Yes I know, I haven’t been adding much to this site lately and I only came into it today to update WordPress and various plugins and such. But I like to keep adding content to the site even if it is only every now and then. It’s one of the first websites we created and one I still enjoy writing for.
So I thought about what to write for this post and decided on discussing what we are doing this year to make money online. It’s been evolving over the years but it has to if we want to continue working online. If you rely on Google, Amazon, Pinterest, Twitter or any other external business in order to make your money then you have to be prepared for them to make changes that could alter your income….sometimes in a big way.
It’s so easy to give up when those changes happen. We could have easily given up when Google hit our review sites hard but it never occurred to us to do so. Neither of us wanted to go back to a regular 9 to 5 job so we just assumed that it would work out in the end. Continue reading
This is our very first Affiliate Blog Online podcast….woohoo! It took a while to get this up and running only because we have been creating a guide to podcasting and had to record every step along the way. But since this blog post is up it means that we only have one more step to go and that is to submit the podcast to iTunes for approval.
In the meantime, you can listen to this podcast here as you should be able to see a media player above this blog post. Once iTunes approves the podcast it will then be available on iTunes so once you can subscribe to it there, you will be able to listen to it as often as you like.
In this podcast we provide a bit of an introduction and go through how we got into this business way back in 2003. We also reveal our income that we were earning back in those early days.
Also, we talk about the two things we did that finally skyrocketed our online business to success and how it enabled the both of us to finally give up our 9 to 5 jobs.
And finally, we discuss what we are doing now to make money online.
We hope you enjoy this Podcast as it will be the first of many in which we will discuss ways to make passive income online and enjoy yourself doing it.
This is an article we wrote for our Affiliate Tools HQ membership site but I thought it was important enough to post here.
In the past we’ve had some interesting experiences with people that really reveal how different we all are particularly in our attitude to money. It can oftentimes generate a negative reaction in a lot of people, particularly for those that don’t have much of it. And I know that even what I am about to write here will get a lot of people riled up. If that is how you feel about it when you have finished reading this, then you need this more than anyone. This is where you need to apply your focus because it will be affecting how much money you make in your life. Getting riled up and defensive about money usually means you have issues somewhere that need to be resolved. You have been brought up to believe one thing and you find it difficult to accept someone else’s view.
Just know that we are not here to rile people up, we just want to help you move forward in this business because I truly believe that one of the main reasons you aren’t succeeding is because of your attitude towards money.
A good majority of us are brought up to believe that either money is evil or that you have to work hard to get it…or both! If you were brought up in a lower or middle class environment then that is probably what you were taught.
I was brought up in a middle class environment although it started out more at the lower end of the scale. And although I wasn’t brought up by my parents to believe money was evil, I was brought up to believe that you had to work hard to get it. And then of course TV reinforced that only those evil, nasty, greedy people have money. So for quite a period in my life, I wasn’t really favorable towards the rich.
It wasn’t until many years later that I had a major turnaround. This came about through a mix of self-improvement authors and speakers until I realized that my thinking was affecting my ability to make money. If I thought the rich were evil then how could I ever be rich? I didn’t want to be evil so I couldn’t never make much money. Makes sense doesn’t it?
The problem was, the only reason I thought rich people were evil was because of just a bit too much TV. In reality, I had never met a really rich person. The only ones I had ever seen were on TV and they were usually typecast as a villain of some sort, or manipulative or some grumpy old miser. So what was I basing my opinion on?
This business that we are in is all about the money…that is essentially why people want to get into it. That and the ability to work from home. You’d be hard pressed to find anyone that comes into it with the sole reason to help people. That may be a side effect as you move into the business but not the primary reason you came into it. You may not want to hear that but think about why you are doing what you are doing…you keep struggling every day to crack it because you want a full time income. Would you still be doing it if there was no money to be made from it?
That’s why I can only laugh now when someone unsubscribes from our email list with the reason…”it’s all about the money for you” because I agree with them 100%. And yet, that person who unsubscribes is all about the money too….they just don’t see it. If they are following our email list then they would most likely have a website and have affiliate links on their site. So aren’t they promoting something and making money from it? They should probably remove their affiliate links and out of the goodness of their heart give up their day job and just spend hours providing valuable information for free. Do you think they would do that?
We have to eat after all so yes it is about the money for us…well maybe not all about the money but it is important to us. We can say that out loud because we no longer believe that money is evil. We like money….can you say that and really mean it? It may be tough for many to accept that money is a good thing. If you want to live comfortably in this society then you need money…if you want to feed your family then you need money… if you really want to help other people in a big way then you need money. It’s as simple as that so why not enjoy it?
When you think about it, money is only a bit of paper or some numbers on a screen. Money is never the problem…people are the problem. Just like a gun is never a problem until someone stands behind it and uses it in the wrong way. So yes there are evil and nasty rich people, but there are also evil and nasty poor people. Do you think that being poor is going to make you a saint? Believe me, I’ve met plenty of poor people that I wouldn’t want to be breaking bread with.
If you have negative thoughts about money then it’s most likely that you don’t have much of it. You’d be hard pressed to find a rich person who doesn’t like money. They like it, they appreciate it and they use it wisely.
So it all comes down to this… if you want to start making more money than you currently earn then you have to change your thoughts about money. You are never going to make the big dollars while you have negative thoughts about it.
So how do you change those thoughts? First you have to recognize which negative thoughts you are holding on to. Here are just a few:
Now you might be thinking that some of these are actually true and yes you’d be right. Of course you don’t need money to be happy and we know money isn’t everything and you may not actually have enough money by the end of the week. They all may be true but when these thoughts are your constant thoughts then you are essentially telling yourself that you don’t need or want any money. You get what you think about and if you constantly think that you don’t need money then you won’t have any money.
Then of course there are the excuses. The family is a good one. I am always fascinated when people say “my family is more important than money”. Of course they are, I wouldn’t doubt it for a second, but what the family becomes is an excuse not to make money. “I don’t have much money because I have a family to look after.”
The same applies to mortgages…”I don’t have much money because I am paying off a mortgage.”
Or “I don’t have much of an education so I can’t achieve much in life and therefore can’t make much money”.
All of these things are just excuses. Hundreds of thousand of rich people have families and mortgages and they are doing just fine. And some of the wealthiest people in the world had very little education.
You don’t want these excuses to constantly float around in your head. Sure they may be true now, but don’t make them an excuse not to move forward.
We get into a thinking pattern that keeps us stuck in the same old pattern day after day. And I say ‘we’ because we too are still not quite there. We’ve come a long way but we could do so much better. If we knew it all I’d have a house overlooking Sydney Harbour and be driving a Jag.
All I know is, that around the same time we started reading books and attending seminars about changing our financial thinking, things started to fall into place and the money started to flow in. Coincidence?…maybe, but in my gut I truly don’t think so.
What’s the Next Step?
Once you’ve figured out what negative thoughts you are holding on to, you need to keep a watchful eye on your thought patterns. Just think about how you talk to people about the economy, how much money you have, whether you can afford to buy something and so on. These will all reflect your attitudes to money.
If you keep telling yourself that you can’t afford this or can’t afford that, then you are continually reinforcing your lack of money.
Also, start being happy for people who have a lot of abundance in their life. If you feel jealous that they have more than you or you think they must just be greedy and manipulative to have that sort of money, then you are seeing them in the wrong way. You have to start liking rich people if you want to be a rich person. Just remember that because they are rich it doesn’t mean they aren’t nice people and in fact it is the wealthy that usually donate the most.
Having money doesn’t make you a good person or a bad person – it is simply a way of buying stuff. It’s nothing more than that when you look at it.
Do you remember when you were young and your mum or dad (or other significant person in your life at the time) would tell you something extremely wise and life changing but it totally went in one ear and out the other? Today you might think back on it and say, “I wish I’d listened to them; my life would be a whole lot different now”.
Unfortunately, this is how most of us function when it comes to making money online. We want all the answers but we aren’t always prepared to take them on when we hear them. I know that in the early days, we learned the ins and outs of making money online from James Martell but did we really listen to what he had to say?…no not really. We took what we wanted from it all and played around with the sites and added content and tweaked the themes but when it came down to it, we didn’t really follow what he had to say. Why?…well looking back on it now it was mostly because we just weren’t patient enough and not being patient enough results in a cascade of problems. Believe me we kick ourselves now because had we followed James’ method right from the beginning we would have succeeded a lot sooner than we did.
When you aren’t patient enough you get to a point where you don’t quite believe in the process. And if you don’t believe in the process, you are either going to stop putting it into practice or you will start to tweak it a little putting your own spin on it until eventually it becomes nothing like the original method.
So for us, instead of writing long detailed posts, which is what James recommended, we went ahead and wrote hundreds of poor quality short unhelpful articles. And instead of focusing on just one website, which is again what James recommended, we kept building more and more sites. And instead of backlinking we spent time tweaking the sites. As a result, it took us a lot longer to get anywhere.
This is what happens to a good majority of people. We still get emails today from people who have purchased our Amazonian Profit Plan who have obviously not really taken it all in. For instance, we recommend working on only 5 product reviews at any one time. But instead we get emails from people saying they have added 20 or 30 reviews to their site and wonder why they aren’t making any money. They wonder if adding more will help. Of course it won’t because if none of the first 5 are making any money then why will adding another lot of reviews make any difference?
I know I am rambling on a bit here but what I am trying to get at is that in order to make a good income online you have to first of all be patient and second of all follow through on the process. It’s almost like baking a loaf of bread. If you follow the recipe exactly you get a better loaf. If you start tweaking by adding a bit more flour or a bit more yeast you might still get a decent loaf but if you start experimenting by omitting or changing some of the ingredients then it is pot luck as to whether it is going to turn out or not. You might get there eventually if you experiment enough but it will take you a lot longer than if you just stuck to the recipe.
There are plenty of recipes for making money online but in terms of affiliate marketing and the product review concept there are 3 critical ingredients you need to follow in order to succeed:
Notice the one word that keeps repeating itself?…that word is QUALITY but most people making money online do everything but provide quality. It’s always more about QUANTITY for most people and it was for us also – hence why we built website after website. Fortunately we stopped at around 20 or so but a lot of people just keep going.
I know we have spoken many times about ‘Quality vs Quantity’ on this site but it’s something that needs to be repeated constantly because a lot of people just don’t get it. You really have to make quality your main focus and now more than ever because it is the direction that Google is taking. Google want to have quality sites ranking in their search engine. They don’t want to see poor quality spammy sites in the top 10 for any of their search results.
Even if we put Google aside for a minute, then it is still obvious that quality is important. It’s important because when anyone comes to your site they are doing so because they want answers. If you have a product review site they want you to tell them why they should buy the product. They don’t want to see a site full of ads, pop-ups and a short unhelpful review.
If you don’t focus on quality then you will really struggle with making money online. You have to make quality your number one priority if you want to succeed.
Let’s take a look in more detail:
1. Choose a Quality Product
When most people build websites they immediately start thinking about what niche they should pick. This is a big mistake in our opinion. There is this concept that some niches are better than others but nothing could be further from the truth. It has nothing to do with the niche because in reality every niche has both good products AND bad products.
People think that the secret to our success are the niches we have chosen so they go searching for our sites and try to replicate it all. But it has nothing to do with the niches because we make money from all sorts of niches. There isn’t one niche that does better than any other because it’s not about the niches…it’s about the quality products we have chosen within those niches.
Your readers don’t want to buy poor quality items. They want the best they can get for their money and your job is to find the best quality products and write about them. It’s simple really but a lot people don’t want to take the extra effort it requires to do that sort of research. They want to make money online but they don’t want to work for it.
2. Write Quality Reviews
Once you have chosen a quality product you then need to write a quality review. This is really a critical factor if you want your reviews to convert. It’s not just about getting your readers to the merchant and letting the merchant do the rest. Believe us when we say that because we thought the same thing. We wrote 300 word reviews for a long time thinking that the shorter the review the better as the reader would simply click over to Amazon for more info. Most didn’t stay on the page long enough to do that. They immediately saw the short review and clicked the back button. Those who stayed and clicked through to Amazon didn’t buy. Why?…because we gave them no reason to buy.
To ‘give someone a reason to buy’ means telling them why the product is going to benefit them in some way and/or why it is the best available compared to other similar products. If they have the benefits in their head, by the time they reach Amazon they are more likely to buy.
But it’s not just about slapping a few benefits on the page and hey presto you will make sales. It takes more than that. It means thoroughly researching the product until you know it inside and out because in most cases you won’t actually own the product. This means spending time on Amazon reading customer reviews and searching the manufacturers site for detailed information about the product and scouring the net for what others have to say about it.
It also means writing long detailed reviews that are around 1000 words or more. Our longest review now sits on our Affiliate Reviews HQ site and is over 4000 words long and we could have written much more. Remember that the person reading your review doesn’t have the product in front of them so they will want to know everything they can before buying. Don’t be afraid to add even the smallest of details.
The only way you are ever going to write really good quality reviews is to forget about the search engines because if you think about what the search engines want to see in the review then you are thinking about the money first and your readers second. So instead of worrying about the search engines, worry about your readers and what they would like to see in the review. If you do that you will always end up with well written helpful reviews.
3. Get Quality Backlinks
The final step in the process is getting quality traffic. This is where most people fail. They can often choose quality products and write quality reviews but the traffic part eludes them. The reason for that is that they are not patient enough. They start out all keen and send out some guest articles and maybe write a press release and do a bit of social networking/bookmarking and leave a few blog comments but because they don’t see anything happen straight away they lose focus. Their interest starts to wane and before they know it they are building another website because ‘the next website will be the one that makes it’ or so they think.
Or worse yet, they might pay someone $20 to get 1000 backlinks to their site. It just doesn’t work. We know this from experience, because like almost everyone else we too have tried this method in the past. You need QUALITY backlinks if you want to rank well in Google or any of the search engines for that matter, and the best quality backlinks you can get come from guest blogging. Yes, it takes time but it works. You can choose to continue to ignore backlinking or get someone else to add hundreds of spammy backlinks to your site or you can do it the right way and only focus on quality backlinks.
Just keep in mind that one good quality backlink is often better than thousands of poor quality ones.
The Final Ingredient
So what is the final ingredient? The final ingredient is you and whether you are patient enough to stick with the plan. Just remember that:
All you need is the traffic but it can take a year before you really start to see some real action with backlinking. Are you prepared to stick at it for that long? You really have to answer that question because if you aren’t prepared for that then this isn’t the business for you and you will only find yourself in what we call the Affiliate Marketers Cycle of Doom. Sure you might have success in a month or two – lots of people have – but if it doesn’t happen in a month or two are you willing to keep at it until you do or will you just be off to build yet another website?
It’s interesting how some things seem to come all at once. Lately we have received a number of comments and emails from people who appear to be focusing on the same thing. It just prompted me to write this post because I think it is something that a lot of people are getting caught up in and I really feel that it can be detrimental to anyone trying to make money online.
What I am talking about is the tendency to over-think things in relation to your online business. For instance, one of the more common questions we see is from people wanting to know our traffic numbers in relation to CTR’s, but you know what?…we really have no idea what that is. Another question we get is what is the percentage of keywords that you have in the number 1 spot in Google….again we have no idea. We know that we have some in the number 1 spot but we don’t sit here analyzing every keyword we are ranking for to see where it’s placed.
Then there are those who spend hours on keyword research looking for just the right keyword. Then they spend even more time trying to get the perfect domain name from their list of keyword possibilities and focus on the perfect meta tags and meta descriptions and trying to get the keyword density on their pages just right
Whew, that’s tough work, but I know where these people are coming from, because we used to do the exact same thing. Just to illustrate this with an example, I had a spreadsheet where I would enter every keyword we wanted to rank for in Google and would check just about every day to see if our ranking had changed. (Comment from Wanda: LOL, lets be honest here, she would check it hourly).
I would also spend a lot of time in Google Analytics analyzing this and that and checking keywords and rankings. I’d create spreadsheets with hundreds of keywords and how many searches they got and what the competition was like. What a waste!
Now don’t get me wrong, Google Analytics is an amazing tool and we use it to this day but we don’t sit here spending hours analyzing and pouring over stats and data. And we spend even less time on keyword research. And we really don’t even bother too much with meta tags and meta descriptions – we let WordPress do that for us.
Now you might be thinking that we can afford to forget all of this stuff since we are making a healthy income online and don’t need to worry about it. But I can tell you now that we gave up on all of this stuff long before we started making the big dollars. It didn’t just hit us in the face either – we didn’t just come to the conclusion one day that we needed to stop focusing on the detail. It was more of a progressive thing.
I think it was more of a conscious decision that we needed to provide value more than anything else. And once we had made that decision, it no longer seemed relevant to spend all our time concentrating on all of the analytical detail – so over time we no longer focused heavily on keyword research or meta tags or keyword density or anything like that. Our focus changed to the point where we were only thinking about what value we could provide to our readers rather than how we could tweak a page so that Google would rank us highly for it.
When we were over-thinking, things didn’t work as well as when we stopped doing that and focused on the content and the value we could provide. A good example of this is this blog. I am astounded sometimes at the popularity of it – why is it that it does so well because we don’t do any keyword research for this blog, we don’t go out and actively get backlinks for it (we started to but quickly gave up to work on other things), we don’t promote it, we don’t analyze metatags or do any SEO and yet the traffic increases. We have even installed the SEOPressor plugin on this blog (which is pretty cool by the way) but I think we’ve only used it once on a page and haven’t bothered since then only because we just don’t feel the need to get the keyword density just right. This blog is simply for our enjoyment and through it we are able to share the strategies that we have learned for making money online.
It’s interesting how this works – we haven’t done any of the things that SEO experts say we should, and yet this blog does very well. We don’t do any keyword research and yet we rank for all sorts of things.We don’t have the perfect keyword in our domain name and we don’t spend hours analyzing CTR’s or other data to see how we can improve.
So what is it about this blog that makes all the difference? I’d like to think it’s because we provide value. What’s your opinion?
I’ve seen two other examples of this. The first was by a gentleman on a forum who wrote about his wife. She had a few websites that were doing really well in terms of traffic. One day he decided to add some Google Adsense to one site without telling her. That day she made something like $300 (can’t remember the exact amount). He was astounded as it was more than he ever made with his websites. She knew nothing about SEO and just developed her websites for the enjoyment of it. She was completely against adding any ads and he reluctantly had to remove them.
The second example came just recently from an email we received from a lady who had a friend who knew nothing about SEO or keywords or anything like that but was so successful with her website that she was now working at home full-time. The lady who emailed us wasn’t having as much success but she was smart enough to realize the difference between her and her friend and the need to change her focus.
I think what we are getting at here is to stop trying so hard. Stop over thinking things to the point where you are only interested in ranking in the number 1 spot in Google and nothing else. Start enjoying what you do instead of seeing it as all hard work and simply a race to get to number 1 for your chosen keywords so you can make some money.
Keyword research, SEO, analytics and so on all have their place but they shouldn’t be your main focus. Try changing your focus to providing value first and see what changes it brings to you.