- Business and Employment
Strategies I've Learned To Earn 7 Times More Money Online Part Time (In Less Hours)
Where does it end...
From exhausted frustrated blogger to happy profitable article article writer in 3 months!
About a year ago I was blogging 30+ hours a week, and like many bloggers was feeling thoroughly exhausted from the pressure of regular posting, tweeting, pinning and face booking required to earn just a few dollars every month.
I made a very modest trickle of income but...
It was consuming a large portion of my life every week, and it was not passive. To put in bluntly – if I stopped posting for a month - my traffic and income took a big hit too!
Thats especially true after all of the Google Updates. Luckily I found a way to overcome that!
Many bloggers will testify to the “disease” afflicting us bloggers – in other words the ongoing obsession with driving traffic to eek out profits at the expense of the rest of your life activities (including family and social activities).
Part of it was still fun, but most of it had become just work!
As a (moderately successful in statistical terms) online marketer, SEO consultant and specialist I've been building my own websites and consulting to several SEO specialist companies since 2004. I’ve spent hundreds of hours helping webmasters build traffic and rankings to their sites, especially new websites in highly competitive markets.
Many bloggers will tell you, in this day and age with frequent Google updates (Panda, Penguin etc) it's hard and expensive work.
I'm not telling you this to deflate you, (it's actually a good thing). I'm telling you this because I've been lucky to have many successes, but learned ten times as much from the failures (learning what not to invest time and money on/in). I made a lot of mistakes and learned the hard way all the do's and don'ts of successfully building long-term quality traffic and profitable websites. I know how much consistent focus and strategy – usually over several years - is needed to become an “overnight success”. I know it's not just how much you do but what, how and when you do it.
I'll admit I did make it hard for myself in the beginning by choosing high competition markets but that's also a good thing because I learnt a hell of a lot about how to compete with the “big guys”. And let's face it anything with high competition usually means more potential profit (note I said POTENTIAL because its what you do with that traffic that counts) and you always learn the most from having first done it the hard way.
It doesn't matter if you're in a high or low competition market it's vital to understand who your visitors are how to present your content (pages/posts and products services or brand) with a robust system you can track and build quality traffic to those pages.
A 3 to 8, or 15% average conversion rate - are you for real?
The super affiliates and super bloggers of this world that manage to average 3 to 8% (up to 15%) conversion rates started with, then mastered a formula. Note that I said started with a formula! The right formula – or more accurately mindset and criteria - is one of the biggest success secrets of super affiliates and successful bloggers.
I used to wonder why and what they did differently
What I finally figured out was that the rules and principles they abide by to achieve such phenomenal conversion rates. Everyone wants to know how to enjoy the best pieces of the online profit pie mmmm and so did I.
It may have taken a while for the big "aha" penny to drop for me, but I had studied these guys for a decade, and by following their strategies it all started to click into place.
What these guys and girls will all tell you to do is to build an audience, build trust and know your market.
The big wigs of internet marketing do things differently, they apply certain principles and apply them consistently. It doesn't matter what kind of Internet business you run, or if you're writing articles for profit, these principles are solid.
Years of practice (and periodic moments of wanting to chop my computer up with a large axe) led me to a deep understanding of how it all works. Problem was that I’d been applying it to the topics I really wasn’t passionate about.
I thought there MUST be a more efficient way to follow this these principles to build a following of loyal interested buyers and a steady income stream. And whats wrong with wanting to have a full and balanced well financed life huh?
To get it right and be successful online simply put - it comes down to relationship
The ultimate essence of any successful affiliate, product or service site is in building a relationship (whether at that particular moment or building a longer term “relationship” with them) and helping the reader feel comfortable and confident in their own decision to follow your directive/link and buy the product or service you are presenting to them.
This is almost always through a series of steps which are all important, No I mean VITAL to build the readers desire and motivation to take action.
Successful affiliates know their market, they have hand picked it and have gone through a process of answering all of the readers conscious and more importantly their unconscious questions before directing them to anything!
So having cracked the formula & knowing this, this why did I quit blogging?
The problem for me obviously wasn't knowing how to create good well-positioned profitable blogs in the right topics. It was all the filler work I was having to do to build the traffic in subjects I wasn’t really “into”. (Gotta have your heart in it).
When I finally got brave enough to really look at the reality, my research and statistics showed me the harsh (but silver lined) truth - that only 10 to 20% of the work I was actually doing and working so hard on was resulting in profit.
Having to build hundreds of pages to point to my "cornerstone" or money making pages (the ones designed to sell stuff) took hard work, and I was running out of steam!
So I ditched (sold) my blogs, applied what I know in the most efficient way and started making real money using the same tools and principles - just minus my websites. Let me say I'm not against blogging per se I'm only against blogging in a topic that you're not passionate about or don't have a level of expertise that makes you unique or superior and trusted by your readers.
Its ALL about relationships folks!
Blogging is or can be if you're not interested in a topic a tedious and painful process. It takes a lot of research and understanding to connect with your readers. If you don't get them naturally, you've got to get your understanding from lots of trial, error and research.
I will say it again, blogging success is all about building relationships, trust and credibility with your audience which takes a lot of time and a lot of work. So unless you’re either passionate about your topic or are knowledgeable and experienced in something that you can share on a long-term basis you're better off posting one off quality posts on squidoo or hubpages and other websites I'm going to share with you.
It's much easier to stay focused on something (especially if you've got a teeny tiny attention span like me), write good stuff and then move on.
Who are you really competing with?
Here's How I Make $200 A Day Writing Articles 3 Days A Week. What I Do…
Here are the steps I follow
Before writing any article or anything online it's important to first assess the viability of my market.
I try to write about what I am interested or better still passionate about. After all - if you know a topic and all of the issues or great things about it, why spend time trying to figure out the ins and outs of something that's not your thing and then have to try and relate to the people who are actually interested in that?
Its MUCH easier relating to people with the same interests as you - its a no brainer really!
A little homework goes a very long way to getting lots of exposure to your posts.
Is there a large enough market for me to take a small slice of the pie or better still a large slice of the pie over time (remember you'll do better by building an audience or followers).
It's also crucial to understand the type, quality and quantity of my competition.
Determining who I'm talking to and and how many people I'm talking to is vital in determining whether there is enough traffic (and likely clicks) to earn a consistent income.
If I'm guessing I know I'm probably missing the mark!
Who's My Audience?
The first step is to describe in detail on paper what and who my target customer is. What demographic I'm targeting.:
- age group
- industry etc.
I determine who exactly I'm talking to...
Am I going to get more readers around christmas, valentines day etc.
Are My Readers Buyers Or Browsers
Are the people I'm writing my post for buyers or in a buying mood? If so what can I add to make pages that is of interest to them?
People get annoyed if you tell them all about a wonderful gizmo/gadget/product etc etc and then you don't tell them where they can find it.
It's happened to me time and time again. In fact I created a whole range of products based on this happening to me. They sold like hotcakes all because I was giving away a natural skin care recipe and my followers were asking (almost demanding) I ready make the recipe and sell it to them pre bottled.
The power of this phenomenon is huge - I've seen it firsthand! (And made a full time living from this product line before selling the business).
If You're Talking About A Specific Industry, Item Or Service, What's The Size Of Your Market
Once I have an idea of who I'm talking to, it's time to figure out how many of these people might read what you are writing.
Calculating your market size if you are writing about services or something that people are doing research on, (cameras, subscriptions, fishing rods for example).
Do a Google search to determine how many people are selling your product (how many results?).
You can also check out the Google keyword planner to determine what prices people are paying for advertising in Google AdSense. Sellers that have consistently been paying high prices for keywords are obviously able to sustain this advertising campaign and therefore it must be a profitable item or niche.
One way is to check census data for your targeted customer. For example if you want to sell fishing supplies you might like to look up how many people go fishing in a given year, a given country or region. You can do this on Google.
Also check out Google trends for hot topics for major websites...more on this shortly.
I like writing about topics that people are excited and enthusiastic about - and giving them something to feel good about.
It feels good, what I get a kick out of (and it earns me a living at the same time)
Google Keyword Planner
What Are Your Niche Products/Services Selling For To Determine Commission
If you are promoting specific products (I promote my own books) the best place to determine price is to look at the marketplace as a baseline. I check out Amazon bestsellers list or eBay resellers to determine how much your items sell for on the open market. What differentiates the low and high prices (feature and benefits) and what features make one model more pricey than others.
Most importantly look at the reviews. Does a product have many reviews. If several items in that category (niche) have a lot of reviews, then obviously alot of people are or have been buying those types of items. If one stands out (see photo below for the book with the most reviews), then this is popular for a reason.
It’s my job to find out what the reason is for a product/topics popularity before writing about it
I also check out out the rank and how long they've been at the rank they sit at. For example if a book, how long has it been on the top sellers?
Then I pop over to Google trends to determine how long my product niche has been popular for or if it’s trending upwards or downwards.
A great tool I found that saves me hours of time checking out the Amazon marketplace is AMA suite by Dave Guindon. It’s very easy to use and does all of the groundwork for me. (You don’t have to be an Amazon affiliate to benefit from what opportunities it uncovers, but if you are it’s a goldmine of buzz worthy opportunities).
I never just assume the market potential is large enough, I also check the frequency of potential product search terms appearing on the search engines.
I pick three or four of your main targeted search terms and enter them into my Market Samurai software which uses Google planner and other online resources to determine the frequency that people search for my topic. I love Market Samurai because it not only shows the keyword demand but also gives a solid indication of the competition.
Oh yeah, Market Samurai also tracks ranking for my hub pages and filters or picks out "golden words" in a target market that fit the criteria of being both rankable and profitable. (Check out my website for links to these products). (Yep its a plug but I use these tools every day).
Keep Notes And Keep Them Handy
Get Your Research Homework Down On Paper
I write all of this research data down and have a criteria that I stick to religiously. I have found over the years that by ignoring one of these steps can result in wasting hours weeks and even years of time targeting a market that is not interested in buying or has a very low profit margin.
Homework is everything.
One hour of research is worth hundreds in work and profit - don’t skip it – EVER!
Once I've got a list of keywords and topics to run with I start to dig deeper into the mindset of the people that are likely to buy what you want to sell.
Sometimes I find that through this process some of my ideas fall off to the side because I realize one of those important factors is missing and people are not going to be interested in what I'm going to write, so I drop that idea.
This is good because you learn a lot about what a good niche really is. It becomes easier to see a good opportunity or drop one that isn't and move on to something that's worth spending time on.
When writing any kind of article I take people through a series of steps that mirror what super affiliates use to achieve phenomenal conversion rates (you want click happy readers!).
First I build interest and "qualify" my readers by asking them questions or stimulating their thought process.
Creating a title that not only includes the right keywords but leads the reader down definitive path because you arouse the curiosity, promises (and delivers) something for them is the key!
Your title is everything when it comes to attracting readers to your post (if on a site cluttered with tons of others for them to choose from). You want to target BOTH search engines and readers with your title and summary because you'll get page views from both!
I give them a teaser about what they might get by reading your article, or a small promise of what they might uncover or solve by reading on.
By asking the right questions of your readers it sets the scene or headspace for the rest of the article.
You want to definitively remind them of the reasons why they started searching for your topic.
Something that triggers the emotion or motivation behind their searching and arriving at your page.
For example, if someone is searching for dandruff shampoo or scalp itching, by asking a question about how often their scalp gets so annoyingly itchy (you could even be scratching your head now) – focuses the reader and gets them feeling exactly how much it annoys them and triggers the reminder that it is indeed something they want to fix – NOW!
You could then discuss how certain ingredients work to soothe and relieve the irritation and inflammation that drives them nuts. You can then leave them to "sit" with that for a minutes and introduce solutions in the form of products that not only contain those ingredients but also other benefits as well (solutions to other issues they may not have considered).
This makes people feel good, you've given them something useful to take away and helped them with something solid they can action.
I’m not telling you this because I like “schmoozing” people into a sale, I’m telling you this because if for example you really cared about a friend who sat down to ask you for help, as a good listener you’d ask them questions to clarify what they needed and what they were feeling right? This is no different; sometimes people need help identifying what they want. Think of it this way and it’s easy.
This is how super affiliates create buyers that WANT to know more, and almost demand you produce a solution. They can relate to what you’re saying and they want to know how you solved it.
This is the difference between offering something buyers are already motivated and want to buy as opposed to trying to push or “sell” something. I like sharing good advice, not shoving suggestions down peoples throats.
Think About What They Are Thinking
Building Desire – Not resistance: No Resistance Marketing!
I ALWAYS remember, I am in the solutions business – not the sales business.
Yes I am building desire but more importantly confirmation that I understand and "get" what they feel and want…
So, if you are considering a niche or product think (and write down):
Some of the questions & solution your target product of service offers, then come up with some questions and answers that make your reader think and feel to build desire for answers.
Refer to the 7 deadly sins for ideas:
- Envy (who has one and why did they want it – did the BFF buy a new iphone?)
- Gluttony (I need more shoes, pink and green are not enough, need blue too)
- Lust (gosh he’s hot, if I have a nice butt too maybe he would go on a date with me)
- Anger or Wrath (I’ll show them, I can have white teeth too)
- Greed (I want a Porsche or that $500 jacket)
- Sloth (here’s the easy way, who wants to have to get off the couch and drive to town, get it now online with free delivery)
- Envy (I wish I had those shoes)
I write down some of the questions or problems and their solutions the topic or niche offers. If I can’t find any – I move on to another topic!
- How often do they have this issue – or want something
- Cost of not having it (time saving, cost saving, economy)
- If they wanted thing from XYX product/service what would it be (ultimate wish)
- Value or justification for buying (this is important, remember the Loreal ads “you’re worth it”) – here’s why its worth the money
I like to suggest with a strong call to action (who likes missing out of a good deal).
People hate or are resistant to being sold something, but often need help to make a decision to buy something.
People want to justify why they should have something (just give me a reason to buy it please) so you should always include some valid reasons for why - give them reasons to give themself permission for taking action and some indication of how they will feel afterwards - enjoying the satisfaction of buying it!
I like to say things like "this is what I bought" or see what this ____ does.
In Your Face Promotion Doesn't Sell (Most Of The Time)
Write Steps In Your Articles And Bullet Points – Break Up The Page
People love how to’s and steps to follow. Its also a great way to lead them towards something they can see themselves doing. Lead them by the hand – they appreciate it especially if you add pictures and videos too.
Ask them for feedback and encourage questions
I like to ask and to be interested in my readers, they like knowing you are there to help genuinely…and they will tell you how you can help them better. Answer them, you’ll learn lots and they will gladly tell you what they want so you can provide if they trust you.
Refer to products, don't scream "BUY THIS' at them - remember, it's better to include links to items within your text where it is relevant, and while they are thinking about the benefits at that moment.
Statistically contextual links sell up to 10 times more effectively than adds or banners, and while there are exceptions to this rule, you'll notice that by a vast majority, these are what Super Affiliates use most!
Guarantees and security.
People are terrified of buyers remorse. This is why guarantees are so important. Remind them of why they will feel good – and if there is a guarantee TELL them! Humans are security oriented – to where possible give them something to feel secure about!
Invite them to take action. Walk them through it.
Next it the part where you ask "so what are you going to do about it?" Ask for the sale, say something like, so now that you know and understand what it takes, why not give it a go?
What’s next for you? If you are still keen on blogging and have a topic in mind that meets your criteria – go for it! Check out – he’s been blogging (about things he loves) for ten years and makes over $20 a month. Darren Rowses book
If you want to get seriously into affiliate marketing – check out Rosalind Gardiners Super Affiliate handbook or Holly Manns Honest riches. If you can afford just one I’d go for Rosalind’s book, she earns over $450k a year selling other peoples products! There are people who know what they are doing and are generous about sharing their secrets (they hold nothing back).
See this is what I mean (and yes these are real people I learned from, they are true inspirations).
Make a Fortune Promoting Other People's Stuff Online: How Affiliate Marketing Can Make You Rich
Holly Mann's Honest Riches
What Websites Do I Contribute To?
My top four are…(and I do use different pen names sometimes for different topics)
- Ezinearticles (links to my books but you can link to a website with reviews if you choose)
I do use other sites, but these are my main revenue sources. I direct people to my books and products I believe in using these principles.
Tips for writing good articles:
- I add keyword rich (but not spammy) titles and descriptions that evoke emotion
- I write good quality LONG articles with images, videos, steps, questions and resource sections. All of these factors are important.
- I ask questions to stimulate the reader into thinking and feeling about their desire/issue/reason for being on my page. Remember, they are there because I researched beforehand who they are, what they want and attracted them to the page with a good title and keywords.
- I try to answer their mental and emotional questions with tips, advice, quality facts that are backed up with evidence or social proof wherever possible. It’s not just me who thinks this, see these reviews…etc.
- Show visually what you mean where you can. Images do speak a thousand words! And videos do too.
- Quizzes polls, charts and references are all good. Stats are fantastic for demonstrating that you’ve done your homework. I like charts, graphs and data…people love having data available (even if they don’t read it).
- I bookmark EVERYTHING on twitter, facebook, pinterest etc because if people like something they generally will share it especially if there are lots of images, charts and tools that they cant easily copy!
- Make it sticky, don’t just share it – make it referable. Make people want to come back or bookmark your page to come back to. You can even say, stay posted for updates or part 2 (a sneaky trick by one affiliate marketer I know). People LOVE to know what happened after a cliffhanger – or a new development. Apple mastered this – product build up to launch type marketing.
- Be definitive and close with something awesome and uplifting! You can do xyz with the right ________. You can have tighter abs, smoother skin, faster ________ fill in the gaps.
- Make them feel GOOD about it!
So there you have it.
For me it's now a simple process, the more I write, the easier it gets.
I like to make people feel good, and really help them (its a real goal) and so everything I write is no longer fill. My articles are more genuine and I feel great about what I share.
Thats why I love writing but don't enjoy blogging…and you can too if you are also frustrated with keeping up with the work from your own blogs.
Writing for profit is fun - and you CAN make money from it!
Have a fantastic day and thanks for reading my story :)
Amazon Popular Products
Keyword Ranking In Google