Tag Archives: beginners tips

Adsense and Legitimate Online Businesses

Adsense is one of the most popular ways that webmastes turn their websites become residual income builders. Its often seen as the beginners way to make money online – but it has its pitfalls. This is my take on earning income from Adsense

Pros to Residual Income with Adsense

  • its much easier to get someone to click an ad rather than actually buy or sign up for something from your site. The standard rates for clicks versus visitors for Adsense is usually quoted at around 5% -for affiliate sales it can be 1% or significantly less.
  • because you are being paid per a click rather than per a sale – Adsene income tends to be more consistent than affiate sale income;
  • Adsense has a huge inventory of ads – there are Adwords buyers for almost every conceivable niche;
  • Its very easy to track your Adsense performance thanks to th recent integration with Google Analytics

Cons to Residual Income with Adsense

  • its a lot harder to be accepted into the Adsense program as a publisher than it used to be. Its certainly not automatic, and is particularly difficult if you live  outside of US, Canada, western Europe, Australia and New Zealand.  Don’t just casually make an application make sure that you have a website or at least some HubPages to prove that you have something to offer;
  • although its easy to earn a little money with Adsense – to earn a lot you really need to write your entire webiste around your Adsense niche – adding Adsense to a general website all over the place will do you little good;
  • if you get “smart priced” by Google i.e. they consider that you are providing low-value visitors to their advertisers – your entire network is affected – and its up to figure out which site is causing the problem;
  • Adsense has a complex list of Terms of Conditions which you need to abide by – ignorance is no excuse – the common mistakes people make include  adding Adsense to otherwise empty pages, adding Adsense next to pictures or too close to headings, forgetting to add a privacy page,  changing the Adsense code;
  • Adsense pays on a click so if someone, helpful or malicious, comes to your site and starts clicking you may well have your account suspended – and its very difficult to get an Adsense account back.

Essentially with Adsense you won’t make any money until you have organic (search) traffic finding your site. Visitors from Twitter or StumbleUpon may like your blog but they aren’t going to click on your ads. Traffic that you pay for is against Adsense TOS – don’t do it! So until you have your website ranking in the search engine results there really isn’t much point to adding Adsense!

Residual Income Websites Need Keywords

There are three key elements to building a successful residual income producing website:

Most beginners focus heavily on the second step – building the website – but that really its the least important part of the process. The most important part is finding a profitable niche and finding the right keywords that your potential customers and visitors are using to search for.

In general its not so much a keyword you are looking for – its more a key phrase – the longer the keyword phrase generally the less traffic there is, but also generally the traffic there is is more likely to buy: for example if you had a shoe website who do you think is most likely to buy a pair from you:

  • someone who searches for “shoes” or
  • someone who searches for “girls size 1 pink shoes”

the second person sounds like she needs a pair of pink shoes, and she needs them now! So you may only get a few visitors – but you might make more money because the traffic that you do have is buying traffic.

Think of  it this way: how often do you go to a bookshop – and just browse – you may buy – but basically the bookstore is a destination with probably free coffee and comfortable seats – and you go to be entertained. You buy eventually – but not today. The trouble with a visitor to your website deciding “not today” is that they may get distracted and end up at a different website – its harder to remember which website you were on compared to remembering which book shop offers good free coffee!

Compare that to your local convenience store – you don’t go there just to hang out and see what’ interesting do you? No but when you go there its almost certain that you will leave having purchased something – and do you notice how many times you go to the store for milk but come out with several other items as well? If you want to make a residual income from your website – you want to be a corner convenience store – not a  bookshop 🙂

So don’t decide to build a website about planning a road trip around Australia – just because you are – instead you first need to find out two things

  • whether anyone actually searches for “planning a road trip around Australia”
  • and how much competition there is

There are lots of fancy tools and ebooks who promise to tell you the answer to these two questions – but Google themselves provide a free tool: the Google Adwords Tool which although there a few tricks to how to use it properly, which I will talk about later and which definitely has its limitations – will get you started on your way to building residual income websites.

So click on the link – type in your keyword you are thinking about and do the following:

  • change the search type to “exact” – look for terms which have at least 1000 searches a month for that exact term;
  • add the Adsense CPC column in if you are considering Adsense on your website – eve if you are not a CPC of 5cents means  that no wants to spend money advertising on that particular terms which may mean you need another keyword
  • now check out the competition for that term – do you think you can beat those websites? If you can then you may have found your first niche!

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Residual Income Websites Need Traffic

So how do you make residual income from websites? In essence you need to have visitors on your website – and not just any visitor – you need to have visitors who are motivated to buy what you are selling?

I’m Selling Something?

Well you better be if you are planning on making money online!  Don’t laugh, or feel stupid – it was a point that missed me as well at the start of my online career. You will often see the mantra – follow your passion and the money will come. Well maybe, in my experience my passions don’t make me money, yours may, but even if the topic you are writing about is of huge interest to you – its best to find out in advance whether or not it will actually make you money – don’t you think?

Without Traffic Your Website is Nothing

Here’s my story: my passion is travel – I have a website with lots of photos and lots of content from a long road trip around Australia. Its seemed to me that people might want to buy  guidebooks on my iste, or at least click on the Adsense ads which talked tours and activities in the various towns I talked about visiting. No one ever did though. Why? The only people who ever visited were my friends – they were interested in hearing about my trip, they liked the photos – but they had no intention of planning a road trip in Australia. Who should I have been attracting to the site? Maybe the people who were planning a road trip in Australia? How would I find  those people -the ones who were really interested in the topic of my website.  There is basically four ways to attract visitors to your site:

  • paid advertising
  • traffic exchanges
  • social media
  • organic i.e. search engine traffic

Paid Advertising is Not a Good Place to Start

The biggest paid advertising program is Google Adwords – its the other side of the story from Adsense – Adwords are the people who pay for the advertisements on my income producing websites. Now you can make money with Adwords, and you can lose money as well. Much like foregin exchange  trading – you need deep pockets to learn the game – its not a good place to start !

Traffic Exchanges are a Waste of Time and/or Money

Don’t ever buy traffic. Think about it – someone is being paid a fraction of a cent to click onto your website – do you really think you are going to become your reader or even click on your ads. Its also against the terms for many programs including Adsense anyways. The mutual – you click mine and I will click yours sites which are very popular in certain blogging circles are just as bad – again people aren’t engaged – they don’t want to visit your site – they are just visiting to build up credits in the network so they will advertised more prominently and therefore more people will come and visit …

Social Media is Over-Hyped

I pretty much consider social media a waste of time. Yes I mean Twitter, MySpace, Facebook and all the rest are not the secret to my making residual income while I sleep – don’t bother buying the e-book either. This is highly controversial, many people love social media and find the connect with lots of friends through it. That may be so – but it will not bring traffic to your website  who is going to make you money. In fact it probably won’t bring you much traffic at all.  Recently a friend of mine Steve who has  a cool video blog at bloggerlens.com posted this video where he described a one-to-one comparison of his statistics of being featured by a famous Social Media “guru” and a no-name Internet Marketer who has an ugly free blog – his post about social media hype is well worth a read and this video contains all the statistics. ..

Organic Traffic

If you are developing residual income traffic this is the traffic you want -these are the people who went to a search engine, probably Google, and  typed in “how to plan a road trip around Australia” – if you site comes up #1 then about 40% of then will probably click through to your site. Once you have them on your site you have a better than average chance that they will  click your ads, sign up for your list or buy your featured products. Why? Because these people are looking for a solution to a problem – and you may be able to provide it for them.

You still may not make a  sale – but at least you have someone in the shop  so to speak – that’s a good start! The art of getting organic traffic to your site is the art of making sure that you site is #1 in the search listings when  a relevant search phrase is typed which matches your site’s keywords. That’s what SEO or Search Engine Optimisation is all about.

Learning how to choose your website’s topic so that you will not only get organic traffic – but you can realistically push your site into one of the top three positions in Google – that’s thesingle most important skill you need to building your legitmate online business. It doesnt’ matter if you want to make 100 mini-sites or a 1 huge 1,000 page site, whether you want to develop e-commerce stores or online forums – whatever tyhpe of site you want to make money from – you need to traffic to make that  dream of an online income a reality.
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Do You Want a Blog or Website – Is There a Difference?

A long, long time ago there were static websites – websites which didn’t change very often – and when they needed updating you had to go to the computer wizz to do it for you. Often making a chage to the actual look and layout meant changing many hundreds of pages. It was hard to keep track of and keep things up to date – say for example a change phone number on every page.

Then came along blogging – the idea that you could update your own online web log (ie blog) without needing to be an expert or even know what html or css code was. You could write your online personal diary – it caught on – and blogging was born!

So the idea  evolved that blogs were entirely different from websites – that a blog had to be updated frequently and a successful blog had lots of comments and interaction with visitors.

Well that is what a blog was originally – but blogs have become a whole lot more sophisticated – and all because WordPress is a very, very successful piece of software. WordPress is free – its developed by enthusiasts and given away for free WordPress does something very important – it separates the look of a page from the content. WordPress is a platform that developers and designers can use to develop an infinite number of different looks and functionality of WordPress sites. Called themes – there are specialised WordPress themes which will turn your website into a real estate listing site, an e-book selling site, or a newspaper – if you can imagine a style of website its probably been done in WordPress already.

Lets take the current front page of this website as an example:

wordpress-1

Now  using this particular theme – I can vary the look without changing themes – so I could have something like this for example with a couple of clicks of a button or two:

wordpress-2

Its the theme which gives this particular site a static front page  – as opposed to the standard look of the most recent posts running down the page.  The popular “magazine style themes mean that breaking news sites can have rapidly updating stories showing near the top of the page, other designs give the front page a completely static look.

You can run a website on a blogging platform such as WordPress and you can use WordPress to develop a static website.  The choice is yours – and the casual visitor to your site won’t even know that you are running WordPress. Either way you can use your website to make residual income – but that’s the next post!