Online Plans and Goals: Secrets? Spread the Work, Trickle the Income
My New Online Journey
Five months in, and $507 dollars earned online! Yes, I have convinced myself that this can work. (My four years of random blogging from 2006-2010 earned me just over seven bucks --payout was pretty far away!) I have written elsewhere that the bulk of these earnings came from paid blogging/writing, with the rest from Google Adsense, Chitika, Amazon Affiliate, HubPages Ad Programs, Commission Junction, and Fiverr.com earnings. But now that I am making some money online, and I enjoy the writing, the research, the KW study, and more -- I have been actively tracking those people who are VERY successful online, and learning how to go from $500 in 5 months to my new goal: $500 per month!
What's Required to Earn Online:
Setting Goals: From many successful online internet content creators, affiliate marketerers, bloggers, podcasters, and others the first obvious step seems to be to set a goal. Sterling and Jay from Internet Business Mastery talk about imagining the life you want as well, and defining your goals and plans around that vision, statement of purpose, and ideal life scenario. Their podcasts are filled with great tips that inspire me daily! Once you have a top level goal (like earning $500 per month), then it's just a matter of deciding how to make it happen!
Break Down the Work: I have a FT job, a PT service job, and this online "experiment" as I used to call it. It's now my online business, and that clarification helps increase the seriousness of my efforts. I work very hard (I think), stay up very late creating content, and fixing things (sites, images, etc), and do a fair amount of research. But maybe I can't do everything... So when I appropriate, I've experimented with finding some help. From the money I've earned, I have hired others (freelancers and outsourcers) to make videos for me for YouTube, do some content research (data mining), and more. I will continue to hire virtual assistants (VAs) when it seems appropriate. Other have said that this helps scale up faster.
Break Down and Track the Earnings: I love numbers. To me it's a little strange -- because it's not part of my day job. Spreadsheets, graphs, pie charts -- they're all great tools for tracking my online efforts and more. The data I get helps me see what's working and how to improve. It's a way to log an affiliate sale or click, and get back to work. (BTW, I track earnings, by source, monthly.)
So this is what I noticed. Today is 155 days since I restarted my efforts in July 2011 (this is my own personal Web 2.0!) -- that means my $507.64 earnings averages out to $3.28 per day. This is skewed by the paid blogging payments I received in September-October, so my average drops daily... for now. This helps me forecast an annualized amount of $1195 (which equals $3.28 x 365 days), for reference only -- if I can maintain this pace. I've read many online writers talk about their content 'aging' and getting more traffic and clicks later, so we'll see what happens when my oldest content is over 6-12 months behind me. I can't say this really happened to much of my old blog content (from '06-10), but that stuff was never keyword, SEO, or length optimized.
New Goal: How to Make It Happen with Content and Diversification
CONTENT: All the content I've written since July 2011 is a tool! I have 66 articles at InfoBarrel; 20 here at HubPages; a shopping niche site with 42 posts; a personal finance niche site with 19 posts; and eight (8) other niche sites with varying amounts of content of less than 10 posts/articles. I also have revenue-sharing content/backlinks at Best-reviewer, webanswers, excerptz, and others.
MY NICHE SITES: So, yes, in addition to writing at InfoBarrel and HubPages, I have ten (10) niche sites that I'm working on! Why so many? At first a couple seemed like enough -- but I write on such a wide variety of topics, I thought I could maintain several. (In fairness to my obsessive nature, two are related with similar planned content - so within a month I'll only have to work on the others regularly...) And with one niche site the plan is to fill it with content, rank it in Google, and potentially sell the whole site on Flippa. And a couple of these niche ideas were about grabbing domain names quickly while they were available, and building more complete sites over time! Each site, along with IB and HP, is monetized with some combination of Google Adsense, Chitika, Amazon Affiliate, Commission Junction, and/or Shareasale.
SO WHAT'S MY GOAL STRATEGY:
With IB, HP, and ten (10) niche sites, that's twelve (12) main revenue sources -- leaving out the other random backlinking sites. To earn my $500 per month goal, each site must earn $41.66 per month, or $1.39 day. That seems manageable, especially knowing I have 86 articles at InfoBarrel and HubPages on a wide variety of keywords and topics.
To use the 80/20 rule (Pareto Principal), where 80 % of the results come from 20% of the effort... it looks like this: Twenty percent of my 12 sites is 2.4 sites, and eighty percent of my goal ($500) is $400. For two (and a half) sites to earn $400 per month, that means $167 per site per month, or $5.55 per site per day, on average. Sure this could be difficult with a single low-ranking site with only adsense, but this seems possible with the occasional boost of affiliate sales, and occasional outright content freelancing (at Fiverr, Constant Content, Elance, oDesk). I prefer to earn the money passively, by writing the material for my own sites now - rather than actively selling content outright, but we'll see if a mix is necessary.
CONCLUSION: HOW WILL I GET THERE
The plan is to continue: do serious Keyword Research, try to produce great content, use striking graphics and images, interlink my content (hold the viewer), show relevant affiliate products, and try to have each site deliver the information the viewers are looking for... That's simple (x 12!!). I track my efforts to motivate myself (and others), and I hope by writing this down I've made my goals more concrete. Best of luck with your goals!