I recently saw this question on an internet marketing forum. The writer was specifically looking for responses from ‘successful internet marketers and veterans’ to see what they would do if they had to start out from scratch again. I thought it was a really good question for a newbie to ask.
Most people spend years becoming truly successful online and most will have made every mistake known to man to get there so asking them what they would do if they had to start again from scratch is an ideal question.
Interestingly enough, all of the responses were different. So what does that say?…well, to me it simply says that there are plenty of ways to make money online. How wonderful is that?! You don’t need to worry if it will work or not because once you find a system or method that suits you; it WILL work if you keep at it. Persistence is the key with this business but most people don’t have it in them to keep at it until they do eventually succeed. And they keep buying the next “big thing’ hoping it will help them make money overnight, and of course that doesn’t work for them either because they don’t put the time in.
So let’s look at some of the responses to that post to see what some of the ‘successful’ internet marketers would do:
1. ‘Create your own product’– in other words, write your own ebook, create a membership site, create and sell your own WordPress theme, build a plugin etc. Now prior to us releasing our ebook we wouldn’t have put much stock into this one but I can say with hand on heart that this is one that I would recommend, to someone with experience on the web. However, for someone new to it all, it’s not an easy one to start with and personally I wouldn’t suggest it to someone brand new on the internet. Others may disagree on that one but I really think you need to know the basics on how to build a website and how to market a product on the internet before you get into something like this.
2. ‘Give value in everything you do’ – now I love that response because that has become our philosophy. If I were starting again I would make certain that I have that line floating around in my head instead of ‘How can I make money online’.
3. ‘Approach article marketing differently’ – basically this poster said that he wouldn’t have wasted his time posting to Ezine etc and instead would have created a relationship with a couple of authority sites and submitted his articles to them exclusively. Personally I wouldn’t just stick to one or two but the basic idea is there. If you can get your articles on authority sites or blogs that relate to your niche then you will be streets ahead of the rest of those who simply submit to article directories.
4. ‘Create an email list’ – this one was a common response. This is the one thing we have been a bit slow to take on although that is changing now. If you have a nice list of people who follow the same things you follow then you can promote products to the list and make money that way. One of the main advantages of a list is if your websites suddenly disappeared overnight then you will still have a following of people and it won’t take long to get back up and running.
5. ‘Create a plan’ – as the poster said, most newbies don’t have a plan or a set of goals – all they think about is the money. Setting goals is extremely important. We have a roll of butchers’ paper that we roll out and write our plans, ideas, and goals. And we do this at the very least once a week. Its not set in concrete, we can make adjustments to suit what is happening but by doing this we always know exactly what we need to do in the coming days, weeks and months.
6. And finally my response to the question was that if I were starting out again I would create only one website instead of many and would create 5 really good product reviews for that site using Amazon products. I would then spend 80% working on getting traffic and backlinks to those 5 pages and the other 20% of my time writing informational type articles to add to the site. That’s all I would do. Nice and simple and this is the one method that I know absolutely works.
Over the years we have written hundreds of articles for our affiliate websites…actually it might be closer to thousands. It has become second nature for us to be able to put together 500 words and more on a topic even if we know nothing about it initially. Having said that however, it still takes time to research and write and it is time we would rather spend elsewhere. So we have learnt to outsource a large part of our content to writers. This not only frees us up to get on with some of the more important aspects of our affiliate business but also means that we have fresh content from writers with different views and writing styles to ours.
There are a number of ways to get content for your site – some you will need to pay for and others you can get for free.
Elance and RentaCoder are two places where you find hundreds of writers ready to write articles for you. An article can cost anywhere from $2 and up depending on how many words you want written. You just place a project with the topics and number of words you want written and writers in Elance or Rentacoder will place their bid for the project. The bid is the price they want to receive from you for writing the articles.
You will usually get more than one writer placing a bid. I receive anywhere from 5 to 20 different bids for article projects I post in Elance.
Don’t just choose the writer with the lowest bid as you get what you pay for. You will often get writers from non-English speaking countries and although in some cases they will do a great job, in others you will find that their English is not that great and you will have a lot of editing to do. We tend to stick with native English speaking writers and we always ensure that we have checked previous feedback and examples of similar work they have done before accepting a potential writer.
It is worth paying a bit extra for a writer with good feedback and good writing skills as it will save you time in editing and fixing up errors. Our favorite writer’s work is so good and she knows what our requirements are, so that oftentimes I don’t even have to read the article properly before uploading to a website. She isn’t the cheapest but she certainly isn’t the dearest either and I know that I don’t have to do any work once she sends the article through – it is ready to go.
You can be very specific with your article requests or just provide the keyword and let them go for it. We have a writer who only requires a keyword and can write a brilliant article around that. Others need more help so be as specific as you can.
Every now and then we will select more than one writer for the project so that we get two different versions of the same article. We can then add one article to our website and perhaps distribute the other article to another website or submit it to an article directory.
Here is an example of a project we might post in Elance:
We require 10 articles at 300+ words on the topic of dog training. We would like the articles to be informative and provide value to the reader. Articles must be provided in Microsoft Word or Notepad format and must be completely original. We will be checking each article for duplicate content.
Here are the topic titles:
1. How to train your dog to sit
2. How to make dog treats
3. How to get my dog to shake hands
4. etc, etc.
That’s pretty much it really. Now you can provide more detail if you require specific information in the article but so far we have found that most good writers can just take a topic and run with it.
Here are a few ways you can get free articles:
1. Grab some from an article directory – This isn’t the best method in the world as although you might find a fantastic article that you can add to your website or blog, so have a hundred other people. So what happens is that the same article is plastered on numerous websites. Google doesn’t like duplicate content so you will probably find that although that page of content may get indexed in Google it is nowhere to be seen in the rankings and you never get any traffic to it. So it is kind of a waste of time if you are trying to generate traffic but it can be worthwhile if it is an article that will be useful to your current readers.
2. Exchange articles with another web master – Find other websites with similar content to yours and email them to see if they would like to exchange articles.
3. Add a bit of text to a prominent spot on your website or blog saying that you accept guest writers. In exchange for an article you can add a link to the writers website at the end of the article.
We subscribe to the Wealthy Affiliate University, a program where the emphasis is on making money online without having to spend anything to do it. This encompasses what is known as bum marketing – a phrase coined by Travis Sago and is fast becoming the term used to describe free internet marketing techniques.
These techniques are perfect for anyone who is just beginning to learn how to make money online, because all that is required is a person’s time. Also, these methods can be tried and tested without concern that money may be lost in the process. It’s the perfect way to learn.
These methods will still work regardless of whether you are working full time, part time or not at all. The rewards are really based on how much effort you put into it.
The most common problem for people who are not making money using these methods is that they expect to just put up a Squidoo lens or write a couple of articles and have the money start rolling in. It just doesn’t work that way. You need to maintain a consistent effort and keep at it for this to work. Also, don’t just stick to only one of the methods listed below. Try two or three but don’t overdo it. Just keep going and see what works best for you.
For any of these methods to work you first need to register with the following which are all free to join:
1. Clickbank – Here you will find digital downloadable products to promote. Clickbank acts as the middleman between the merchants who sell the products and you, the person promoting the product. It bundles all of the products into one spot so you don’t have to contact each merchant individually to find products. Clickbank also organizes the commissions that you receive and ensures that you are paid.
2. Other Affiliate Networks – If you are looking for other products, other than those offered by Clickbank, to promote then you will need to join up with networks like cj.com, shareasale.com or linkshare.com.
3. Paypal – If you don’t have a Paypal account then you will find it very difficult to make money online as it is currently the most widely used payment system on the internet today. As you make money using Clickbank they will depostit your payments into to your Paypal account. So make joining Paypal a priority.
So now here is what you have been waiting for…five ways you can make money online without having to spend anything to do it:
Squidoo is a website developed by Seth Godin. It allows people to develop a page of content about a subject and they can create as many pages as they like. Each of these pages is called a lens.
The benefits of using Squidoo are that it is ranked well by Google so not as much effort is required by you to get your lens ranked. There is also a pre-made audience so you don’t have to work so hard at generating traffic. And lastly, Squidoo allows you to include affiliate links on your lens which means that you can promote one or more products.
The key with Squidoo is to choose keywords that are not too competitive so that you can rank quite easily in Google.
How does it work?
1. Choose a topic – preferably one that you are interested in but also one that has the potential to make money i.e. it has at least one product that can be sold on your lens.
2. Choose a non-competitive keyword that relates to this topic – see instructions at the end of this article.
3. Create a lens using the main keyword chosen from step 2.
4. Add content.
5. Add affiliate links for products to your lens – use CJ, Linkshare or Clickbank to find products. They will provide you with the code to add to your lens to create an affiliate link.
6. Work on getting traffic to your lens.
Now I could go into much more detail here but I have developed an in depth Squidoo eCourse that takes you through step-by-step from start to finish so sign up here and you will soon be well on your way to making money online with Squidoo.
2. Classified ADs
Classified ad sites allow you to place ads for products that you want to promote. You basically create an ad, then add an affiliate link in the ad which links to a product that you are promoting. It’s easy, takes minimal time, costs nothing and you can add as many ads as you want. The trick with this however, is finding keywords that are non-competitive to use in the title and content of your ad so that you can easily rank on the first page of Google – see instructions below on finding non-competitive keywords.
There are quite a few classified ad sites on the net but one of the best for this type of work is USFreeAds. They allow affiliate links in their ads and you can submit ads for free. If you have some money to spare then it is worthwhile paying the $9.95 per month membership which allows for unlimited ads, greater functionality and better looking ads.
3. Article Marketing
Article marketing is very popular because it is relatively easy and it works. It involves writing articles and submitting them to article directories. Don’t be concerned that you may not have the writing skills to get this to work. You don’t need to be an expert writer to create articles. Take a look at ezinearticles.com to see what others have written about .
If you are really concerned that you may not be able to write your own quality, informative articles and you have a few extra dollars to spend then head on over to Elance.com and get a professional to write the article for you. You can get an article written from anywhere between $5-$30 depending on the word length.
How does it work?
1. Choose a product to promote – take a look at Clickbank for products.
2. Choose a non-competitive keyword that relates to this product. Use the free Wordtracker tool for this. See instructions at the end of this article for how to do this.
3. Write an article based on this keyword. It only needs to be between 300-500 words and the best types of articles are tips, hints or lists. Use the keyword/s in the title and in the content of the article.
4. Add your affiliate link in the bio at the end of the article – you will get the code for the link from Clickbank also known as a hoplink.
5. Submit the article to an article directory. The best one for this is Goarticles. Ezine Articles is actually better but they currently don’t allow affiliate links in any articles submitted to their site. If you want to use Ezine Articles then you need to set up your own website to link to and act as the middleman between the article and the product you are trying to promote.
4. Forum Marketing
This is another simple and easy approach to making money online. However, one of the most critical parts of this task is that you don’t spam the forums. You need to provide value to that forum. Help people out by answering questions and provide suggestions and try and make each post useful in some way. The more valuable your post then the more likely someone will click on your signature. Go for quality rather than quantity.
How does it work?
1. Choose a product to promote – use Clickbank for this.
2. Find a related forum. For example, if you product is a dog training eBook then look for dog or pet forums.
3. Add your affiliate link in the signature section – note that some forums don’t allow affiliate links.
4. Make lots of good quality posts.
5. Hopefully other forum readers will like what you have to say and will click on the affiliate link in your signature file.
5. Start a Blog
If you like to write and think you can do it on a consistent basis then a blog might be the answer. Google loves blogs because of the regularly updated content. The key is developing good content and posting regularly.
How does it work?
1. Choose a topic, preferably something you are interested in as you will be more likely to stick at it if you have a passion for the topic.
2. Ensure the topic has related products that you can promote on your blog. Check out Clickbank, CJ and Linkshare for this.
3. Create a blog – you can use the free blogging accounts at either Blogger.com or WordPress.com for this. Note: If you are really serious about blogging, you should consider getting your own domain name and hosting which will cost you some money, but it is recommended.
4. Add content on a regular basis. Every 2 or 3 days at a minimum.
5. Add affiliate links to your blog. Don’t overdo it. You don’t just want a blog full of spammy ads.
Finding a Niche
Each of the methods above requires one important step. Without this step none of these methods will work effectively, if at all. This step involves finding keywords that have little to no competition so that you can easily rank in Google. At this point, this probably makes little sense to you so let’s use an example to make it clearer.
Suppose we have gone into Clickbank and selected a product to market. For our example, we will assume we have chosen a dog training ebook. Now we have our product we decide to do a bit of article marketing and develop an article or two to promote this product But the first thing we need to do even before we start writing is to find some keywords to use in our articles.
Using the right keywords helps Google (and the other search engines) determine what our article is about. If you choose non-competitive keywords ie. keywords that don’t have a lot of other competing websites, then you will be more likely to rank highly in Google for that article and therefore receive more traffic.
So how do you choose your keywords?
You can use the free Wordtracker tool for this. In the search field enter the main keyword for your topic or product – in our case it would be ‘dog training’. The search will offer up a number of results that relate to your main keywords. What you are looking for is a keyword that is searched for at least 100 times a day if possible.
Once you have found a keyword head on over to www.google.com and type it into the search field using quotes eg. “dog training tips” and press Enter. On that page of results Google will display the results and also the number of competing websites.
In our example, we can see we have to compete with over 270,000 websites. That is way too many. We want to keep this figure under 5000 and even less if we can. So go back to your Wordtracker list and choose another keyword. Keep doing this until you have found a low competitive keyword or keyword phrase. This will be the one you use to write your articles and create free ads.