graphic designing, Uncategorized, web designing


The FIVE DOLLAR FUNNEL is an ingenious program because it utilizes the power of leverage to move everyone through a series of cash producing matrices while paying commissions on team effort, so basically in this program/business you do not work alone, you work in a team of people.
That’s what a TEAM means  in this business.


Now I would love to use a story to explain what leverage means. Two contractors were given the job to supply the government house with 50,000 liters of water for use by the government. The first contractor was busy carrying the water on his head with some gallons while his counterpart laid water pipes from his water source down to the government house.Now, I ask you who would do the project more efficiently and faster. The second contractor leveraged on the pipes to achieve his goal of supplying the required water at the right time.

In this business, you leverage on people to get to your destination faster and more efficiently.


If you notice, I  said that in this program you do not work alone, you work in a team and a team involves people which is our leveraging point. There is no financially successful person in the world today that you can think of that works alone; STEVE JOBS, BILL GATE, MARK ZUGHERBURG, SLIM HELLU and the likes, all of these people work with people to be able to amass the kind of money they have today.

You must note that becoming wealthy does not take a one man effort. It requires a collective effort of human beings or people. So, to be highly successful in this business you need to work with people, get people involved.


This program/business comprises of four matrix positions, the first one is called the Kickstarter Matrix which you start with just $5.

You can also go through this video to have a better understanding of the program;

Five Dollar Funnel Business Presentation

1 5 3 $0.75
2 40 9 $18
3 30 27 $40.50
4 10 81 $40.50
5 10 243 $121.50
MONTHLY 95 363 $221.25


The potential earning from this matrix alone on monthly basis is put at $221.25. It means therefore that with only 6 persons in your matrix you would have even gotten your initial $5 back. You activate this matrix with just $5  and the company pays on weekly basis.

After you must have made success with this matrix the system automatically progresses you to the next matrix from the earnings you have made from the kickstarter matrix so you potentially don’tspend any other money apart from your initial $5 or N1200,the next matrix is called the Builder Matrix.



1 5 3 $3
2 20 9 $36
3 20 27 $108
4 20 81 $324
5 20 243 $972
MONTHLY 85 363 $1,443


Now this matrix requires only 363 people to fill up and the potential monthly income is put at $1,443 monthly. Take note that your first stream of income which is the kickstarter matrix is still on and running while you build the builder matrix. So adding the earning from both matrix, you get a monthly income of $1,663. Now the system moves you to the next matrix which is the Leader Matrix.


1 0 3 $0
2 10 9 $89.10
3 5 27 $133.65
4 5 81 $400.95
5 5 243 $1,202.85
6 5 729 $3,608.55
7 20 2187 $4,3302
MONTHLY 50 3279 $48,737.70


When you look closely,  you would notice that for you to fill up this matrix you only need just 3279 people but your potential monthly income earning from this matrix alone is put at $48,737,if you add this to your previous two matrix still running your potential monthly income from this three matrix is $221.25 + $1,443+ $48,737.70 = $50,401.95.

I know you are already wondering how is this possible, well let me tell you that two key things makes this possible in this business 1. The power of Leverage 2. The power of People. The money you are receiving is just a fraction of the activities all those in your matrix are performing through the sale of the company’s product, which is the same one you also started the business with.

The system now moves you progressively to the fourth and final matrix which is where everyone who is reading this material now should be aiming at, and it is the Mogul Matrix.




1 0 3 $0
2 10 9 $267.30
3 5 27 $400.95
4 5 81 $1,202.85
5 5 243 $3,608.55
6 5 729 $10,825.65
7 20 2187 $129,907.80
MONTHLY 50 3279 $146,213.10


What you must have noticed is that the first two matrix is 3×5 while the last two is a 3×7. Now, you only need 3279 people to fill up this last matrix and your potential income earning is put at $146,213.10 in this matrix alone.

Now this is without adding the other three previous matrix. The basic truth is that with this plan, you come in with potentially nothing out of your pocket . Just Five Dollars ($5 ) and all you need to fill up all four matrix is just 7284 people.

Of course you don’t have to get all these (7284) people by yourself and that’s what makes a forced matrix interesting and fun cause you actually get help from above and below. That’s why it is called a collective effort or team effort to keep the process going and make it go viral. The monthly potential income here is put at $196,615.05 from all four matrix from a program/business you started with $5 and only needs 7284 people, and you get paid in cash.

Payment is done weekly in all four matrix. Guess what, the business opportunity is in 196 countries of the world already and still counting.


Let’s be clear here, the company pays you a portion of the sales that happens in your team from retail product purchases. This is not a get rich quick scheme, nor is it a cycler or pyramid program.

As you advance to each new matrix, new training programmes and marketing tools are added and unlocked. Think of this as a distribution channel that pays fraction commissions on product sales.

As you can now see the Five Dollar Funnel progressive compensation system is truly ingenious, offering life changing monthly residual income with potentially one time product purchase of $5. And now, you understand why this home business sensation is spreading like wild fire around the world.



After registering, you would be provided with your log in details and link in your email, when you click on that link it would take you straight to your back office, which is where you would be operating your business from and monitoring your progress in the business.

I would strongly advice that you visit your back office daily so that you don’t miss out on anything. Now when you get to your back office you would find a place where it is written “subscribe” which has the logo of mastercard and others, click on it and then it would take you to a page where you would be required to fill in your details appropriately and your account would be activated and you would be ready to start doing business.

Please ensure that you do this so that you can start up immediately cause this would help you position yourself properly in the business for better gains. So go ahead now and get registered.



It was Lao Tzu that said “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
Its a profound truth.  You will be surprised how far a small but consistent effort will take you.
It is moments like THIS one that make the difference between winners and losers.

What are you waiting?  GET STARTED NOW,  Click Here;

Be kind enough to share with your friends and loved ones. GOODLUCK


graphic designing, web designing

How to Make Money Blogging – 2015 Edition by Amy Lynn Andrews

How to Make Money Blogging – 2015 Edition

If you’ve ever wondered how to make money blogging, you’ve come to the right place. My goal was to create a one-stop guide with as much up-to-date information about blogging for money as possible. Let’s get started!

make money blogging

Introduction – Can the average person make money blogging?
Things You Need
How It Works
The Bottom Line
Ways to Make Money Blogging

Where to Begin
Next Steps


Can the average person make money blogging?

Absolutely. Just like any business it requires hustle – a lot of hustle – but it is definitely within reach.

The internet has provided opportunities in business unlike any other time in history. There’s a very low barrier to entry, the playing field is leveled, it costs next to nothing to get started and the overhead and risk are minimal.

I know this to be true because I’ve done it myself and I’ve watched countless others do the same.

At the beginning of 2010 I was not making any significant money online. Less than two years later, my husband quit his job and my online income now supports us.

Related: How Much Do Bloggers Make?

Note: I have included some of my referral links in this post. If you click through them and make a purchase, I will make a small commission. This is at no extra cost to you, but it helps keep the lights on here so I can keep bringing you great tips. I really appreciate your support in this way.
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things you need

There are a few things you need before you start making money blogging.

A blog

If you want to make money blogging, obviously you’ll need a blog. If you don’t have one, no worries, simply follow the steps I outlined in How to Start a Blog.


Once you’re set up, you’ll need to create content. You’ll have to write informative posts and articles about your chosen topic. This is the time consuming part. It’ll be a while before you start seeing an income. There is no way around this. There are no shortcuts. We all have to put in our time.

Related: How to Decide What to Blog About

I assure you, the bloggers who are doing this for a living have been at it for years. Online business is no different than offline business in that regard.

The good news is, you can do it too.
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how it works

When someone learns that blogging supports our family, I’m almost always asked, “How do you make money blogging?”

Before I started, I had the same question. The answer is not so straightforward, but I think an analogy will help.

Think of musicians

There are many musicians in the world. Some make money, some don’t. There are many ways to make money as a musician. How do musicians make money?

  • Some go on tour and make money through ticket sales.
  • Many sell their music in the form of CDs, MP3s and other formats.
  • Some create their own merchandise (clothing, cosmetics, souvenirs, etc.).
  • Others are under contract with a record label.
  • Some are employed by a company that puts on regular shows (like a Las Vegas hotel for example).
  • Some musicians write books and make money that way.
  • Others are compensated when they endorse products.
  • The list goes on…

Each of these ways to make money as a musician could be called an income stream. In short, there are many ways one can make money as a musician. It just depends on what income streams are used and how many.

The same goes for bloggers. I’ll get into the specifics of each income stream for bloggers in a moment, but first I need to talk about the 4-legged chair.

The 4-legged chair

To continue the analogy, think about how many musicians there are in the world. A lot right? So why aren’t all musicians professional musicians? Why don’t all of them make money?

I’m sure you would agree, it’s because other things are required.

Before a musician can make money, they need other things, like good connections with the right people, recognition for their ability and an established fan base.

It works the same for bloggers. Just having a blog doesn’t make someone a professional blogger. There must be other things present. What are those things?

This is where my 4-legged chair comes in.

You must have all 4 legs

Think of these 4 main components like the four legs on a chair. To experience the most success as a blogger, all must be present. I cannot emphasize this enough. If you are missing any of the four, you will struggle. And like most things in life, the more time and effort you put into the quality of each of these “legs” the bigger your return.

Setting up the first three legs will take a lot of time. There won’t be a whole lot of return at first. But if you keep going, you’ll eventually see an uptick in income.

1. Create excellent content

Once you have a blog, you must add high-quality content. On a blog, this content comes in the form of blog posts. Your blog posts have to be excellent. In order to make money, you have to have visitors, but in order to have visitors, you must have content worthwhile to visit.

To create your content, draw from the expertise or experience you already have. Start there. After that, never stop learning. Keep growing in your knowledge of your craft so the content you produce gets increasingly great.

The content equivalent for a musician would obviously be music. They have to have music in their repertoire. And it has to be good.

2. Establish real relationships

While you create your content, start building sincere, no-strings-attached relationships via social media, commenting, forums, promoting others and the like.

If no one knows you exist, it’s unlikely you’ll get many visitors. People won’t naturally find you if you don’t put yourself out there. Plus, these relationships may benefit you when it comes time to promote your stuff later on.

“It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” There’s a lot of truth in that little saying. Never underestimate the power of connections.

Don’t we hear about this all the time in music? People go out on auditions, they network, they take lessons, they attend gatherings and parties and do their best to establish relationships with people that might be able to help them along in their musical pursuits.

3. Build your platform

A lot of people don’t realize that for many bloggers most of the money they make does not come from blogging directly. For many, a blog is a platform. It’s online property. It’s where they establish an “official” digital home. It’s where people can get information about them. It’s like a modern-day business card, headshot, calling card or resume.

Bloggers use their blogs as springboards to launch other projects that bring in income, such as ebooks, books, speaking, other products, etc. (more below).

Your blog is a way to get exposure, build authority, gain trust and be helpful. Call it your brand. Call it your platform. Build a consistent, trustworthy reputation and digital presence, and it will help you rise above the noise online.

4. Choose and implement streams of income

Developing income streams is the last leg of the 4-legged chair. Many people want to focus only on this leg, but without the other three, it won’t work. Trust me on this.

Income streams ebb and flow, so successful bloggers are constantly exploring new ways to make money. The key to making good money as a blogger is to have multiple streams of income. Even small trickles of money coming from various places over time, can really add up.

In the next section I’ll break things down and get specific about the various income streams bloggers adopt, but first you need to know the bottom line.
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the bottom line

The bottom line is, making money as a blogger is about selling. Either you sell your own stuff or you sell someone else’s stuff (directly on your site or indirectly by referring people to them).

It shouldn’t be surprising, but for some reason this idea makes people cringe.

Ponder it for a moment. If you are making money doing what you do, you would be called a “professional.”  And therefore, a professional of any sort, be it musicians, authors, consultants, doctors, makers of widgets is in the business of selling too. They’re selling products, services, art or any number of things.

As a professional blogger, you’ll be selling.

Think of selling as an investment

For many people, selling online conjures up visions of spam or slick, sleazy and gimmicky products of dubious quality. There’s plenty of that online, but there’s a whole lot more that’s valuable, useful and frankly, super convenient (I’m so glad I can buy a 50-pound bag of dog food on Amazon and have it delivered to my front door!).

I hope you’ve personally experienced the value of buying and selling online. If you’ve adopted the idea that any business online is sketchy (outside of the “big” online stores perhaps), erase the thought.

Selling is about investment. We are being sold to constantly. Some things we are willing to invest in and some we’re not. The trick in making money as a blogger is selling things you can stand behind and things your readers are willing to invest in.

But I run a nonprofit

I’d still argue you’re “selling” something. It may not be goods or services, but you’re still trying to get people to buy into your cause, program, vision or movement.

It’s not selling in the most common sense of the word, but the concept behind it is the same: you spread the word about your organization and encourage people to invest in it either financially, emotionally, physically or spiritually.

But I don’t like selling!

I hear ya. I’m not good at promoting my own stuff and I feel uncomfortable “asking for the sale” over and over and over again. But I turned a corner when I realized selling can look a million different ways. It’s just a matter of doing it in a way that works for you.

The fact is, there’s a good chance someone out there wants what you provide. Don’t apologize for it and don’t brag about it. Don’t tip-toe and don’t gush. Just do it, and tell others about it, straight up.

Not sure what it is you have to offer? Here, try this:

Do people marvel at something you do? Do you love doing it?

There. Focus on that.
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ways to make money blogging

As in our example of the musician, you’ll see there are numerous ways bloggers make money. Each blogger has a different combination of income streams. Knowing what types of income streams there are is helpful and can spark ideas, but if you try to dive into monetizing your blog before you’ve really built it, you run the risk of damaging the reputation (platform) you so desperately need.

At the risk of sounding corny, the best way to start monetizing is to let it grow organically out of what you are already doing. So, start blogging about what you enjoy. As you grow, you’ll figure out what ways of monetizing would most suit you. Go with the opportunities as they make sense. Don’t try to force them.

Following are the main categories of income streams.
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This group is all about generating income directly from your blog, website or your other digital assests.

Display Ads

Display ads are graphics or images similar to billboards or ads in a magazine. Typically they are positioned on your site in the sidebar, header, footer or within your content. They are also known as banner ads.

They are meant to complement your blog’s content, making them attractive and relevant to visitors. Advertisers hope that your visitors will then click on those images to explore and purchase the products or services they offer.

Display ads are often provided through ad networks. Ad networks are companies that pair advertisers with publishers (bloggers). Ad networks act as a middle man between advertisers and publishers, negotiating partnership details between the two. The ad network takes a cut from the partnership profit.

Ad networks are attractive to many bloggers because they take the hassle out of display advertising. Some ad networks, like Google Adsense, are relatively easy to get into and are easy to set up. Other ad networks, though, are selective in who they accept.

Examples of ad networks are Google Adsense, BlogadsBlogHerBeacon Ads, Federated Media, Sovrn, (formerly Lijit),, Rivit, Sway. (WAHAdventures has a lot more listed as well.)

Can you really make money with Google AdSense?

This is a very popular question, and a good one. Google Adsense is probably the most popular ad network and a good place for beginning bloggers to start if they want to pursue display ads because it’s so easy to set up.

However, if you want to make really good money with Google AdSense, you either have to be in a unique niche in which advertisers will pay a lot for clicks on their ads (hard to find), or you have to have a lot of traffic (hard to get). For these reasons, I don’t recommend AdSense (or display advertising in general) as the main pursuit for new bloggers.


  • If you want to get an idea of pricing and traffic for popular blogs, sites like Beacon Ads and Federated Media are places you can do that.
  • If you’re using CPC/PPC ads (cost per click/pay per click), check out Google’s recommendations for best ad placement on your site. It’s important that your content doesn’t get drowned out by ads. Google has indicated sites with too many ads above the fold may be penalized in search. If you’re not sure what is above the fold, use this tool.
  • As always, experiment. Experiment with ad placement to get the right combination on your site.

Further reading: Jason from ProBlogSchool explains ad networks in great detail in his post Ads 102: How to Make Money Using Ad Networks.

Private Ads

Private ads are similar to display ads in that they also come in the form of buttons or graphics and usually appear in the sidebars of blogs. They are unique in that there is no middle man (ad network) to negotiate the partnership. Partnerships are arranged directly between a blogger and an individual, small business or company.

Initial contact can be made by the blogger or by the advertiser. Be clear on what’s expected by both parties.

Not sure what to charge? Look around to see what others in your niche charge. You can often find this information on their advertising pages or in media kits.

Don’t just throw up an advertising page and expect advertisers to come calling. Go to them. Not sure how to do that? Find other blogs like yours that are your size or slightly larger. See who is advertising on their site. Contact those companies and ask if they’d like to advertise on your site too. Create a pitch and make it a win-win.

Check out iHeartOrganizing‘s advertising page as an example.


  • If you have ads in your sidebar, keep them full. Instead of displaying a blank box with “Advertise here” fill it with an affiliate graphic (like my Tell Your Time ebook) in there. Crystal Paine puts it well when she says, “This screams, ‘My advertising space isn’t valuable enough for people to want to buy so I instead have this big blank box!’”

Giveaways & Reviews

If you’ve read blogs for any length of time, you’ve surely seen a review or giveaway and maybe participated yourself. A company supplies a product to a blogger to be reviewed and/or given away to readers. A word about giveaways…

I list giveaways here because some bloggers charge to run giveaways in addition to the expected free product to keep for themselves.

There are varying opinions about whether or not one should be compensated for giveaways. As I see it, it largely depends on whether the product is for marketing purposes or for advertising purposes. Companies use marketing to spread the word about their product or service. With advertising, a company makes a deal with another party to help them spread the word. Companies expect to pay for advertising.

For example, a company may market their product by handing out free t-shirts. Because you like the t-shirt, you take it and wear it. You obviously wouldn’t charge the company when you wore their t-shirt.

But I think a giveaway on a blog would often fall in the category of advertising. Yes, the company you’re working with may give you a product to use (indeed, they should!). However, they are also asking you to provide a service to them. After all, you are spending your valuable time to field their emails, communicate with them, write a post (or posts), follow up with giveaway entrants, etc. If there is nothing else you’re getting from the partnership except for the free product, this service should be compensated in my opinion.

Resource: Amy from Mom Advice wrote a post about reviews a few years back that still offers good tips.


  • Products you receive for free need to be reported as income on your taxes so keep excellent records and make sure the products you are accepting for review are really ones you want to pay taxes on later.
  • Don’t be afraid to negotiate. This is your blog. No need to just take what you’re offered on the first round. Make it a win-win for both.
  • If you don’t want to do a review for a company, ask the company if they’d like to buy ad space instead. Mention that they’ll still get a spot in front of your readers.

Newsletter/Podcast Sponsorships

If you have an email newsletter or podcast, you can accept advertising just as you would on your blog. You can reach out to potential advertisers, tell them how they would benefit from advertising with you and pitch your idea.

If you want to learn more about monetizing podcasts, I highly recommend Podcast Launch: A complete guide to launching your Podcast with 15 Video Tutorials! by John Lee Dumas. Dumas is just a regular guy who consistently makes 6 figures per month from his podcast. Not only does he show you how to launch a podcast, but he covers making money from your podcast as well.

Sponsored Posts

Writing a sponsored post means you work with a company and write a post about their product or service. Be upfront and disclose your relationship to your readers. Keep sponsored posts to a minimum so you don’t turn off readers.

If you read blogs, you’ve probably seen sponsored posts. They can be spotted by the disclosure stating something like, “This post was sponsored by [company] but all opinions are mine.”

Find examples of sponsored post details and rates on Life Your Way.

Underwritten Posts or Series

Underwritten posts differ from sponsored posts in that the post topic is about whatever you want it to be (as opposed to the company’s product/service), but an advertiser pays to get a “Brought to you by” type note in the post. Anticipate the posts you think will get a lot of response and pitch companies with an underwritten spot.

An example of an underwritten series is this Christmas Gift Guide at

Hear what others have to say

There are bloggers who have been quite successful with advertising and who’ve shared what they’ve learned. Check out:

  1. Elite Blog Academy – This course deals with getting more traffic and therefore increasing your advertising revenue. Read my full review of this course first.
  2. How to Monetize Your Food Blog – This ebook is about ad networks, advertising and how to set up an ad waterfall so you get the most out of your ad spots. (It also briefly covers some of the other monetization methods listed below.)
  3. Niche Site Duel – This deals with doing keyword research to find the niches advertisers pay high rates to.

Advertising pros

  • Many are easy to set up and maintain.
  • They can be used as a way to get readers used to ads on your site before you gain higher-earning advertisers. In other words, it can eliminate “ad shock” down the road.
  • Advertising is indeed lucrative for select bloggers. Read on…

Advertising cons

  • Mobile access, popup ad blockers and streamlined browser readers often remove ads from websites, rendering them far less effective.
  • Good advertising revenue depends on very high traffic or a niche with high-paying keywords (hard to find these days).
  • Advertising rates have declined over the last few years.
  • Ads often make a site look spammy and cluttered.
  • Ads often make a user click away from your blog. For a few cents, is it worth it? You have to decide.
  • Many readers have developed ad blindness.
  • Many bloggers have been banned by Google’s Adsense program for no apparent reason. It’s unpredictable.
  • While it is possible to block certain URLs from showing up in your Adsense ads, sometimes bad ones sneak through. This can be detrimental to your brand and platform.

My advertising advice

  • Be patient. Wait for the right partnership that won’t make you compromise.
  • Make sure your advertisers are in line with your values.
  • Don’t do text links. They are often spammy and looked down upon by Google.
  • Unless you are an established blogger for whom advertising is already working, this is the income stream I would pursue last. The traffic requirement and low ad rates means your time will be better spent elsewhere.

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affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing involves promoting someone else’s product or service and earning a commission when one of your readers clicks through your unique affiliate link and makes a purchase.

I wrote about affiliate marketing at length in What is Affiliate Marketing? and My Top Affiliate Marketing Tips.
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digital products


You can sell music or video that others can use as intros or outros. Audio Jungle or iStockPhoto (they sell audio too).

Apps, Plugins or Themes

If you have a knack for code-writing and can write your own themes or plugins, you can sell them at a place like Creative Market.

Also, many plugin authors offer their plugins for free but ask for donations.


Do you have a domain collecting problem? Did you know you could sell them for profit?

Ecourses/Webinars/Online Workshops

You could do all sorts of things with this from small to large. Of course, you wouldn’t have to go big the first time around. Test the waters by holding a small, local event first. Grow bigger as you learn the ropes and figure out what works and what doesn’t.

Just pick something you’re good at that other people want to know and teach it! Do it once or twice to refine your presentation and then start charging a small fee to those who want to take your class. Check out how LeadPages uses webinars to sell their product in this free 10-part video series.


Many, many bloggers have written ebooks. I’ve made a healthy chunk selling my own ebook Tell Your Time the last few years. (Here’s why I turned down a traditional book deal in favor of self-publishing.)

I don’t think ebooks (generally) make the same kind of money they did a few years ago, but for some, with very compelling topics and a decent group of supporters who help promote, it can be a good option.

If you want to write your own ebook, check out my series How to Write an Ebook.

One benefit of having an ebook is the ability to participate in ebook bundles which can generate quite a bit of income. Again, it’s about relationships and pooling your resources. See how Stephanie and Erin do it at Ultimate Bundles.

Related: How to Make Money as an Ultimate Bundle Affiliate.

Premium Content & Membership Communities

Insider spaces, one-on-one interaction, VIP rooms. Premium content is just what it sounds like – content that others must pay to access. This isn’t a new concept, but I do think it will become more and more common.

There is free information all over the internet, so in order for this to work, you would have to offer something truly unique — some sort of “insider information,” special access to individuals whose expertise is highly sought after, products or services that go above and beyond the norm, such or special treatment such as one-on-one interaction and coaching.

I’ve experimented with premium content when I created my Useletter Archives (now closed).

Another example of a premium content site is Food Blogger Pro. Bjork started this site after being asked by food bloggers how he and his wife Lindsay built their hugely popular food blog, Pinch of Yum.


Are you a photographer? Illustrator? Why not sell your photos on a site like iStockphoto? SomeGirl has an excellent series about how to become an iStockphoto seller. A significant portion of her family’s income comes from selling photos.

Selling Blogs & Websites

Many bloggers have sold their blogs or websites for 4-, 5-, 6- and even 7-figure sums. There is also something called flipping websites where you obtain a small blog or website, grow it and then sell it for profit later.

If you want to flip a site, check out Flippa. And if you want to read about those who have sold their blog, you can read this.
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physical products


For many bloggers, their blogs have helped them sell books, both self and traditionally published. I’ve heard over and over again that traditional publishers will not typically consider your manuscript if you don’t have a blog first.

And if you’re a self-published author or hybrid author (that is, you have both self-published and traditionally-published books), a blog is a great way to sell books.

Conferences, Classes or Special Events

I consider hosting an event like a conference a “physical” product since it involves an exchange of something tangible (in this case, money for a ticket to an experience). You can also do bigger events like day-long seminars or workshops or even multi-day conferences.

Do not underestimate the work that would go into pulling off one of these events successfully. It’s a huge undertaking, but if you have a background in event planning or are extremely motivated, organized and are good at networking and making connections with companies (sponsors) etc., this might be for you.

In your niche or area of interest, it’s likely there are large, established conferences already. So, try narrowing down your conference topic in order to target a more specific group. If you’re going to put on a large-scale event, be very clear and very specific in your goals and make sure there’s a strong desire for the information you can provide. And then do it with excellence.

The way you would make money, of course, is to charge a fee to attend and/or partner with sponsors to cover your costs (and your salary).

Handmade Products

Are you crafty? Consider selling on Etsy. You can set up your own shop for free and it’s simple to get started. It’s not so simple to stand out from the crowd, so that’s likely to be your biggest challenge. Here are some tips on how to market your shop.

Manufactured Products

Sell manufactured products. Use your site/blog/newsletter to promote it.

If you create the product yourself, that’s great, but if you don’t know how to create your own product, you can sell someone else’s in your own shop.

If you have an idea for a product you’d like to sell but aren’t sure where to start, this couple tells you how they started selling wedding linens online. Their Online Store Tutorials are particularly helpful.
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You might think of this like freelancing. If you have a skill (who doesn’t?), why not offer your services via the internet (a.k.a. virtually)? It does not have to be computer related. Think of ways you can use your already-gained skills in your favor and put them online.

  • Administrative Assistant
  • App Developer
  • Audio/Video Editor
  • Coach
  • Concierge/Personal Assistant
  • Consultant
  • Cook – This isn’t completely virtual as you would have to deliver food, but you could still use the internet to get exposure. Here’s an example.
  • Counselor
  • Designer – Check out Minted’s Design Challenge for a place to start.
  • Digital Freelancer – Pick a task you can do quickly that others “will get around to someday.” For example, digitizing their boxes of photos.
  • Photo Editor
  • Project Manager
  • Social Media Manager
  • Software Writer
  • Speaker
  • Trainer
  • Transcriptionist
  • Tutor
  • Visioneer – Have people send you pictures of their room/house/yard and offer suggestions for improvement. Post before & after photos on your blog.
  • Web Builder – If you’ve set up your own site, contact local brick & mortar businesses and see if you can set up theirs. Barter services to get your feet wet, gain experience and build a portfolio.
  • Web Developer
  • Writer – The advantage of writing for other sites is that you get to be a part of something that’s already established. Also, you don’t have to worry about the technical aspects of running and maintaining your own site. Keep your ears peeled for contributor opportunities. You could start by guest posting.

I wrote a post called How to Become a Virtual Assistant with tips for anyone wanting to offer their services online.

Resource: The Bootstrap VA: The Go-Getter’s Guide to Becoming a Virtual Assistant, Getting and Keeping Clients, and More, an ebook by Lisa Morosky. Make it your first business investment. This ebook blew my mind; it’s loaded with tips, resources and step-by-step instruction.

Pro to offering a service:

  • Low startup cost. Little to no inventory required.

Con to offering a service:

  • Not scaleable. In other words, your business size depends on how much time you have. You only have so much time in your day so you can provide a finite amount of service.

Tips for service providers:

  • Create a simple brochure-type site with just a few pages: Home, About, Contact, Resume, Services & Pricing, Before and After Photos (if applicable) and Testimonials once you get some.
  • Participate in forums, comments and other social media platforms and answer questions. Build a reputation as an authority and expert.

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where to begin

Feeling overwhelmed yet? You’re not alone. It is overwhelming.

You should know there are no magic bullets. What works for one person won’t necessarily work for another and vice versa. There are no guaranteed, across-the-board results either. Your mileage may vary. Take the time to think through what might work for you.

What’s your personality?

Are you an introvert? Extrovert? Are you organized and like to work ahead? Are you spontaneous and fly by the seat of your pants? All these questions will help you determine the best fit for you.

For example, I started a forum many years ago, but as an introvert, I quickly realized managing and moderating all the conversation was too stressful. So, I handed it over to someone who loved the social aspect of it.

Also, I like to tackle a project and move on. I don’t like open-ended projects that are ongoing. That’s why I prefer writing and selling an ebook rather than running a membership site.

Take your personality and temperament into account and decide what will work for you.

What’s your season of life?

When I started blogging I was a mom with newborns and toddlers. There was just no way I had the time or energy to devote to an online business. But now my kids are older and it works differently.

It’s true my children are now out of the newborn and toddler stage but we have moved into the spend-your-life-in-the-car stage, chauffeuring people to activities all the live long day. Not to mention the hungry-every-5-minutes stage where they eat as fast as I cook. If it weren’t for my husband’s flexible schedule, I’d have to seriously rethink things.

Think realistically about what’s going on in your life. How much time do you really have to devote to blogging?

What are others in your niche doing?

If you’re still stumped, one of the best ways to figure out what might work for you is to look at well-established bloggers in your niche and take note of the monetization methods they use. If those methods will work with your personality and season of life, start there.
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tips header

Start small

Keep your day job and build your blog on the side, particularly if you have a family to support. Once you gain traction and can confidently replace your income, launch out on your own.

Find a hole and fill it

You’ll significantly increase your chances of success if you meet a need for others instead of blogging as an outlet for yourself.

Change with the times

Blogging for money today is quite different than it was even 2 years ago. You must stay ahead of the curve. It means you’ll constantly need to be experimenting and branching out. Read a lot. Or, if you’d prefer not to do all that reading, subscribe to my useletter and I’ll keep you posted on the latest.

Experiment and take risks

I don’t  think there is a business on earth that has as little risk or overhead as blogging (if you bootstrap it). For that reason, be bold. You’ve got very, very little to lose and so much to potentially gain.

And when you’re first starting out, risk more. You won’t have as many followers so you can work out the kinks early without the whole world watching.

Be observant

There is something to be said about putting your head down and getting to work. However, if you don’t occasionally glance up to see how you might need to adjust and grow, you’ll get left behind.


I already mentioned the importance of finding new income streams, but the other piece of that is to keep them diverse. The internet changes constantly. That way, if one stream dries up (happens all the time in online business), you’ve still got the others.

Don’t just make an income, make a living

Consider passion, productivity and profit. Find the intersection of all three.

  • If you are passionate about something and you can produce stuff but you aren’t making money, you have a hobby.
  • If you produce stuff and you make money but you lack passion, you have a job.
  • If you are passionate and are making money but you feel like it’s taking over your life to the detriment of your other responsibilities, you have an obsession.

Hobbies, jobs and even obsessions might not be totally bad, but try to adjust so you are passionate, productive and profitable. To me, that’s making a living.

Establish a blogging routine

Carve out regular time each day to focus on a few simple tasks (mostly creating great content). Learn to tune out the noise and do your thing.

Be you

There’s nothing new under the sun, that’s true. Everything online is just a repackaging of what already was there. However, there is no one that can repackage something in the way you can. Tap into your uniqueness.

Be memorable

Before you start a blog in a huge niche with a lot of blogs, be sure you have a concrete plan for standing out. A large niche is a good sign because it means there are a lot of readers in that niche, but for those starting out, it’ll be very difficult to compete with the blogs that have already established themselves. How will you make others take a second look?

Don’t forget about taxes

I realize I can’t speak for everyone in the world, but here in the U.S., income you make blogging should be reported on your taxes. My advice here is to keep good records from the beginning. An ebook I found personally helpful was Your Blogging Business: Tax Talk & Tips from a Bookkeeper Turned Blogger.

Work hard

If you want to make money blogging, especially a full-time income, you’ll never work harder in your life. But you’ll probably never have so much fun either. Go for it!
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There are a number of misconceptions about blogging for money I’ve touched on throughout this guide, but just in case you skipped down here first, I’ll restate them. Better to be aware of them upfront so you have a realistic picture of the journey.

Myth: Blogging is a good way to make money fast

A lot of people think blogging has quick monetary returns. For most of us, it absolutely does not. Most of the people I know who are making a great part-time income have been at it for at least a year. Anyone who is making a full-time income has been at it for years. If anyone tells you differently, be very skeptical.

Myth: Once it’s live on the internet, people will find your blog

There are millions and millions of blogs online. Unless you win the internet lottery (not likely), there’s no way people will find you unless you tell them. Thus the importance of actively building relationships (see above).

Myth: Making money online isn’t legitimate

This is just simply untrue. There are sketchy people in any industry, but not only is online entrepreneurialism legitimate, it’s fast becoming a preferred way to do business because there’s low overhead and low risk.

Myth: Blogging for money doesn’t work

It’s true, a lot of bloggers don’t make money even after working toward that end. However, the reason is not because it doesn’t work. From what I’ve observed, it usually results from lack of motivation, lack of creativity or originality, lack of patience or lack of hustle. It’s a hard gig!

Myth: Blogging is for business types

This is what I thought when I first started blogging in 2004. I thought it was for men who could devote themselves full time to their blogging endeavor. But then I met a lot of moms and regular people like me who were making impressive incomes.
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next steps

So, what does this mean for you?

First, I have to ask, do you have a blog?

If not, start by setting up your own site. There is no need to be intimidated by the process. I have written another guide called How to Blog.

how to blog

Next go back up the 4-legged section above and start creating excellent content and building relationships on social media. Figure out where your perfect reader hangs out online and go there. Start to follow people you find interesting. Comment on posts, pins, updates or tweets. Demonstrate genuine interest in what they’re doing. Just make friends.

I would also suggest you sign up for my useletter. In it, I try to keep you updated on what’s going on in the blogging world and cool things bloggers might find useful. You can sign up here. It’s free of course and emails arrive usually on Saturday mornings.

If you want to see what others have done, check out my popular post How Much Do Real Bloggers Make?
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like it share it

Do you think this guide would be useful to others?

I always appreciate a comprehensive guide where I can get the information I need without a lot of fluff. If you agree, I would greatly appreciate it if you would share this post with others so they can be helped too. Thank you!
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For more helpful tips, visit

graphic designing, web designing

Top 10 Web Designer Job Skills A List of Must- Have Skills for Web Designers and Web Developers

aaaaWhether you are just starting out as a Web designer or Web developer or are looking to become one, there are skills you need to know to be successful. The following list of technical skills is a list of the skills you need to be a good Web designer. They are listed in importance to getting a job as a Web designer, although some may be in higher demand than others.

The list includes information about the skill, where to learn more about it, training resources, and whether it’s more useful to a Web designer or a Web developer.


HTML is the most important thing a Web designer or Web developer can learn. Even if you plan on using WYSIWYG editors for most of your career, knowing HTML will give you an understanding of how the Web works so that your designs will be more effective.

HTML is imperative to both Web designers and Web developers. Even Web designers who don’t plan to do much work outside of a WYSIWYG editor should learn HTML so that they know the basis of their Web pages.

2. CSS

After HTML, CSS is the most important language Web designers can learn. It is what powers the designs and determines how a page will look.

CSS is imperative to Web designers. If you don’t know CSS you won’t be able to design cutting edge websites. CSS is useful to Web developers, but not as important. Web developers who know CSS will be able to make their applications interact more effectively with the design.
3. Design Sense

Having a good sense of design is important for Web designers. There is a lot more to it than simply knowing which colors you like. You should be aware of the elements of design as well as the basic design principles. My Weekly Web Design Class teaches design principles as they relate to Web design.

Web designers must know design. Web developers do not need this skill, unless they are working as a freelancer.

4. JavaScript and Ajax

JavaScript is the first interactive element of a website and Web developers should be comfortable in JavaScript before they learn any other languages. Once you understand how JavaScript connects with your website, then you can use it to extend applications and create Ajax websites.

Web designers don’t need to learn JavaScript. Web developers should learn JavaScript.
5. PHP, ASP, Java, Perl, or C++

Programming Web pages starts with the language you use. There are many more options than the ones I list above, but these are some of the most popular and sought after. PHP is easily the leader, and if you choose only one language to learn, it should be PHP.

Web designers don’t need to learn a programming language. Web developers must learn at least one and the more you know well, the more employable you will be.

6. MySQL Database

Learning how to build and maintain a database is essential to most Web applications. MySQL is the most popular database on the Web, but learning Access or SQL or another database will be helpful.

Web designers don’t need to learn databases. Web developers would find knowing some database administration helpful.
7. Flash

Flash brings animation and vector graphics to Web pages. It can be used by both Web designers and Web developers to create interesting sites.

Web designers can learn Flash to round out their design and graphics knowledge. Web developers can learn Flash (and ActionScript) to round out their programming knowledge.
8. SEO

Search engine optimization, or SEO, is useful for anyone building websites. SEO is affected by the way the HTML is written, the image quality and content as well as many other things.

Both Web designers and Web developers will have a more desirable resume if they know SEO.
9. Web Server Administration

Knowing at least a little about the Web server your website is running on can help you solve problems and make your sites run better. Most Web designers feel they can ignore the server, but if you know how the server responds to things then you can build a better site.

Web designers don’t need to know how to administer a server, but could benefit from knowing simple things like shell access. Web developers should learn more about the server so that they can troubleshoot their scripts and programs.
10. Project Management

Project management is a critical job skill for nearly anyone. By knowing how to manage a project, you can help keep it on track and that will endear you to every manager you work with.


Back to Blogging: Ten Themes to Inspire You Right Now

I accidentally stumbled on this informative blog and decided to share with you. Especially intending bloggers. Enjoy this…

The Blog

Carving out your very own corner on the web is important to you. You may be a brand-new user on — if so, welcome! — or a veteran blogger returning to an old habit. Recently on the Verge, Lockhart Steele, the editorial director of Vox Media, talked about getting back to blogging. On a noisy internet with many platforms, some are bringing their blogs back from the dead and reclaiming their personal turf.

But for me, the web ecosystem will always be bloggy at its core. I’m looking forward to being a part of it again myself.

— Lockhart Steele

No matter what type of blogger you are, these ten themes — ideal for personal blogging and writing — will inspire you: some are simple and understated, while others are bold and modern. Each theme works right out of the box, so you can start publishing right now.

Browse away!


View original post 731 more words

graphic designing, web designing

43 Experts Share Their Top Tips To Grow Your Online Presence

How To Stand Out Online

As bloggers, we want and in some cases need more eye balls on our content.

But it’s not always so easy.

And there’s a lot of bad advice around that could hurt your chances.

You need insights from the experts.

Today I have a real treat for you.

I have assembled a group of incredible blogging, marketing and social media experts with the aim of giving a single piece of advice that could make a huge difference to your online presence.

And, ultimately help you stand out and get more eyeballs on your content.

The big question:

If you could give one piece of advice to bloggers that would help them grow their online presence or just stand out online, what would it be?
The experts that took part:

Click on the experts name to read their answer.

Aaron Lee, Adrienne Smith, Ashley Faulkes, Brian Dean, Bonnie Andrews.
Caleb Storkey, Charissa Moore, Chris Garrett, Christian Karasiewicz, Cyrus Shepard.
Danny Iny, Danny Wong, Denise Wakeman, Devesh Sharma.
Eric Enge.
Gini Dietrich, Glen Long.
Ian Cleary, Iman Jalali.
Jeff Bullas, John Lee Dumas, John Paul Aguiar, Jon Morrow.
Kathryn Aragon, Kevin Muldoon.
Larry Kim, Laurie Hurley, Lisa Irby, Lyuba Ellingson.
Martin Shervington, Michael JubaMike Allton.
Neil Patel, Niall Devitt.
Pauline Cabrera, Peg Fitzpatrick.
Ron Sela, Ryan Hanley.
Ted Rubin, Timo Kiander.
Vincent Ng.
Wade Harman, Walter Blake Knoblock.

Expert tips to grow your online presence

Note: all responses are published in the order they were received:

Caleb Storkey –

Caleb StorkeyFind your unique voice and be at peace with it. What do you get passionate about, what does your audience want and how can you make that passion contagious with your audience? With so many voices sharing great content, the one thing that people will never be able to trump you on, is you… being the incredible you that you are.

With all your insecurities, doubts, fears, dreams, hopes, aspirations, strategies and insights! Let your unique voice capture your listeners heart, serve their needs and add tangible value to their lives…. and they’ll always keep coming back for more.

Brian Dean – Backlinko

Brian DeanONLY publish case studies. Literally don’t publish anything that’s not a case study in some way. The fact is, unless you’re a huge name like Gary Vaynerchuk, no one cares what you think. But they DO care about how you can help them.

One of the best ways to show people that you can help them is to publish case studies. But I’ve come to realize — after analyzing what content did best on my blog — that there’s really no reason NOT to publish a case study every single time. After all, if you have advice that’s helpful, you shouldn’t have a problem publishing a case study to go along with it.

Big name bloggers like Pat Flynn came out of nowhere by ditching “here’s my take on X” content and focusing on case study content. It works.

Charissa Moore – House of Bliss

Charissa MooreConnect with the emotions of your audience. If you can speak to what they’re feeling now, as well as how they want to feel, you’ll create a relationship with them they’ll never forget.

Neil Patel – Quick Sprout

Neil PatelIt would be to guest post.

A lot of bloggers try to build their brand and presence through their own blog, but why not leverage the traffic of large blogs?

For example, it is rare that your blog will ever get more traffic than sites like Forbes, so in addition to posting on your blog, look to guest post on authoritative sites.

Don’t do it for the backlinks, do it for the branding.

Danny Wong – Shareaholic

Danny WongAlign yourself with other ambitious and influential bloggers. My career as a blogger has spanned nearly 5 years, and during that time, I’ve been published on The Huffington Post, The Next Web, Search Engine Journal, Entrepreneur, and ReadWrite.

When you ally with more-established bloggers and many up-and-coming writers, you’ll quickly recognize the power of collaboration and networking.

Keeping bloggers in your niche in-the-know about your work means you’ll always be top-of-mind with them whenever noteworthy opportunities come up. I have many writers to thank for helping me grow my career; three worth mentioning are Shane Snow of Contently who gave me the confidence to work with my first paying client, and Ritika Puri and Brian Honigman who frequently refer quality clients and projects my way.

Admittedly, it hasn’t been that much of an uphill battle to build a name for myself. And that all came organically after developing critical relationships with writers who loved my work after I showed it to them.

Kathryn Aragon – Crazy Egg and

Kathryn AragonIf you’re just starting out as a blogger and want to get noticed quickly, you need to make yourself visible every day. To make this happen, you’re going to have to include a variety of tactics, which could, at first, feel overwhelming. The secret is to make it a natural part of your day and to think of it as supporting one goal: visibility.

Here’s what I recommend:

  • Spend 20 to 30 minutes a day curating articles that relate to your area of expertise. Use a tool like Buffer or HootSuite to schedule them over the next day or so in Twitter.
  • Get involved in some groups on LinkedIn and/or Google+. Spend a half hour or so each week engaging with these groups. Focus on helping others, not promoting yourself.
  • Write guest blog posts for leading blogs in your industry. Set a goal of publishing at least one guest post per month.
  • Don’t forget your own website. When people see you online, they’ll come to check you out. Make sure your site looks professional and shows off your skills. And make sure it’s optimized for search.
  • At least once a week, post a valuable piece of content to your own blog. Then share it on all your social channels.

One final tip: A great way to get your name on people’s radar is to write an interview post like this one.

You’ll quickly expand your network and develop relationship with recognized experts.

Bonnie Andrews – Hobby To Hot

Bonnie AndrewsYou are running the show – not your blog. You wear the pants. You’re in the driver’s seat.

So often I see bloggers who are letting their blogs take over, like the blog is some kind of living, breathing life form that’s controlling them.

They feel stressed. They feel frustrated. They feel overwhelmed and they feel like a master to their blog instead of their blog being a servant in their online/blogging business. It’s unreal how often bloggers want to give up, even when they’re onto something great. So in short, don’t give up and don’t let your blog become your master.

Keep it in a real perspective and think straight. This is you. This is your business and no one can take it away from you or make you fail outside of your permission.

Here are 5 more tips you’ll probably be interested in reading about too: 5 Simple Ways to Rock Your Blog and Have a Life Too.

Christian Karasiewicz –

Christian KIf I could give one piece of advice to bloggers that would help them grow their online presence it would be to leverage their social media channels. 

A lot of bloggers I work with think that once they have written their blog post, that’s it.

If you are a blogger and you want to grow your online presence, you need to be sure you also promote your blog post after you hit publish.

You can do this a number of ways:

  • Share your post with fans on social networks you are on
  • Promote your blog post in communities such as Triberr
  • Notify your email list
  • Include links in your email signature
  • If it is work related, post links within your companies Intranet for employees to learn about

By taking this extra step, you can leverage your connections to get the word out about your latest blog post.

It is also important to remember to include links to your social media channels where you want readers to connect with you at. This way once they read your content, if they want to connect, you have made it easy for them to.

By promoting your blog post, not only can you increase your views, but build awareness on your knowledge on a particular topic and grow your online presence.

If I could give one piece of advice to bloggers that would help them stand out online it would be to network with other bloggers (and write awesome content). 

One of the fastest ways to stand out online is to write content people want to read. But how do you do that if you have a limited audience? That’s where networking comes into play.

By networking, not only can you get your content in front or more people, but if you network with the right people, you can gain more exposure just by having them mention you or share your content within their network of friends, fans and business associates.

One of the best ways to do this is to guest blog for other sites. Some ways to do this are to use the contact form on a site you want to guest post for or to engage with them via their social media channels.

By doing this, you can open doors and also demonstrate to people who are not familiar with your work that you are a subject matter expert on a particular topic.

In doing this, you can not only get your name out there but stand out more in a crowded online world.

John Paul Aguiar –

John Paul AguiarI would say it comes down to two things.

First, have a blog design that stands out and is different. If you visit enough blogs, they all start to look the same, same themes, same colors, it’s boring.

Instead, use a design and color scheme that no one has, whether they like it or not, they will remember it.

Second, I would say “write your content”. That means, write original stuff, write stuff no one is writing and in a way no one else is writing it.

Curation is a big thing online now and I see many bloggers doing it, to me I think it’s a BIG mistake. Referencing someone or something in a post is fine, but full curation isn’t good.

How can YOU stand out when you are mainly sharing OTHER peoples stuff?

Write content in a way that ONLY you can write, once you do that it will be very easy for you to get noticed and grow your presence online.

Chris Garrett –

Chris GarrettGet to know the intersection of:

  1. How you can help
  2. What people need/want
  3. What people find difficult to get help with
  4. How your approach is unique and better

If you can find something you can help with, that is in demand, and is under-served, then you will not just stand out but you will make a significant contribution to other people’s lives.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I do not mean find something where there is no competition! I mean get to know your specific target audience so you can help them the best. Let them connect with you, let your personality and voice come through. Use the benefit of your own experience while teaching. It’s about them, but use what makes you “you” to reach them.

To give you an example, I am learning about the world of fiction writing from Sean Platt and Johnny Truant, even though there is a lot of information out there for aspiring authors. I feel they “get me” in regards my specific needs.

Unlike other people who are giving storytelling advice, they are normal people who have discovered some effective systems, but they also have personality. They teach their readers to work hard, while they also demonstrably work very hard, and they tell their audience very clearly that “build it and they will come” is a mission bound to fail.

So they meet a need, in their own unique way, with their tried and tested systems. Not everyone will resonate with them, and that is a good thing.

Ted Rubin –

Ted RubinA good way to start to develop an audience is to comment on more established blogs in your niche—but only when you can add something meaningful to the conversation.

Most blogging platforms will let you identify your website when you’re commenting. If someone finds your comment of value, they will often click through to your site to find out more.

The trick here is not to get promotional (such as adding a self-serving link to your articles in the comment) or saying something meaningless, such as “great post!” Look at it as a way to add value to the blogger’s post without stepping on toes.

Perhaps you could pose another question or offer a different spin on the topic. Make it a regular practice to seek out blogs to comment on.

I also like to comment often on industry blogs because they are widely read and many will see what you have to say, some even rate you as a commenter.

Always keep this in mind… To me it is really simple, if you want to “stand out” in the social space, do what most others are not doing… actually be SOCIAL when using Social Media :-) #RonR #H2H.

Glen Long – Boost Blog Traffic

Glen LongI think clarity is hugely important for bloggers.

And for me there are two types: clarity of purpose and clarity of execution.

Clarity of purpose means knowing exactly who you’re targeting with your blog, how you’re helping them and why your blog is different to all the other blogs out there. Too many bloggers don’t know the answers to these basic questions and as a result they find it hard to stand out from the crowd.

Clarity of execution means bringing this purpose to life with your blog so that new visitors know within seconds whether or not it’s relevant to them, their needs and concerns. That clarity extends to your blog design, your tagline, your about page, your headlines – everything must resonate with your core purpose.

And you must learn to write clearly too. You can’t spread great ideas if you can’t successfully plant the seed in someone else’s head (a topic I write about here).

Standing out means that others are easily able to bring you and your blog into clear focus. And without clarity of purpose and execution you’ll remain a blur in the background forever.

Timo Kiander – Productive Superdad

Timo KianderFor me the single biggest difference has been guest posting.

It’s all about creating relationships with others, showing your expertise and becoming an authority in your niche.

When you have done some guest posting (also on bigger blogs), it makes it easier to launch your own product later on.

This (creating products) will grow your audience and your authority even further.

Ian Cleary – Razor Social

Ian ClearyBe different than every other blogger out there.  You can be different by picking a niche that no one else writes content on or deliver the content in a different way than someone else.  My entire focus on my blog is social media tools.

Although many people write about tools there was no one site that focussed only on tools.  This helps your blog grow a lot quicker.  If you don’t stand out from the crowd it will a steeper hill you have to climb.

Jon Morrow – Boost Blog Traffic

Jon MorrowMake your blog about your audience, not about you.

It’s easy to find yourself thinking about what YOU want to say, what feels right to YOU, and what you want the blog to do for YOU, but here’s the thing:

You don’t matter. If you want to be successful, you have to set your ego aside and focus entirely on building what your audience needs and wants.

It’s harder than it sounds. To help you get started, try this simple exercise:

Write an entire blog post without using the word “I.” You can’t cheat by writing things like “One might think…” either. Instead, relate every single point you have to make to the audience. Make yourself invisible.

Once you master the art of invisibility, you can start injecting your own colorful personality back into your posts. In the beginning though, make yourself as transparent as glass.

Ashley Faulkes – Mad Lemmings

Ashley FaulkesGetting attention as a blogger today is tougher than a doorman at a London pub. That is to say, extremely tough and also quite a challenge.

I have used a few techniques to help expand my reach and get myself known since I started blogging, and I am quickly going to share some of my secrets with you.

One of the first things I did was to write something that included a lot of influencers in it. This is a trick that a lot of people will probably mention in this post, so I will move on to my next idea.

Another great idea is to stand out from the crowd by branding yourself. In fact, quite recently I had a great podcast discussion with John Paul Agiuar on this very topic. He is a smart guy, so it is worth a listen.

So what exactly do I mean by branding yourself?

Here are a few ideas:

  • Find a unique color scheme and a font or two, and a logo of course, that suit your brand.
  • Use these on all of your images for social media and blog posts.
  • Use the same image of you (or your logo) on all your social media accounts, email, gravitar etc .
  • Also add your blog URL to all images and videos on social media.

If you want some great role models for this kind of thing (apart from myself of course) check out Rebekah Radice, Dustin Stout and Robert Ryan. These guys are doing a great job of personal branding online.

Although this may seem like something that will not get you very far, remember that not many people are doing this, or doing this well. But if branding works for Coke, Nike and McDonalds, then it is certainly worth giving it a go!

A final note: If you need some help making awesome images to promote your brand, Adam has recently made a list of great tools to use in this post (I personally recommend Canva).

Start thinking seriously about your brand today and stand out from the crowd.

Laurie Hurley – Social Media Help On Call

Laurie HurleyIn order to build your presence online and stand out from all the other noise, be sure you are consistently delivering great content every single time you blog.

Addressing your clients’ needs, worries, and problems, while infusing a bit of your own personality is the perfect mixture for a stellar blog.

Join a blogging group on LinkedIn or Google Plus so your blogs are seen by others and shared and commented on for increased exposure.

Most importantly, tell a story – draw your readers in, don’t just list five tips for this or that; boring and it’s probably been done before.

Martin Shervington – Plus Your Business

Martin ShervingtonGet started on Google+!

Really, it will renew your blogging experience.

Not only does the content you create get indexed by Google, but the community on Google+ will actual enable your content to be amplified and help it surface as Search results.

You can create mini opt in lists of dedicated readers using Google circles, and email them with your latest posts.

You will also have incredible conversations, get new ideas and the more you give, the more your future will be shaped by the network you form.

Trust me, it will transform your online life as a blogger.

Jeff Bullas –

Jeff BullasIt isn’t just one thing, otherwise you won’t stand out. You need to do at least two things!

First create the best content you can that adds value to your readers lives and business. Then you need to build and optimize online distribution networks for your content including email, social and search.

Eric Enge – Stone Temple Consulting

Eric EngeSeek extreme differentiation.

“Me-too” content is not going to cut it.

If you search on this query in Google: intitle:”how to make french toast” you get more than 30,000 results in Google.  That means that there are more than 30,000 web pages with “how to make French toast” in the title tag.

Google does not need any more such articles. Neither do the audiences you are trying to reach on social media or the web at large.

Eric Enge French Toast Example

Find ways to create fantastic new content.

If you need to cover a me-too like topic, find a way to bring a new spin to it, add some new humor to it, share it on a new platform, or address one specific vertical aspect of it in a way that others have not done before.

Differentiation is critical to survival … and thriving on line.

Wade Harman –

Wade HarmanOne thing that I would always recommend to people is to start searching for like-minded people right away.

Build your tribe by connecting yourself to people that are in your target market.

You cannot make it to the top by yourself; it’s the people around you that will help you get there, and you helping them.

This is not an individual quest for victory its locking arms with the people you have made relationships with and helping each other succeed.

You can do this by helping promote other people’s posts and events, retweeting and re-sharing.  People remember that.  People also remember someone who extends kindness and helpfulness without expecting anything in return.

Do what you can to be a servant so you can eventually be served yourself.

Danny Iny – Firepole Marketing

Danny InyThere are a lot of different things that bloggers can do to stand out online – but the first and most important one is to focus on one niche.

When you dilute your message by writing about different subjects in different areas, your reader’s don’t know what to think. This is okay later on after you’ve built a reputation and have strong relationships with your readership and the broader community – but in the beginning people need to know what to expect from you, and by narrowly focusing on one specific niche you can build yourself into a position of authority much more quickly.

Pick something you’re good at, that interests you, and that you have good reason to believe will interest a lot of other people as well.

Cyrus Shepard – Moz

Cyrus ShepardI have two pieces of advice to bloggers to help them grow their presence and stand out online.

1. The first would be to create something unique and useful that no one in their space has done before. For example, I am a bicyclist and although there are bicycling route sites aplenty online, they are confusing and hard to navigate, so I might create the Most Amazing Bicycle Routes in Seattle and rank them by difficulty, elevation, length, popularity, etc. It’s usually not very hard to find something to create that’s better than everything else out there – the hard part is actually putting in the work to make it.

2. Getting involved with other bloggers, being social, is an essential part of the equation. Bloggers and people who comment on your blog are people themselves who like to engage, and these are the very same people you want to promote your work. If you are a finance blogger, help out other finance bloggers! Leave comments, link to their posts, say hi to them at conferences.

Blogging is a lot like real life, except when you do it right you can connect with people in the world even when you are sleeping.

Pauline Cabrera – Twelve Skip

Pauline CabreraMy biggest piece of advice is don’t be generic. Don’t just become a “me too” blog. You need to stand out in order to get noticed. Here’s how:

  • Build a blog with a memorable design. Choose your style and colors, and be consistent with it.
  • Be creative with your content formatting but make sure they’re easy on the eyes.
  • Use unique and captivating images. If you use stock photos, at least make an effort to spruce them up.
  • Be passionate about your subject. Be specific. Be personal. Share examples, your experiences or your own story.
  • Offer something fresh. Don’t just post what everyone else is posting.

Create a great impact and make people say, “Oh, I have to bookmark this blog!”

Adrienne Smith –

Adrienne SmithMy best piece of advice that has worked extremely well for me is to leave genuine, thoughtful and helpful comments on other people’s posts.

Trust me when I say they’ll notice you.

I know people say this all the time to not get in a hurry and leave short comments but to actually take the time to read their posts and leave a very well thought out comment. They give that advice for a reason.

It’s the best way to get noticed by others and then of course be sure to share their posts on the social media sites. I’ve had more people approach me because they have read my comments and were very impressed that I really took the time to leave good ones on every post I visit.

I still believe commenting is a great way to build relationships with other bloggers and I’ve had a lot of success with that.

Niall Devitt – Tweak Your Biz

Niall DevittThat’s a great question – however I don’t believe there are any silver bullets.

For me, it all comes down to being consistent, growing your online presence takes time, patience and lots of hard work. Figure out your niche, create and promote great content, identify influencers and build your network. Learn and repeat.

From what I’ve seen, many give up before they get there, while a few stick at it long enough to ultimately learn how to really stand out.

Aaron Lee – Post Planner

Aaron LeeOne of the most important pieces of advice I can give someone about growing their online presence or simply stand out is to choose a niche or topic that they simply LOVE and is timeless. They should treat blogging like a serious business instead of a ‘money magnet’.

Many times, people start a blog because it’s a ‘good market’ and while building the blog, they feel burned out because they simply don’t have the passion and the drive to write for that topic.

Blogging is a career and if you want to stand out, it has to be something that you love writing and love to share. That is how you can truly stand out and most important be yourself.

Gini Dietrich – Spin Sucks

Gini DietrichThere is a big debate about shutting down blog comments. Copyblogger did it. Mitch Joel did it. Jay Baer is considering it. The common thing, you’ll notice, is they are all well-established bloggers with lots of readers and subscribers.

When you begin, though, no one knows about you, which makes a community extremely important. Not only will a community read and share your content, they’ll help you grow your network. To do that, you want to respond to people when they do comment on your blog. You want to find other bloggers with like-minded content and go comment on and share their content. Write guest posts for blogs that have a similar audience to the one you want to grow.

All of these things take time, resources, and a little elbow grease. But building a community will be one of the most important things you do to grow your online presence. You’ll obtain new social media followers, you’ll discover new thinking, and you’ll grow your readers and subscribers.

Ron Sela – PageWiz and

Ron SelaIn order to stand out online, having a constant presence on it is a must. And the perfect way to start-off your journey to success is by building friendships with individuals who love writing as much as you do: bloggers.

Identifying and outreaching prominent bloggers in their niche, and regularly posting comments on their websites, can help you out tremendously. After a while of them constantly reading your comments and you analyzing the type of content they usually post, you can reach out to those bloggers and show them your content and invite them to post it in their online channels.

Bloggers are great influencers that every writer should try to obtain. Once they read your work and like it, you’ll more than likely be contacted often by them to write more blog content, which will be of great benefit for you. Once you have that constant Internet presence, you’ll stand-out and make a name for yourself!

Don’t ever forget about your friends once you start working with well-known individuals, as your pals will always be the ones by your side not matter what (even if you write a mediocre article). They’ll always support you and assist you in spreading your message!

Lisa Irby –

Lisa IrbyBe authentic, and not just with your triumphs, your failures too.

People just want to know there’s a human behind the site.

The more transparent you are, the more your audience will connect with you.  The Web is not just about websites with content, but the personality of the people connected to them.


Peg FitzpatrickI think many bloggers hit publish and wait for traffic to magically appear. This isn’t going to happen.

You need to actively promote your content via social networks and being active on social media. Social media + blogging + working hard = the “magic” to blog traffic.

Denise Wakeman – Adventures In Visibility

Denise WakemanTo accelerate visibility for your blog, start a Hangout on Air show around the topic of your business blog.

Doing a live video show is the fastest way to get seen, be heard, build trust and connect with your ideal blog readers.

Focus on your primary topic and invite guest experts who complement your expertise.

You will set yourself apart fast by adding a playlist of your videos on YouTube and repurposing the audio on a site like SoundCloud and iTunes. Always include a call to action for your audience to subscribe to get blog updates at the beginning and end of your show.

Mike Allton – The Social Media Hat

Mike AlltonMy single best advice to new bloggers who want to succeed would be to become regular readers of as many other bloggers in their space as they can, and look for opportunities to create genuine relationships with those writers.

These are the people whom you can learn from, who will be providing valuable information that you can then share to your own growing follower base, and whom it will mean the world to you when they notice you and begin to share some of your content out to their followers.

Michael Juba – EZ Solution

Michael JubaIf I could only give one piece of advice to a blogger trying to go big and get out there it would be to make something freaking awesome that answers a question in your industry, or that people in your niche are searching for.

This gives you trust and authority and they will surely follow you the next time they are looking for information in your industry.

For example, we work with a client who sells arcade games. Not the biggest player out there, just a local guy with a few hundred arcade systems. The other week we created an animated gifographic on the evolution of arcade games and it went pretty big on the first day I put it out there.

It got on the home page of Wired and Make Use Of, among a bunch of gaming sites. So now all of these gamers that had no idea who M&P was now know who they are. Here’s the post on Wired.

Lyuba Ellingson –

Lyuba EllingsonDevelop relationships online with people who are already famous with your target demographic but don’t do what you do.

Offer them something very helpful like guest content on a topic their audience is interested in and you are an expert on.

Make sure to provide a lot of value. Go above and beyond. Once the guest post goes live, be sure to thank your new acquaintance for the opportunity and express interest in doing more.

There is no better and quicker way to stand out online than to be promoted with someone with influence.

Walter Blake Knoblock –

Walter Blake KnoblockI’ve got over 100k followers, most of them on twitter, and I think a large reason for that is engagement, but everybody says that and, of course, if you engage with your followers and say smart stuff it will work. But, beyond that, I make sure that whenever I do something noteworthy, speaking at a college, publishing a new book, etc…, I put out the word to everybody I know.

A good PR list is gold.

Vincent Ng – MCNG Marketing

Vincent NgYou can find some great success in growing your online presence and blog with Pinterest when you create an amazing feature visual with a great headline in it, similar to a magazine cover.

By producing featured visuals that are beautiful and “pinnable” on your blog you can receive hundreds, and even thousands of more shares. But you have to create something that pinners on Pinterest can pin.

The main challenge that some blogs don’t incorporate a Pin it button on their website to help encourage the spread of their blog content on Pinterest, even though it may have a great feature visual. Pinterest isn’t just a visual tool for sharing, many marketers and bloggers also use it as a book marking tool so that they can reference and read the material later on.

I wrote a piece about how to search optimize your pins on Pinterest. People find it on my blog, and then pin it and then later on, other people repin it, and somehow it resurfaces again on another pinner’s account weeks later.

The interesting thing is that a pin has a half-life that’s thousands of times longer than a Facebook status or tweet, according to Venturebeat.

By being able to put a pin it button, and create an amazing visual that’s relevant to my specific audience, which is marketers and small businesses, my pin that promotes Pinterest search optimization has been repinned over 450 times.

This is the power of Pinterest for helping you grow your online presence.

Iman Jalali –

Iman JalaliGet involved. Join conversations, start conversations.

Growing your online presence requires you to not only put out great content, but to also connect and engage post publish. Joining the community establishes influence and credibility, key to growing your online presence.

John Lee Dumas – Entrepreneur On Fire

John Lee DumasBeing a Podcaster, I figured I would give you an audio response…enjoy :-)




Link to Vocaroo:

Larry Kim – WordStream

Larry KimTry enlisting the help of other influential folks.

There’s a few ways to do this. For example, you can take an interest in their content by commenting and reposting the content that they share, and even try meeting them in real life at industry conferences.

Another approach is to create amazing content that will get the attention of influencers, since they’re always on the lookout for awesome stuff to share with their audiences.

Devesh Sharma – WP Kube

Devesh SharmaConnect with other bloggers in your niche.

If you want to grow your online presence, than you need to start building connections with other bloggers in your niche. This is how I built relationship with Adam Connell; I first dropped him an email and asked if he could link to one of my blog posts in his next weekly roundup. He not only linked to my post but also did a few guest posts.

Since then he has featured me on his blog quite a few times (Thanks Adam).

Ryan Hanley –

Ryan HanleyThe trick to growing your audience online is actually counterintuitive from what you might expect.

The commonly slung around tricks, tactics and strategies which prey on the law of large numbers are yielding lower and lower returns.

Today’s Connected Generation consumer wants a human relationship with the brands they do business with and relationships start with trust.

My one piece of advice to bloggers looking to grow their online presence is value the trust built between you and your audience above all else.

No matter what industry, topic, niche blog about, focus on authenticity, transparency and honesty.

All of which lead to trust.

Kevin Muldoon –

Kevin MuldoonThis may come across as being a little cheesy, but I think the best advice I can give to any aspiring blogger is to Be Yourself.

I see many bloggers saying something is amazing just to get an affiliate commission, whether they have used it or not. I also see many people simply mimicking others because they feel that it will get them readers.

If you want to set yourself apart from the crowd, be yourself. If you do not like something, say so. If you love something even when everyone else hates it, do not be afraid to say you love it and explain why.

At the end of the day, you want to have a unique voice and not follow the herd in order to be accepted. Some people will love you for it, some people will hate you for it, though at least you will be unique.

Blogging is something you should be passionate about. That is why I encourage all bloggers to speak up and share their opinion rather than conforming to the opinions of others because they feel they should.

Over to you

I’d like to say a huge thank you for all of the experts above that took the time to take part.

Now, I’d love to hear from you. For more visit;

Do you have any insights of your own to share?


graphic designing, Uncategorized, web designing

Top 10 Mistakes in Starting an Online Business

Here are the Top 10 biggest mistakes made when starting an online business:

1. Waiting too long to launch a product/service

When you start blogging or podcasting to build an audience, it’s easy to get stuck on the content “hamster wheel” for months or years without ever offering something for sale.

There are a few reasons this happens.

Some people are waiting for some magic audience size “1,000 subscribers” or maybe “10,000 visitors” or whatever your number might be.

Some people just can’t find the time to blog or podcast or make videos AND to build a product at the same time. It’s tough.

Some people simply talk themselves out of creating a product because they’re afraid no one will buy it. They don’t want to fail after putting in so much time creating content.

Whatever the reason, this is a fatal trap. If you’re building a business, you need to address the biggest risk head-on. The biggest risk you’ll face as a business is in creating something no one will pay for.

Plus, you need practice at building and launching products. Your first one might not be all that good. The sooner you put something out there, the closer you get to sustainable revenue.

2. Solving an unimportant problem

If the problem your business solves is important enough, you won’t even have to look for customers. Imagine if you had a cure for cancer, for example.

Businesses fail all the time because they try to solve a problem nobody really cares about. If you put your product or idea out there and nobody buys it, there’s a good chance you should look for a more important problem, not a bigger audience.

3. Not really listening to customers

How do you know if the problem you solve is important enough?

Listen to your customers. Really listen to them.

Don’t just listen to the customers who provide validation. Listen to the ones who ask for refunds or buy your product but don’t use it. Listen to the people who tell you they won’t buy, and find out why.

Don’t just pay lip service to your customers. You don’t have all the answers, they do. There’s a reason why “the customer is always right,” because without customers you don’t have a business.

4. Not being different

In most markets, customers have different options to choose from. If your business has competition, you have to give your potential customers a reason to choose your offering over another.

I see this all the time with new bloggers. They jump into a popular topic and essentially mimic or copy what other popular bloggers are already doing. I suppose they think “if it works for them, maybe it will work for me.”

But think about it from the reader or customer perspective. If they find your blog, they’ll be asking themselves “why is this blog worth spending any time on?” You have to answer that question quickly and clearly, before they click the back button.

You can’t expect to grow an audience by being an inferior version of some other better known site. Even if your site or product is arguably better than the competition, “better” is subjective.

Instead of simply trying to be better, you need to be different. Then, when someone asks why your site or product is worth her attention, your answer will be objective and easy to understand.

5. Choosing a topic you don’t care about

Whatever you choose to focus your business on, you’re going to need deep subject knowledge, fresh creativity, and unwavering stamina.

There will be competition who cares more about the topic than you do. How can you compete if the gap between your love of a topic and your competitors’ is wide?

This doesn’t mean your business has to be your #1 “passion” or life’s work (most of us don’t have one single passion in life), but don’t make things impossible by choosing something you don’t care about.

If you love your topic, stamina won’t be an issue. If you love your topic, creativity will flow, and influence will be easier to build.

Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive. -Howard Thurman

6. Starting with vastly wrong expectations

This won’t be easy, and it won’t be quick.

Building a successful business is a massive undertaking. You probably can’t do it while traveling the world. If you have a full-time job, it will be much, much harder.

If your plan involves four-hour workweeks, or if your timeline is measured in weeks or months, you will probably fail.

These are the hard truths that people rarely talk about. Overnight successes don’t exist. Your original plan will probably have to be completely re-written, maybe multiple times.

Ask yourself: will building this business still be worth it if it takes years to get there? What if building the business is harder and more stressful than your current job?

Talk to some entrepreneurs who have achieved something close to what you want to achieve. Ask them what it really took. Ask them about stress and timelines and giving up. Ask them not to sugarcoat it. Really listen. Then ask yourself if you’re prepared for your own version of that.

7. Spending too much time thinking and not enough doing

Not much to say here that isn’t perfectly summed up in this quote:

Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration.
-Thomas Edison

If your ratio of thinking-to-doing is anything less than 80% doing, think again do more.

As Chase likes to say, entrepreneurs have two modes, CEO mode and worker-bee mode. In a one-person business, you have to be both.

8. Going it alone

The only reason my business exists today is because other entrepreneur friends wouldn’t let me quit. Seriously, I tried to throw in the towel and start over with something else, but they wouldn’t let me. They talked me out of it.

No one can succeed in business alone. You need people to make it work. Your customers are people, your suppliers are people, your service providers are people.

Most importantly, you need support from other entrepreneurs who are at similar stages as you are, and from others with more experience.

The more connected you become with other entrepreneurs, the more normal your quest becomes. You’ll no longer feel crazy or alone, and you’ll realize that we all face obstacles just like you’re facing.

The entrepreneurs who talked me out of quitting were part of a little group that met weekly to hold each other accountable. It didn’t cost any of us a thing, other than an hour of our time each week, but it turned out to be the most valuable resource I ever used in my business.

Reach out to another entrepreneur or two, and ask them to meet weekly. Share your struggles and goals, and review your progress each week. This simple process is so powerful.

9. Confusing “blog” with “business”

Repeat after me: a blog isn’t a business. A blog isn’t a business.

A blog is an incredible platform for sharing your ideas, connecting with people and growing an audience. The same is true of podcasting, YouTubing, or any other place you might publish content for free.

Giving away free content isn’t a business. It’s a tool for building influence. Don’t count on turning that influence into sponsorships or advertising dollars. You’ll need a more direct plan for earning an income if you want your blog or podcast to pay off.

See point #1 above about launching a product/service.

10. What would you add to this list?

This is my list, from what I hear and see in the entrepreneurial world.

Is your list different?

What things do you wish you had done differently?

What mistakes do you see new entrepreneurs making?

Please share your thoughts in the comments below. You might just help someone avoid a big mistake. If you think this list is helpful, please pass it along!

graphic designing, Uncategorized, web designing

6 Online Marketing Strategy Questions You MUST Answer

Are you finally getting around to planning out your online marketing strategy for the year? Or are you trying to re-strategize your existing online marketing plan? Before you do either you need to make sure you have answers to some very important questions.

In this article we are going to cover 6 online marketing strategy questions that you MUST answer before spending any time or money marketing your business online.

Online Marketing Strategy Questions

Why You Need an Online Marketing Strategy in the First Place

From our experience, very few businesses actually have an online marketing strategy in place. Some common reasons why usually include the following:

Common Responses

If you, or your boss, are guilty of using any of these excuses, then it’s important for us to clearly communicate how detrimental this could be to the success of your marketing efforts.

7 Reasons Why You Really Need a Strategy

  1. Lack of direction will lead to wasted time and money
  2. You will miss the best opportunities by not knowing what to focus on
  3. It’ll be easier for existing and startup competitors with solid strategies to take market share from you
  4. You won’t know your online audience clearly enough to market to them effectively
  5. Your resources won’t be able to work in concert to produce the best results
  6. Important strategies and tactics will take a back seat to other business priorities
  7. You won’t know what to optimize or when to optimize to produce the best ROI

These probably sound pretty familiar if your business has still not put together an online marketing strategy. Hopefully the impact has not been too bad and you’re able to recover and get started with a strategy now.

For those that are, we’re going to help…or at least try to help. Let’s start by getting you to answer some extremely important questions.

Know the Answers to these Online Marketing Strategy Questions

Online Marketing Strategy Pie Chart

Before you think about starting an online marketing campaign, before you try to put together a marketing plan and before you ever consider calling a company or online marketing professional to help you, you MUST know the answers to the following 6 questions.


QUESTION #1: What is Your Brand’s Story?

This question, as simple as it sounds, is one that produces the most “What do you mean?” responses. If you don’t smirk with nostalgia or feel a sense of passion in your stomach when asked this question, then there’s no way your online marketing is going to communicate your story effectively. Even worse, there’s no way your audience will understand it, connect with it or believe in it.

Zappos Story

Having a story makes your brand more human and something that people can connect with.

An example of a company that has a great story, and does an even better job of communicating it to its customers, is Zappos. The Zappos story is one that most entrepreneurs are familiar with, but more importantly, it’s one that many of Zappos’ customers have bought into.

Need help answering this?
 Sit down, think about how and when you first started and also why you do what you do. Once you have this either written down, recorded or videotaped, then dedicate at least one page of your website to your story. Share your brand’s story with your employees, prospects and customers by promoting this content instead of hiding it deep in your “About” section.


QUESTION #2: Who is Your Audience and Where Do They Spend Time Online?

Perhaps it’s more common than we think, but we are continuously amazed by the lack of knowledge that many companies have about their audience. The two very basic business questions of “Who is your audience?” and “Where do they spend time online?” get reactions and responses as if we were asking someone to explain quantum physics to us in detail.

Virgin Mobile Quote

You’ve got to know who your audience is and where they spend their time online. Throwing marketing out onto the web without knowing who it’s aimed at or where it will perform the best is equivalent to printing a bunch of flyers and posting them in some arbitrary location.

You’ll have a hard time seeing a company like Virgin Mobile just throw out random content all over the web. Instead they focus on delivering content to specific audiences where those people spend their time online.

Need help answering this?
Start by creating buyer personas that are segmented by demographics, needs and behavior. Even though these personas are just fictional representations of your ideal customers, they are typically based off real data and educated speculation that can help you really find and target the people most important to your business.


QUESTION #3: What KPIs are Most Important to Your Business?

If there was one question that gets more “I have no idea” responses this would be it. As much as we’d like to think that every business should know what online marketing KPIs (key performance indicators) to set and track we understand that working with this information can be a task in and of itself.  Even if you don’t have experience setting up or tracking your company’s KPIs there is still somewhere you can start.

KPI definition

Establishing metrics and benchmarks are not only critical elements of your online marketing strategy, but they are also essential for keeping everyone in your company on track, in sync and motivated.

For example, knowing that each 10% increase in organic search traffic produces $100,000 in more revenue helps your team to lay out a strong, consistent SEO strategy that everyone can play a role in (e.g. producing content).

Need help answering this?
 To determine which KPIs to work off of you must first know what your business goals are (e.g. Increase gross sales by 15% in Q2). Working backwards from here you can use your website analytics to determine what channels produce the most revenue and how customers got to those channels in the first place. Just remember to choose your KPIs wisely as the wrong metrics can distract you and prevent you from actually growing your business.


QUESTION #4: What is Your Content Strategy?

You can argue and resist the need for a content strategy as much you like, but the fact is that if you don’t have one in place then you can expect to get lapped by your competitors that do. Content is not just something you hire a freelance writer to whip up for you one time and then hope to get results from it. Instead, it is a foundational component of your marketing that will dictate the effectiveness of your entire marketing strategy.

Coca-Cola Content Marketing

Content tells your story, educates your audience, services your customers, builds your authority and makes your website worth visiting. A business without a content strategy is one without a voice. If your audience can’t hear you, then they sure as won’t buy from you.

For these reasons, even some of the most successful companies dedicate most of their marketing resources to their content strategies. Take Coca-Cola for example – a huge company with the resources available to do any marketing they want. Where have they focused these resources? That’s right…in content marketing.

Need help answering this?
  A solid process for developing a content strategy goes a little something like this: (1) brainstorm content ideas, (2) filter the ideas by effectiveness, reach potential and relevancy, (3) research everything surrounding that content, (4) create the content remembering that it doesn’t have to just be written articles and (5) promote the content once it’s published.


QUESTION #5: Why and How Would Someone Share Your Content or Talk About Your Company?

Making content an integral part of your online marketing strategy is a step in the right direction, but not the only one. In order for your content to really perform it must be promoted – by you and your audience. This process of creating quality content and spreading it across the web is known as content marketing and it’s something that needs to be the backbone of your online marketing strategy.

When creating content for your audience you need to really think about why someone would share it and also how easy it is for them to do so. Often times you need to do more than just have quality content. You need to promote it yourself and sometimes even incentivize others to share it as well.

One company that does this incredibly well is Nike, specifically with their #MakeItCount campaign. Nike does an amazing job of using content that motivates its consumers to participate, and thus, help to spread the campaign for them.

Need help answering this?
  You don’t need millions of dollars like Nike to pull off a successful content marketing strategy. Instead focus on creating content that is helpful to your audience, but also unique. Maybe do a video instead of an article if everyone else in your space has only done articles. To get people to share your content think about running a social media contest that challenges your audience to compete with each other while spreading your content.


QUESTION #6: What Resources Do You Have Available?

You may be thinking “All of this seems great, but we don’t have the resources to do any of this.” This common response is usually one that comes from frustration, but also from not really understanding what is actually involved in a successful online marketing strategy or knowing what resources you actually have.

As mentioned above, you don’t need to be Nike to pull off successful campaigns. Start by either educating yourself on what online marketing entails or work with an agency that can assist you while educating you along the way. Next step is to know what you have to work with.

Some of the best marketing campaigns didn’t come from huge companies with large teams and fat wallets. As a matter of fact, some of the most viral marketing campaigns have come from small businesses that used their creativity, existing resources and a little help from professionals to spread their business across the web.

Take Dollar Shave Club for example, who spent just $4500 to create one of the most successful business video campaigns in the past few years. If you aren’t familiar with this bootstrapped company video, then you owe it to yourself to watch it.

Need help answering this?
  Ideally you’d want to have the following resources on your team to create an ongoing, effective online marketing strategy; writer, designer, developer, social media / outreach person, data analyst. Since most small to medium sized businesses (and even some large businesses) don’t have all of these resources, then you need to look for help where you’re lacking. If you have a great writer, but no technical resources, then find an agency to work with. If you have a technical team, but no one to write / create content, then hire a writer or, again, work with an agency that has a reputable content team.


Knowing is Half the Battle

Knowing is Half the Battle

Yes, we did use a quote from GI Joe to headline this section….don’t pretend like you didn’t smirk.

Seriously though, just knowing the answers to the six questions above can mean the difference between wasting thousands of dollars on directionless marketing or getting a great ROI from highly targeted, creative campaigns.

Answering the questions can be difficult for a lot of businesses, especially ones without any type of experience with online marketing, but sometimes just the process of trying to answer them can be more enlightening than you would have thought.

Your business needs to be online and it needs to have a well planned online marketing strategy that is built for producing tangible results….not just vanity metrics like organic rankings. Take the time to educate yourself or build your team up with people that have experience planning and implementing successful strategies.

As always, we would love to help; whether it is just assisting with planning your strategy, implementing it or both. If you’re finally ready to get your online marketing strategy going this year, then think about the six questions above and get in touch with us to get something going.

Ready to create and implement an effective online marketing strategy?

Images courtesy of Zappos, Coca-Cola and VisualizeUs

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