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This probably belongs here more than in the main forum, so if a moderator sees this as a double, just delete the thread in the main forum

This is my attempt to give back to a community of people that I feel very indebted to. I wrote a semi-lengthy rant about my time doing business online that takes up the next dozen paragraphs or so. If you want to skip to the meat, do ctrl+f and type in "all right".

Starting out in this internet marketing game I felt very enthusiastic, but also very weary. I was weary about all these claims of big earnings, and how well I could do. I didn't want to get my hopes too high in case nothing panned out for me. I read many many stories of great success, and a few about disheartening failure, but I tried to look at my own situation only with objective eyes.

My first success came only a few short months after starting my travels. I believe I began in early March of 2010 and had my first $100 day in June or July of the same year. It was a fluke, and I knew it. Someone had bought $400 worth of dehumidifiers from amazon through an affiliate link I made. I was ecstatic, but I was also trying to stay humble about it because I knew it was not consistent revenue. I had to share it with my friends and family but I also knew it didn't mean I had made it just yet.

Then I tried my hand at a few things including writing my own ebook which actually sold enough to pay itself off for all the posting fees. But everytime I bumped my thread, it would pay itself off and then pitter out. So I let the ebook writing game go.

My second success came in late August to early September when I bought a very nice website through Flippa from someone living in Sweden I believe. It was a very lucky thing because I was extremely skeptical about the listing due to the person's low level of trust and the fact that they did not post much in terms of proof of revenue, despite large claims of easy cash. I asked for extensive proof, not only pictures, but he gladly made me a movie of him logging into Clickbank and checking his earnings. I was mollified enough to shell out the $2.8k for the site. I knew people would look at me funny for throwing down that kind of cash for a risky venture, but I knew that if things were not as the seller had claimed Paypal would have my back and I would simply return the site and get my money back in at most 30 days.

Anyways, things got off to a rocky start when I first acquired the site as its database was in a Swedish code or something. I never fully comprehended why it would not transfer over to my Godaddy account from his bluehost or whatever account, but it just would not take. After 3 weeks of messing around I had had enough because I wanted to start earning my investment back. We simply decided to leave the site on his account. Since he was paying for an unlimited hosting capability already he did not mind at all. After a few days I had made my first $100, which I was very pleased with, since it seemed to be very consistent earnings.

So I tried my hand at making a copy cat site. I made two immediately which completely flopped and made no money. By the time I realized they were going nowhere I had already made half my money back (over $1.5k in just over 2 months). This was great, because I knew at the same projected rate I would pay the site off by early December, in only 4 months.

This came to fruition around December 5th or so. Depending on a few variables it may have been a few days earlier or later. In any case I was very pleased with myself for having made such a smart buy. But, with the extra revenue my family and I began living slightly more lavishly. Nothing big really, just not worrying about whether we bought store brand cereal or real Cherrios and stuff like that. This meant that all my earnings were not going towards reinvestment, which was fine for me because my main goal was to stop living from paycheck to paycheck at my day job.

My next goal was to earn over $100 per day consistently in order to compete with my earnings at work. With this kind of revenue online I would be able to start contemplating an escape from the 9-5 office job I was doing. I was aware of a potential flaw in my attempts at making copy cat sites earlier and finally decided to make the jump and make another copycat site. Of course, I always do things with a bit of gusto when I finally make the mental leap to actually do it, so I made two sites immediately without waiting for the first one to be successful. To my surprise the first copycat site made money within the first week. It only sold one copy of an affiliate ebook for $25.48, but it was the sign I needed that told me that I had found the key to copying this method.

This site itself is only making a fraction of what the original site I bought is making, but this opened the flood gates and is allowing me to make as many replicas as I can support. I still only have 5 copycat sites to date, and some are making money, while others aren't just yet, but I am focusing on SEOing them to high hell and get #1 SERP in Google for all relevant keywords.

Not only that, but recently I have caught an enormous break. The site I bought has made an incredible skyrocketing revenue increase. Profits have at least quintupled in the last couple weeks. My only guess is that the vendor appeared on TV somewhere and created a flood of orders. Naturally this won't last long, but it will give me the opportunity to reinvest the money into the copycat sites and increase revenue that much faster.

In any case, this shortened version of the past 10 months I've spent in online marketing was not the point of this post. What I want to do is to give some actual advice (and insight if possible) to all the newbies out there who are at a point where I was at not long ago.

Hopefully this can help you get jump started and help you pass a few bumps along the road.

First of all, I want to let you know something that really helped me to justify all the hard work and time that I put into IM. With every struggle you encounter, every road block you find on the way to your success, if you can muster the courage and tenacity to surpass them or side-step them, one by one, you will be that much further ahead of your competition. This is not a direct quote from anything as far as I know, but it is almost definitely a paraphrase of a well known quote somewhere out there. The reason I shared it with you is because every time I felt disheartened by a failure, or a website that went nowhere or a large sum of money that I realized I had squandered, I would always remember that it was only a step I was taking towards my eventual and inevitable success and wealth.

"Whenever the road looks darkest, there is a mother ****ing flamethrower around somewhere".

That one was all me.

All right, the first thing you need to know before you start ANYWHERE in IM is the potency and importance of good keyword research. If you have a strong keyword that people are searching on some search engine with the idea of buying something, there's almost nothing that can stop you.

The biggest problem is not how to find them, but how to discern what ones are good. Unfortunately, there is no definite answer to this problem. There are only tools to help you whittle away the bad ones and hopefully keep as many good ones as possible. Now there are many services out there that you can pay to receive excellent keywords, but if you're going the free route there are many tools that can help you. Market Samurai for one has a free version and a few tutorial videos that can help you. Otherwise, good old Google Adwords Keyword Tool is a lifesaver.

The problem is how to get good keyword ideas. Most things you come up with off the top of your head are pure trash because either no one cares to search that keyword, or else EVERYONE already does and the competition is so fierce you have no hope whatsoever of ranking on page 1.

Side note: ranking on page 1 is absolutely vital. Showing up even #1 on page 2 is pure trash. Aim for at least #5 on page 1 but, if you can, get to #1 as quickly as possible.

There are plenty of places you can use to mine for good keywords, such as amazon or ebay. Just copy/paste a list of items that are "best sellers" or "movers and shakers" or whatever and plug them into Google's Adwords tool. Remember to click on [EXACT], because BROAD results don't mean anything to you at this point.

Another great resource I've found is tradekey.com

Go to the bottom of the page on tradekey, and select a letter, any letter. You'll get a page with 3 rows of 33 word strings (total of 99 potential keywords). Sometimes when I'm looking for good niches, I'll just copy/paste an entire page into notepad, and take out the separations, then copy/paste those into google adwords or market samurai, and just take the decent to good ones and do further research from there. It's a good, mindless way to mine for keywords. I'm sure there are hundreds of other sites like this that you can mine, but I haven't needed to seek them out so this is all I know.

Once you see this list of keywords and their exact global monthly searches (make sure exact is selected, take some that are between 1,000 and 10,000 and make a new list of them. Really you can go higher or lower if you like of course, these are only the guidelines that I generally use because I don't have hundreds or thousands of dollars and don't want to spend months of my own time trying to compete against keywords with over 10k searches per month. Naturally if you do happen to fall on a gold mine with 50k searches a month with little to no competition you have my full support to jump all over it. For the most part though it's a waste of time to check on those keywords all the time. And, naturally, anything less than 1,000 searches per month is not worth your time to use as a primary keyword since even at the top position in Google you'll only receive between 40-60% of the traffic which is a pittance of 400-600 visits per month.

The next step, once you have a decent list, is to start plugging them into Google and observing your competition.

Observing the competition may take a trained eye, but there are tools, and free tools at that, to help you out! Your first stop needs to be at SEOQuake. Download the toolbar and set it up. There's nothing you really have to configure to see the important stuff. For beginners, just start with what it gives you, once you start to understand all the metrics you can pick out the excessive stuff that doesn't really help you.

Anyways, just look at the top ten or so sites for the keyword you're looking to compete for. If you're seeing lots of PR3+, chances are you may not do so well against them. Aim for things with PR0-PR2. The lower the better. You can check other things like inbound/outbound links, but that doesn't necessarily give you the greatest idea of how strong that site is for this particular keyword.

Once you find maybe a handful of keywords you like and that don't have too much competition you can do some further research and plug them into a backlink analyzer website. There's plenty of them out there, just pick one you find from searching Google. Look for backlinks with the anchor keyword that you're trying to place for. Those are the really important ones that can make a website a strong competitor. Compare the PR of those anchor texts too. If the anchor is on a social bookmarking site, or on a profile of some forum, don't worry. The really important ones are the anchor keywords that show up on PR3+ sites. Even if a link is present on facebook, that doesn't mean it's getting the PR10 that facebook's homepage has, it is most likely getting a PR0 from the page it is on.

Now that you have a nice little batch of keywords with high enough search volume, and low enough competition you can choose a single one based on an extra step. Take each keyword and type them into both Google and Google Adwords Keyword Tool. What this will do is provide you with some backup keywords you can use with decent search volume. When you type the primary keyword into google, look at the bottom of the page and under the heading "Searches related to..." you'll find some other suggestions that may be useful. The keyword tool itself will give you tons of ideas and you can immediately weed out the big ones and the tiny ones and aim for maybe 50-200 or maybe even as high as 300 searches per month. Don't go too much higher than that though. We're aiming for relatively low search volume and really really low competition.

When doing on page SEO it is a good idea to use not only your primary keyword, but also related keywords and different forms of your keyword. For example, if your keyword is trapeze artist it might be a good idea to use words like trapeze artistry, or trapeze art, or mispellings like trapeeze artist. Google finds this to be more authentic than to simply spam your primary keyword 100 times. Aim for 2-5% keyword density for your primary keyword. Any other sub keywords shouldn't be above 3% density.

Once you have a few secondary keywords with lesser search volume (maybe 50-200 searches per month), make sure the competition isn't huge. The point of getting these keywords is to rank easily on them. Even if they only get say 20-50 searches a month, if you have 5 of those, that could be an extra 250 visits. Of course this isn't taking into consideration that even at #1 spot on page 1 of Google you will only get about 40-60% of clicks, but these secondary keywords can really help your site out if chosen properly.

Now you hopefully have a good base to start a website with. A strong primary keyword and a few backup keywords are the beginning of a successful online business.

However! There is always the possibility that you have chosen a keyword that attracts what we affectionately call "tire kickers". This sucks, plain and simple. You put the time into researching, then you make a site and write articles. You get traffic, and sometimes even great traffic, but no one buys anything! There's nothing you can really do about this. You basically just have to pack it in and try again. Market Samurai does have an innovative approach to trying to avoid this. They basically just compare the average price a person is willing to pay in adwords to have their ad show up on page 1 of this particular keyword with the amount of people that search this keyword. This can give you an idea of how willing people are to pay for such a keyword, because it is not a far leap to think that if one person will pay 4$ to show up on this keyword, it means that people are probably buying stuff from them. Otherwise they'd just go out of business.

Unfortunately, this metric that Market Samurai uses is not fool proof, and can be off for various reasons. My site that is making me upwards of $1.5k/month on average is rated as being worth $0.00 for it's main keyword, lol. While other keywords which have high ratings have gotten me diddly squat.

Basically, what I do when this happens is take down all the affiliate links and turn the site into an adsense site so that at least it makes a few cents or a dollar per day from the traffic rather than absolutely nothing from affiliate sales, but naturally I won't be renewing those domain names when they expire. That's why I only buy for 1 year every time I buy a new domain.

Anyways, this is a good first post for what I've learned so far. I will write something up on affiliate marketing later and then options for SEO or something depending on if you guys liked this post or not.

Hopefully I can help at least one person get unstuck from their rut and help them make a move towards achieving success online. Let me know what you think. PM me, email me at qdechery@gmail.com if you life. If you have any further questions or comments I'm all ears, so don't hesitate to shoot me a quick reply because I'm happy to help with any problems and am glad to have a civil discussion on anything. Laters~

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