One of the things I’ve learned during the last 3 years online is the power of FOCUS and PERSISTENCE. I see a lot of newbies spinning their wheels (been there, done that), bouncing from online business model to online business model – usually models that have to do with making money as an affiliate.
In fact, I even have a name for it: affiliate pinball. You spend months – or years – bouncing between the latest and greatest affiliate marketing courses, but never achieving your goal: a full-time online income.
If you’re feeling like a pinball, here’s what I recommend:
- Spend three months learning about the various online business models. Spend some money on courses, but put a cap on it (whatever you feel comfortable with personally). During the three months, read some good blogs, too. Here’s a list of my personal favorites:
- Entrepreneur’s Journey
- Smart Passive Income
- Jonathan Volk’s blog
- Internet Marketing Speed
- Matt’s Marketing Blog
- Rie’s Pieces
- Viper Chill
- Think Traffic
And, of course, Tim Ferris’s blog.
Most of the blogs listed above have good free resources for people just getting started. They’re all highly recommended.
- Choose an online business model. The model that works best for you will probably be the one that you enjoy the most, and fits best with your personality.
Here are some of the major considerations that you should keep in mind when choosing your business model:
Risk. If you can’t stand risk, or can’t afford to lose any money at all, then creating your own product and using pay-per-click (PPC) advertising as your promotion method probably isn’t for you. You would do better to promote other people’s products (i.e. become an affiliate), and do your promotion through search engine optimization (SEO).
Patience. Do people generally see you as a patient person, or are you a “ready-fire-aim” type of guy/gal? Some “type A” people get frustrated with internet marketing, because they aren’t seeing results fast enough. If that’s you, promoting affiliate products through PPC is probably the way to go – because you can be up and running in a day (but you’d better be comfortable with risk). If you’re more patient and have a long-term perspective, creating your own products and promoting them through SEO has the potential for greater profit and less risk.
Interests. Is there one particular niche topic that you’re DYING to start a website about so you can share your passion with the world? Or is your interest solely to make a lot of money?
These days there are a lot of internet marketers who basically act as “traffic brokers” for CPA (cost-per-action) offers. These people are constantly looking for new CPA offers (such as free trials of weight loss supplements or dating websites), and cheaper paid traffic sources to promote them on. I see these as people who are primarily into internet marketing to make as much money as they can, as quickly as possible.
On the other hand, there are marketers who set up websites around their passions. Most would like to turn their passion into a full-time income, but they don’t mind taking the time to make it happen. For these people, creating their own product, and promoting it through SEO, social media, etc. is usually the way to go.
- Spend the next three months putting up websites. After you’ve chosen a suitable business model, it’s time to put up a few websites. Not one website, but a few. Build the websites using WordPress, and make sure to use different design templates.
Why should you put up a few sites, instead of just one?
Because each site will perform differently. One site might take off in the search engines and give you great organic (i.e. free) traffic, while the others get only a trickle of organic visitors. One site might get a great click-through rate (CTR) on your Adsense ads, while the others have a pathetic CTR.
Burn this into your brain: internet marketing is a numbers game. If you build one site and expect it to pay for your next trip to Bora Bora, you’re likely to be sorely mistaken. Better to “play the numbers game” and prosper.
- Observe what’s working for you, and what’s not. I know that this is pretty obvious, but what I’m talking about is observing things in a systematic way. Being systematic means developing metrics for success.
What kind of metrics? Here are a few:
– Increase in organic traffic this month versus last month
– Increase in email opt-ins
– Increase in click-through rate on Adsense ads
– Increase in conversion rate (affiliate sales)
As the saying goes, “What gets measured gets managed”. If you’re not measuring traffic, click-throughs, sales conversions, etc. then you can’t improve on those numbers.
- Scale up what’s working, and cut out what’s not. This is another obvious piece of advice, but something that a lot of people ignore – myself included. For a year I was profitably selling one health e-book on Google Adwords, but didn’t bother with Yahoo or Bing. As soon as I started advertising on Yahoo, that campaign was also profitable. So I missed out on a year’s worth of profits by neglecting Yahoo. Bah!
Similarly, had I more closely measured/observed what was happening with my top Adsense-earning site, I would have realized that long-tail keywords were the key to greater organic traffic – and Adsense revenues – for my other sites.
Succeeding online (or offline, for that matter) means striking a balance between learning and doing.
Many of us fall into the “analysis-paralysis” trap, spending months or years learning the newest internet marketing fad, but never implementing. I’m convinced that success comes only with massive implementation, and my own (recent) experience confirms it.
But implementation also needs to be coupled with analysis of what’s working, so we can scale up our successes.
That’s my take. How about you? Please leave your comments below.