Category Archives: Business
To kick off this article I’d like to let you all know that I am not a millionaire, far from it, but I do make money online and am basing this article on a huge amount of research I have done.
We all want to make a good living, right? And for a lot of people, a real benchmark in earnings is to reach the millions. Your target might be a million a year or a million over 20 years, but can you create that income for yourself online, and how? Are there people doing so already?
Blogging for Millions
Blogging is a legitimate way to make money. I have talked about it a lot here on Dollars Per Day as I try and make a full time living online. A blog is a platform to sell products, advertising space or promote other money making projects you are involved in, but can it make you millions?
Certain niches and blog topics can be very profitable, usually the ones in high value industries and with valid buyers looking for information on a product. Depending on your definition of a ‘blog’ it is very possible to make (over a long period of time) a million from it. For example, if you were reviewing laptops and electronic equipment every day on your blog, and had a huge amount of articles, not only would you be able to make good commissions referring sales (up to $50 per laptop sold for example), you could demand good money for banner ads and other types of on site advertising. An income of $300 (or £200 if you’re in the UK like me) is certainly realistic, even though it would be very hard work. This would bring you to a million in 10 years, which isn’t bad. Double the size of your site and the sales you make and you will half the time to get to a million, it is possible but difficult.
Selling your blogs or websites is another good way to create income quickly. Get to £10,000 a month and you can probably sell your site for 20 times that on a site like Flippa.com. Wash, rinse and repeat.
Other Online Businesses
There are many other online businesses where the potential for income could be larger or easier to reach. Some are listed below.
Membership websites create a great recurring income. 1,000 members of a £29 a month membership site providing courses, information or premium resources could see you make a million in just a few years. Scale the business up and the money is undeniably there for the taking.
Digital products such as courses and eBooks are amazing for making high profit margins. They cost little to produce, and the sales can be through the roof if promoted correctly. A set of £29 eBooks can make you a huge amount of money over the course of a couple of years, just make sure you are providing value and not selling spammy content.
Whether you are producing, importing or drop shipping physical products, there is a huge amount of money to be made. People purchase online every day and the industry grows by billions every year. Another income source where your niche is important. Choose products with a high markup, promote them well and race to a million.
Self Publishing on Kindle
Similar to the digital product niche, many people have taken advantage of the kindle boom to publish their fiction and non-fiction books and make a shed load of money.
Check out John Locke’s book on becoming a millionaire via Kindle self publishing. How I Sold 1 Million eBooks in 5 Months.
In case you couldn’t already tell, I am a firm believer that this type of income is obtainable from your blog, and am certain that people make millions per year online.
The best way to go about it is probably to experiment with the methods I’ve mentioned among many others, and you’ll probably settle on a profitable combination that works for you. Not a large percentage of internet marketers and webmasters will hit millions, but some of them certainly do.
In my time as an entrepreneur, I’ve really struggled with a common problem among the creative business types that often run small businesses. Shiny Object Syndrome.
Shiny object syndrome is when we flit from one exciting new trend to the next. Every new idea that comes along or amazing business we hear about, we want a slice of the pie. Of course we do, we’re entrepreneurs, but that doesn’t mean we have more time than everybody else, and there is no way we can fit it all in, not to mention the chunk of passion we lose when we get enthralled by something new.
It is perhaps fair to say that this syndrome is not entirely curable. We wouldn’t want it to be. I mean, the fire we get in our bellies when something new excites us is what keeps driving us forward, but that enthusiasm itself wont get us far without structure and hard work, oh and of course actually finishing and shipping projects. Though there may not be a cure as such, there are treatments, and ways we can curb our excitement and getting things done. Here are my top tips.
- Deadlines. It can be really difficult as a solopreneur or other type of entrepreneur to set ourselves deadlines. In the online marketing space, a lot of projects are ongoing (this blog, for example). If they are things we can finish such as digital products, redesigns or work for clients, we might not have set ‘deadlines’, so we need to practice the discipline of creating them for ourselves. Make yourself accountable. I will have my Kindle eBook finished by XX date as I have promised to send it to reviewers on this date (one of a ton of examples I could have included).
- Learn to let the dust settle. We’re all guilty of getting overexcited and steamrollering our way into a brand new project, buying all the books about a technique we have learned about and spending a solid week after we have an idea doing nothing else but working on it. It is important to learn to take a step back, know that shiny object syndrome has struck again, and wait to see if the idea still seems as exciting a week or two later, sometimes we get a bit carried away by things that actually aren’t as great as they may seem.
- Store your ideas. There is nothing wrong with leaving something on the back burner for a while, think it through, plan your new project but don’t be worried if you decide (with your logical head on) that it might make sense to wait a while to push towards a new goal.
- Structure your days and weeks. This is another piece of advice which is just generally wise for entrepreneurs, but definitely helps avoid falling foul of those pesky shiny objects. If you have no routine and structure, you will let yourself slip into a daydream of a new project and spend weeks on it, but if you’re used to completing those five articles a day or building 20 backlinks for clients or whatever it is that you are used to doing, you will be able to prioritize it over whatever your new poison is.
- KNOW what is happening. My biggest step in tackling this problem was merely understanding it. Once I knew that I was getting carried away, I was able to simmer down and remain calm about it, approaching it in a much more level headed way.
Remember that it isn’t a bad sign, but getting things done is so important, and we can so easily fall into the trap of constantly having half completed projects. Ship it before moving onto the next idea.
There’s been much talk regarding content in the internet marketing and blogging communities of late. Google’s Panda, Penguin and EMD updates have affected the way we build our websites, and has put a lot of the emphasis on larger, authority based sites.
If you look at the blogs of some of your industry competitors, you might see thousands of pages of content. A daunting prospect for anyone starting out or looking to expand a site, so how much content does your blog really need to be competitive, rank well on Google and make you some money?
Well, the first thing to be considered is your niche and audience. If you’re writing a blog or building out an ‘authority site’ about say a special type of plumbing equipment, you might really struggle to write a lot of new and exciting content. The pillar articles on your site may be really good quality and stand the test of time, but you simply may not be able to build out to thousands of pages. On the other hand, you may have a sports blog in an area where there are hundreds of newsworthy stories happening every day, as well as match reports and player profiles you can write. It is very possible that you could make a full time job out of writing this type of content, and constantly uploading it to your blog, but it would take a lot of upkeep and could be redundant pretty soon (nobody is looking for year old match reports).
So where can you find the ‘content sweet spot’? The magic amount of posts, or regularity of posts to keep your blog ticking along nicely and competing. As recent Google updates have suggested, the future of sites is probably in larger, more authority based sites. People have been making a lot of money out of Four and Five page websites in recent years by putting them on an exact match domain and working on the content and link profiles, but these kind of sites are seemingly being weeded out by the search engines.
In some cases, such as a non-competitive niche, small sites could still win the day, but in general, Google and the other search engines are looking for more. The chances are they are more likely to rank a post on a large site, rich in good quality information than a small site, obviously built to game its way to the top of the SERPs.
I know, I know, I still haven’t answered the question. Well, in my experience, I have always aimed for three posts a week. My search engine traffic off the back of this is okay. It means that there is a regularity that I’m sure is taken into account (Google love new content), and my site doesn’t sit there for months on end without being changed or updated. However, the niches I’m in are very competitive, and I believe I still have a long way to go in my blogs to get to the level of authority needed. If you’re making a site about Football, there are a lot of competitors, and if you’re not posting regularly, the search engines will probably trust another site over yours. A niche such as mine will take a long time, even at three posts a day, to become one of the main authority sites on the subject. Prepare to work hard.
Content or Posts?
I’ve focused a lot on the written aspect of a blog in all of the above, but that isn’t your only option, and I’ve seen bloggers have immense success with huge databases of video, photos and infographics, which can drive traffic from other sources such as Flickr and Youtube rather than just Google.
Based on the amazing Pat Flynn’s “Be Everywhere” advice, I recommend a good variation of all of the different types of content you can possibly create.
A Parting Note
It can be really tough to feel like you’re doing enough when you’re putting out say three posts a week and it isn’t hitting the dizzy heights you’re hoping for, but remember that when you start out in blogging, or even if you’ve been doing it for a while, it takes a long time to build up the content you need. For some subjects, 3 months might see you ranking, but for others you may have to work hard for years. Don’t be disheartened and keep working hard, as you learn and you implement more and more techniques, you’ll get there in time.
With a constant need for CPM and pay per click advertising platforms to accompany and compete with Google Adsense, many people turn to the Adbrite platform. Adbrite is often touted as an alternative to adsense, and runs in a very similar way in that you implement their code and get paid based on the amount of views and clicks.
I was told before testing out Adbrite that it wasn’t quite as good as Adsense and that I shouldn’t expect the same returns, but with many people being rejected from the Adsense platform or even having their accounts banned, I thought it would be good to test out as a backup strategy, just in case (heaven forbid) anything happened with my other methods of monetisation.
Installing Adbrite Ads
Okay, this part was just as simple as Adsense and other ad platforms. No great difficulty if you know your stuff when it comes to wordpress and have a basic grasp of html. I am using the awesome Ad Injection plugin to install the ads on my sites and I find it works a treat, though I’m thinking of switching to Intellitheme soon as I hear its ad implementation is really easy and it tracks your ads well, too. Either way, it’s just a case of generating the code on the Adbrite publisher dashboard and copying and pasting. Easy.
What Kind of Ads Show Up?
Okay, this is where I’m going to start being pretty critical of Adbrite, so be prepared! The ads that were generated on my sites I found in many cases spammy, poorly designed, obtrusive looking, distracting from my content and not the kind of thing I want associated with my websites. I even had those fake “congratulations, you’ve won” adverts appearing on my site. I got the occasional big name and legitimate looking advert, which is what I think the guys at Adbrite should focus on getting more of, but a lot of the advertisers seemed like scam artists, and I wasn’t keen to have them on my site particularly.
How Do They Convert?
I’m at about 60,000 views, and have a click through rate of roughly 0.3% which means I get less clicks per thousand visitors than a lot of other advertising platforms such as Infolinks. However, I have driven a lot of traffic and therefore have enough ad views to give a decent analysis.
How Much Money Have I Made With Adbrite?
Well, you might know from your own experiences with the platform or just from working out roughly what I should expect per click/1000 visitors. So it could shock you to find out that my total earnings from those 60,000 visitors is a paltry $4. For me to be happy to continue with the platform I would have to have made over 10 times that from the same amount of visitors, and I am therefore not considering it as an alternative to adsense or a viable advertising platform for the future.
I have only had to contact Adbrite once, but I received no reply to my query.
Do I Know It All?
No, I don’t. I’m open to being proved wrong, perhaps other people have different experiences with Adbrite and maybe I’m just implementing the ads wrong, but my experience is not what I’d call positive. If you’ve had a different experience and have a more positive experience, leave me a comment, I’m all ears.
Regular readers will know that my site is all about a journey to make money online, and not just a few pounds (or dollars, sorry) here and there, but a good solid income, even better than I could make in an average job here in the UK. I know a lot of people share my dream of making a living on the internet, but a lot of us (I’m not excluding myself) can be really impatient, and if we’re going to be dedicating a lot of our time to online pursuits, we expect some sort of return relatively quickly. If I write 100 articles, I don’t want them to just make me a few pence each, I want to make enough money that I feel like it has been worth my time. Unfortunately, it’s not always that simple online.
The title of this article is actually a little misleading; It suggests I have an answer. I don’t have an exact answer for you, and the truth is that no such thing exists, it is different in almost every single instance, but I can share with you my experiences and the things I’ve learned about making money online.
If You’re Looking for Passive Income, Don’t Expect it Quickly
One of the great things about making your money on the internet is that it can be relatively passive. It’s a myth that you can work for 20 minutes a week and rake in a seven figure salary, but that said, your income can be more passive than most. An article you write today could be making you money five or six years in the future, whether you’re asleep or awake, sitting at your desk or laying on the beach, but you wont get there overnight. Websites that rank highly, eBooks and digital products that sell well, membership sites, eCommerce and almost every other method you can utilise to create your online income will take a long time to build.
When building out my sites, I try to become a real authority in the niche. I don’t simply want to rank for a couple of keywords for a few months and make me a little bit of cash, I want to build a really great site with a big following, a community and a lot of articles that can drive traffic, make me sales and sell products I have created. The sites I consider ‘competitors’ (or just those to model my own site on) have tens of thousands of backlinks, thousands of articles and a loyal following. Reaching this level can be hugely rewarding, not to mention profitable, but don’t expect to get there for a few years. Your income might start to kick in after 6 months, but don’t expect anything spectacular until you’ve created an amazing resource and promoted it like there’s no tomorrow.
There Are Faster Ways
You don’t have to be ‘black hat’ or use spammy techniques to make money quickly. I’ve written an article about many of the methods to make money online quickly and there are ways that you can simply trade your expertise and time for peoples money. Offering a service is the main way people utilise the internet to make money quickly, and with the correct service you can do this remotely too, creating a good home job, but it’s only ever going to be a lifestyle business, and you’re not really building something great for the future such as a huge authority website.
Business Models are There to Be Experimented With
I mention the Adsense Flippers a lot here, because they’re an amazing team doing brilliant things and sharing their techniques with the rest of us. These guys build out sites before selling them, a business model that has worked really well for them, and it speeds up the process somewhat. Once their site is ranking and making an income, they can sell it for a chunk of cash (say 15 times its monthly income) and move onto the next. It might not rank any quicker, but when it does they can make a nice big lump sum instead of maintaining their sites and just letting the income trickle in slowly. Be creative with your business model and you could see similar results.
In my opinion, a balance of these long term, passive projects and a few fast moneymakers is a winning combination. We all need to eat and pay the rent, so some money needs to be made while the empire is being built. The truth is that you can set up a service or simple website selling something, and if you get it right, you can start making money tomorrow, but it wont be spectacular, and all the top online earners have been at it for years.
I’ve been into the world of Internet Marketing and Blogging for quite a while now. My interest began years ago but I only really started putting a lot of effort into learning the art of blogging and running my own blogs in 2012. I don’t regret taking the plunge and spending the hundreds of hours building out my blogs at all, and I owe a lot to the following bloggers.
Some of the list below I’ve spoken to a lot, some I’ve spoken to a little, and some I’ve never had any contact with other than listening to their inspirational words via their sites or podcasts, but they all have a lot to offer the aspiring blogger. Some of those on the list are
Without further ado, my most influential bloggers are:
Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income.
Pat is one of the more famous bloggers on the list, and his experiences of running niche sites, his podcast, his blog and his digital product creation are amazing. He coined the ‘Be Everywhere’ phrase that has become the mantra of bloggers everywhere, and says that losing his job was one of the greatest things that happened to him in his career. One of the many reasons I love Pat is how open he is with his methods and how he is earning money online, as he posts his income reports every month (something that’s quite fashionable with bloggers). He does all of this with immense grace and modesty in spite of earnings of roughly $50,000 most months. Impressive.
SmartPassiveIncome.com - Pat’s site.
Mike from Maine.
Mike Thomas of Mike from Maine is a more recent discovery for me. I first heard about him through the Adsense Flippers (they’re coming up later on the list) and when I started following his blog I realised that this guy knew what he was talking about. He sells sites and dabbles in other online incomes, but what I love most about Mike’s site is the interviews he posts every weekday with influential bloggers, marketers, SEO pros and more internet professionals. I learn something every day from reading Mike’s site, and you should definitely subscribe to his video feed at the very least.
MikeFromMaine.com - Mike’s Site
I don’t even know how I found Adsense Flippers’ site, but I am extremely glad I did. Justin Cooke and Joe Magnotti work out of the Phillipines, they build and sell niche sites and are one of my key resources for info on SEO, selling sites and content creation. They also run TryBPO, a business process outsourcing company. For a good idea of the work these guys are doing, check out their amazing podcast! Perfect for long hours in the gym or drives to work.
Adsense Flippers - Justin and Joe’s site.
Darren Rowse – ProBlogger
Darren is perhaps the most famous blogger out there. His ProBlogger book is one for every blogger and internet marketer’s Kindle, and is immensely insightful for a whole range of subjects. Some of Darren’s best pearls of wisdom relate to building a community around his photography blog, making money from Amazon affiliate schemes and content creation.
ProBlogger - Darren’s Blog
The Lifestyle Business Podcast
Okay, it’s technically a podcast, but they do bust the occasional blog post too. Dan and Ian are entrepreneurial geniuses, and share an insight into their successful businesses in the podcast. From cat furniture to internet marketing, their views and opinions are inspiring and helpful in your entrepreneurial pursuits, as well as being really cool guys who will make you laugh along the way.
Seth is a marketer first and foremost. His books and entrepreneurial pursuits are remarkable, and have resonated through the world of marketing. His blog delivers amazing advice to help you out in your day to day tribulations on an almost daily basis. Seth is a really clever guy, and he isn’t trying to make any money out of his blog, just share his wisdom and enhance his reputation. He’s a real digital age trendsetter, and an intriguing person to follow and interact with.
My list is still evolving, and new bloggers influence me every day, whether they’re making money online or not, but these are the guys who stand out at this moment in time. Quite a few have only just missed out on the list (sorry) and I will no doubt be posting interviews and info about prolific bloggers as time goes by. For now, leave me a comment and let me know who I should be reading over winter 2o12 and beyond!
WordPress is constantly growing, and over recent years has become one of the key players when it comes to content management systems and web designs. WordPress is many people’s choice to run not only their blogs, but their business websites too, and because it is so customisable, its awesome features translate brilliantly for business sites. One of those features is the ability to install plugins, which add features to your site or alter the way it runs for the better. Plugins can be installed to do a variety of things from improve your SEO to put your images in borders. We’ve picked out the best wordpress plugins for business websites, and explained how they can benefit your website.
- Sidebar Form - For business websites, you need a call to action, and a way of easily letting your customers enquire about your service or product. This nifty plugin lets you put a fully customisable form in your sidebar, so it is visible on as many of your pages as you like, and allows people to contact you quickly and easily. It could gain you customers.
- WordPress Live Chat – Some people view this as a bit intrusive, so I’m not saying this will definitely be for you, but a live chat plugin is great for helping out the visitors of your site and hopefully closing on sales. It looks mighty professional, too!
- Shopperpress – This is for those of the businesses out there that like to sell things – Shopperpress is the only paid plugin on the list (sorry) but it is brilliant for any site that wants to ship products OR services, and makes taking payments as well as dressing up your site to look lovely extremely easy.
- Yoast SEO – Not strictly for business, but I’d include this on any list of good wordpress plugins! Yoast are the bosses of the SEO plugin, and there are a lot of competitors out there, trust me. Why have an SEO Plugin? To allow you to optimise your website for search engines. Yoast make this easy with their layman’s term instructions.
- Digg Digg – You may not have a product that is particularly ‘shareable’, but you never know who is going to want to tell the world what they’re buying from you, so make sure you make it easy for them to send to facebook, twitter, stumbleupon, or to email to somebody. Digg Digg is my social sharing plugin of choice. Dont forget, social is the future of SEO, too!
So what do you think, have I missed any amazing wordpress plugins that can help my readers businesses, or does the above list cover it? Personally, I have found wordpress the best way to host business sites, because it is so easy to tweak and customise, without having to mess around with web design (or worse, web designers!)
I’d like to start this article by saying that currently, I’m pretty happy with my businesses and all of my entrepreneurial endeavours. However, trust me when I say I am an authority on businesses failing! A tag I am surprisingly proud of; I’ve learned from every failure and they’ve made me what I am. I’ll fail again, and probably a few more times en route to where I want to be.
I’m not saying that there is an exact formula to business, or business failure, but there definitely are patterns, and by looking into those patterns and seeing which apply to you, and the alterations you can make, you can save your business.
A Declining or Non-Existent Market For Your Product
It is true that in the modern day and age there are a lot of declining markets. There are many emerging ones too, but you need to be more thorough than ever in your research of what sells and how you can make money. You’re (probably) not going to get rich selling CDs in an age where digital copies of music are becoming ever more popular, for example.
A Lack of a Plan
I’m not like most in that I dont believe that you need to plan EVERYTHING in business. Not every move needs to be pre planned, but you do need a plan, and clear goals to stick to, if you’re going to get anywhere in business. It’s not too late if you’re already in business, you can make a yearly or quarterly plan and try to put things back on track.
Poor Cash Flow
Cash flow is key to a business. You can’t count on people at all, and you need a cushion for when you dont get paid as expected. A business overdraft or savings are helpful.
Unhappy or Poorly Organised Staff
If you dont have staff or partners then this is obviously irrelevant, but your staff in business are absolutely key and keeping them happy and productive is vital in order to thrive. Reward them, be fair to them, and cut them some slack…you’ll see the results.
You Cant Be Competitive
This works in every type of business, if somebody else is doing it better or cheaper, or heaven forbid both, you may well be doomed. If a business is already shipping on mass, you’re not going to be able to compete. Dont start a supermarket next to an established chain, you’re not going to win.
This has killed so many businesses over the years. Balance sheets, spreadsheets, profit and loss margins, time management…the list of activities that keep you, your staff and your business organised is almost endless, and though it is almost never why we go into business, it sure can be why we fail.
As said previously, there are a lot of reasons for businesses to fail, but if you fear that any of the above are getting to yours then make sure you remedy the problems. If you simply cant remedy the problem, pivot, turn 180 degrees and start something new. Failure is an important part of your life, learn from it and move on.