First of all, I have a confession to make – I am an Internet Marketers personal nightmare, I hardly buy anything from them. Since I started my ‘make money online journey’ in 2005, I have bought so few internet marketing related products and services that you can count them on one hand. If you are interested to see which ones that are, scroll down to the end of the blog post.
Back? Ok, this post is not about what you need to buy in order to make money online, it is about to stop you buying stuff and get you to start making money. Do me, and yourself, a favor and take a piece of paper and note down all the internet marketing related stuff you bought over the last years. Membership sites, ebook, programs, software, services, the whole shebang. Write all down (little tip, your Paypal account history will be a great help in order to remember everything …) and then make a second row and put a rough estimate against it how much money you made directly and indirectly from it. Take your time, if you are like a lot of my online friends, this list will be rather long. Now have a look at the both amounts (invested / earned) and see for yourself how often you made your investment back and how often you made a loss.
Scared? You should be! Experience shows that most people are actually loosing money in this game and not earning it. Or, to put it even harder, there are a lot of super affiliates and A-list bloggers that cater exactly to this crowd, knowing full well that they make money buy selling products to people that don’t have a need or use for said product. Take for example Aweber, nearly every guru and wanna-be guru blog I come across pushes them as the best email list management service out there. And to a certain extend they are right, Aweber does provide great features and services, but it is completely overkill for somebody that just starts up. They do offer a $1 trial month, but after that, you pay a minimum of $19 / month or $194 / year, no matter how large or small your email list is. You would be better off to use MailChimp for example, lists under 500 subscribers and less than 3000 emails send per month are – free. And the features are very comparable to Aweber. 500 email subscribers are a lot when you just get started, don’t you think? So, why do nearly all the gurus push Aweber when MailChimp is the cheaper option for somebody just starting out? Because Aweber offers a lucrative affiliate program and MailChimp not. The guys that ‘only want to help you, to make money online’, are mostly interested in selling you things in order to make a commission, in order to make first and foremost money for themselves.
I could go rambling on without end about overpriced membership sites and mentoring programs, private forums and expensive ebooks and video courses, but instead I will show you how to actually start to make money without spending a single cent. First of all I ask you to stop buying anything new until you actually have earned the money to pay for it. You know, that is the traditional way of doing business, you earn the money before you spend it, not vice versa 😉 And now follow this easy three step program. I assume you have already an Adsense account and an Amazon affiliate account, if not, do so in
- Step 0 Open accounts for Google Analytics, Adsense and Amazon.com (free)
- Step 1 Open an account at Hubpages (free)
- Step 2 Use the Google Adwords Tool and the Seo for FireFox Addon to find profitable niches to write about (free).
- Step 3 Write hubs and publish them! (PRICELESS! Sorry, couldn’t resist 😉 )
If that is a bit too condensed for you, here the three steps, plus preparation, a bit more explained:
Step 0 Adsense, Analytics and Amazon
If you don’t have already these accounts, you will need them, the easiest way to open them is to follow the instructions provided here: Open New Google Account and then add / apply for the services you need. In this case Adsense and Analytics. Connect your Adsense and Analytics accounts and set Hubpages as the primary domain as soon as you have Step 1 completed. Sign also up as an Amazon.com affiliate: Amazon Affiliate Sign Up.
Step 1 Hubpages
Sign up to Hubpages by clicking here. If you have any problems, their learning center is really good and guides you step by step through the sign up process and the task of filling out your profile.
Step 2 Market Research
Few of us are gifted or experienced enough to write an intelligent and useful article about anything and everything under the sun. Especially when you are just starting out is it better to stick with a topic you already know a lot about and could talk and write about the whole day. But you have also to find a topic that people are also interested in and looking for. Enters the Google Adwords Tool (use this version, not the new, beta one). Enter you topic in the box, enter the correct captcha and hit ‘get keyword ideas’. Adjust the columns so that the ‘Match Type’ is set to Exact’ and you only see ‘Global Monthly Search Volume’ displayed, forget about everything else.
Now starts the work, you have to evaluate the competition for each keyword / topic by doing a simple Google search for it. If you haven’t done so already, install now the Seo for Firefox toolbar and activate it. Keep both tabs open and compare keyword by keyword, taking notes along the way. You are looking for a keyword that has at least 1000 searches a month and no results with a PageRank higher then 3 in the first ten results in a Google search for it. The higher the number of searches and the lower the average PageRank of the results, the better. This will take some time and experience, so please, don’t skip this step until you have found at least ten keywords or topics that fulfill this condition.
Step 3 Writing and Publishing Content
The second part of your work is now to write the absolute best hub imaginable about the keyword or topic you chose. Make Google proud of you! Remember, Google wants to have the most relevant search results on top, make sure your hub fits the bill. If you write a hub about a high traffic and low competition keyword and do your job so well that you end up on the first page of Google, you will make money from it – one way (Adsense) or the other (Amazon).
Rinse, Repeat and Evaluate
By starting your make money online and internet marketing journey this way, you not only not spend any money, instead you earn some money and learn the ropes by actually doing things and not only reading about them. Remember that I said you should link your Adsense and Analytic accounts together? This way you will see which hub makes you the most money Adsense wise! After time you will find interesting and profitable niches faster and easier because you have acquired something that no Internet Guru in the whole www can ever sell you – experience!
Note to more experienced readers
Yes, I know, I have left some bits and bobs out, like the whole back link thematic, but this blog post is aimed at people that are already suffer from information overload 😉 And you will agree that Hubpages is a great place to start to learn to make money online by actually doing it. Every journey starts with the first step!
And now the promised information about the few things I bought since 2005 and what I think now about them:
Make Money Online Ebook $18
The ebook in question has not been updated since 2005 and therefor I don’t recommend it anymore, but at that time it was useful for the complete newbie I was, helping me to get my head around all these terms, concepts and general make money online slang.
Domains from Godaddy
One time, when you have passed the first stage and started to actually make money, you want to re-invest some of it into owning your own web sites and not only writing for others. Godaddy is one of the biggest, and imho, one of the best domain registrars out there. I only use them to buy my domains, not to host them. Costs: $1-10 / year, depending on domain extension and saving coupons used.
Webhosting from Hostgator
I host all my sites with Hostgator, there is no better and more supportive web host out there, period! I am with them since 2006 and haven’t regretted it one only second. If you decide to sign up, feel free to use the coupon code ‘Hospitalera’ to get the first month for just one single US cent 😉 Costs: Available from as cheap as $4.95 up to $14.95 / month for shared hosting, depending on contract length and hosting plan.
Market Samurai Software
If you have been reading this blog for a while, you know that I am a big, huge Market Samurai fan girl! It is an incredible powerful and versatile piece of keyword and SEO tool software that runs on both, a Mac as on a PC, but can be a bit of overkill for a beginner. They offer a free trial, so no harm in trying it out, only thing they want is an email address and you can try it out for free for 12 days. All features are included in the trial and the keyword research feature stays active even after the trial has expired. I have written previously about using Market Samurai together with Hubpages, so no need to repeat myself. Costs: $97 one time payment, includes lifelong updates. To get best price download trial first and buy during the first seven days.
The Keyword Academy Subscription
I am using The Keyword Academy, TKA, as it is known for short, mainly for its member only tools like Nicherefinery (automates the competition evaluation described in Step 2 above and is a huge time saver) and Postrunner (A guest post distribution hub that allows you to get free, original content and back links with minimum fuzz.), but they have also a great, helpful forum with a lot of experienced people that are willing to help – and to network! I have written a long review about The Keyword Academy (sic!), so again, no reason to repeat myself. Costs: $33 / month after your free 30 days have passed. There is a slightly cheaper option available that doesn’t include video / webinar downloads and forum access.
Oops, forgot one! For a short time, before I found the TKA forum and tools, I was subscribed to Darren Rowse’s Problogger Forum. I think it cost at that time $1.99 / month. I quit it, because it was pretty much run by newbies for newbies and didn’t offer much of value to me. So, yes, make the number of products and services I bought ‘can count them on one hand + one finger.’
So, as comments get now automatically closed after 90 days due to the increase of spam, hurry up and post one 😉 I would be interested to know which internet marketing related product or service made YOU the most money so far and which one was a complete waste of time and money for YOU …
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