After months of "lurking" around the Warrior Forum, I thought it is about time to formally introduce myself to the community and start giving back on some knowledge that I have gained from here. I apologize in advance for the length of this post, but I figure it's better than just saying, "Hi, I'm here!"
To start, my name is Ben and I have been tinkering around with Internet Marketing for about 6 months now. (Haha, "Hi, I'm Ben and I'm an Internet Marketer...") Anyway, my journey into IM started out of a little bit of boredom and a desire to make some "easy" (or so I thought!) money.
To give a little background, I currently own and operate an offline business that I actually somewhat unknowingly set up in the model of Tim Ferriss' Four Hour Work Week. When I first started my business I hadn't read the Four Hour Work Week, but I was really big on outsourcing and spending my time setting up and managing the process, not the actual work. I have owned my business for almost 3 years now and it is run mostly on autopilot, which has given me a lot of free time during the day! It also put me in an interesting position because my business makes me enough money to pay my bills, but hasn't turned me into the millionaire that I thought it would! Rather than go back to working for somebody else to make extra spending money though, I started looking for new projects that I could work on from my computer. Enter my foray into Internet Marketing!
I started out like most Internet Marketers probably do: I searched around for ways to make money online and quickly became overwhelmed with all the information that is out there. It seemed like so many people were making hundreds or even thousands of dollars each day, but I still had no idea where to even start! At this time, I learned about Clickbank though. I decided to sign up and see what it was all about! I was amazed at all the different products available, so I decided to choose a couple and try to drive traffic (hops) to my affiliate links.
My initial IM efforts consisted of marketing a couple Clickbank products on Yahoo Answers. I targeted 2 different niches and started answering questions and pointing people to some .INFO websites that I had purchased from GoDaddy ($0.89 each!) and then did a masked forward to the Clickbank product page with my affiliate link. I actually started seeing hops come my way and got my first sales this way! However, I quickly realized that the amount of time I was spending on searching for and then answering questions was not a very good use of my time. I then got my confirmation that Yahoo Answers was not a sustainable way to do IM when my Yahoo Answers account got suspended!
Feeling somewhat discouraged, I started spending quite a bit of time reading about different IM techniques. I read somewhere that YouTube was the 2nd largest search engine (behind Google obviously), so I decided to take my marketing efforts in that direction. At this point, I must admit that I became somewhat obsessed with getting YouTube video views. I was uploading 5 - 10 videos a day for a specific niche and then I stumbled across something that changed my view of IM and actually started making me some consistent money!
The purpose of this post isn't necessarily to give a tutorial on how I do IM on YouTube, but some people might find some value in this little discovery of mine... After a month or so of uploading videos with different titles and tags I started to realize that certain videos were getting a lot more hits than others. I was originally using the video titles and tags to try to get my videos ranked on the first page for search results in YouTube, but I realized that the videos that were getting the most traffic were coming directly from other videos on YouTube. This was certainly an eye opener, although it seems obvious now! I realized that there are people on YouTube who have a large following, so anytime they upload a video a lot of people are notified and then go watch it. I further realized that a lot of people who have a large following tend to upload videos on a very regular basis and tend to use the same general title and tags for their videos. Once I figured this out, it was easy to start creating videos using a similar title and the same tags as the YouTubers with large followings were using and lo and behold when they would upload a new video, my video that I had uploaded a few days prior would be linked to theirs! All of the sudden my videos were getting thousands of hits and I was starting to see consistent sales!
Now that I was making some consistent money from my YouTube videos, I decided to expand my IM efforts outside of YouTube. I had always read that the best way to get free traffic is from getting your site ranked on Google (obvious enough!), but the whole idea of getting the #1 spot on Google was very intimidating and seemed next to impossible! I read so many different posts in the Warrior Forum and found a lot of good information. The most important being that back links to your site is key. Once again, I got in my obsessive compulsive mode and started building back links to a site I had built. Long story short, I was able to get my site ranked on the first page of Google for a keyword and the whole "mystery of Google" seemed to go away... Until I realized that I wasn't getting any hits from the keyword!
I had always read about keyword research, but didn't really understand the importance of it until I got a site ranked on the first page of Google, but was getting no hits to my site! This was a little bit frustrating, but by now I knew I was onto something. After reading a lot more on the Warrior Forum about keyword research, I came across the program Traffic Travis. Now I'm sure that a lot of you have heard of Traffic Travis, but if you haven't, you MUST get it! The basic version is free to use and it allows you to easily see how many searches there are on a keyword and what the competition is like for that keyword. I'm not here to try to sell you anything, so if you want it, just do a Google search for Traffic Travis and you will find it.
Now that I had a good keyword research tool I started creating various niche websites to get ranked on Google. I created these sites using a variety of methods from my own domain to free services like Blogger and Tumblr. I was able to get a few different sites ranked in Google and the money started coming in--although it was much less than I was hoping for!
The idea of having one site that would earn me tens of thousands of dollars a month was not coming to fruition, but I did have about 5 sites that were each bringing in about $50 - $300 a month. This is when I had another "Ah-ha!" moment... Internet Marketing isn't about having one large site; it is about having many different small niche sites that each bring in some money individually, but it really starts to add up as a whole! Again, to experienced marketers this is probably, "Duh...", but to me it was really eye opening.
Now that I was starting to make some money online, I decided to reinvest some of my earnings into different IM courses and guides on how to make money. One thing that I found interesting is that most of the stuff that was taught or explained in these different courses and guides were things that I already knew! This is when I had the realization that I actually knew what I was doing and might actually have a shot at doing this for a living!
Once I realized that it IS possible to make money online I really ramped up my efforts and now focus on finding niches and then outsourcing the tedious work of building a site, writing content, and back linking. I feel as if everything has "clicked" and I actually know what I'm doing!
If you are still with me, I really appreciate you taking the time to read this. I obviously spent a minute or two writing this, so I hope you have found some things in here useful, or at the very least interesting.
I would like to leave with a quick overview of my "strategy", if you will.
Step 1: Keyword Research
Keyword research is a must. There is no point spending time creating a website if you don't know how many people are searching for the information you want to offer. I use Traffic Travis to find niches to market to. I have been known to spend hours just typing in different phrases to see what comes up. I try to find niches that have at least 250 daily views and where the top Google ranked sites for that search term have fewer than 20 back links.
Step 2: Content Creation
Once I have determined a good keyword to target, I will then create a webpage related to that keyword. I have used everything from EZineArticles to Blogger to my own domain... it really just depends on the mood I'm in at the time and how quickly I want to get the site up. I then place banners and links on the site to direct people to go Clickbank page with my affiliate ID.
Step 3: Getting Ranked on Google
All I can say is back links, back links, back links. Since I create the page for a specific keyword, I find that my on page optimization is generally pretty good, so it is all about getting the back links. Obviously there is some strategy in building your back links and all that, but I'm just trying to give you an overview of what I do.
Step 4: Watch the Money Roll In and Then Repeat
Once the site gets ranked high in Google, it's time to collect! As I mentioned before, I don't have any sites bringing me in thousands of dollars each month, but I have multiple sites bringing me in hundreds of dollars, and combined they all add up!
So that's basically it... I know I've skipped around and maybe have left some things out, so if anybody would like some clarification or just wants to pick my brain feel free to ask questions! I'm also interested to hear other people's stories about how they got involved in IM or if they have any tips & tricks that they would be willing to share.
Thanks again for reading this long post and I look forward to being a part of the Warrior Forum Community! And also to all the "newbies" out there... just remember to stick with it. Success doesn't come overnight, it is a process, but it is a process that anybody can master. Keep your expectations realistic and don't give up and you will be surprised what you can achieve!