Your friends are making money off the internet, your weird Uncle Joe who vowed never to touch computers is suddenly bragging that he’s turned the Internet into a passive income stream for himself.
“A few more web sites to build, and I can just sit around, click my mouse a few times and wait for the checks to come in.”
You feel left out. And to think that you used to chide everyone for not being computer savvy like you. It looks like they took your advice to heart and have outwitted you in your own game.
Making Money off the Internet – Any Ideas?
Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus, and he and his reindeers live in cyberspace. It’s a question of locating him and identifying the tricks that will make you as prosperous as good old Nick.
Where does one begin? The answer depends on what you want to do and how you want to do it. That’s a very general answer, isn’t it, and certainly not a helpful one.
We can provide guidelines here, but you’ll need to bone up on your own as well because methods will vary based on the product or service you want to sell.
Take this guy Bill. He was overweight a decade ago – so overweight that he was treated like he had no business being alive. He was left out of the school proms, couldn’t get a date even with the plain Janes on campus, and was unhappy. He thought of seeing a psychologist but he was afraid his family might find out, and tease him for not only being grossly overweight but being bonkers as well.
One day Bill gets up from bed, looks out the window and sees this vision. There she was – his guardian angel – smiling such a heavenly smile. She flashes a sign and the message was: FIND A WEIGHT LOSS PRODUCT AND START LIVING.
Bill blinked to make sure he wasn’t imagining things but when he opened his eyes, the angel was gone. Imagination or not, that “vision” stayed with Bill all day. He turns on his computer and types “weight loss products.” Goodness, he gets over a million results. Which one does he choose?
There’s no way Bill will look at all of them. He types again, this time narrowing his search: NATURAL WEIGHT LOSS PRODUCTS – FDA APPROVED.
Voila! The entries are fewer. Who wants to buy a product that does not bear the stamp of approval of the almighty FDA? Make a long story short, Bill had the luck of the Irish and found a product that actually worked! In six months, he went from 385 pounds to 210 pounds. All of a sudden, even the most popular girls on campus who once were too embarrassed to look his way were sending him love notes begging for one just one date.
One Saturday morning he gets up from bed, stretches those very toned legs and arms and looks out the window. His guardian angel is back! She flashed another sign: HELP OTHERS SO THEY TOO MAY BE HAPPY.
Needless to say, Bill’s journey just started. He’s going to help overweight people and coach them into losing weight, help them be happier souls.
Making Money off the Internet – Turning your Help Mission into Cash
Everyone has a turning point in life, just like Bill. It doesn’t really have to be a turning point because that sounds way too dramatic. All you need is an idea – or product – that you believe in and that inspired you. You know that it will inspire others as well.
The concept of making money off the Internet has drawn millions to cyberspace. Given their success, the Internet feels like the Gold Rush all over again. However, the laws of attraction are based on the principle that many are called but few are chosen. What do we mean by this?
We mean that every Tom, Dick and Harry will venture into Internet opportunities wishing to make a killing. There are millions of web sites out there. Only a select few will actually be profitable. They are the ones who follow search engine etiquette. They respect the rules that govern ethical marketing meted out by the search engines. They take the time to understand what needs to be done. They know that it is a maddeningly time consuming and laborious process – a good measure to see how much endurance you can take.
More importantly, though, it’s not so much making money off the Internet that should drive your passions into actions. You must have a genuine desire to help people and to really believe in what you’re peddling. It is this help mission that will set you apart from the rest.
Bill – that’s our overweight-turned-sexy guy – is now ready to help obese people. The wonderful thing about this desire is that Bill will generate opportunities for himself. How can he use the Internet to help people and make money at the same time?
Making Money off the Internet – Initial Steps
Bill will build a web site. If he’s read up on search engine optimization, he will construct his site in a way that will make search engines ‘catch’ it so it can be indexed properly by the search spiders. Spiders are the pieces of technology that Google, Yahoo and MSN and other search engines use and send out to cyberspace to watch out for good web sites and bad ones.
For major search engines, good web sites are those that are built with a minimum amount of flash and bothersome frames. Search engines basically search for text – quality content – to facilitate their indexing work.
It is essential for search engines to notice Bill’s web site so he can sell this weight loss product. He has to rely on significant visitor traffic.
Bill will begin with keywords: weight, loss, fitness, exercise, health benefits, the name of the product, and other relevant keywords. He will create content for his web site. He will either write the articles himself or farm out this task. The articles must be keyword optimized so that the search engines will be able to categorize his web site.
The next thing that Bill needs to do is to obtain quality reciprocal links. He will contact non-competing web sites and ask them if they can put a link to his web site on their sites. Then Bill hires a web hosting company who can send his web site to article directories. The more directories Bill’s web site is registered with, the higher his chances of attracting visitors. The company will also set up a payment facility for customers who want to buy his product.
When business picks up, Bill can reinforce his marketing strategies by issuing free newsletters to visitors, sending out e-mails about the product with built-in autoresponders, holding contests (visitors love contests), starting a blog maybe to generate discussions or creating forums on his web site so that people can put in their two cents’ worth. Bill won’t stop at creative marketing “how-tos” just so he gets more people to buy his product.
Making Money off the Internet – Affiliate Marketing is one way…
The product, by the way, is not Bill’s. The product belongs to a health food manufacturer. What Bill did was contact this manufacturer (or one of its distributors) to become an affiliate marketer for them. The more products he sells on his web site, the more commissions he makes. He also applied with Google for AdSense and Adwords so that any time a visitor clicks on a link, Bill also earns a commission.
Using wikipedia’s simple definition of affiliate marketing, it is a way of promoting businesses online (owned by retailers, wholesalers or advertisers) in which an affiliate (publisher) is financially compensated for “every visitor, subscriber, customer, and/or sale provided through his/her efforts”.
When people become sophisticates in affiliate marketing, you’ll hear them talk about things like pay-per-click, pay-per-view schemes and geo-tracking and targeting. They adopt tools like metrics and rating to assess visitor traffic and to uncover what kinds of pages visitors like to visit often and how long they spend on a particular page. This tells Bill how he can adjust his marketing methods to cater to this target niche.
Making money off the Internet is an “equal-opportunity employer” so to speak. Everyone is welcome to buy and sell on this even-playing field. The idea, if you really want to turn your efforts into a pot of gold, is to be knowledgeable about search engine optimization (SEO) so you can tell which services are just hot air (“we’ll send your articles to thousands of directories so you can increase your sales by 150%”) or truth. There’s more to SEO of course, but for newbies, it’s a great place to start.
As you become a master of the safari, your creative juices will flow. You may want to do sales letters and maximize your landing pages as part of your marketing plan.
There are hundreds of ways of making money off the internet, and you can start anytime (dramatic turning point or not)!