What the “gurus” aren’t telling you about making money

December 22, 2010

So I feel a rant coming on. I only have myself to blame though as for some reason I can’t stop reading 100s of different SEO blogs, it comes with the territory of being interested in something I suppose. Don’t get me wrong there’s lots of “interesting” content out there when it comes to internet marketing but there’s so much fluff too that you gotta wade through html for days before you find that nugget of useful info.

So anyway I was reading this post today at seo-theory.com where Michael essentially says people are way too hyped up about link-building. I don’t necessarily disagree with this to a point especially when it comes to some of the useless link-building techniques I see around the net today. However he then drops the bomb that he only spends around 10% – 15% of his time link building at also that uber googlar Matt Cuts says links are only 1%  of the algorithm. I  mean seriously, go spend 10-15% of your time building links for “car insurance” with the rest on your “site architecture” and get back to me. I probably won’t see you in the top 1000.

This is by no means the first time I’ve seen a post like this on a SEO blog but it’s still weird every time I read this stuff. The only explanation I can come up with is people are trying to setup pre-made excuses for clients about the more difficult aspects of SEO.

“Link building is very 2005”

Still as I’ve said before there can only be one guy at No1 making money on every search and for the rest there’s a million excuses. When it comes down to it there’s really only one thing that matters and that’s if you’re making money from your site or not, everything else is just technical nonsense.  Part of the problem of course is the inherent nature of internet marketing when it comes to making a living as few people really get the concept of earning money online and how much work it actually takes to get off the ground. Indeed the delay search engines impose on new sites is probably one of the most off putting things for new people that most don’t make it past the first month.

People often ask me what the keys to a successful website are and it’s really one of those impossible questions to answer just because every site and more importantly every market is different. For instance if you are an online store selling physical goods your margins are very different than someone setting up a blog and selling advertising to make money. The problem is that even though people are developing wildly different sites “Gurus” are handing out this universal advice as a one size fits all solution. I’m hoping not to get into any of that rubbish here on the blog and will try to be as specific as possible (even when I don’t have a clue what I’m talking about sometimes!).

This brings me on to another point with the Internet marketing Gurus, all the terrible products and books they sell. Don’t get me wrong not all the money making ideas they “sell” are scams but I’d say about 95% are. They are quite easy to spot though, if they promise the world within 24hours of purchase then you know what to expect and only have yourself to blame. With that being said though I have bought 2 very good IM products this year which have saved/made me quite a bit of money, however I did have to waste a lot of cash on other useless stuff before I found them. Now I’m not actually going to say what they are here, first because I don’t promote other peoples products here (yet) and second because unless you understand the basic principles website promotion they really aren’t going to work for you anyway. It’s probably one of the biggest problems with the make money on the web industry, they are selling these advanced programs to newbie’s because all the advanced people have already bought it (there’s not that many advanced people). I will say though its v exciting when you finally find a program/system that allows you to save days or even weeks of work. Notice how I define the value as saved time and not direct money because at the heart of this thing is work and the time to do it. The work will always be required but the processes can be streamlined, improved and sometimes even outsourced.

So the question remains, how do you know if the latest money making scheme you are reading about actually works? Well you don’t but for a start it should never be a scheme and it should always be founded on principles that you do understand. For instance if you do understand how article marketing works in relation to your website promotion then a tool that helps you speed that up a few hundred percent is obviously going to in-directly increase your income. However if the “system” is another mysterious promise and only talks about the money you can make how likely is it to be legit?

So anyway this post started out as a rant about one guys “seo theory” and ended up in the more general  area of internet gurus, are they the same people? The thing is being able to sort the good information from the bad is the fundamental principle of learning in general and not just this internet business stuff. If I had to give advice to someone just starting out in the online world I would say start small with different techniques and see what works. Also you need to understand the general principles of what’s happening in any marketing situation in order to suss out whether a new opportunity is the real deal or not. Blind faith is only going to get you so far my friends.

So that rant lasted a bit longer than I expected but still it’s nice to let of some steam in html form. Until next time…


Starting an online shop to make money? Do your homework first

July 24, 2010

So I was thinking the other day just how many people I see on a daily basis starting out ecommerce sites with just the hope that they will make money (just because they are there). I suppose this attitude stems from the offline world where if you open a shop you will get a certain amount of foot traffic (and thus sales) from people who are just walking by. Thing is people just don’t stumble across your website (well not usually) as we don’t just go around typing random we addresses in with the hope that one will eventually work.

Back to the point, it’s amazing how much people will spend on the creation of a new website when it comes to design and programming compared to how little is set aside for promotion. In my opinion your promotional budget should always be a couple of times what your building costs are.

This also brings me to another very important point. If you’re hoping to be making money with this ecommerce thing for a while to come then surely you’re going to want to have this skill in house? After all SEO is a full time job do you really want to be paying money to an outside agency for the rest of your internet career? The way I see it if you are starting an online shop you have a few options when it comes to increasing your earnings with SEO.

  • Go with a marketing agency. They should have a number of employees in different specialities from social media to link building, this avoids being stuck with a “jack of all trades” character. There will usually be different plans available but most people go for monthly “pay as you go” type option as its ideal for a small start-up business. The main downside that I can see is there’s no real investment going on from your own knowledge or training point of view.
  • You can hire a wiz-kid SEO to work for you. Sounds simple as you could have someone working for you on a full time basis who will probably be cheaper than a marketing agency. However finding them might not be easy and they might not have as much reputation as you would like so the safety net might not be there. Also since they have to be good at everything they do need to be bit special as it takes a lot of skill (and organisation) to pull off all the aspects of net marketing.
  • Learn it yourself? Sounds daunting as internet marketing is a constantly shifting landscape, do you have the time to stay up to date? If you have some IT experience then it may not be too hard to learn but others from a completely different field could struggle. Of course even  if you do pay someone else to do the work it always helps to know the basics.

As you can see there’s 3 main options when it comes to increasing your sales (and hopefully money) via internet marketing but they do all have their downsides and plus points. Still internet marketing is never an overnight thing so you will probably have time to (and have to) go with all 3 methods at some point. Until next time.