How to Make Money from an Online Business
From the concept of the world wide web in the 1960s when simple messages were sent from one university college to another it has grown into a multi-billion dollar platform where items are bought and sold at an astronomical rate daily.
Early in the 1990’s savvy marketers realized the benefits on this new market and selling platforms were born like Amazon and eBay and from the growth of these and similar marketplaces the need for marketers to promote items and claim some of the revenue soon followed.
So began the world of affiliate marketing from here the growth of the internet spiraled and social platforms were born and these too opened up new marketplaces for marketers to work and sell too.
You may think that it’s all been done now but I can assure you that as the internet expands so does those marketplaces and we will discuss in this post while using these platforms how to make money from an online business.
What Route do you Take to Make Money Online?
There are many different routes to take to build your online business. These include building niche and authority websites, sharing on social platforms or using email marketing to name a few.
We will take a look at all these as we go but let’s start with one of the easiest methods niche websites.
Niche websites – Small with content in a subcategory.
What’s a niche?
A niche is a smaller section or subsection of a larger section of products or services.
For instance, the category of sport can be broken down into many smaller sections.
Sport – Motorsport – motorcycles – apparel – leather jackets
So Motorcycle leather jackets is a niche from the larger category sport.
Some more examples to give you an idea.
- German Sheppard Training
- Kids Learning Toys
- Fly Fishing Reels
- Home Cinema Packages
- Kitchen Top Ovens
- Cameras for Sport Photography
- Wireless Speaker Centers
- Garden Furniture And Accessories
as you can see anything can be a niche. If you sell a product in it then its a niche. How large or small you want it to be is up to you.
As in the example used above if we went for Motorsports we would have a very large niche that would take a long time to cover properly and would end up being an authority website by the time we would be through.
However, the “Motorcycle Leather Jackets” is a lot smaller but still large enough to have some wiggle room if things were stale.
For instance, you don’t want to go too specialized like “Utah Flats Retro Motorcycle Leather Jackets” this would mean all you can promote is that one brand and style of jacket leaving you very little room to move if for instance, the brand went out of manufacture. I hope you get what I am meaning here if not here is another post on niche finding.
How do you develop it?
To get the most from a niche you need to look for keywords that are being searched for with reasonable traffic and low competition.
That is searches are being made for certain keywords and not many websites are targeting with written content.
There are many keyword searching tools out there to help with this process which will show the number of times these keywords are being searched for monthly and how many websites are ranked for them.
You can do this for FREE by putting your search term into Google with quotes around it, “How to choose a motorcycle jacket” and Google will return the exact number of websites that are indexed for that term. To find out the number you need to scroll to the last page.
As you can see Google is suggesting 11,500 websites are indexed with this term. However, when we scroll to the last page we see a different number.
Only 21 websites rank for this keyword term WOW that’s low. However, Google doesn’t tell you how many searches are being made a month for this term so we can’t tell if its any good. Let’s pop it into my favorite Keyword Tool.
Keyword Word Research
OK, we can now see that less than 10 searches are being made a month…not particularly good but its a good keyword to write a post on and rank well quickly. I will explain more later in the post.
However, the next keyword on the list, “how to choose a motorcycle helmet”, is getting 97 per month and only 72 websites competing. Although not strictly in our niche it shows what kind of things you can come up with as you search.
SO I did another search in Jaaxy to see what comes up with just “motorcycle jacket” and look at what it shows.
There are some GREAT keywords there with fairly good traffic and low competition.
That’s the QSR column “Quoted search result” as we did in Google before. Anything under 250 is usually good to work on…the lower the better.
There are 4 under 100 giving over 400 searches per month combined. If we got ranked for them there is a good chance we would get 100 or so viewers per month coming to our website.
OK, that’s not going to make us rich overnight but if we find more like that and continue to build before long we can have thousands of visitors coming per month.
The ideal combination is a keyword that is being searched for a lot but has little to no competition these are hard to find however but there are loads of smaller keywords with lower numbers of searches with very little competition.
If you write content for these un-competitive keywords there is a great opportunity to rank on page 1 and start getting more and more traffic.
If we also take our motorcycle leather jacket example from further up the post I found a keyword “custom leather motorcycle jacket” using my favorite keyword tool I found it to have been searched for 228 times per month with 82 websites competing for it.
I checked page 1 of Google and found several e-commerce sites but others that I feel I could compete with it to get my post on page 1.
The process here is to write quality content for many keywords that are similar in traffic and over a period of time the combined effort of all these keywords will gather up traffic coming to your site.
When you have this traffic coming to your site you can then work on a strategy to promote items to them to make revenue. This we will look at later in the post.
Authority Websites – Large with Loads of Content
Authority websites are much larger than niche websites and can consist of hundreds if not thousands of posts or pages.
They can be about any category and can be on a subcategory or the main category depending on where you want to take it.
The main difference in authority and niche websites is the time required to develop it to the full. Niche websites can be created and gathering traffic with a few weeks or months where authority need 6-12 months to really get going.
niche websites will fade over time if not worked on regularly but an authority site can last years if built up properly.
The process for obtaining keywords is basically the same as a niche website and at the beginning it is wise to target low competition keywords to enable the website to get some traffic which will combine over time so you can then target higher competition keywords.
What I mean here is a new website takes time to get ranked and index on the main search engines.
To do this quickly it’s best to use keywords with low easy competition so you can start to get traffic.
This traffic (readers) will hopefully engage with the site by commenting and sharing, planting social marker that will further help the posts to rank as you write.
This combined effort of the website allows new posts to be ranked quicker and further up the indexes as the search engines give you points for having content already ranked.
From here as you get more and more content posted indexed and ranked the combination of all that work enables the website to rank for harder and harder keywords. This is definite if you have done a good job of working with SEO and social markers.
For example, the keyword “baseball bat” has loads of competition and will be really hard to rank for with a single post.
However, if we were to build a baseball authority website and wrote posts with the following keywords;
- “how to clean your baseball bat”
- “how to choose a baseball bat”
- “which is the best baseball bat”
- “top ten baseball bats”
- “comparison of baseball bats”
Hopefully you can see the words baseball bat appear in each post and because they do the combined work of doing this will increase how the website ranks for the keyword “baseball bat” overall.
If we continue to work at this website there is a good possibility that we could rank No 1 for the keyword in time.
From this process you will see that authority websites take a lot longer to build than niche websites but overall the rewards can be much greater as the combined effort should bring in huge traffic compared to a niche website.
I have used this illusion on the keyword baseball bat but you will want to write articles about other aspects of baseball to make your site more user friendly and over time you will rank for all aspects of the sport.
This is what I was getting at on our example “Motorcycle Jackets” before if we write for loads of long-tail keywords 4-6 words then over time we should hopefully rank for the shorter term keyword “Motorcycle Jackets“.
When you have a website or blog getting traffic it is always a good idea to do some affiliate marketing to gain some revenue from your posts.
Affiliate marketing is the selling of products through a special link so you get a commission from the sale price.
These products are on other website like Amazon or buy.com. Your special link has an ID that places you as the affiliate marketer who sent the person to buy.
To get involved with this you need to sign up to their program and follow the rules as you can get banned if you misbehave with their links or products.
Affiliate marketing can be a lucrative career pathway and one that a lot of online marketers now follow.
You can just about get an affiliate program for any type of product in the world so whatever niche you are in you should be able to get programs to sign up too and there is always the big marketplaces like Amazon if you can’t get a specialist program for your needs.
Today there are numerous social platforms where users make friends and compare notes on various personal and business topics.
There are groups for just about every niche you care to mention. While you are growing your website it is important that you use these social platforms to introduce your posts and articles to like-minded readers who will hopefully read and share your work.
These social indicators are used by Google and other search engines to rank the quality of your work. As well as using social platforms to promote your work you can also use them to directly promote products and services.
Created for women originally Pinterest is now used by everyone with men being one of the fastest-growing sections and is a visual way to shop.
Type a search into Pinterest for “green dress” and you will see a multitude of products some are just pictures going to websites made for other purposes but a lot of the images are from e-commerce websites where a prospective buyer can go and buy the item directly.
This was a great way for affiliate marketers to promote products leaving their affiliate link in the image and so gaining commissions on all sales coming from Pinterest.
However, as from early 2015 affiliate links are no longer allowed and so that money-making scheme has been removed.
A large pain to those who had used the platform in that way however all is not lost. You can still use the image to get clicks through to a website where you can control the affiliate link as in your own niche or authority website or a social platform of another kind.
How does Pinterest work then, well images are pinned by user onto pinboards which are used to organize your pins which are available to anyone searching the platform.
You can name your pinboard using a keyword as well as pinning images using the same keyword to use the search engines to gain traffic.
To do this you need keywords that have low competition. However, you can share your pinboards around other platforms to gain traffic.
There are ways to work the system to promote your pins better. Things like making your promotion pin stand out from the crowd.
You can do this by putting text into the image to help with calls to action as you want the user to follow the link through to your website.
BEST PRACTICE build a pinboard for leather motorcycle jackets taking both pins from those already shared on Pinterest and ones you find on the internet.
If you do this over a period of time so not to spam the platform with jacket pins all at one time you can build up a nice natural pinboard with loads of quality jackets available to buy.
Then you put together a pin from a jacket you are promoting on your website where the affiliate link is with a text as check out this jacket review or see the top 5 jackets or best jackets to buy etc all will entice users to go to your website where you have posts or reviews on jackets with links to the item being sold.
It takes a bit of work to get the pinboard into a nice showing and you need to have a quality post on your website for them to follow but over time decent traffic can be acclaimed with this technique.
Then when you have the board ready you can share it with other social platforms “hey guys check out my collection of motorcycle jackets @ Pinterest” etc.
If you pay attention to details only use good quality products and quality photos you can get a name for promoting decent gear and overtime regular followers will check out your pins and pinboards.
Sharing out your Pins and Boards
There are other platforms available to help in the sharing and growth of your followers on Pinterest.
Places like Viralwoot are designed for you to help other users out for seeds which you can spend to promote your own pins.
I have used this platform to grow my Pinterest following very quickly and when I promote a pin I do get extra traffic and sales so the process does work.
You do need to put a bit of work into building your pinboards with rich pins to get the clicks through to sales.
Like everything in internet marketing it takes a bit of time and diligent work to get things moving but if you persevere you should get traffic and then sales.
For example I grew my following from 600 to 2.5k with Viralwoot within a month and traffic from 12,000 to 40,000 to my pins. Repins and clicks also increased steadily and now steady sales for my eBay shop.
Facebook, largest social platform on the planet?
We have all heard of the social media Facebook, right. A platform where users share their favorite posts things they have done and selfies of their day.
It has grown from conception to the biggest social platform on the planet and its because of this that many marketers use it to promote content and products.
There are many ways to do this and a combination of these can produce some good results.
Facebook allows users to sign up and create a user profile usually their current name and identity.
Then under that profile you can create business pages you manage and these can be simple organizational pages like promoting a band’s gigs to a full blow business with all the bells and whistles.
Most companies now have a Facebook presence of some kind where they promote their company.
The great thing about this is it’s like creating a website with posts and images business details opening hours info on the company origin etc all this is built up for free on their platform.
Then from there you can share out the business page and get likes from your customers etc. You can also join groups of like-minded people and share your posts there.
Pay to grow your following
Facebook has now a payable promotional option where you can pay for advertising putting out posts or your business page in hope for clicks through to sales or Facebook likes.
When a workable strategy is put in place you can grow your following very quickly and get reasonable returns for your money.
You can of course do all this for free on your own which takes a bit more work and time but you can grow into a decent following if correctly done.
Advertise items to get more traffic
On advertising you can promote a post which say has a link through to a website with a promotional item sold on Amazon.
You can choose from options like location, age, gender, interests, behaviors, along with your daily budget.
These will ensure you target the correct group of people you want to include in your campaign. There are many ways to use this advertising and these will all produce different results so it’s important to do cross-checking to see which works best for your niche.
Twitter 140 characters of pure gold!
Another great platform to do business on is Twitter. There are many opportunities to promote links to products or content on other platforms or websites.
As with all platforms, it’s important to put in the time to build up a following that you can promote too.
Tweeting to 10 followers is not going to produce much if any sales so you need to get that figure up to several thousand and niche relevant followers at that.
Gaining enough of the correct followers?
I have seen folks with thousands of followers but they are not relevant and produce very few sales.
You can buy follower from many place like Fiverr where people will promise you 1000 followers for $5 etc but they are absolutely of no use.
You are better putting in a bit of work yourself and building up a relevant group of followers which will produce better fruit when you come to promote.
As Twitter only allows 140 characters in its posts you need to be creative in what you put in. Also link shortening tools are required to get the most out of your statements and links back to your website.
Email marketing lists is there money in them?
A term used very often is, “The Money is in the List“, and this can be true but like all aspects of internet marketing, it requires a special process to make it fruitful.
It’s no good to get email addresses from your website visitors to only spam them with product promotion one after the other.
These folks will soon unsubscribe from your lists faster than you can get them. It’s much better to provide quality emails with good content and build up your relationship with them before hitting them with promotions.
That way you can get better returns for each sales email you send. Over a period of time, you can grow a list to become large enough that when you do send out a promotion you can make enough from one email to outdo the website at one go.
This all depends on the list your relationship and the product but I do know of some marketers who can do this on a regular basis.
My advice is get busy building a list from the start even if you are only dropping them occasional emails at the beginning it’s good to do early on as it will become a great asset to your business as you go forward.
Autoresponders how do you use them?
How does email marketing work? Instead of sitting and configuring an email you can sign up to an autoresponder account with Aweber or Mailchimp and let their automated service take the hard work out of it for you.
You will still need to compose your emails and put them into lists but once ready you can hit the post button and let the service send out your emails over a predetermined period of time.
There is a science on how to drip feed your subscribers with content without spamming them and getting them annoyed with you.
You don’t want to start promoting from the off you need to provide quality content and build a relationship first. Once that is in place you can start to softly drop links into your posts before hitting them with a one-off sales email.
If you provide 3-5 non-sales emails for every sales on going forward from there you should be good. As with all aspects in internet marketing you need to do some testing to see why people are leaving your list or not buying or clicking your links.
You will need to build up a list of letters (emails) for your subscribers beforehand so you can set up your automated list.
If you consider you will need to keep them on that for a few months and if you email 2-3 times a week you will see that you will need 10-12 per month so 30-36 for 3 months worth of emails.
Some email marketers build up an initial list of 100+ emails so when someone signs up to their list they are on there for quite a while.
As you can see this can take some time to produce. The thing about emails is they don’t have to be especially long as you can get away with 200 words if written nicely.
One thing you will most definitely need is a catch form. (a webpage where your subscribers can sign up to your list)
Most good autoresponders will have templates or plugins to use for this but you can also build a nice catchy page on your website to do this too.
You can place code on your Facebook page your twitter account etc all places where your readers can sign up to your list.
If done correctly you can get a decent-sized list in a relatively short period of time. In fact, you don’t need a huge list a small list of customers who you have already built up a relationship with are more likely to buy and can prove fruitful.
This is all niche dependent as some perform better than others and this will only become clear as you work your list.
We have all seen ads pop up when we load up a website or do a search on google right? Well, those ads have been paid for by marketers using the google Adwords program.
By signing up to Adsense you can get paid every time someone clicks on one of those ads on your website.
You can place ads in your sidebar the main content or above or below post or pages.
Google Adsense has its own dashboard where you can configure these ads to place on your website.
Google Adsense used to be more lucrative but has now been diminished with oversubscribing. However, you can still earn a small income from these ads if you can get decent traffic to click them.
Even enough to pay for hosting or other subscription you have is worth doing in the beginning to help with your campaign.
When to use
There are those who think AdSense is not best for working into a niche website when you can have cases of Google popping in ads that have nothing relevant to do with your website. This can be true and can put people off visiting.
However, you can go into the AdSense settings and try and configure ads to be relevant to your site. This is not always possible but can be tuned up a bit to help with relevancy.
As a new website beginning out I would recommend using this to try and earn some revenue to help with subscription costs etc.
As your site gets more indexed and mature you can set up targeted ads to make better revenue.
Please bear in mind that Google has a strict policy and breaking their terms in any way will get you banned for life.
I know marketers who have gotten themselves banned and don’t even know the reason why. The big G just sent an email and closed their account.
I use Adsense myself and have gained some revenue from it which has helped me pay for services for them so personally I don’t have a problem with its use you just need to be careful you put them in the correct places. There are other networks out there as well when your traffic gets bigger which are more productive than Adsense. Ones like Mediavine, Ezoic and Monumetric offer a great reward but need you to put in the groundwork and have a website already getting decent traffic.
When working with affiliate marketing there are two main programs to work with.
The sale of physical items as in Amazon or the sale of electronic items like ebooks, software, images, basically anything that can be downloaded.
A good platform to do this is Clickbank.
As electronic items are easily transferred from one computer to another there is no need for packaging and shipping and hence the commission offered to marketers is usually a lot higher. In fact you can get anything up to around 75% from the sale price selling items like this.
That is huge when you think about it. If someone buys an item for $20 you can make $15 when you consider that you would only get $0.80 when selling on Amazon 4% that is a marked increase.
In fact you will have to sell at least 19 of an item on Amazon to make the same commission as one item this way.
Its not all good news though as the market is saturated with bad products that have large returns and not a good name so you need to do your research to make sure you are selling something worth promoting.
It is good policy to promote several products this way and see which works out the best then focus in on that with more content and reviews to maximize sales.
A GREAT way to work out what is selling well is to use platforms like CB engine to find out if there are any products in your niche doing well and how much competition there is on it.
CB Engine shows all the items currently on Clickbank and gives analytics on sales trends etc.
One key factor is gravity. If an item has a good gravity figure then its doing well however too high a figure and its highly competitive so a good starting point is to find something in the twenties and not the hundreds.
Searching for products
When you have a niche you are working and getting traffic organically to your website you can then start promoting affiliate links.
If you sign up to a FREE account with clickbank you can search the marketplace for products in your niche.
You can click through the categories or do a website search. From there you can obtain your affiliate link to promote the product Like with any affiliate product do your research and a few reviews then promote in several ways to see what works best and then hone in on that.
Final thoughts on Making Money Online
As you can see there are literally hundreds of ways to make money from an online business. What you need to do now is come up with a niche idea and do some research into keywords to see what traffic you can expect to gain.
Then work at quality content and post regularly at least twice weekly more if you can. Share your content on social platforms building followers as you go.
As traffic builds start an email autoresponder list and build up subscriptions. Then start promoting other posts and other ideas around your niche.
Now start to promote products that you have researched out that will benefit anyone involved in your niche do this both on your website and email list. Remember to work in sales posts every now and again don’t overdo it.
From here keep producing content and revisit old posts and revamp them. Use good SEO to build links between posts and pages on your site and keep adding new details like new images more sentences as you see fit to add them in. This constant change adds to the Google index and helps with rank.
If you have worked well and have been diligent in detail you should be gaining decent traffic by the third month and making a few sales. As you continue to build you should see that grow.
Would love to hear your thoughts and plans for ways to make money online.
The more I do research on how to make money online, the more I realize the VAST opportunities that the Internet presents. From freelancing to e-commerce to social media marketing and who knows what else. It’s actually really impressive.
I have a lot of questions to ask you here.
I see a lot of “personal blog” type of websites on the net but if I understand you correctly, it’ll be smarter to start a more specific, small “specialty” website (or authority websites if I’m OK putting more time and effort into it)?
Say I decide to build a website and I’d like to share my experience with a particular product.
Will it work if I don’t buy product and still write reviews? My concern is will I still sound credible talking about something I never owned and used? I imagine buying every single product can quickly get expensive…
I have a bad habit of pursuing a lot of things at once (and therefore never getting anything done), so I’d probably go with a niche website first and then learn more about things like social media and e-mail marketing, when the time is right.
Any tips on how to get started the right way would be appreciated.
Looking forward to hearing from you,