Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Taking control of your assets

Something really funny:

An ad on a Google Adsense widget:

Wanna Get Rich Blogging?
I Make $6,000 A Month From My Blog. Now I Reveal My Secrets For Free!
www.RipYouOff.com (not his real url of course)

Something really sad:

A lot of people probably give this dork money.


This little series of posts are directed at people who love to write, have something to say, blog in large part because they love to write. And who would not mind making some money from their writing.


You love to write.

You wouldn't mind earning a tidy side income from your writing. Truth be known, you might not even mind earning your ENTIRE living from writing.

I don't want to get into talking about places you can sell your writing. I don't want to talk about the traditional writer's marketplace. There are already plenty of websites devoted to that. If that is your bag, go for it. But know you are in the wrong place right now, and you should stop reading this and leave. Because, my purpose here is to get you thinking about the possibility that you should be doing it all yourself: not just the writing part, but the publishing and marketing as well. That is really the only way you are ever going to keep the lion's share of the money that your writing earns. Wake up and smell the 21st century. You don't need the publisher leeches any longer. Keep the money yourself.

In my opinion, you absolutely must get out of the box that tells you that you are a writer, and start thinking that you are, instead, a MARKETER of written assets. Further, those written assets are created by YOU. And you have an infinite capacity to create these valuable, marketable, assets.

Does that turn you off? Do you think you simply MUST be a writer, and nothing else? That kind of thinking may hold you back, may keep you from earning a living with your writing. Please understand that EVERY job, EVERY occupation—even your dream job of being a writer—will always include some aspects that are less exciting than others. For you and me, the act or process of WRITING is the sweet spot. But writing, no matter how good it is (and in spite of how bad it is) must be marketed. It must be sold before you get any money for it. Fact. Sorry. An unpleasant fact of life.

You can turn this task over to a publisher, and give them 95% (or more) of the money, or you can do it yourself and keep the money yourself. In other words, you can choose to work on a small commission while conforming to the timetable and other dictates of someone who doesn't really care about promoting your product, or you can become an actual business man or woman and take over control of the sales of your products.

A blog, for such a person, is simply a vehicle to promote one's products. I suggest you consider NOT using your blog, and your excellent writing, simply to attract buyers of the products of OTHERS, especially when those "others" aren't really paying you jack shit for all your trouble.


A note: I haven't said this for a long time, so I should probably mention it from time to time. The header of this blog, the picture collage, is tongue-in-cheek. It is meant to ridicule the stupid websites who, like the Adsense ad at the beginning of this post, try to induce you to buy into some phony "secret" of success. I am here to tell you that the only "secret" to success I have ever come across, is the secret of being willing to work your ass off during certain periods of every day. Sorry.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Are you really a writer?

This post is one of a series of articles directed at people who love to write. Bloggers. Authors. Explainers. Analysts. Teachers. And, like myself, Interpreters. This series is not intended to try and tell you how to write, but rather how to make money with the writing you do on your blog.

So many bloggers are really, really good writers, at least from what I have seen. But when they attract readers with their good writing, they often then just try to send those readers off to someone else’s store. That doesn’t seem right. Especially if you aren’t making much money (or no money at all) for all that effort. In my opinion, if you are a good writer, then you ought to be reaping the rewards of that writing. Why just give it away?

Remember, I am only speaking about bloggers who have a desire to earn money on the internet. I am not talking to bloggers who simply want to publish their news or opinions or journals to the world.

If you are (a) a writer, and (b) a blogger, and (c) you would like to earn some money from your blogging, then I think the answer is pretty obvious: find ways to sell your writing and keep all the money. Don’t use your great writing simply to try to sell an iTunes and keep 9 cents. Or whatever. Or don’t put up Adsense on your blog and take up half your sidebar, simply for the privilege of giving Google free advertising. How much did you earn from Adsense last month? Me too (and I didn't even have their widget installed last month!)

Mainly, I want to share with a few of you what I used to do (and what I stopped doing), and what I do now to earn money. Hint: I do somthing I love to do: write. More specifically, I “interpret" things.

And here I should stop and mention that just saying you want to earn money from “writing” isn’t a clear enough definition. You need to define exactly what kind of writing you like to do. That will depend on your own  particular personality.

For example, are you are reporter or a researcher?

Do you like to explain things?—How to do things, or how things are in the world?

Maybe you are like me: an interpretor. I like to clarify complex issues for other people. I like to simplify things. This is a very wide field, by the way, and a much-needed field to be in.

Of course there are more kinds of writing, but you get the idea. The point is, you must realize that you have value, and your writing has value. And, if I get no other point across in this post, you need to know that your valuable writing—that which you love to do—is the product that you should be selling. It is not simply a way to attract eyes for other people’s products!

Cut out the middleman. Don’t give away your most valuable assests. Use your blog to sell your own products (your writing.)


We are just getting started. 

Monday, May 26, 2008

Giving it away

You like to write. You have something to say. You are passionate about some subject. After all, that's why you have a blog in the first place, right?

Generally speaking, a blog (if you are using it to make money on the internet) is simply a funnel site. That is, it either redirects traffic to your store, or it teases some primary content you have written. Otherwise, it is just a social blog, or public information blog.

This post starts a series of articles directed at people who love to write. Bloggers. Authors. Explainers. Analysts. Teachers. And, like myself, Interpreters. My first little informational tidbit: STOP GIVING YOUR GOOD SHIT AWAY!!

Assuming you are reading THIS blog, you probably earn at least part of your income from internet sales or commissions, and are interested in additional ideas to enhance that income.

I think there are a lot of good writers out there who are mistakenly giving their products away instead of selling them.

If you read a good series of articles over a period of several (or many) days in someone's blog, I think it is safe to assume one of two things: either the blogger is passionate about the subject and has a burning desire to share his information with others as a humanitarian or philanthropic project, or else that person is a moron.

I will clarify this abusive statement next time.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Everything Old is New Again...just wait your turn.

More discoveries.

Except that the more I keep digging, the more I seem to keep uncovering things I learned and tried 35 years ago. The methods have been updated, but the message is still the same. Surprisingly, this is not especially disappointing: all those tried and true things really worked in the "old" days--really made money for the people who "worked" the plans. No reason they can't work again using a more modern technology. Might work even better.

The one disappointment--and I'm giving this to you up front so you can stop reading right away if you want to--is that I have not, still, suddenly come across that "magic bullet" which nobody knows about and which will start the money pouring in just as soon as you install the "Incredible Secret Billionaire Method of the New Millennium." Sorry. You'd think I would know better after all these years. Why do people still have that unreasonable hope? (Me included, by the way.) When, in true fact, the only things that have really consistently made me money were the ability to clearly define and articulate the essential process, and the willingness to work harder (and longer) than other people in order to implement and work the system once I had defined it. This is such a simple formula for success, especially if you're an analyst as I am. So why is it that the longer I stick to a proven system, the less competition I seem to have? I'm starting to believe it's because there's actual WORK involved. Horrors!

As one of my readers earlier pointed out, there was an article on Darren Crowse's blog about a new breakthrough idea they called "Selling Teaching" (I can't seem to find the article anymore, but I am pretty sure that's what this "new" system was called.) I read about it until it became obvious that it wasn't exactly a new idea, and that all I really had to do was go in my back room and blow the dust off a few 30-year old "Get Rich by Explaining How To ______________" books. It sounds so dated and stilted, but truly there is nothing new under the sun. And there hasn't been, probably, since that sun was quite new.

On the bright side, I am happy to tell you that this little search of mine has refocused my mind on getting back to the basics that have paid my bills for many years. Actually, these things are the true "secret" to financial success. Indeed, there is one sentence you've already read in this post, tossed casually out--as Napoleon Hill would say--to see if you have brains enough to pick it up and begin using it to make money.

I hope you will find a way to endure your disappointment at the lack of an Ali Baba ending to this story, and continue to join me as I revisit some old and very wealthy friends I have come to know over the years. Long dead, most of them, they continue to speak to us if we will stop and listen. As always, give me a few days. My goal is no longer to post daily, but to post when I have something to say.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Selling the Sizzle, Not the Steak

Well I found it! I've been in Vegas this past week spending the money!

I wish.

But I have excavated a couple more pieces of the puzzle. And I am even more convinced than last week that a new big picture exists of which those pieces are a piece.

That's not quite true: it doesn't appear to be new, actually. I can't quite put my finger on it just yet, but it is starting to smell like something Melvin Powers used to do. I remember old Melvin Powers, the self-promoted "King of Mailorder." I mean, this guy would promote anything! I think he cranked out a new book of some kind or other every 72 hours or so. I swear!

He was the kind of guy who would run classified ads in 100 little newspapers for 10-cent bars of soap, and then, when the orders started to flow in, he would go out and start looking for some soap maker to sell him soap for a nickel a bar. Anyway, one of the things this guy promoted was books about how to do various things, and music (for some reason he was into hawking sheet music.) He would talk these middle-aged singers (who had used to be popular but hadn't been for years) into recording some of his stuff and going 50-50 with him on any profits. (Melvin really fancied himself an actual song-writer.)

The point that I need you to glean from this turns out to be one of the pieces of that big picture I was talking about earlier. That point, that the old hustler Melvin Powers teaches us, is this: It doesn't, within reason, really matter what the product is. All that really matters is the proper promotion of that product.

If you are an American with a few years under your belt, you will recall the incessant TV commercials of trinket-inventor Ron Popeil. You know--the Ronco Veg-O-matic, and the Ronco this and the Ronco that. And then came the age of TV "infomercials"--long commercials. And when he had run Ronco into the ground, then came the Popeil this and the Popeil that. Ok, maybe you are too young to remember.

Dan Ackroyd of the original Saturday Night Live crew in the late 1970s did a skit which entailed grinding up fish on live TV. That was a parody of Ron Popeil's ubiquitous TV commercial, and of the way Ron talked. (Actually, Ron didn't talk like that; it was an announcer. Ron himself didn't talk like that at all.) Dan did that carnival barker voice perfectly in that famous skit.

This post is getting too long to hold your attention, so I am going to come back and finish the thought in a few days. Just keep the first point I am trying to make in the back of your minds: it's not really the product that's of greatest importance; it's the proper promotion of that product that makes money.

Think I'm crazy? Then while I'm gone, ponder Britney Spears. Yes, Britney Spears. Helluva fantastic singer, right? That voice deserves to rise to the top, right? Sheesh! No, people. What makes the money is product promotion.

Something else to chew on: How even cooler would it be if the product you are uber-promoting is also itself something of great value? What a thought!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Paradigm Change

I have been away for awhile taking care of another baby, trying to teach it to walk on its own. Sorry. While I was away, though, I have been continuing my studies on how to make money on the internet--reading the philosophy of others, as well as reviewing the basics of making money in general.

Mostly, as you probably have discovered as well, the "how to make money" philosophies out there are the same as what I have been preaching on this blog. That is, "think up ways to try and attract a lot of visitors." But you know what? There has been a feeling building inside me for quite a while now that tells me that ship has sailed. There has to be more. I have lately had the queasy feeling that this preacher is preaching the wrong religion. So I have been out probing and poking for the answer, as is my habit.

No, I don't have the complete system figured out for a new and earthshaking method of making money on the internet. Yet. But I have glimpsed a flickering candle down towards the end of this dark internet cave. It is the light of a completely new idea (for me, at least.) It has nothing to do with simply working to apply the Law of Large Numbers, like most of us are doing right now. If it works, it will set us apart from the traditional "make a million with your blog" crowd.

Napoleon Hill, the man famous for the legendary "Think and Grow Rich", wrote another huge volume--his life's work, really--in which he elaborated on his earlier overview. In his monumental "Law of Success" which, I think, is probably now out of print, he related how he was privileged to "sit at the feet" of many industrial giants of an earlier age, such as Andrew Carnegie, and listen to their answers to the same question he kept posing. He said that, on occasion, they would drop hints here and there, without explaining fully, just to see if he had brains enough to see what they were talking about. It took him his whole life, but he finally put the puzzle together. At least as much as any of us can do that, I think.

I certainly don't profess to know all of what Napoleon Hill learned, but I am starting to see a glimmer of what those old Robber Barons all knew very well. And I want to try and apply that concept to internet marketing. If those old boys had had access to our internet today, we'd all be dead. Babes in the woods. They would crush us.

I am only now beginning to put the pieces together, much less devise a workable plan of attack for the internet. I just wanted to make a post and let all you smart people out there (you must be extra smart if you read my stuff, right?) and let you know where I've been.

I'm afraid it may be a week or so before I have an update on the puzzle I am trying to put together. And even then, it is unlikely it will be complete. Please don't give up on me in the meantime.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Making money basics: traffic

Just as there are three major ways to earn money on the internet, there are also three ways to get lots of visitors to your website:

1. Advertise
2. Advertise
3. Advertise

This is not meant to be insulting to you; it is meant to focus your attention.

How many ways are there to advertise? A heck of a lot more than three. A heck of a lot more than Google Adwords.

In short, pretty much every single thing you can think of to do which will somehow serve to publicize your website falls under the general category of advertising. A lot of the things on the following list are things you very likely do already. Maybe you just haven’t thought of them as being “advertising.”

Adwords bidding (I didn’t say not to do it, just that it isn’t the only way to advertise.)

Visiting other websites and commenting.

Syndicating your content.

Creating a topical and informative newsletter.

Forcing yourself to join some social networking websites.

Making a list of relevant forums and being a regular contributor.

Pay for advertising space on popular websites, at least as popular as you can afford.

Write free PDF downloadable informational ebooks.

Be a teacher. Set yourself up as an authority on something. (You are, you know.)

Finally, make sure your website is attractive, informative, entertaining, and fun to visit. Unless you are selling used cars, respect your audience by leaving out the audio, the popups, and the unutterably despicable sticky regenerating exit windows. If you happen to be selling cars, new or used, then the above is ok, because you don’t respect your audience anyway.

Are there more? I haven’t even scratched the surface. Use these to jog your thinking about more.

More importantly, DO them.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Making money basics, part 2

1. Making money selling your own products or services means you ship the product yourself or perform the service yourself. “Yourself” includes dropshipping and 3rd party fulfillment, but the point is that you are the person who is responsible for seeing to it that the customer gets the product they paid for.

2. Making money selling the products and services of others means “Affiliate Marketing.”

3. Selling eyes means Pay Per Click (PPC) banners or widgets on your website, or selling advertising spots on your site outright.

There are variations and combinations, but those are the basic ways to make money on the internet. All of them require visitors to your website (or blog) in large numbers. That’s why I said in the last post that the question of how to make money on the internet is really a question of, “How can I induce a lot of people to visit my website.”

The way you lay your blog or other website out, in ways that are attractive and interesting, which at the same time give the visitor a clear and easy way to buy something, is called “monetization” or “monetizing your site.” Your monetization should not be offensive or even intrusive and should, as much as possible, blend right in smoothly with your editorial content. Blogs which do not have ads of any kind are not monetized. Blogs which do have ads ARE monetized. Needless to say, a blog can be monetized poorly or it can be monetized effectively.

Next: getting people to come to your blog to see all your great stuff.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Starting over

From time to time, speaking for myself at least, I find it useful to review the basics of whatever project I am working on. It helps keep me focused on what I started out to do.

This is a blog about how to make money on the internet. The posts to this blog serve to clarify my own thinking on the subject, as well as to share my discoveries with others. Accordingly, the following is a recap of some of the basic things I believe are true about the subject of making money on the internet:

You make money on the internet by selling things.

•Selling your own products and services.
•Selling the products and services of others.
•Selling eyes.

Each of these things requires finding ways to get customers to come into your “store.” As a result, the real question that needs to be addressed is not so much “How to make money on the internet?” as it is, “How do I induce people to visit my website?”

Many of these things have been addressed already from various angles in previous posts, but they are so important they need to be revisited from time to time -- for my own personal clarity if not for yours, dear readers. Let’s devote the next few posts to again exploring the basics of making money on the internet.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

What are you doing?

What are you trying to do with your blog? What is your goal? Why are you blogging? If you are reading this post, the answer is most likely, "I'm trying to make some money." Fine. Me, too.

If you already had lots of money, would you still blog? I mean, do you LIKE to blog? Do you feel you have something to say? A huge percentage of bloggers today don't really have anything to say, you know. They have become like the newspaper columnist hack who has to crank out a column on deadline every week. What used to be fun has turned into work.

If you are blogging as a business, there are a lot of things you have to do that are really not that much fun. If you intend to earn money blogging, then the name of the game is high traffic. And people don't visit your site in large numbers simply because it is interesting and relevant and you write well. Sad, but true. If you are playing the PPC numbers game, many of your visitors won't bother to read your posts anyway. And if they bother to comment, it will be simply to grab a few "follows" to their own sites.

But that's cool. I don't write this in order to criticize what is going on, only to lament the demise of interesting blog posts, as a percentage of the whole. I understand and fully accept that if you are blogging for dollars today, that means you are blogging for advertising. You are a newspaper. A magazine. It is how money is made with a blog.

If you still love to write, for the sake of having something to say, how do you cope? You might do what I do. I have blogs for money and blogs for pure pleasure. You will find no ads on the latter, and no Technorati pings. It helps me keep my sanity. If you need to make some money, but you also still love to write, consider coming up with a fantasy pen name and open a separate blog just for the pure pleasure of it.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

More backdoor online selling techniques

Another way designers (graphic designers, not web designers) can sell their services on the internet “through the back door” is by offering printed brochures, flyers, business cards, quartlerly reports, etc., for sale on your website.

What? You’re not in the printing business, you say? Ummmm...so what?

The “back door” angle of this money-making idea is to (again) NOT sell your design services at all. Sell the finished product. Get in tight with a reputable printer with fast turnaround time (on line, of course!) and use the printer’s rate card to compute your own price list. Of course, your price to the customer includes the design work for the brochure or whatever project you feel capable of working on.

Customers who buy brochures and other advertising and publicity projects are hardly ever in that business. They just want to get it over with. They don’t want to deal will 10 different companies. So do it for them. Offer them slam-bam one-stop service. Take care of their entire headache for them, not just the design work. Of course, the "headache" part is you simply sending a file to the printer online. (A file that the printer can use exactly as you sent it, without having to work on it themselves. They will tell you precisely what they need before you even start.)

Don’t sell the customer your graphic design services: sell the customer the finished product which INCLUDES your design services.

Monday, February 11, 2008

It's not against the law to have fun

Another thing you will notice if you visit several of the “superblogs” every day is that these bloggers are constantly working on projects that will somehow get ther readers to interact with the site. They concoct contests and giveaways and various competitions, and they ask their readers to participate in these.

As a recent example, I noticed that John Chow and ShoeMoney had a friendly competition to see which one of them could increase their RSS feed readership members the most. Ok, that’s kind of silly (not for them, of course, but for their site visitors. I mean, it is obvious what Chow and Shoe get out of it, but why would their blog readers care about signing up? Most of them read both sites regularly anyway.) But that’s not the point. It was just fun for the readers to get involved, to interact. To be asked to DO something.

The event or contest or whatever doesn’t have to be that big of a production, or cost you anything. It just has to have some semblance of fun or excitement about it, and it must somehow get the readers involved in the process.

Are YOU asking your readers to interact with you and the others? What have you asked them to do lately?

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The whole enchilada, through the back door

Moneymaking tip #137

Do you like designing websites?

Often it is easier to make money on the internet "through the back door", so to speak. Instead of simply trying to sell their design services, many web designers have learned that selling websites (already designed and ready to go) seem to sell more easily, even though they end up costing the customer more money. You may have noticed that several webhosting companies do this as well.

For some reason, probably simply because it is very convenient, a lot of people look for a "turnkey" operation when it comes to getting a website up and running. Since you like to design websites anyway, why not go ahead and do it before you even get the customer? Make a variety of styles. Construct templates so that you can offer certain variations to the theme without causing you too much trouble.

Basically, you just display your work (from which the customer may choose) on your website. Later, if you want to get involved even deeper with the client, you can become a reseller for your favorite webhost. Then it would truly be a turnkey operation.

Monday, January 28, 2008

NetMax reviews HostICan


In just a few short years from when it was founded in 2003 in a small home office, HostICan has today grown into a company that is able to handle and service thousands of happy customers from all over the world. Located just outside Richmond, Virginia, HostICan offers excellent quality and guaranteed satisfaction at an unbeatable price, 24 hours a day and seven days a week to all its customers. According to HostReview, HostICan is one of the top ten fastest growing companies in the world today.

Customer Support

Online customer support is an interesting feature of HostICan, and the unique guarantee states that your site will be up and running about 99.99% of the time, and that if it does not, the company will credit your account with one month of free hosting. Technical support is offered 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and a thirty day money back guarantee is also provided to all its customers.


HostICan has caught the attention of industry and customer watchdogs, and the company has managed to snag innumerable awards over a very short period of time. For example, HostICan was one of the first domain providers who won acclaim for ethical business conduct by the "Web Hosting Stuff". The company was the recipient of the CNET Award for the best-certified service and support, and the "Approved Host Award" from "FindMyHost.com". HostICan is also a proud member of the "Better Business Bureau" of Richmond, Virginia, and has been named by the HostIndex, one of the toughest domain reviewing sites, as the top web hosting company today.


HostICan is an excellent choice for your web hosting needs. They have proven themselves as a capable and strong willed company that will work hard to ensure their customers are supported and are happy. This really is the true hosting company of the future and we give it a score of 10 out of 10.


HostICan Rocks!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Funnel blogs

A funnel blog, or funnel web site, is one whose sole purpose is to redirect traffic to a "point-of-sale" website.

You should have interesting, useful, and entertaining information on your website. You know that and (I hope) you do that. But have you ever considered that you should be putting the interesting, useful, helpful, shocking, entertaining information on other websites as well?

You see, with your primary website -- your online store -- you pretty much have to stick to one subject. Your primary niche. The whole general idea of your website must revolve around a pretty specific theme. Otherwise, your visitors won't have a clue about what your website is about. When that happens, they leave. Boom. Gone. So your site needs to be direct and clear about what your subject is and easy to navigate. But you already knew that too.

Funnel sites solve the theme restriction problem. You can set up a website on any subject you want. Just make sure your funnel site is targeting a particular segment of your desired audience. If you are monetized only with pay-per-click rather than affiliate products, your choice of subjects is even wider.

The point is to get people interested in the information contained on the funnel site, and then, after they are "warmed up" so to speak, you "funnel" them over to your main website. As long as you have a variety of things to sell (or affiliate products you represent) there is practically no limit to the number of funnel websites you can set up to direct specialized traffic to certain pages of your main website.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Why are you so different?

What’s the difference between your online income and the online income of somebody like John Chow or Darren Crowse or Jeremy Schoemaker?

What’s the big difference between your blog and their blogs, attractiveness-wise and writing quality-wise?

If you are blogging about a subject that you care about, the writing quality of your website is probably as good as theirs. (English was not even John Chow’s first language.)

And if you have honestly put in the effort, then the format and attractiveness and even the monetization may well be as good as theirs, too.

One possible difference is that none of their blogs is less than a year old. If your blog is just a few months old, then hang in there and keep plugging away. Keep doing the things you know will bring more traffic to your site. Success doesn’t come overnight. Not even for these guys.

But if your blog is more than several months old and you still are not making any money to speak of, consider that you might be hiding your candle under a basket, and that the world doesn’t know you exist. It isn’t that people don’t like you or that they don’t like what you are writing. Maybe they just don’t know who you are and where you are.

Preposterous, you may say. After all, there are eleven zillion people surfing the web at any given moment.

Perhaps. But there are a heck of a lot of blogs and other website choices available for those surfers, too.

Consider the possibility that your low-traffic problem may have something to do with the fact that you don’t advertise. I have honestly never met anyone who truly put forth the effort to publicize his web site (using all the tools at his disposal to do that) who hasn’t been able to dramatically increase the traffic to his or her website.

Is it time you made the financial decision to really go into business, instead of just pretending to go into business? On the other hand, If you are a good writer, but have no desire (or discipline) to learn and execute promotional skills, then I humbly suggest you go out and find a publisher and let them worry about promoting your writing. Take the ads off your site and blog for fun.


The web sites referenced in this post are:




John is johnchow.com
Darren is problogger.net
Jeremy is shoemoney.com

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Your own art store

At no cost, you can have a professional-looking internet poster and art store designed for you, effortlessly and automatically. You will receive a high commission for all art sold as a result of your mechandising efforts. You will also have an opportunity to earn recruitment commissions. If you like working with graphic art, this may be something you want to look into.

For more info, click on the "making money with art" link in the column at right.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


Linkbait is anything on your site which induces visitors to return to your site on a regular basis, thereby making it desireable for those people to link to your site rather than type in your address in their browser every time.

Like what?

A list of current sports scores. A picture of a pretty girl that gets changed every day. News of movie stars and other entertainers. A blog on a specialized subject. Any site that provides a specialized reference tool.

Number four is what I personally do. But remember, with regard to incoming links, search engines are rating you in large part by the QUALITY of the incoming links.

All of the examples on the above list of examples might get you some regular traffic. Any social media traffic can generate a substantial amount of links to a web page. But how important are these links to Google? Often, not very.

I’ve said it before: sustainable quality traffic and quality linking is, over time, rooted in quality content. Period.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Early to bed, early to rise...

Mailing out catalogs and advertising flyers is (of course) a euphemism for suggesting that you continue to advertise all the time, even though your mail order store is on the internet instead of in a mall. Although direct mail will still bring customers to your website.

The point is, don’t just sit there and wait until nothing happens for so long that you go out of business. Spend some money on advertising. Adwords. Popular websites that you can afford. And leaving bread crumbs all over the internet on the sites you visit.

Why do some people assume that just because their store (or affiliate catalog) is on the internet, they are magically exempt from advertising their business?

What rhymes with “rise”? Go back to the beginning and read the title of this post. Ah, yes.

Early to bed
Early to rise
Work very hard


Monday, January 21, 2008

Remember "Mail Order"?

There used to be businesses that were called “mail order” businesses. The way they worked was, they would mail out catalogs or advertising flyers in envelopes, and then a certain percentage of people would mail in orders and enclose a check. When the mail order business received the customer’s order, they would mail the product to the customer. Or they would notify the company who actually stocked the product to “drop ship” the merchandise to the customer.

How quaint, you say. That wouldn’t work today. Hmmm. Or would it?

If a business has a website, and they sell merchandise on that website, and they mail the merchandise to the customer (or have another company “drop ship” the merchandise), exactly how is that different from old-time mail order?

The main difference is that, in the old days, the mail order companies where constantly mailing out flyers and catalogs, and constantly placing little ads in newspapers and magazines. The internet mail order business of today doesn’t seem do that. Instead, he opens a website and puts up pictures of his products and then he sits back on his behind. Did you catch the subtle difference? Can you guess why such a modern mail order business might fail?

If you are really in the mail order business, why would you stop mailing out requests for orders? It seems like that is a pretty important step in the process. But I may be wrong.

Happy hunting.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Putting up signs and leaving trails

Shortly after its original inception, the internet became known more commonly as the World Wide Web, with “web” being the operative word. With more and more people being connected and cross connected and cross-cross connected with one another, a metaphoric map of the internet soon looked like an airline route map, and then even more complex, like a spider web.

You know all that, but I remind you that the innate purpose and value of the internet is interconnectivity. The fact that you can visit hundreds of websites and be a voyeur or get otherwise entertained, or the fact that you can quickly access the information you are looking for, is indeed a cool thing. But if you are a person who is merely strolling down the corridors of a huge mall, you are missing ever so much. The whole point is not to just look through the windows, although that can be fun in itself, but to go inside and interact with the other people who are also shoppers and lookers.

Blogging, a relatively recent addition to the web, captures the spirit of what I am talking about perhaps more than any other example. Blogs suck you inside them. Blogs satisfy your desire for new information as well as giving you a nice shot of voyeurism and titilation. Above all, blogs offer the easy opportunity of participation and interaction. In fact, blogs practically BEG for your participation.

Participation means commenting on the posts or other comments. Commenting is certainly a step in the right direction, and certainly a step above simply “windowshopping” from the outside. To be sure. But there is more. Much more.

The very nature of the Web is interconnectivity between people. A big part of that interesting and useful interconnectivity is the referral and other linking that goes on between blogs. When you think of the World Wide Web, you should think “link” or else you are sort of missing the point.

Do you desire more visitors to your own website or blog? There are many ways to increase traffic, but I can think of no BETTER way than going out every day to visit people and make new friends. These comments and links and social networking are the “signs” I spoke of in the last post.

There are many proactive things you should be doing every single day in order to build traffic to your blog or other website. Traffic equals money. If money is not your object with your blog, then traffic equals more people to read your thoughts and more people to have the joy of interacting with.

Of those many proactive things you should be working at every day, probably none are more important, or more effective, than putting up signs on the turf of your fellow bloggers (and returning the love in their direction as well.) Overcome your shyness with the knowledge that they very much WANT you to interact with them. Honest!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Creating traffic to your website

Asking how to create traffic to a website is not the same as asking how a new store gets customers. The difference is in location. A store is usually on a busy street or in a mall. Traffic is therefore built in to a certain extent. Of course, there should still be advertising going on.

Creating traffic to a website requires a different strategy. A website is like a store that is located way out in the sticks on a country road. You have to work very, very hard to tell people where to find you. Another, perhaps better, analogy, is that your "store" is located in a very busy mall, but it is a tiny little store on the third level of the mall located down a long corridor, tucked away where few people happen by. Advertising becomes more important than ever and, in addition, there must be “outside selling” going on. Outside selling refers to a business which hires salespeople to go out and sell its products rather than waiting for customers to come into the store. In the case of a website, “outside selling” means becoming proactive about bringing people to your website rather than sitting back and waiting for them to find you.

With a website, “outside selling” can take several forms, but they all have the same end-purpose: to send people to visit your website rather than simply waiting for people to find you. Some peope have made a fortune by calling these techniques “guerilla marketing” but they are really just things you need to do, logically, to help people find out where your website is and what they will find there. Let’s talk about a few of these techniques I call “outside selling.”

One of the first things you will want to do, I think, is go out and put up some signs. Signs are good advertising, because signs can be placed where the people are. You know what a sign is. You see them everyday in your travels. Billboards. Signs on taxis and buses. Signs on poles and walls. Signs are everywhere. In this sense, TV and radio advertising is a kind of sign that goes to people instead of waiting for them to come in.

With regard to advertising a website, signs are a metaphor, of course. I mean you don’t really go out and nail signs to people’s computer screens. When I talk about signs, I was thinking about you going out like an outside salesman and posting signs on other people’s websites. With their permission, of course. But real traditional advertising, whenever you are able to afford it, is very effective as well sometimes. By this I mean advertising your website address by using traditional advertising media such as TV commercials and magazine ads. But that kind of advertising will usually come much later, if at all, for most web entrepreneurs.

What does “putting up signs on other people’s websites” mean? Let’s continue that thought in the next post.

Hint: concentrate on being a “visitor” rather than a “stay at home” manager.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

If you can't fight them...

I used to get upset at the supposedly honest and upright people with legitimate info-packed high-traffic blogs who allow that get-rich-quick crapola to be advertised on their websites. You'll even see a bunch of that false advertising on Google's Adsense. And then I thought about it, and I don't get quite so upset anymore. If Google and others can find a way to take some bucks back from these predators...why not?

Get rich quick on the internet

Do you want to start earning more money than the world's top-paid corporate CEOs? Do you want to start earning a lot of money without doing any work? Do you want to get rich in less than 10 days? If you are in the mood for some snake oil today, here are a few Get Rich Quick claims we have seen making the rounds lately:

1. The world's most fantastic false advertisement:

"The 12 Month Internet Millionaire. The Amazing Money-Making Secret Of A 28-year-old Convicted Felon Who Earns More Money Per Year Than The CEOs Of FedEx, eBay(R), Amazon, Time Warner, Apple Computer, McDonalds, Microsoft, Nike, Yahoo, Ford Motor Company, General Motors, And Goodyear Combined!"

2. Meet Andreas, the Super Forex Trader. He wants to share his secret with you:

"Please let me introduce myself, my name is Andreas Kirchberger and I make an extrordinary living trading the forex market. I used to work for the Deutsche Bank as a forex advisor but i had to quit because a question kept nagging me and even haunted me in my dreams: Why should i work, sweat 8 hours a day, making other people rich, researching reports and monitoring market movements? That`s why I and 2 colleagues developed the Forex Killer, the only working forex signal generator on the market today. I`ve already made hundreds of thousands of dollars. Here is a screenshot of my swiss bank account. Would you believe that all I did to generate this sum is spending a few MINUTES a day adjusting some easy BUY & SELL ORDERS???"

3. This guy tells how easy it is to sell Google ads:
"I made $57,317.01 in just 87 days..."

[The 1 cent is what makes this believable.]

4. And here's Michelle...advisor to corporate giants. Very believable indeed:

"My name is Michelle McAllister and I have to share my life changing story with you. I'll tell it to you straight: The CEO's of Nike...Ebay...Amazon and Walmart are tripping over their own feet to give me money! These million-dollar-a-year fat cats, know squat about their customers! So they pay 'normal' people like me to tell them the word on the street."

[Have you no shame, Michelle?]

(Caution: be prepared to be bombarded by sticky and relentless popups, confusing exit choices, and audio-video headbeaters. [And, surprisingly, none of these fabulous multimillionaires have learned to spell.] Have fun, if you think this kind of thing is fun.)

These claims (and many, many more) were found at the headquarters for this kind of thing, Clickbank.

Here’s the thing: they work. They really do. They have always worked. These kinds of ads have worked for decades (centuries?) before anyone ever thought of the internet.

I don’t mean the PLANS will work. I mean the outrageous ads work for the sellers of the ebooks, because you (and me, sadly) buy them. It seems to just be human nature to want to believe there is some inside secret to easy riches.

Here's one final one for you:

The Rich Jerk. Blah Blah Blah. Who Cares.

Who, indeed.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Getting people to visit your website

By now you have certainly descovered the real “secret” to making money on the internet is traffic. Visitors. Customers. In fact, instead of writing about “how to make money on the internet,” perhaps we should retitle this blog to “how to get people to visit your website.”

Once your blog (or store website) is set up and ready to go, a large percentage of your time from then on out will consist of thinking up ways to increase your traffic. You will advertise, of course. You will find ways to get successful websites to link to you. You will make friends. You will create a following of regular repeat visitors by making sure your blog is informative and entertaining (or that your store catalog offers a great selection of merchandise.)

And, all along the way, you will work to improve your ranking with the search engines. And don’t forget newsletters and forums and RSS feeds. Whew! It really is work. Running a blog or an online store is certainly no “lazy way to quick riches.” Which leads us to our next bit of entertainment: we are going to test your credibility by reviewing some internet get rich quick schemes that are currently making the rounds. You’re gonna love it.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Put product reviews on your website

With your site up and running for a while, it is time to get serious about your initial monetization, even though you don’t have much traffic yet. Of course, if you will be selling your own merchandise, you will have already set up your catalog and payment center during the website setup process.

If your website is a blog, and you have decided to monetize it by offering advertising space and by promoting affiliate advertisers’ merchandise, then you will be wanting to start placing your ads and product reviews tastefully throughout your website.

Remember there are two types of ads, and that you will be most probably be using both. Pay per click ads create revenue for your website if you have high-traffic, and affiliate ads (in the form of product reviews, not banners) will earn you a commission on products sold through your website by that advertiser.

Be aware that many advertisers require a certain level of traffic on your website before they will become affiliated with you. That makes it a little harder for you at first, but there are very many other advertisers who don’t have this requirement--so don’t worry. Pay per click advertisers are especially picky about not advertising with low-volume new sites, so you might just concentrate on affiliate sales at first, until your site traffic increases.

Once you have established relationships with advertisers and have written and posted your product reviews, it is time to concentrate fully on building traffic to your website.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Setting up your blog

After you are clear about what you really want to do, and have a plan on paper, then you can go ahead and start setting up your website. Knowing exactly how you want it to look, or nearly so, will make this job a lot easier.

Get a descriptive domain name for your blog or store, then choose a webhost after doing research. Choose a webhost that offers the features you need, offers decent service, and is reasonably priced. In general, don’t expect much help from your webhost in setting up your website unless you are willing to pay extra for this help.

There are several ways to set up your website using software that doesn’t require you to know how to code, but it is to your advantage to learn how to code anyway, since that puts you much more in control of how your site looks. You can do this little by little though. Making little changes to the existing css is a good way to get your feet wet.

After your site is up and running, with the basic elements in place, it is time to begin monetizing. Actually, if your site is a blog, you don’t have to monetize right away. You can start blogging and get in the habit of regular writing. But at the same time, you should be visiting the blogs of other people so you can be getting monetization ideas.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Steering by the wake, not

This also involves two things: creating a business plan, and executing that business plan.

I’ll bet you would be surprised at the high percentage of would-be entrepreneurs, both online and in the real world, that skip part one and go straight to the execution part. This is good news for their competition.

I have put execution before the plan several times in my life, to my personal grief and financial loss. I remember one time when I was very young when I was working in a job that I absolutely hated. More than anything, I wanted to be independent. To me, that meant I wanted to be self-employed.

Without really thinking about what I wanted to do, much less how to do it, I went out and rented a building. Incredibly, that seemed logical to me. After all, no matter what business I chose to open, surely I would need a building. Talk about putting the cart before the horse!

So there I was with a building. It came with some fixtures and equipment left behind by the previous bankrupt owner. An ice cream shop. All I had to do was clean it up, buy some product, turn on the lights, unlock the door, and begin to count my money. Of course the next step was equally as logical: I quit my steady job right away. I had realized my dream. I was independent.

Are you laughing? Don’t. Just look around at all the unplanned blogs and other websites on the internet. The ones that look terrible, have nothing to say, and are monetized so ineptly. They have rented a building. They have dragged some undesirable basic “stock” into that building—stock that they may know nothing about. They have pasted a lot of signs in the front windows. Now they are sitting back and waiting for people to bring them money.

What could I have done differently? What important step did I leave out? Have all these new internet store owners already quit their day jobs? I hope not.

I think it was the great American sage Yogi Berra who once made the comment, “If you don’t know where you’re going, you might end up somewhere else.”

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Blogging for dollars

The actual mechanics of earning a good living from a blog are very simple and straightforward. In fact, there are only two things you have to think about and work at. It is HOW WELL you do those two things that determines whether or not your blog will make you any money or not.

Everything you do will fall under one of these two major categories:

1. Setting up and maintaining your blog
2. Driving traffic to your blog

There are many specific things you have to do, and there are many subtleties and variations as to how you decide to do them, but they will all fall under one of those two main categories.

Interestingly, the actual act of blogging—of writing posts—falls under the second category, not the first.

In order to understand new concepts, it is often helpful to compare these new ideas to things we are already familiar with. With that in mind, let’s compare the opening of your new blog with something you may be more familiar with: the establishment of a “regular” business—say a grocery store.

In such a comparison, setting up your blog will include pretty much all the things you would need to do to open a grocery store. Driving traffic to your blog would include all the things you would do to induce customers to come into your store.

Here we should pause and note the difference between the two words “shop” and “buy.” The word “shop” implies you have induced people to come into your store to look around. The word “buy” means they have purchased something from you and given you money. In the blogging business, this distinction is important because you can make money either way.




Saturday, January 5, 2008

More popups

When I talk about popup windows, I am referring to the kind that appear unexpectedly and uninvited when you least expect it. They fill the whole screen, or nearly so. They interrupt your train of thought. They actually attack you. They have one purpose: to put the high-pressure sales pitch on you.

We have discussed how some businesses—like big-city new car dealers—treat their customers like they were a piece of meat to be devoured, giving no thought to the feelings or humanity of the customer. All they see are dollar signs. I hope you have decided not to be like this with your online business.

One of the rudest things you can do, if it is your object to be rude, is to use big ol’ nasty popup windows on your website for things other than the helpful amplification of information. The kind of popup we are talking about takes over the whole page and tries to manipulate the customer or beat them into submission. It doesn’t offer unobtrusive and helpful information--often you don’t even have to click on anything for the popup to appear in all its blinking rude glory.

When you start to read the message on the homepage of a website, and you get to the second sentence, and a huge offensive popup window opens on top of the information you are reading, what does that say to you? What does it say about the person who wants you to spend your money with them? What does it say about their opinion of you and your feelings?