.  Ever consider a business plan?  You might want to.

What will people pay you for?  You have to give something of value in exchange for money.

What are you offering that people will be happy to give you money for?  And after they receive it, they feel like it was more than worth it.

There are a lot of different ways to make money online.  Are you going to set up a bunch of affiliate sites?  Are you going to offer consulting?  Are you going to start a blog?  How will you monetize the blog?  You need to think about these things from the very beginning.

The more focused you are, the more likely it is that you will succeed.  A lack of focus can lead to poor execution, and wasted resources.  If you’re all over the place with your ideas, how can you decide the best way to use your resources?  The more focused your business model is, the easier it will be to spend time on the things that will produce the best results.

SUCCESS IS YOUR ONLY OPTION

Building a business from scratch takes a lot of time, energy and resources.  If you don’t have a very high level of desire to make it work, it will be a challenge for you.

This is why so many people tell you to do what you love and figure out how to make money from it.  You need passion and desire to make a business work.  When you enjoy what you’re doing every day, that’s a very good incentive to make it work – so you can keep doing it.

You don’t have to do what you love to succeed.  It might help, but it’s not necessary.  Some people simply have a very strong desire to make money.  It doesn’t matter to them what they do, it just matters that they succeed and make money.  If your strong desire comes from your desire to make money, that can work just as well.

Hitting rock bottom is another way to develop a powerful desire to succeed.  If your choices are become homeless, or make this business work, that’s a strong motivator to succeed.

On the other hand, if you have a comfortable job, you try to do a few things in your spare time, it doesn’t really matter whether it works out or not – that’s a recipe for failure.

Do what you need to do to create the desire within yourself.  Don’t hope for success.  Don’t wish that things work out.  Don’t TRY to succeed.  Succeed.  Get it in your head.  Know what MUST be done, you WILL do it and there is no other option but to succeed.  Period.

VISUALIZE YOUR SUCCESS IN DETAIL

Okay, I’m not talking about “The Secret” here.  It’s a similar principle, but I think you need a little more than “wanting” something to actually make it happen.  That’s where the execution comes into play below.

Visualization comes into play in a few different ways.  First, it’s related to focus.  If your business is not focused, you can’t visualize the success of your business.  You need to see everything from the structure of your website, to the products that you’re selling, to the payments coming in and to the continued growth of your business.

There will be times when you might think your business is doomed and nothing seems to be working.  Maybe friends and family members tell you that your idea won’t work.  Maybe you just aren’t getting the results you want, as fast as you want.  Visualize, in detail, how you will succeed and remove the doubt from your head.

This might sound like a bunch of BS, but the truth is that your mind can’t tell the difference between fiction and reality.  Whatever thoughts you create in your head become your reality.

For example, have you ever heard a noise in the middle of the night and instantly you think someone is in your house?  What happens to your body?  Your heart rate increases, your breathing becomes heavier, you become very alert.

Even if it was just your refrigerator making a funny noise, your mind told your body that the reality was someone is in the house.  Your mind and your body responded as if the reality was that someone was in your house, even though that wasn’t the case.

It’s the same thing when you tell a sad story or a story that makes you angry.  When you tell that story to other people, you relive the experience.  The reality is that whatever made you angry or sad has already happened.  It’s over.  But, your mind is reliving that experience and so you experience the emotions just as if the experience was happening now.  Your mind creates your reality so make sure that your mind is filled with your detailed vision of success.

Michael Jordan was big on visualization.  Before he ever played a game, he saw his team winning the game.  Before he took a shot, he saw that shot going in.  He knew he was going to succeed because he saw it in his head over and over again.

Jim Carrey, the actor, did something to help him visualize his success.  Before he was ever famous, he wrote himself a check for $10 million dollars.  He put “For services rendered” on the memo line and post-dated it about 5 years in the future.  He carried the check with him all the time and would look at it to keep himself focused on what he had to do.  He visualized his success over and over and made it his reality.

EXECUTE DAY AFTER DAY

You can enroll in the best internet marketing courses in the world, that doesn’t mean you will succeed.

You can read 5,000 of the best eBooks on the market, that doesn’t mean you will succeed.

You can be the smartest person in the world but if you don’t get out and execute day after day, nothing will come from your knowledge.

If you ask internet marketers how many people actually achieve great success after going through their programs or reading their ebooks, the number will be very very low.  The reason is – people don’t execute what they learn.

It’s one thing to have the knowledge.  It’s an entirely different thing to implement what you know and make it work.  There is a big difference between theory and actuality.

Let me give you an example.  Have you ever seen a romantic comedy movie?  There are a few really good ones, but there are a lot that flat out suck.

In theory, it seems so simple to create a good romantic comedy.  Have two likeable characters, throw in some funny stuff and there’s your movie.  Unfortunately for the movie-going public, it’s not that easy to make a good movie.

If you write a screenplay, get a production company involved, fund the movie, get a studio involved, have the screenplay rewritten, have the actors demand rewrites, physically produce the movie, edit the movie, and market the movie, you will realize that many things have to come together to create a good movie.  It’s not as simple as it seems in theory.

The same thing is true with internet marketing.  It seems easy in theory.  But, until you actually start creating websites, and content, and using SEO and analytics and creating products, and collecting payments and providing services, you won’t understand the best way to succeed.

When you take action every single day, you can learn from your mistakes.  You get better at creating content.  You figure out the best tools to use for your business.  You find out the best ways to get traffic.  You learn how to succeed by executing to the best of your ability day after day.

When you execute, you take steps towards your goal.  It’s not about learning.  It’s about executing more and more based on what you learn.  It’s important to learn and educate yourself, but executing what you know is what will bring in the money.

BE TENACIOUS

Let’s face it, there will be obstacles when you start your own business.  Maybe your servers crash during your first product launch.  Maybe you run out of money before you start generating revenue.  There will be challenges.

If you want to be great, understand in advance that challenges will arise and you will break through them without hesitation.  Not just break through them, but use them to improve your business and grow even bigger.  That’s being tenacious.

Being tenacious is not being discouraged easily.  If you haven’t made any money after 4 months, that shouldn’t matter.  Be persistent.  Success is going farther than most people want to go.  If it only took a month to be a huge success, a lot more people would be successful.  Success is rare because most people aren’t persistent enough to reach it.

HOW TO SUCCEED IN INTERNET MARKETING

There are lot of things involved in the internet marketing process.  If you want to succeed on an epic level then you need to educate yourself and develop some good habits.  The habits that most internet marketers don’t like to talk about.  Improve these qualities and prepare for massive success.

Get Organized and Take Control of Your Internet Marketing Business

The internet is such an amazing resource.  You can find just about anything and everything on the internet.  For that very same reason, the internet can be a huge distraction and waste of time.

I’ll admit it.  I’m guilty of reading pointless articles on random topics when I should be writing a new post.  I’ve watched one too many stupid videos on YouTube when I should’ve been building backlinks.

It’s easy to get distracted when these things are right in front of your face all the time.  The key is to learn from your mistakes and continuously refine your time management and organizational skills.

I’ve tried a lot of different things over the years to maximize my efficiency, and some worked great, some were disasters.  Here are some of the things that really work well for me.

SIMPLICITY

Work on one project at a time.  Physically, of course, you can only work on one thing at a time.  If you’re writing an article for your blog, you can’t also be building a new website.  When I say work on one project at a time, I mean if you are creating a website or product or whatever, don’t work on another project until that one is profitable or completed.

It’s tempting to start 10 different projects all at the same time so you can get off to a great start, but, what ultimately happens is all of the projects are mediocre and nothing is as good as it needs to be.

When you dedicate yourself to one project until you achieve your goal, you will be much more efficient.  In addition, you will avoid being paralyzed by too many things to do.  When you have so many things to do that you don’t even know where to start, you waste time trying to decide what you should work on and in most cases, you will look back and say, I should’ve spent my time on that one single project I started in the very beginning.

FILING SYSTEM

Create a good filing system on your computer.  In the world of internet marketing, there are a ton of things you need to keep track of.

For example:

  • Affiliate links
  • Passwords
  • Website resources
  • Content for Your Website
  • Content for Other Websites
  • Ideas
  • Backlinks
  • Keywords
  • Images
  • Analytics
  • Sales/Revenue info
  • And, on and on.

The key to developing a good system simply allows you to find specific information quickly when you need it.  It also helps a lot if you’re consistent when naming your files.

For example, I have a folder just for content for my websites.  When I look for something, I want to know what type of content it is and for which website it is.  So, I name it “BlogContent_SIM_Posted.”  Then I know it’s content for my blog at Superbad Internet Marketing and the content is for articles that have already been posted.

I also have separate documents for ideas, and for works in progress.  Depending on what I’m doing that particular day, I can easily find the information I need.

SPREADSHEETS

Spreadsheets are great tools to use.  This goes back to the filing system but really spreadsheets deserve a separate mention.

If you want to stay on top of your website SEO, a spreadsheet is a great tool to use.  I use it for my keyword lists and I use it for tracking my website pages and backlinks.

I create a simple spreadsheet that keeps track of all the backlinks that I create.  It’s really helpful in the beginning because it’s a visual reminder of what you’ve done and what you haven’t done. It’s also a big help to determine what backlinks are working and what backlinks aren’t working.

I don’t create backlinks for every post.  I only create backlinks for posts that provide a lot  of helpful information and have keyword phrases that are fairly easy to rank for.

Here’s a screenshot of how I set up the spreadsheet. Click the image to enlarge.

Every webpage I create is listed in the left column.  The keywords I plan on targeting for that page are listed in the column directly to the right of the webpage.  Generally, it’s only one or two keywords, but I might add to it later if my analytics tell me it’s ranking for a different keyword phrase.

Every line below a webpage is a backlink to that page.  Every time I create a backlink (except blog comments), I paste the link in the spreadsheet and I document the anchor text used and the date it was created.  If a link is not showing up in Google Webmaster Tools or Yahoo Site Explorer, you need to figure out why.

As time goes on, you might not need to use the spreadsheet as much, but it’s definitely helpful in the very beginning.

You can download a copy of the spreadsheet below in MS Excel and Mac Numbers (zipped).

Just replace my info with your own.

BUNDLE TASKS

Bundling your tasks is an easy change that can keep you more focused and save you a lot of time.  If you bundle your tasks, you complete all similar tasks at one time, so you don’t waste time saving, closing, opening, finding, etc every time you complete that task again.

For example, checking your email.  In the past, I probably checked my email 10 times a day.  I didn’t need to check it 10 times a day, but for some reason, I did.  It was a waste of time, because every time I checked my email, that was time I could’ve been working on something more important.

By bundling, I set aside a certain time of day to check, and respond to, my emails and I do it twice a day.  Once in the afternoon and once in the evening.  I could probably even get away with checking it once per day, but this works pretty well for me.

Creating content is another thing that’s really good for bundling.  Instead of writing an article, or blog post, then posting it on a website, then going back and creating more content and posting it, create a ton of content at once.  If you’re in the frame of mind where you’re writing content, keep going.  Write 5 or 6 articles.  Write 2 or 3 posts.

After you’ve completed them, you can distribute them to your websites, or article directories, or wherever they’re going.  If they’re blog posts, you can schedule them to post automatically whenever you want them to.  This process of bundling is a huge time saver and helps you stay focused when you’re trying to complete tasks.

Bundle as many things as you possibly can.  I can tell you that facebook, Twitter and reading other people’s blogs are very good opportunities for bundling.  Set aside a time to focus on Twitter and stick to that schedule.  Read other blogs only when you have it scheduled.

Do what works for you, but the more things you can bundle, the more efficient you’ll be.

PRIORITIZE

This is a pretty obvious one.  You need to do the most important things first.  But, let’s take it a step further and prioritize with the Pareto Principle.

The Pareto Principle essentially says that 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.  People apply this theory in different ways, but what it means for prioritizing is that you need to find out what that 20% is.

What do you do that gives you the best results?

What activity is crucial to making money online?

Is it creating content?

Is it creating backlinks?

You need to look at your business and figure out what’s absolutely positively necessary for getting the best results.  When you figure that out, then you can spend 80% of your time on that 20% that is vital to generating revenue.  Eliminate what you can and spend the other 20% of your time on the other stuff – checking emails, designing websites, reading blogs, etc.

PLANNING

For a long time, I would create my To Do list in the morning, after I checked my emails, looked at my pathetic stats and read a few news articles.  I now make my To Do list either the night before, or first thing in the morning before I even turn on my computer.  This change has made an enormous change in my productivity.

When you work for yourself, there isn’t always a sense of urgency to get things done, other than the urgency that comes from making money.  Getting started is half the battle.  When you get started first thing in the morning on the tasks that are most important to your business, you will instantly increase your productivity.

When you turn your computer on, DON’T check your emails first, DON’T get on Twitter, DON’T tell your facebook friends what you had for breakfast.  Plan your MOST IMPORTANT TASKS first, then you can work on the other things.

At least 80% of your work day should be spent on the 20% of tasks that are directly responsible for generating revenue.  After you’ve completed those tasks, focus on the necessary, but non-revenue generating tasks.

BE SPECIFIC WHEN PLANNING

When you create your To Do list for the day, you need to be specific and you need to list what you want to accomplish.  Focusing on what you want to accomplish instead of what to do, makes you think about why you’re doing something.

For example, “spend time on Twitter” is not a great task to include on your To Do list.  Instead try “Retweet 5 helpful posts and reply to 10 people that I respect.”

When you are specific and you focus on what you want to accomplish, there is a clear sense of what needs to be done and when that task is completed.

TIME YOURSELF

In addition to my To Do list, I started a log of what I was actually working on at any given time.  Basically, documenting every minute of my work day.  If my immediate task was write 4 articles, I would write my task down and document the time I started.

This helped me stay focused.  I had one thing to complete in front of me and nothing else.  Documenting what I was working on and how long it was taking to complete, significantly improved my efficiency and time management.

In the example – “Retweet 5 helpful posts and reply to 10 people that I respect,” add a time limit to that, or time yourself.  In the beginning, you might want to time yourself.  That way, you find out how long tasks take and you can use that as a guide.

When I started timing myself, I was shocked at how long certain tasks were taking me.  Not only that, but when I started a task, I realized that I would get distracted by phone calls or emails or food or checking something completely different in the middle of my task.  That’s not a good use of time.

The great thing about timing yourself when you start a task is that the evidence is right in front of you.  If you’re in the middle of a task and you decide to get a quick bite to eat and then you check your email real quick, the timer keeps on ticking.  Your lack of focus is obvious.

Timing myself has helped me a great deal and it’s actually kind of fun trying to improve my times.

GETTING ORGANIZED

Not all of these ideas will work for every situation.  You have to find out what works best for you and your business.  If nothing else, you should always be aware of your systems and continuously refine and improve them.

Best Ways to Make Money Online

There are billions of dollars being spent online every year. If you want to join the ranks of those making money online, then you need to get traffic to your website and you need to monetize that traffic. Monetize simply means to convert into money.

If you have 1,000 visitors to your website every day, but you’re not selling anything, and you’re not advertising anything, then you won’t make money. If you want to make money with your website, you might want to implement some of the battle-tested techniques below.

BRICK AND MORTAR BUSINESS

There are many different types of websites and many different reasons for having a website. One reason is to attract customers to your brick and mortar business. A brick and mortar business is a business that exists in the real world, not just online. For example, a pizza place, a law firm, and a clothing shop are all examples of brick and mortar businesses.

When you have a business that exists in the real world, the purpose of your website should be to attract customers to your business. Depending on what your business is, that will determine what method works best for you. You need to have more than just a website that gives your business name, address and history.

Be creative, let your business personality shine and give visitors a reason to contact you or visit your business. If possible, use the power of the internet and sell your product online. In time, your internet sales might surpass your real world sales.

GOOGLE ADSENSE

Google AdSense is Google’s advertising network. Any person can use Google AdSense to put advertisements on their website, as long as they comply with Google’s Terms & Conditions. When someone visits your website and clicks on an advertisement, you earn money. The amount of money varies depending on the topic of your website and the related keywords.

The good thing about using Google AdSense is that it’s easy to use and anyone can plug the ads into their website, with a few exceptions. The bad thing about using it is that the click-through-rates (CTR) are very low and the payouts can be very low too. CTR means how many people see the ad (impressions) versus how many people actually click on the ad. CTR’s vary depending on many factors, but they can be less than 1% and they can be 5% or more.

For example, If your website gets 100 visitors per day and 1 person actually clicks on a Google advertisement, that’s a CTR of 1%. If Google pays you $1.00 per click, you will earn $1 per day, or approximately $30 per month. Not bad, but you probably won’t be retiring anytime soon from that income alone.

NON-GOOGLE ADVERTISING

Believe it or not, Google isn’t the only advertising network for website owners. In fact, there are plenty of other options to consider. All you have to do is run a search for Advertising Networks and check out the results. Some of the more popular ad networks in the blogging and affiliate marketing world include Chitika, Azoogle Ads and Click Booth.

Another option is to find advertisers yourself. You can always sell advertising space on your website to whoever is willing to pay for the advertising. However, it’s very unlikely that anyone will want to pay to advertise on your website unless you have plenty of high-quality, targeted traffic.

SELL PHYSICAL PRODUCTS

With the simplicity and popularity of e-commerce, many people want to sell physical products online. Of course, with an e-commerce business comes the added responsibility of maintaining products, shipping products, responding to customer inquiries, complaints and returns. Many of these things can be outsourced, but ultimately, you will be responsible for your business and keeping customers happy.

If you want to sell physical products online but you don’t want the headaches that come along with it, you can promote others’ products on your website. When you refer a customer that ends up buying a product through your link, you receive a commission.

For example, if you advertise muay thai heavy bags on your website, a visitor clicks on one of the product advertisements and buys the heavy bag, you receive a commission, however, the other company is responsible for the shipping and customer service. Many companies have affiliate programs, including powerhouses such as eBay and Amazon.

SELL INFORMATION PRODUCTS

Information Products generally include any type of informative product that can be delivered electronically via the internet, such as eBooks, video or audio files. Selling information products is a great way to make money online because you can automate most of the process and you can earn money online 24/7.

If you want to make serious money online, the best thing to do is to create your own information products. That way you receive 100% of the revenue, minus your own costs, of course. If you’re not ready to create your own product, you can still make money online by selling others’ products as an affiliate.

One of the most popular websites for promoting affiliate products is Click Bank. Click Bank is a website that you can sign up for and promote hundreds of products related to many different markets, such as credit repair, weight loss, or internet marketing. Once you sign up and choose a product, all you have to do is promote that product. Click Bank takes care of everything else, including payments and refunds.

Many websites and companies offer affiliate programs. Often times you need to look at the footer of the website to find a link to their affiliate program for more details. The best affiliate products to promote are the ones that you have personally used and love. If you think a product is great and you’re willing to pay money for that product, it’s likely that others will feel the same way.

OFFER A MEMBERSHIP

Whether you call it a subscription, membership or continuity program, it means that you charge someone a continuing fee for access to your product or services. Typically, a monthly membership fee is charged to those who want whatever it is you’re offering. Some websites offer access to premium content, or video lessons, or private forums, or educational programs. Whatever you offer, memberships are a great way to make money online. Just be sure that the content is worth the price to keep your subscribers happy month after month.

REAL WORLD OPPORTUNITIES

I always differentiate between the internet and the real world. Not that the internet isn’t real, but people generally don’t interact face to face when they transact business on the internet. When I go to Amazon and buy a product, I type my info in and the product shows up at my door in a couple of days. There is no interacting with other people. In the real world, people do interact face to face from time to time.

Your website can provide you with opportunities in the real world. If you have a specialized website that becomes successful, you may be perceived as an expert in that area. When you’re viewed as an expert, you can earn money through speaking engagements, such as seminars, or conventions related to the topic of your website.

CONCLUSION

If you have a website and want to make money with that website, try some of the methods above. Depending on your market, some methods may work better than others. The best way to make money with your website will depend on what your visitors are looking for. Give your visitors what they want and you can’t go wrong. Of course, if no one visits your website, it doesn’t matter how you monetize your website. Check out this article and learn how to get website traffic.

Choosing a Domain Name – Dashes or No Dashes

There’s a lot of discussion in the internet marketing community about choosing domain names.  Some people think it’s very important.  Some people think your overall marketing strategy is much more important.  The truth is they’re both right.

Choosing a domain name should NOT be your first step when you decide to create an online presence.  Your first step should be to research the market you’ll be entering and find keywords.  Keywords are simply words or phrases that people type into search engines to find what they want.

Let’s look at domain names from 3 different perspectives:

1. Search Engine Optimization
2. Branding
3. The Real World

SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION (SEO)

SEO means doing things to your website, or for your website, to rank higher on search engines, such as Google, Yahoo, or Bing.  When people go to Google and type in “buy your product,” you want to be the first website listed, so you get plenty of visitors, and in turn, more revenue.

Many people believe that having a domain name with your relevant keywords in the domain name can help you rank higher in search results.  There is some truth to that but the real reason it helps you to rank higher is because it helps you focus on your keywords, your market and, ultimately, your customers.

Let me give you an example.  You buy “yourproduct.com” for your new online business.  The title of your website becomes “Your Product.”  When you write the meta description for your website, you include “Your Product” as keywords.  When people on other websites link to you, they use “Your Product” as the anchor link.  Now, when people go to Google to search for “Your Product,” your site will come up because it’s optimized for your relevant keywords.

Google has confirmed that using dashes (hyphens) can help search engines recognize specific words, such as “your-product.com.”  Google treats dots and dashes as spaces, so when it sees “www.your-product.com,” it recognizes it as “www your product com.”

However, Google can also recognize words that are typed together, such as “yourproduct.com.”  If you have obscure words, or multiple words can be extracted from your domain name, then you might want to consider adding dashes.  The classic example is “expertsexchange.com” (experts exchange v. expert sex change).  You might get some unexpected traffic for that one.  If you want to test your desired domain, just type it, without spaces, into Google and see if it recognizes the separate words.

I can tell you from experience that it is more difficult to get a domain name with hyphens to the first page of Google than it is without hyphens.  I have also seen experiments conducted by other people that confirmed the same thing.  If you want something else to think about, go to Google and type in any keyword.  How many of the results have dashes in the domain name?  I’m guessing not many.  Also take a look at the top level domain.  How many are dot com versus dot net, dot org, or dot info?  That alone should give you some guidance when it comes to choosing a domain name.

BRANDING

Branding is essentially promoting a product or service by using a distinctive mark or other distinguishing features or qualities.  Rolls off of the tongue, doesn’t it?  Just think of a major brand name, such as Nike.  They promote their brand by trying to be different.  Nike doesn’t want you to buy tennis shoes, they want you to buy Nike tennis shoes, and they spend a lot of money to get that brand name, Nike, everywhere they can.

Well, things are a little different on the world wide web.  Don’t get me wrong, Nike still rules, but they are an established brand with a major marketing budget.  If you’re trying to build a significant online presence from scratch, think twice before you choose a unique brand identifier as your domain name.

Here’s an example.  You’re ready to sell “widgets” on the internet, so you set up a company and you decide that it’s going to be named after you, “John Doe and Company.”  You buy the domain name “johndoeandcompany.com” and you get to work.

Now, you’re domain is “johndoeandcompany.com.”  The title of your webpage will probably be “John Doe and Company.”  When other people link to your website, they’ll probably say check out “John Doe and Company.”  Now, when someone goes to Google and types in “buy widgets,” your name won’t come up because your website is not optimized for your relevant keyword, “widgets.”  It’s optimized for “John Doe and Company.”

I’m not saying it’s impossible to develop a brand name online, because it is.  But, you have to stay focused on your market, your keywords, and your customers.  Using the John Doe example above, a better name might be “Doe Widgets.”  That has John Doe’s name in it AND the keyword that his customers will be looking for.

Now, when John Doe starts with a domain name, “doe-widgets.com,” and names his site “Doe Widgets,” people will link to him as “Doe Widgets.”  With the new name, Google will recognize that his website is about widgets and will include his website in the search results when someone is looking to buy widgets.  He builds his brand and optimizes his site to reach his customers.

THE REAL WORLD

Sometimes, when you run an internet business, you forget that there is an actual, real world out there.  In other words, I could actually tell people, in person, about my website.  You go to a party, the topic comes up, tell them about your website.  You go to your wife’s Christmas party, hey, let’s talk about my internet business.  Don’t forget about the real world when you start your business.

The real world presents different factors to take into consideration.  People don’t care about keywords and optimization.  They care about your product and the price of that product.  And, they also care about simplicity.  If you tell someone at a party to go to your website, “ buy dash john dash doe dash widgets dash and dash company.com,” you will be very lonely at this party.

Depending on what type of business you have, you might want a website domain that is simple and easy to tell people.  “Doewidgets.com”  Simple.  “Doe dash widgets.com.”  Not as simple.

An easy solution is to buy both domains and use the one without a dash on all of your business cards, promotional materials, and to tell people in person.  Forward that domain to “doe-widgets.com,” and build your online presence using the “doe-widgets.com” domain.

Keep in mind, if you don’t buy both domain names, someone could buy the hyphenated or non-hyphenated version later, and try to use your success to promote their website.  We won’t get into the legal issues involved with that, but whether something is legal or not will not matter to some people.

Many domain names aren’t available.  The simple, short ones get snatched up pretty quick.  If you can’t find the domain you want, you might be tempted to go with a name that includes a lot of dashes.  Think before you do that.
Domain names with too many dashes have gained a bad reputation.  They look like spam.  They look like phishing websites.  They look like trouble.  How many dashes is too many?  I‘ll let you be the judge of that, but if you go beyond two hyphens in your domain name, do so at your own risk.

CONCLUSION

Before you decide on a domain name, take a look at the factors listed above.  Think about your customers.  Where will they come from?  How will they find you?  You can have the greatest product in the world, but if no one goes to your website, it doesn’t matter.  Ultimately, choose a domain name that helps you build your own brand and helps attract customers on the internet.  And, remember that a domain name is just one small part of any strategic internet marketing plan.

Targeted Internet Marketing and Keywords

Targeted internet marketing is all about getting the right visitors to the right place.  In the world of internet marketing, that means finding people that are actually interested in the subject matter of your website and getting them to your website.

Targeted internet marketing starts even before you build your website.  You need to use the same keywords on your website that your potential customers will use to find what they’re looking for.  Typically, when a person wants to find something on the internet, they go to a search engine, such as Google, or Yahoo, type in what they want and the search engine gives them the results.  You want your website to be at the top of those results.  To get to the top, you need to understand search engine optimization, also known as SEO.

SEO starts with keywords.  Keywords are the words that people use to find things on the internet.  For example, if I want to choose a good domain name, I might go to Google and type in the keywords “choosing a domain name.”  If you sell domain names, you need to get your website into the search results by using those keywords in the title of your website, in the heading of your website, and throughout the content on our website.

If you want to optimize your website for search engines, you can use strategic internet marketing methods to accomplish that.  There are things you can do within your website, such as use the keywords in strategic locations, and there are things that you can do outside of your website.  One of the most important methods for SEO outside of your website is to create backlinks.

Backlinks are links on other websites that point back to your own website.  When you have links on other websites, it serves two purposes.  First, since it is a link, people could see the link, click on it and arrive at your website.  The second purpose that backlinks serve is to feed the search engine robots.

Search engine robots scour web pages for content and information.  The more of your links that the robots come across while scanning web pages, the more likely it is that the search engine will think that your web page is important.  When the search engines think your website is important, the higher your website will appear in the search results when someone types in your keywords.  When you use targeted internet marketing, the higher your website appears in the search results, the more visitors you’ll have, and the more revenue you’ll earn.

Internet Marketing From A to Z in 2,054 Words

The internet marketing process.

No hype. No BS. No onslaught of overwhelming information.

Just substance and a clear, concise explanation.

1. MINDSET

The first thing you need to succeed in internet marketing is the proper mindset. Mindset is how you look at something. It’s your attitude. If you think internet marketing is easy and will bring in tons of cash overnight with no effort whatsoever, you have the wrong mindset and you are setting yourself up for failure.

Internet marketing is a business, plain and simple. Treat it like a business and you just might end up with an income that exceeds your wildest imagination. When you treat it like a business, your goals matter. You get things done. You execute your tasks every single day because the success of your business depends on it.

Treat it like a hobby and you end up procrastinating, easily distracted, and indifferent to whether or not your tasks are completed day after day. There is no sense of urgency. If you don’t execute, you don’t succeed. Simple as that.

It doesn’t matter if your internet marketing venture is part-time or full-time, commit yourself to one year of hard work and long hours. You should see results relatively soon, but expect to work hard if you want to earn more than six figures a year. Don’t expect it to happen overnight.

Understand that you will have to spend some money. It’s a business. Have you ever heard of a business that can generate revenue of $250,000.00, or more, every year with no investment whatsoever? You don’t have to spend a lot, but be prepared to spend money if it will help generate revenue. If you don’t have faith in yourself to earn that money back, you probably won’t.

Get it in your head that you are 100% totally committed to building an online business for at least one year. If you do things right, and you execute every day, you are almost guaranteed to make money online. Not only will you make money, but you will have a very profitable business that generates revenue with very little effort to maintain it. Making it to that point is not easy. Prepare yourself for the journey ahead.

2. LEARN INTERNET MARKETING

Once you have the proper mindset, find a reliable source and learn the basics of internet marketing. Make sure you learn the terminology, the basic tools and the primary resources. Understand the big picture and how all the steps fit together. Once you understand the basics, get to work and learn through experience.

If you come across a sales pitch that sounds too good to be true, it is. Ignore anything that promises results immediately. Ignore anything that requires no effort. In fact, ignore ALL sales pitches and buy products from the PEOPLE that you have learned to trust.

You should constantly be on the lookout for better tools, methods or resources, but success comes from executing day after day, not from any ONE program or resource. A good eBook, guide, tool or program can help you improve your performance and become more efficient but the formula for success remains the same.

If you spend more than a couple weeks learning the basics of internet marketing, you either need a new source, or you’re simply procrastinating. To a certain extent, my assumption will depend on whether you commit yourself full-time or part-time, but the bottom line is, once you understand the process, start executing.

The number one reason people don’t succeed in internet marketing is because they don’t execute day after day after day. Yes, you will probably be slow in the beginning. You might even get stuck. When you get stuck, quickly find a solution and get unstuck.

Don’t try to learn every little detail in advance. You’ll learn more as you gain experience. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, because you will DEFINITELY make mistakes if you work in internet marketing for any period of time. Mistakes can be good. Learn from them.

Learn the basics of internet marketing. Understand the big picture and how all of the different elements come together. You don’t need to understand everything. You’ll probably still have many questions in your head, but once you understand the internet marketing process, GET TO WORK.

3. GET ORGANIZED

Internet marketing can be overwhelming. There are so many different areas to focus on, it’s hard to decide where to start and what to spend your time on. That’s why it is essential that you get yourself organized to ensure that you don’t waste time.

Prioritize. After you spend a week learning about internet marketing, you need to dedicate 80% – 90% of your time on THE MOST IMPORTANT TASKS FIRST, BEFORE you do anything else. Then and only then, can you tweak your website, read a new internet marketing eBook, or check your statistics. Your time is valuable and you need to do the things that will make you money first. That means anything that will bring you traffic or revenue.

Create a good record keeping system on your computer. When you work in internet marketing, you have tons of content and information to deal with. You need to create a folder system where you can save that information and find it again, quickly. Websites, user names, passwords, account numbers, articles, links, affiliate products, forms, emails, website content and on and on. The documents add up fast, so set up a folder system that works for you.

Track your work. How many pages of content do you have? How many links do you have? Where are the links coming from? What keywords are you targeting with each link? If you don’t have this information, how do you know if you’re making progress? How do you know what needs improvement or where to focus your energy? Create a spreadsheet and keep track of your work.

4. KEYWORD RESEARCH

A keyword, or keyword phrase, is what people type into Google or Bing to find information. If you want to find the best pizza in Chicago, you go to Google, type in “best pizza in chicago” and Google gives you the results. That is a keyword phrase.

Some keywords are ultra-competitive and it would take a lot of money, time and work to get on the first page of search results. Other keywords may have almost no competition BUT no traffic either. Find keywords with low competition AND good traffic.

Choosing keywords also involves market research. Don’t choose keywords for markets where people won’t spend money. Find niches where people are hungry for solutions to their problems and they’re willing to pay for it.

5. SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION

Search engine optimization (SEO) can be broken down into 2 components. On-page SEO and Off-page SEO. On-page SEO means everything that goes onto your website to help it rank better with search engines. You place your content and your keywords in strategic locations so that it’s optimized for the search engines.

Off-page SEO is everything outside of your website that helps you rank better in search engines. For the most part, off-page SEO refers to backlinks. Backlinks are just links to your site from other sites.

Off-page SEO is much more important than on-page. Spend most of your time with off-page SEO because it will help bring traffic to your website and help you rank better in search engine results. More info on that in the Traffic section.

6. WEB DEVELOPMENT

You need to put up a website if you really want to make money online. Thanks to WordPress, it’s easy. You can create a fully functioning WordPress website with the click of a few buttons. You can use WordPress to build any kind of site. It doesn’t have to be a blog. Get your domain. Get hosting. Put your website up. Get to work on the stuff that will make you money.

If you don’t want to use WordPress, most website hosting companies have software programs that you can use to build websites even if you have no technical skills. Don’t spend too much time building your website. Unless, you’re building the next Facebook or YouTube, this should not take more than 2 days. Spending more than 2 or 3 days building a basic website is not a good use of time. Get it done fast, you can always change it later.

When you create your website you need to put up a subscription form. This is a form that tells people to put in their name and email address to subscribe to your website. They do it because you offer them something they want in exchange for signing up. You want them to do it because email marketing is one of the best and most lucrative methods for making money online.

There are online services that make email marketing very easy. They even have forms already created that you can simply edit and post on your website. The whole process can be automated and is well worth the effort that it takes to get started.

7. TRAFFIC

In the world of internet marketing, traffic means visitors to your website. Without it, you won’t make money online. The best is free traffic. Free traffic comes from backlinks and search engines. Of course, you can always pay for traffic, through advertisements, but you can lose a lot of money if you don’t do it right.

There are tons of ways to get free traffic, including article marketing, social media, press releases, creating blogs, forums, directories and on and on. You get traffic by including a link to your website wherever you post content. That means, you create backlinks wherever you can. The more backlinks you get, the more people that could click on the links and visit your website.

As you create backlinks, you create search engine “authority” or “juice” for your website. As your backlinks grow, you will also start moving up in the search engine results for relevant keywords. Keep creating backlinks until you reach the number 1 spot. Once you get to number 1, start working on related keywords. Don’t be complacent, keep strengthening your websites.

Do something every day that will generate traffic or revenue. Spend 80% – 90% of your time creating content, creating backlinks, getting traffic and monetizing that traffic.

8. MONETIZE

Once you get traffic, you need to monetize that traffic, i.e., make money from it. The best way to make money online is to sell your own information product. You can automate the whole system and you keep 100% of the profits.

Selling affiliate products is another good way to make money online. Choose high quality products, promote that product and when someone buys the product through your link, you get a commission. Easy.

Advertisements, affiliate products, subscriptions, or your own products are all good ways to make money from your website. Find out what works best in your market and implement the methods that bring in the most revenue.

9. ANALYZE

A very important part of internet marketing is analyzing your data. You can use the data to find out what keywords are working and what keywords aren’t working. You can use data to find out how people are finding your website. You can use data to see what products are selling and what products aren’t selling. If you use it properly, data can tell you where to focus your attention and when you need to change directions.

At the start of your IM career, don’t get distracted by your statistics. Analyzing your stats is not a priority task when you’re just starting out. It is important, but, look at your stats only AFTER you spend 80% – 90% of your time on generating traffic.

10. SUMMARY

That’s the basic formula for success in internet marketing. Follow the steps above and it is very likely that you will succeed. As you learn and gain more experience, you will probably deviate from the steps above. That’s good. The formula above is simply a foundation and you are expected to build on that foundation.

Always stay focused on your goals. For most people the goal is to get visitors to a website and convert those visitors into paying customers. You do that by creating backlinks. You do that by helping people find solutions to their problems. You do that by creating the best products or services in your market. You do that by being creative and standing out from the crowd.

Internet Marketing Tools

It can take a lot of time to sift through all the crappy internet marketing tools and resources to find the products, services, resources and tools that are actually worthwhile.

Believe me, I’ve sifted through a LOT of crap.

Fortunately, the cream rises to the top and you end up with a great list of resources that can help you build your online business. So, here’s my list of the best internet marketing resources.

Obviously, there is a subjective element involved when you create a list like this. Not everyone will agree with what I put in and what I left out. If you think something important is missing from this list, let me know, I’ll take another look.

But, try to think about this from an OBJECTIVE point of view. Just because you had a bad experience with Liquid Web doesn’t change the fact that a lot of people have great experiences with them.

For example, my experience with Hostgator was terrible. But, I know a ton of people that have never had any problems. So, from an objective point of view, I put them on the list.

This list can save you a LOT of time. I still recommend that you do your own research but at least you don’t have to start from scratch. I tried to create a list of the best tools and resources available, NOT a list of EVERY resource available.

There are a few affiliate links on this list, (the ones without the http in front) which means I get a commission if you buy the product after clicking on my link.  If I’m lucky, it might be enough to buy a Long Island Iced Tea.  If you want good karma, buy through my affiliate links.  If not, life will go on for both of us. ; )

I tried to keep this list short but there are a lot of useful tools and resources in the world of internet marketing. Use what you have an immediate need for and forget about the rest (until you have another immediate need, of course).

Cheers!