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?