Yes I used START three times in the title because this is the most important thing you can do. This article is for those of you who are stalling, those of you who are reading but taking no action, those of you who like the idea but don’t know where to start.
Do you want to make money online? Read this and start, that’s all I can say.
What’s it all about?
Many people have written about making lots of money online, but it’s all relative. Some of these people may make money, some may not, but what’s important is that if you want to try and make some money online then you can, you just need to get started. It’s up to you how much you earn, whether it’s £100 a month or £1000+ a month (I don’t want to go bigger because while possible it attracts dreamers rather than realistic people).
Want to get started making money online? Then follow this plan now.
I’m going to outline one route that you can follow to start earning money online. There are plenty of other routes and even variations on the one I am about to chat about. But if you are looking for a plan you could do a lot worse than following this one. Seriously, if you’re looking for a starting point start here.
We are going to make a website around a product range that Amazon sells. We are going to promote Amazon products, attract visitors to our website (via Google) who want to know about these products, funnel these visitors through to Amazon (via tracked links), and get Amazon to pay us a commission on any sales made. It’s called affiliate marketing and thousands of people do it. Amazon wants us to do it and Amazon knows what it is talking about. So let’s do it.
Creating the foundations.
Super simplified steps (leave a comment if you want me to expand on these steps):
- Head over to Amazon and find a product range to promote (Sign up to the Amazon Associates program if you have not done so already).
- Get a WordPress website live on the internet (choose a domain name related to your product range – see how to do this here).
- Create ten product pages. Each product needs a good title, a good image, a 300+ word originally written description/overview, and at least two obvious (affiliate) links through to Amazon. The image should also link to Amazon. Read this article about creating an affiliate product page for your website.
- Write ten bigger articles of at least 500 words each. These should include articles titled ‘Best [product range here]’, ‘[product range here] reviews’, ‘top 5 [product range here]’, ‘[product range here] under £[some value]’, [product range here] under £[another value]’, ‘top of the range [product range here]’. This list could go on but you get the idea I hope. The articles need good titles, images of the products discussed, and the text needs to be unique and original (no copy & pasting from other websites). These articles are targeting the words and phrases people type in to Google.
A bit more information.
The ten keyword targeting articles have two goals: 1) attract visitors from Google who are searching for information about the product range in question, 2) filter these visitors through to Amazon via your product pages.
Why not just link straight from the articles to Amazon (i.e. miss out the product page step)? You could do this and people do. However, if all pages have links to Amazon then it may influence how Google sees your website. It may not think your website is great if all it does is have pages full of (affiliate) links to Amazon.
It is good to link to other relevant sites but if every single outgoing link is an affiliate link to Amazon then Google knows what your game is and may interpret it as not giving any real value to your visitors. Learn more about what Google wants and how it sees websites in this article.
Also, another benefit of linking people to your product pages is that they will spend more time on and visit more pages on your site. This is a good thing because again Google will see your site as being better quality and having more value if people hang around and browse it more.
Get to this stage an you’re ready to move forward.
This is your base, the foundation on which to grow your website. It may take you one week or a few months to get to this stage. It doesn’t matter; the important thing is you get here. Please put in the effort to do this, it will prove you are serious. I don’t care about how many visitors your website gets at this stage (in fact don’t even try and work out how many visitors you get, it’s just a vanity metric at this stage and a distraction) or where Google ranks your website, forget about this and focus on getting the foundations set up.
This next bit is not 100% necessary but it will increase the chances of your website ranking quicker and better, plus it will give your website a more solid and authoritative feel. If possible write a super fantastic article or two. I know this is a bit general but what I mean is an article that you would be more than happy to show people. Those ‘top 5’ and ‘best’ articles that were created during the foundation stage are fine for ranking in Google but they are not really something you can be proud of. They have a purpose but nobody will be willing to share them as super useful bits of content, well not many people anyway.
So what is a super fantastic bit of content? It’s difficult to say because it will depend on your product range. Let’s look at digital cameras as an example. You could write a technical report on how digital cameras work and how to select the right camera for different levels of photographers. Or you could write the ultimate guide to digital photography for wildlife photographers. There is a big scope here, the important thing is the article needs to be useful, full of information, and hopefully better than other similar articles on the web (you can search and if you find a fantastic article someone else has written but you think it is lacking in certain areas then write your own better and more complete version). It can be a pure information article or maybe a guide or how-to article. It just needs to be great.
Here’s an example article I wrote about the Toolset plugins on this website. Hopefully you can see I made an effort here and it’s not just a quick and simple article that anyone could have written.
You will need to do a lot of research for these articles, maybe even hire someone who knows more than you to write them if you are not particularly clued up about the technical matters of your product range (my weakness is that I try and do everything myself, if you are smarter maybe you’ll delegate a bit more…). These articles should be long, full of great images, and maybe even a video or two if applicable. They should be well over 1000 words. 2000 or more is better. They should be structured and laid out nicely and flow and be easy to read. Also, visually they need to stand out so lots of nice images, diagrams, and other visual flares can only help.
Why are these super fantastic articles good? Well you want people to like them and think they are ace. If people love your articles and find them really useful they are likely to: 1) think your site is great and take notice of your other review/product pages, 2) share it on social media, and 3) link to it or mention it on their website or on other people’s websites. Also, Google and other search engines will naturally like it because it will be full of high value content that others are searching for.
Again without getting technical, links and social media mentions are things that help your website grow. You will see the benefits in terms of website traffic (maybe not immediately but you will).
Also, these bigger and better articles can be used in active outreach campaigns. This is where you physically (well virtually) reach out to other website owners to tell them about your content, or maybe suggest your article as a useful resource on forums or Q&A websites. We’re not going to worry about this now, it’s just a distraction we can get into later.
Right, you’ve probably a few months in now. I know you’re in it deep and definitely serious, which is great.
Rinse and repeat. Add more products, update old products, add more general review articles and articles targeting specific keywords. Do extra GREAT guides and articles, more content marketing (as it’s called), more outreach. Start interacting more on social media, blog comments, forums, sites like Reddit etc. This step can be done at any time, so it could have come earlier or later. The more content and networking you can do the better.
Then what’s next?
By now you should be seeing some visitors to your site. Oh, Google Analytics. Get this on your site and see how many visitors you are attracting. If you skipped to this section don’t put Analytics on at the start because it’s a pointless distraction. If you have worked through to this stage then add it to your site.
If you’re getting a fair amount of visitors, say 100, 200, hey even 500 visitors per week (not per day) you are doing pretty well. You can step things up now. There’s email lists, which is a huge topic on its own. I won’t get into it here but basically you collect visitor email addresses so you can email them about things related to your site. This creates a community feel plus it gets people back on your site when you have something new to show them.
I didn’t mention this earlier because it’s another distraction you can do without. But you’re serious now and committed so it’s time to think about email lists. Although I will say not all sites need an email list, but if you are adding regular higher quality content then it’s good to have a channel to promote it, like an email list.
You can also look to add new products to your site. Maybe expand beyond Amazon and use other affiliate networks to find different (but related) things to promote. Maybe even approach brands and manufacturers of the products you are promoting directly and ask for products to test and review. This is great for getting better real life reviews and you can record user videos etc. This will elevate your site from a simple affiliate website like most others to more of an authority website and brand of its own. A website people want to visit because it is great.
And… what’s next?
If you’re here you are probably doing pretty well, even earning a fair amount of money. We’re talking several hundred per month.
To get to this point is not quick, you will probably have been going at least a year. But it’s definitely worth it, this is like a house, it’s a web property not just a random website. It’s worth money, in fact if you chose to you could sell it for 10 or 20 times its monthly revenue. People do this. It could (and probably is) worth several thousand. Even if revenue is small it will be a website with a strong foundation, which people are looking to buy.
But that’s not for us, we want this to be like a mortgage free property that we are renting out to get a consistent monthly income from. So what’s next?
Well, as always rinse and repeat. The more (original) content the better. Network more, communicate with people interested in your product range. Get more real products to test and review. Hey you could even think about sourcing and selling your own products… Again, this is a discussion for another day.
Your website will probably be too much for you to handle alone now. So you will hire freelance writers and content marketing experts to manage a large part of your site. Maybe hire a full time virtual assistant to take care of things? These are ways for you to maintain and grow your site without spending all your spare time on. Hey, you could even start another site or two?
You are now an internet marketing expert, an affiliate marketing expert and an online entrepreneur. I could go on but if you are at this stage you can call yourself an expert. You know what you are doing. You know how to find products, promote products, make websites, style websites, content marketing, email marketing, social media marketing. You’re an internet marketer and an affiliate marketer. Maybe it’s time to move onto new ventures such as creating and selling your own digital or physical products, create online courses, start bigger more adventurous projects, or just create more and more affiliate websites. It’s up to you.
At the end of this article things got a bit ambitious and long-term, but seriously it is possible. You start small and focused. You may find things don’t pan out like this and that’s fine, but you need to start on the path and see where it leads.
It’s all too easy to get bogged down in the technicalities or advanced strategies and quite often this stalls any progress. Start simple, get going and build slowly and surely. Build your website so it attracts ten people a day. If this takes you 4 months so what, that’s fine. Keep going and this will turn into fifty people a day, a hundred people a day, and then more. It might not take four months by the way; it could and probably will be a lot quicker.
Once you get to hundred people a day you can start to worry more about keyword research, outreach strategies, email marketing etc. This will open up a lot more content opportunities, which is fantastic. But don’t worry about this at the start.
Email lists can be great and have a positive impact on your website. Don’t worry about them just yet. Get going first. Maybe when you do your active outreach for your super fantastic articles and guides you can get an email capture form on your site. Don’t worry about it at the start. Get your foundations down first.
This action plan is simplified and there are many other routes to go. However if you are looking to get started and find yourself confused or frozen this is a plan for you. Do what I say here. You have nothing to lose. Time? Maybe, but you will learn loads and get experience, so actually NO not even time. Money? Not really, £50/£60 a year on web hosting…. That’s it.
Good luck and get started.