Traffic, Traffic, Wherefore Art Thou Traffic?

Internet marketing and money making traffic generation has taken another beating by Splork as he lifts the lid on traffic generation for making money telling it like it is right here: Sewage Islands in the Stream. I was going to write all this as a comment in his blog, but hey, content is expensive when I write it so I’d rather have it here in my own blog. Splork gets a useful link instead.

If you’ve just headed off over there and been courteous enough to actually come back, then here’s my take on this way of thinking.

With regards to generating traffic and monetizing it, the old adage of “throw enough shit at the walls and some of it will stick” actually works. But Google is just one wall. A big one I will grant you, but there are other walls sitting there right in front of you all but its amazing how many people are ignoring them, while concentrating totally on Google.

Yahoo and Bing are fun to mess with cause they count all those itty bitty nofollow links that Google ignores (most of the time but not all of the time). Bing traffic converts way better than anything else, cause most people that use it do so cause it came pre-loaded with their dinky new netbooks thanks to rich uncle Bill cornering the pre-loaded OS market (okay, mac users… oh who cares, there’s only 2 of them anyway). This is pretty common knowledge anyway.

But Splork went too far. Look what he’s done now, telling his 8 readers about Hubsquid traffic! Dammit now they’ll all go out (at least 5% of them will, anyway) and spam the hubsquids to kingdom come and we’ll all suffer. Damn him for letting the cat out of the bag! Can no one keep their big mouth shut on this Interpleb? Is nothing sacred?

For God’s sake don’t let on about how profitable spending 10 hours a day in the Warriors forum really is or they’ll all veer off in that direction like a shoal of demented minnows. And then they’ll ALL start spending their time making WSOs and Google will hate Slpork for taking all the marketers out of its index and leaving nothing for its algo-tinkerers to do. But the aftershocks will be worse…

There will be wholesale job losses and a flood of brainy people joining the ranks of the unemployed… then they’ll all start reading Warriors and learn how to get rich quick making… WSOs… the self fulfilling prophecy cometh and the world will end in 2012 cause Google will implode and the entire surface of the earth will be dragged into the vortex it created…

Man, drinking too much coffee and writing in blogs is a dangerous mix…

The long and the short of it that you can monetize any traffic, although you’ll have a tougher time squeezing any out of social traffic from the likes of twitter, facebook etc. but you can make a little and if you can generate enough traffic from those sources, a little can turn into a little more. The main source of monetizable traffic remains the targeted organic search traffic that comes mainly from Google but also from Yahoo and Bing as well as the lesser search engines. Social Hubbers and Squidoo folk may follow links in your mini site pages and find your main site and a few of them might even be enticed to click a link or buy an affiliate product, as long as its a real one (I mean something that Amazon et al would sell and not some junk ebook from clickbank).

But that’s as much as I’m saying here, cause I’m not giving away everything I know with regards to making money online. At least not the stuff that works right now. Once it gets to be common knowledge, its effectiveness will have died and then I’ll probably write about it, just like the other clever chappies who drip feed their loyal followers some of what they know every once in a while. It keeps people interested and gives them something to try, then come back for more.

There’s more to all this than meets the eye, that’s for sure.

List Building and Autoresponders

Following on from my last post Make Money or Save Money?, where I looked at several honest methods of making money by actually saving money ( you have to read it!), I’m going to turn my attention back to one of the oldest and still most successful ways of making money online.

List building and doing it using the favourite tool of the Internet Marketer, the autoresponder.

We’ve come a long way in the last year or two in the general mode of thinking when it comes to list building. It is something that has been around for a very long time and will probably still be around after all the current fad make money techniques and search engine subterfuge have died away.

The reason that “the list” is where the money always was and still very much is, boils down to one major fact of life. Trust.

If you are trusted, then people are more likely to buy something from you or something you recommend than from someone they don’t trust. Trust has to be earned and one sure-fire way to earn people’s trust is to keep in contact with them and prove to them that what you are selling or recommending is giving them true value. People hate to be ripped off, but the flipside of the coin is they love to be shown respect and honesty. The honest Internet Marketer who can prove their integrity and honesty to a wide group of people gains their respect and will be seen as someone who deserves their loyalty and trust.

Many Internet Marketers who fall over and blow it are the ones who build up a huge list then rip the people on that list off by selling them crap, or trying to sell them too much too soon. Greed is the common denominator in many an Internet Marketer’s downfall.

So where does that leave someone who wants to be successful, make a lot of money the honest way and keep doing it if they can’t sell a ton of products to their list constantly and often?

Well, it means using the benefits of having a large list to make money but not being so greedy and hasty as to go at it too quickly and with products that are not 100% value for money. By all means build as large a list as you can and give them plenty of free stuff. Everyone loves something for nothing and the more free stuff you can give away to your list that has value for them (even though its free) the more the people on that list will trust you. If, every once in a while you throw in something that your list will have to pay for, as long as you explain how it will benefit them and give them more value than the money they would spend on buying it, then you should be ok and will not alienate anyone from your list.

Be honest and tell them if there are any aspects of the product you want to sell them that might detract from its value to them. Or highlight specific areas that the product will help them and those that will not help them. If they know exactly what they will be paying for before they open their wallets, there is much less chance they will be asking for a refund a few days later and sending you an unsubscribe email!

So this then leads me on to how to build your list.

The most important aspect of building a list is having a good autoresponder. An autoresponder is a software package that enables you to harvest the email address of anyone who opts-in to your free giveaway or promotion package and then sends them whatever emails are necessary for them to download your freebie as well as generating a series of follow-up emails as you define over a period of time.

By using a good autoresponder, you circumvent the possibility of being accused of sending spam emails. That’s because firstly, the person willingly gave you their email address and secondly, the subsequent emails send out contain an “unsubscribe” link should they wish to opt-out and no longer wish to receive any further emails from you. This is infinitely better than using your own host’s autoresponder service. That’s because any accusations of spam activity must be investigated by your host which could mean your account being suspended for the duration of the investigation. Meaning all your sites go down for an unspecified length of time. Which could be disastrous for your business.

So where do you get a good autoresponder?

Well, there are several good ones on the market of which some are free and some must be paid for. It stands to reason that the autoresponders that are paid for are going to be better in many ways to the free ones. They will contain several important features not available on free autoresponders and will be much more robust and reliable. One such offering comes from iContact Email Marketing. iContact is a simple to use email marketing, surveying, autoresponder and blogging tool. It allows small businesses, non-profit organisations and associations to communicate easily online with their customers, prospects and members. Its worth checking out as their monthly rates are highly competitive and the additional services that come with the package are substantial.

Of course its a matter of personal choice and there are other autoresponders around, so the honest way recommendation, as always, is to look at all of the available choices and weigh up the pros and cons before deciding upon which is best for your business.

Remember, once you’ve built up a solid list of email subscribers, you don’t need to keep trying to sell them stuff, otherwise you’re just using them as milking cows and people will not tolerate being treated as such. So there are lots of other ways to make use of your list while keeping in friendly contact on a reasonably regular basis. There are always free offers that you can direct their attention to – as long as you have checked them out yourself first and are happy they are not thinly veiled opt-ins for scams.

You can also direct their attention to other money making possibilities that you have affiliate links to, such as online writing sites like Constant Content that will pay them for selling their articles, or online job offers from legitimate companies.

Just as long as everything you recommend to your list is honest and trustworthy, you’ll keep the people already there while continuing to nurture it as it grows. From which you will make money, honest!

Terry Didcott
The Honest Way

Make Money? What’s What!

Shock horror! He’s writing another one so soon after Do It Right, what’s going on?

I also should point out that I just changed the permalinks template for this blog, so all my previous posts now have different urls which is why the Blogging Zoom and other buttons all show zero – can’t be helped!

Well, I noticed that I’m not posting as much as I used to in here and there is a very good reason for that. At the same time, I also realize that this is a good site that is steadily gaining popularity with the search engines in terms of its authority, so I should be spending more time on it.

So I thought I might post about what’s what.

Sure, I can write about making money online until the john cows come home, but would it be the right thing to do? Of course its harder to come up with great stuff that isn’t the same rehashed, regurgitated crap that most make money bloggers vomit up in their blogs almost daily. Most of which is pure bullshit, because most of them are NOT making money themselves, so how can they claim to know how to do something they’re not doing?

I’ve got tired of writing the same old same old and it doesn’t do this blog any favours to fill it up with worthless crap, so the posts are going to be fewer and farther between because there really isn’t that much more to say on the subject of how to make money online.

Griz has practically said it all in his make money online blog about the right way to go about making money online, and I just feel that by writing on the subject, I’m only paraphrasing him and Vic (make money online at Blogger Unleashed) and Court (Internet Marketing School) in order to make posts to keep this place alive and maybe even move it forward.

Perhaps its time to allow this blog to diversify somewhat. It’s too late to pigeon-hole it into one tight niche because its getting rather big and sprawling. So instead, I’ve decided to go with the flow of the site as it is. I’ll be looking at creating sub-pages on related niches with top level posts to support them. Spread it out instead of reign it in.

As I said in my last post, it may not make very much money itself, but it will be useful as a promotion and link booster for other sites I have in different niches. Having the forum attached to the site means it gets spidered often by the search engines, even though there’s not too many people in there these days.

People still email me for advice on how to make money online and I don’t mind helping out where I can, but I’ll have to be honest and say that the information I’m giving out now comes mainly from what I’ve learned from Griz, Vic and Court, whereas before it would have come from stuff I learned from other marketers who are not gurus or A-listers but market their own products to make money online rather than use their sites as affiliate or PPC advertising media.

Oh, did we forget that?

Yes, we did! Affiliate ads and PPC ads are highly profitable and very doable ways of making money online – no doubt about it. That’s the school of thought coming from the guys I just mentioned. But don’t discount the marketing side of selling your own stuff if you have stuff to sell that people want to buy!

I’ve lapsed on that front and stopped working on my own stuff to sell. Like the eBook I was writing on how I beat arthritis naturally. Its something that I’m sure a lot of people would buy (although not at the outrageous prices that many eBooks sell for online) with some work put into marketing it. Which I can do – only thing is, I shelved that and a couple of other book projects because my attention got diverted from that path.

I read Griz’s blog and realized there was a way to make decent money online without a product of your own and even without a website of your own – just creating free blogs. He also made it clear that working to attract social traffic was a waste of time if you want to make money. He’s right and the stuff he writes about in his blog works too. If you’re doubting it, try it first and see for yourself before you dismiss it out of hand. Its every bit as much work as anything else to make money, but the rewards are there for those that are prepared to do the work.

Then Vic came along and added his side of the story which is also geared to making money as opposed to attracting social visitors to your site or blog. Vic knows what he’s talking about and is giving his knowledge away for free to anyone who is determined enough to want to make money. The catch is that you have to abandon all the stuff you learned from the A-listers and so-called gurus and do it his way. That’s up to you – it depends on how much you really want to make money.

Of course, this is all bringing me back to that terrifying statistic that 95% of Internet Marketers will fail. Period. That’s because they either don’t listen to what they’re being told – because they know better – or they are too lazy to do the work, or they don’t have the self-belief that they CAN do it and give up too soon.

So if you have your own stuff to sell, and you are sure there are people who will buy it, then go for it! You may have created a great piece of software that is highly useful in some way, or written a great book on how to cure something or cook something or whatever – just don’t be trying to sell yet another book on how to make money online – there are more than enough of them! You’ll be surprised just what people will buy if it will help them in some way or make their life a bit easier. Maybe you have developed a a great line in safe children’s toys, or a new board game… the options are endless as long as you are sure people will want what you’re selling!

Of course the knack is then in the marketing – you have to make people want your stuff by getting their interest and creating desire for your product. Here’s and example: Sunny Delight is a sugary orange flavoured drink that thanks to a TV campaign in the UK actually overtook sales of and knocked off the No1 spot, Coca Cola! Ok, that’s extreme, but marketing rules if you are trying to sell something. That’s beyond the scope of this post, but there are several good marketing articles on this site.

There are more ways to make money online than the few that you constantly read about. Selling your own good, worthwhile product is one of them.

If you want to make money online, you need to:

  • Listen to what you’re being told
  • Know how to filter out the truth from the bullshit
  • Understand and accept what your being taught because you do NOT know better (even if you think you do)
  • Be prepared to work hard and put in long hours
  • Truly believe in yourself that you can do it
  • Don’t let negative people put you down or tell you that you’re wasting your time
  • Have the patience of Job

and…

NEVER GIVE UP!

Terry Didcott
The Honest Way

Do It Right

My last post Make Fast Money Keywords?, which was based on the SEO technique of using a liberal dose of keywords to your content, highlighted how you can use your content to give your blog a leg-up the search engines results pages to some extent.

Well that’s fine and works better in some niches than others. The make money niche is far too competitive to make much headway in and the rewards for getting right up there are not so great when you compare putting the same amount of effort and hard work into a blog or website that occupies a less competitive niche.

So where exactly does this particular blog sit?

It’s primarily in the make money niche, by the simple fact that it was my first tentative entry into the world of Internet Marketing and I didn’t know any better at the time.

Well, who could have known, when the vast majority of sites and “informative” blogs were telling everyone to get into Make Money fast, and Blogging for blogging, and Web 2.0 was the way forward. All the self-styled gurus, A-listers and big-time online money makers (I won’t bother naming them, you probably know who they are by now) were saying the same thing.

And do you know, they were all not entirely right?

That’s not to say they were entirely wrong either, but at the time (end of 2006) getting into blogging and make money was obvious as a way to make money for newbies. The A-listers and gurus just jumped on every newbie that came along and filled their heads full of promises that were never delivered, while making pots of money for the perpetrators!

Big fish will always eat little fish, that’s a fact of life. Its up to the hardiest little fish to survive the maulings along the way and to learn from their mistakes and use those mistakes to make them stronger. Its a steep learning curve and it takes time and often a lot of hard knocks along the way before we get it right.

As for those like myself who were technically newbies although I was selling stuff online in the mid 1990s via a really (by today’s standards) bad website that I built myself! True, I didn’t really have a clue what I was doing but just struck lucky that my site was selling stuff that not many other were.

Being a hypnotherapist, it made sense to sell my own produced hypnosis cassettes (cassettes, remember them?) through my practice’s website and I actually made quite a few sales in those days! I foolishly never cottoned on to the fact that there was much more money to be made online with the proper knowledge. In those days, the only sites that seemed to be raking it in were the porn sites and I wasn’t getting into that – no way!

There were no “make money online” sites around that I remember in 1996, no Clickbank or CJ, no Paypal or eBay. So it would have been much tougher to set up a true e-commerce site back then, but not impossible and I missed the boat completely!

By the time I re-entered the arena in 2006, of course things were rather different. I’d missed the adsense jamboree where MFA sites were everywhere and they made an absolute packet for their owners. I got in just too late to make a killing with text-lonk ads and paid reviews, because as soon as I realized they were there my sites were not sufficiently highly ranked by Google to make them viable.

Of course by the time they were, Google was stamping down on those practices that certain A-Listers were telling everyone to jump on.

Now ex-black hatters are coming into the mainstream and divulging some of their secrets, but still, some of these techniques can raise eyebrows at Google and get their radar fixed firmly on your whole operation, so it’s debatable whether to use them of not. Yes, there are some techniques that are grey-hat and will probably keep you under the radar while still giving a boost to your blogs and websites. And there are some which will get your sites de-indexed faster than you can say “keyword stuffing”.

So now, its all about balance.

Yes, write lots of content for your sites and yes, use keywords liberally. Just don’t overdo it.

Yes, write keyword focused articles with your anchored link in them and submit them to article directories to spread your incoming links around.

Yes, gather back links and make as many of them as you can strongly keyword anchored links to improve your keyword authority. You need that to get high in the SERPs and attract targeted organic traffic in order to make money from your ads, whether they be PPC or affiliate.

Yes, use Technorati tags (wisely) and make sure you ping every time you post.

Yes, make sure your sites are correctly SEO’d on-site as well as off-site to give yourself the best chance of competing with everyone else.

Yes, create many and varied sites and blogs spread over as many different niches as you can handle. The more niches you occupy, the better your income will be and if one niche doesn’t perform there will be plenty of others that will.

Yes, get a self hosting account and host your own websites to have more control over what you’re doing. Use Hostgator because they’re the best – you can host unlimited domains and it doesn’t cost a packet either and…

Yes create a lot of free blogs as well as Squidoo lenses, they all count towards your overall network from which you can create back links to you own sites and the bigger your network, the better.

While the advice is to steer clear of the Make Money, or Blogging niches as they don’t actually make money, there is another reason to keep one or two sites in there. Authority. You can work a make money or blogging blog into your network and as they rise in rank, they can be used via links to help boost your newer sites and get them indexed faster and also help them up the ladder. So while your make money sites might not actually be making you any money, they have a purpose – to push the sites that DO make money into better positions through keyword authority and back links.

Yes, research keywords to find the best performing ones with the least competition. Get hold of Keyword Elite because its the best program for the job. Never fear that all the best ones have been taken already. There are millions of combinations of long tail keywords and more than plenty to go around. Sometimes its better not to compete where you’re banging your head against a brick wall. So don’t compete, get creative and you’ll surprise yourself what you can find.

Above all, be patient.

Rome was not built in a day and neither will your online empire. Try to go too fast and you will fall over, trip up, get caught in the big G’s radar, or upset a competitor who may report your site. Take it slow and natural and build your sites and blogs over time and they will grow well with Google’s blessing as long as you do everything (or at least appear to do everything) the right way.

Do it right and you will make money. Fast? No.

But over time, without needing to resort to reading tarot cards, you’ll gradually build up a business that, spread widely over multiple income streams, will send those trickling streams together to join up into a flooding river of income, so that if one stream dries up, there are still plenty of others to keep the money flowing.

Remember, “softly, softly, catchee monkey…”

Terry Didcott
The Honest Way