|Google Analytics is one of the greatest, most efficient tools on the internet to measure website data. Discovering Analytics literally changed my life! Imagine what you can do with detailed information such as traffic sources, popular content, demographics, etc. Essentially, you can find out who's clicking, when, from where, and for how long! Analytics allows you to analyze anything and everything involving traffic, in order to learn from it and constantly improve. For example, if you see a particular page being clicked on much more than any other page, you might want to consider placing ads there. So how do we get started? First you've got to create an Analytics profile for your site through Google (as you begin to develop more and more sites, know that you can have as many profile as you’d like for FREE):|
The next step is to download and install Union-D Google Analytics in your websites back-end:
You're all set! Google Analytics takes about a day or so to start tracking. Once it's ready, you should be able to sign-in to http://www.google.com/analytics/, click on your website, and see all of the data. Let's now explore this data and see what it all means. Once you have logged in, and have entered your websites data, you should immediately see a graph showing what is probably the most important measurable statistic of your website:
As you can see, Google Analytics is extremely intuitive and simple. With just a few clicks you can see this data measured in days, weeks, months, etc. Under the graph you should see further overviews of some of the most important data available:
Some of these numbers might be self-explanatory, but here is a wonderful description of some of the basic Google Analytics terms by Anna Lewis of koozai.com (you can also learn more about them by hovering over the words with your mouse):
A visit to your site is when the Google Analytics tracking code is triggered on a user’s entrance to the site. Everything they then do on your site is tracked within that visit, until they leave or the session expires (after 30 minutes of inactivity).
The number you see next to “Unique Visitors” is a measurement of first time visitors. For example, a person who visits the site 10 times in one day would only be counted as one “unique visitor”.
A pageview is a view of a page, simple huh? But think about how you navigate websites – do you often go to the same page several times while moving around? This means you are triggering multiple pageviews of the same page in a single session, which is why Google Analytics offers you an extra statistic: Unique Pageviews. Unique Pageviews are the number of visitors to a page, rather than the number of visits to that page – notice the subtle difference?
This is how many pages a visitor makes in one visit.
A confusing aspect for many people, simply put, is the bounce rate. A ‘Bounce’ is a visit to your site that exits having only looked at one page. The ‘Bounce Rate’ is the percentage of visits that only viewed one page before leaving the site.
Ideally, you want your Bounce Rate to be as low as possible, as that shows that users are engaging with your site. Depending on the type of site, a typical Bounce Rate could be between 30% and 50%. Sites such as blogs will often see a higher Bounce Rate, as many people only come to the site to read a post they have heard about. When they enter the site on that specific post and exit having finished reading it, they count as a Bounce.
Google Analytics offers measurements and analysis on more than you can imagine. Besides the home screen, the most important data can probably be found on the Demographics, Traffic Sources and Content Overview pages on the left hand side.
Navigating to this section of your Analytics panel will should you a detailed overview of where your clicks are coming from demographically. If location is an important factor in your business, this can be a crucial tool! The darker the green, the more popular your website is in that specific country. If you click on the country, you can narrow it down even further to the city.
Traffic Sources > Overview:
This page will tell you where your traffic is coming from and what keywords are being used to find your website through Google. Click on links such as “Source” for more detailed information.
Content > Overview:
This page will show you your website's most popular pages. If you click around, you will notice that you can use this tool to measure how many pageviews you are getting per page, and how much time people are spending on each particular page. These are all excellent statistics to provide to potential advertisers once you start to get more traffic.
Before learning how to optimize your website, it's important to understand how a search engine such as Google works. To find websites and web pages, Google has created something called a Googlebot (also known as a “spider”). The Googlebot crawls the web looking for new content to index into Google's massive database. Once your website is reached, Google will take note that you exist. Each time you add new content to your website, it will be indexed as soon as the Googlebot reaches it again. So, how can you get Googlebots to reach your site? You might ask...
This is where things can get a bit complicated. Google has an algorithm of 200+ factors that go into effect to determine which websites make it to the top of searches. Not only are these factors unknown and not released to the public, but they are also constantly changing! Seems impossible, doesn't it? Although Google's algorithm is virtually uncrackable, there are several known factors that have remained consistent throughout Google's existence. It is these factors that companies have discovered that has allowed them to rise to the top. Below is a list of some of these factors, as well as proper practices, that will one day ensure a spot at the top for your site:
“Keywords” are the words people search for when they find your website. A keyword can be a single word such as “education” or a string of words such as “math classes in Los Angeles”. Your keywords should be present EVERYWHERE and should be as specific as possible so that the competition for those words is lower. Utilize Google's keyword tool (which we went over in week 1) to come up with some of quality keywords of your own. Besides using these words throughout your website, here's a quick tutorial on how to add them to the code of your website:
and put in a descriptive browser page title which includes some of your keywords. This is the text that will show up at the top of your browser. Make sure it's not too long and that “Show Page Heading” is set to Yes.
and type in a detailed description, with keywords separated by commas. Make sure both the description and keywords are related to the menu item which you are working on.
Tags or “html tags” are a more recent factor that people have realized is a part of Google's SEO algorithm. The proper use of tags can be extremely beneficial in having a well-optimized website. Important tags include: h1, h2, h3, h4, h5, h6, and can be used in HTML by placing them in brackets; for example, <h1>Title</h1> would mean that the word “Title” is located in an h1 tag (h stands for heading). So where do we find these so-called tags? Tags are located within your articles:
Your website's theme will determine how each tag looks on your website. Experiment with each tag to make sure you are familiar with how they look. Typically, the use of keywords in h1 and h2 tags are a great source for SEO. So utilize these tags as titles, headings, etc.
Think of links as you would branches on a tree:
Spread out in all directions, but linked at the core. Web links are similar and are great for SEO. If you look at successful blogs or websites, you will see a lot of links to other content within the site. The reason they are so useful, is because once a search engine crawler such as a Googlebot finds your webpage, they will also find all links on the page and the pages those links go to. It's almost like creating different pathways to access your content. The more ways of getting to a page, the easier it will be to find and index.
Links coming into your site from other sites are also EXTREMELY valuable. ESPECIALLY if they are coming from popular websites. For example, if Yahoo writes an article about your business and provides a link to your website, your website will skyrocket on search engines. Yahoo might be hard to get, but links from any website back into yours would be a great help for your SEO.
It's been widely known that search engines such as Google favor websites that are constantly adding new content. And rightfully so. A website that is constantly being updated with new content is a sign of work, dedication, and growth. Search engines want their top dog sites to be new, popular, reliable, etc. to keep you coming back for more. You will NEVER find a site on the first page of a search that has been left alone and untouched for years (or even months). Search engines crave fresh, new content at all times. It is for this reason that blogging has become so popular.
Nearly every large business website now has a blog. Go see for yourself. Adding a blog can be simple with the many tools available. You can create a blog outside of your website with tools such as:
If you do this, simply create a new menu item in your admin panel linking to your blog:
You can also purchase a blogging software that you can integrate into your website. Doing this will allow you to have a blog that goes with your theme. If you go this route, I highly recommend EasyBlog (http://stackideas.com/easyblog.html). Easyblog is a simple, and highly customizable blog extension for Joomla. Regardless of how you implement a blog into your site, I HIGHLY recommend doing so.
|Ready for launch? I sure hope so. For the past month, you've been learning the ins and outs of how to set-up an online business. Today I will provide you with a launch checklist to ensure your tracks are covered and your website is ready for the public. The elements below are critical in having a successful online business. Take your time, go step by step, and make sure each box is checked before you proceed:|
|Although there are plenty of ways to run a successful website without advertising, spending dollars in the right places can give your business a significant boost. It's easy to spend money on advertising because literally any company will take you in for the right price. Some avenues, however, are way more effective than others, especially when the business operates online. The decision is ultimately up to you, but I would like to introduce you to a great tool that could be very useful and effective for your business. Today, I present you with Google Adwords.|
The reason I preach Adwords is because of it's simplicity, effectiveness, and the fact that you can see results in complete detail. You are also paying per click, meaning you only spend money when someone reaches your site. It is your job to then convert that visitor into a customer. Creating an Adwords campaign is simple. First of all, you determine how much you want to spend. You can spend a dollar a day if it suits you, or $500/day if you are bringing $600+ worth of business from it. Next, you determine how you want people to find you. Do you want to show up in Google searches, on other people's websites, etc.? And finally, you have full control over the length of your campaign so you can pause and continue when you please. Let's set up a campaign:
Once your ad is launched, you can check back in your Adwords admin panel to monitor your ads performance. Each keyword is measured in clicks, number of impressions, click through rate (CTR), etc. To learn more about each term, simple click on the question mark.
|Years ago I would have been giving you advice on how to approach investors with what they are looking for. Although this method is still very much a viable option, it's downright old school! Just Google, “how to find an investor” and you can find all the information you need. I'm here today to discuss the newest methods of how to get your small business booming. Below, I've compiled a list of websites and tools to seriously consider if you are ready to get the financial boost you've been waiting for:|
Kick Starter is an awesome website with a great concept. It is also my top recommendation for getting your first round of funding! On Kick Starter, you create a profile for your online business and offer incentives to other users to give you funding. For example, you can offer a small gift for a donation of $10, or 1% of the company for $50,000. What you ask for is completely up to you!
Angel List is a great website to find an angel investor. There are a ton of extremely successful business people and investors looking to fund the next big thing.
Located in Los Angeles, Tech Coast Angeles is the second largest group of Angel Investors according to entrepreneur.com. The group “provides connections, knowledge, mentoring and operational assistance to early-stage entrepreneurs in the tech, biotech, consumer products, Internet, information technology, life sciences, media, software and environmental markets.”
You might also want to consider a start-up incubator; a program designed to help entrepreneurs and start-up companies. Getting accepted to one of these programs means you will be provided with the necessary tools to run an extremely profitable and successful business. They often require a few months of your time, but it is well worth it! Here is a great list of of 10 incubators from Inc.com:
Founded in 2006, TechStars is one of the country's most prestigious incubators. Its four locations in Boston, Boulder, New York City, and Seattle, host 10 teams for three months of the year on rotation, funding each team member between $6,000 and $18,000. More than 600 teams applied last year, making TechStars one of the country's most competitive incubators. TechStars focuses on technology companies with transnational appeal, and requires a 6 percent equity stake in any new companies that are funded. Each program ends with a pitch event with venture capitalists and other investors.
Since 2005, Y-Combinator has set the standard for technology incubators. Founded by tech entrepreneur Paul Graham, the Silicon Valley-based paradise for coders with an entrepreneurial streak, hosts teams in two rotations from January to March and from June to August of each year. Y-Combinator invests about $18,000 per company for the session, and asks an equity stake that averages about 6 percent. Roughly 300 companies have received funding to date, among them Scribd, WePay, and Reddit.
Michael Gaiss, a senior vice president at Highland Capital Partners, decided in 2007 that an in-house incubator might be an ideal way for investors to acquaint themselves with next-generation entrepreneurs. The program took a hiatus last year, but has returned this summer to host 11 teams spread across locations in Boston and the San Francisco Bay Area. The incubator has accepted applications from companies with a variety of different ideas in past years, but decided to narrow its scope to technology companies this round. Teams of two-to-four members receive $15,000, along with office accommodations from early June through the end of August.
DreamIt Ventures began hosting start-ups in Philadelphia in 2007. Recently, the incubator expanded to New York City, where 12 of its alumni companies are based. Offering $5,000 for each additional team member (up to $25,000 for a team of five), DreamIt makes available a bit more seed funding than the average incubator. Like other top-tier incubators, DreamIt provides successful applicants with mentorship from entrepreneurs, as well as legal, accounting, and administrative help, and a demonstration day during which teams present their fledgling companies to investors.
Founded in Washington, D.C., LaunchBox Digital expanded last year into North Carolina's Research Triangle Park. Teams receive $15,000 to $30,000 in seed funding in exchange for a 4 to 8 percent equity stake in the company. This incubator, which favors proposals with a technological orientation, provides the companies it selects with administrative and legal advice over 12 weeks leading up to their demo day.
Flashpoint doesn't look for the latest location-based app or daily deals scheme. This incubator based in Washington, D.C., was founded in 2003 to provide space and supplemental financial support to nonprofit arts organizations in the Beltway. The average Flashpoint business has just one, two, or three paid staff members, and receives technical support, professional development, and office equipment during residency. Notable alumni include Irish contemporary arts group Solas Nua, professional dance company Step Afrika!, and Washington Improv Theater.
Capital Factory sets up shop in Austin, Texas, from the end of May to the beginning of August each summer. The program is capped by a demo day with 250 investors in September. For the 10 weeks of the program, each team receives $20,000, office space, and brand and logo development as well as accounting, banking, help with PR, and legal aid. In exchange, Capital Factory asks a 5 percent equity stake. Capital Factory prides itself on the mentors it makes available to participants, including SKYLIST founder Joshua Bear, ApartmentRatings.com founder Jeremy Bencken, and Smart Bear founder Jason Cohen.
Situated in what was once Bethlehem Steel's main research facility, Ben Franklin TechVentures was founded in 1983 and moved to its current location on the campus of Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, in 2007. Residents at TechVentures have received seed funding from Ben Franklin Technology Partners in the past. This regional incubator assists early-stage companies with operating costs, connections to investors, and business advice. One of a group of ten regional Pennsylvania technology incubators, TechVentures provides the facilities, lab space, and management advice that start-ups need.
More than a decade older than most of the other incubators on this list, the Environmental Business Cluster is the nation's largest clean-tech incubator. Founded in 1994, the EBC has assisted more than 150 companies by providing facilities like conference centers and office space as well as education, counseling, and access to investors, all in the hope of promoting businesses that are working to develop renewable energy sources, better waste management treatments, and other forms of emerging green and environmental technology.
Part of the University of Illinois's Research Park, EnterpriseWorks hosts early-stage tech firms, and has had particular success with information and biotechnology companies. About 70 companies have had their start at EnterpriseWorks since the incubator opened its doors in 2003. If you're looking to hobnob with the venture capital flash that only Silicon Valley can offer, this may not be the incubator for you. But for tech firms that need some time to get their business in order, a residency at EnterpriseWorks provides office and lab space, meetings with the incubator's three entrepreneurs in residence, and the option to hire student employees from the University of Illinois's student body.
|So I repeat, “website sales can be made on all levels.” Even if the site generates $0 income; if it is an established, fully-functional website with a logo, the site can sell. I've personally made thousands of dollars from creating online businesses with the sole purpose of selling them (you will learn more about this in tomorrow's lesson), and you can too! Today I'm going to teach you just that.|
There are several ways to sell your website. The first is to have a website broker sell it for you. If you go this route, your website should be worth around $100,000 because many of these companies won't sell your website unless they can make at least $15,000 from the transaction. I'm going to go ahead and assume you are not at that level just yet (hopefully you will be one day!). Your next option is to act as your own website broker and put your business out to the public. There are two options I would highly recommend if you choose to go this route: Flippa and BizBuy Sell.
Flippa claims it is the #1 marketplace for buying and selling websites, and rightfully so. The website is filled with a balanced community of buyers and sellers. It works as an auction where websites are sometimes listed for as low as $1 for the starting bid. When you place your website up for auction, you fill in as much relevant information as possible. Your listing description should be as detailed as possible to lure in more potential buyers. You can then set the number of days the auction will last. During this time, you can answer public comments and private messages from potential buyers. Although it costs a small fee to list your site and you have to pay a commission to Flippa once it sells, it is well worth it. For PDF's on how to sell, how to buy, and how to flip websites, check out Flippa's free guides here:
BizBuySell is not just a website sales platform, but an entire marketplace for business sales of all types. Just like Flippa, it costs money to post your business, but the immense exposure to the public is well worth it. You can also determine your own price, provide detailed information, and interact with potential buyers when they show interest. BizBuySell has some other great tools as well such as a the ability to value your business and find brokers.
I then conducted an experiment. It took me years, but I had mastered the craft well enough to build an entire online business in a day. No schooling, no classes, everything I learned was self-taught. I built two websites in about a week and put them up for sale. I made $900 from one, and $650 from the other. This was enough motivation for me. I figured it out. I could make money on my own whenever I desired. Throughout the last month, I have showed you the ropes. I have passed the knowledge that took me years to acquire, summed it all up, and provided it to you.
$100,000.00 a year might sounds like a lot of money, but it is a realistic goal. If you work hard enough it will come, and once it does it will continue coming. I have always said, “the best motivation is accomplishment” and this quote applies ESPECIALLY to entrepreneurs. What I mean by this, is that once you accomplish something, you become clearly aware that you are capable of such a feat. You have achieved success, and developed a formula to do so. All it takes is to keep doing what you are doing.
I like to imagine the key to success is “happiness” rather than monetary wealth. It is for this reason that I created Operation 6 Fig, and not “Operation Millionaire”. I personally see six figures as a good amount. An amount you can be comfortable and content with. For me, the key to this operation is working for yourself. Yes, a six figure income is the ultimate goal, but would you be your own boss if you were making $50k a year? I would, and I have. Having freedom leads to happiness, not sitting in a cubicle for 40+ hours a week, or feeling guilty asking for a day off. I lived that life and despised it. I sat in hours of traffic every day followed by more hours of sitting at a desk with no real light at the end of the tunnel. It's like being a working ant in an ant hill; after a while, you realize you're sole purpose in life is to work toward the same common goal as everyone else around you. Stop and take a moment to think what makes you different from the other people in your company? Aren't you all working towards the same common goal? To make the company more profitable?
Working in such an environment is simply not motivational, but the majority of us do it because we see no other way. It's time to carve your own path. Just as you read over a month ago, when you started this journey:
There is no easy road to success, but if you want it bad enough you will find your way. It's important to understand that it won't come to you; success is something you must go out and get. Do not be afraid to fail, because it will lead to success. As Thomas J. Watson (CEO of IBM during it's tremendous growth in the early 1900's) once said, “Would you like me to give you a formula for success? It’s quite simple, really. Double your rate of failure. You are thinking of failure as the enemy of success. But it isn’t at all. You can be discouraged by failure or you can learn from it, So go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because remember that’s where you will find success.”
So where does all this leave you? I could say, “go out there, make a difference, do something great, etc.,” but that's not necessarily the case. The greatest advice I could give you, assuming you have learned how to create an online business, is to perfect your craft. Find your strengths and build on them. Take note of what works, and continue using it. You have the tools, now utilize them to your advantage. Fail, fail, fail... and then succeed. Once you succeed, once you learn the formula, use it and continue using it. Live your life how you want to live it and not by the mercy of your boss. Live by your own schedule, not someone else's. Because you should never feel guilty asking for a day off.
By now, you should have a manageable website. You should understand how to add, modify, and structure information. You should be comfortable adding new web pages, menu items, and everything in between. What we have not covered yet, is how to make money from it all. This week you will learn just that! This might be the week you were waiting for; the week where I give you the tools to quit your dead-end job! If you have reached this point with confidence and a keen understanding of what you are doing, then you are truly ready to start reaching for the ultimate goal.
|Today I will be covering a couple of the most simple, yet effective ways of selling products or services on your website: the infamous “PayPal button”, and “Google Checkout”. Before we proceed, you will need a PayPal business account and a Google account (if you don't already have them). Make sure to completely set-up your PayPal account by linking your bank account and completing all relevant information. Also before proceeding, do the research and know the advantages and disadvantages of the two. For example, monthly PayPal subscriptions can be set up with ease. So if you happen to offer a monthly service, I would highly recommend going with PayPal. Regardless of which service you choose, they are both widely used and extremely trustworthy.|
To use a Paypal button on you're site your going to need to customize the button through PayPal and generate a strip of HTML code. To do this:
Now that you have your code, you need to find the exact space on you web page where you want to put the button. Once you know this:
Using Google Checkout is similar to PayPal in the sense that it requires some basic knowledge of HTML. The first step, is to set up a business account. To do so, navigate to:
and click the link at the bottom which reads “Information for Sellers”. From here you can learn about the system and the various integration options you can utilize. Here are several integrations options (described in-depth) directly from Google.com:
Best for: If you have a website but don't have a shopping cart, you can add our pre-generated HTML to your site to display Buy Now buttons for your items.
Time required: It's as simple as copying and pasting HTML code (generated for you in the Google Checkout Merchant Center) onto your website. This integration option should take only a few minutes, depending on the number of products you sell.
Technical skills required: A working knowledge of your website's HTML.
Best for: If you’d like to manage your inventory from a Google Docs spreadsheet and create an online store to embed on personal websites, Google Sites, Blogger, and iGoogle, you can use our store gadget to sell through Checkout.
Time required: You can get your first online store up-and-running in under five minutes.
Technical skills required: No advanced technical skills are required to embed the gadget in Google Sites or Blogger. You don't need to write HTML to implement the store gadget on a personal website, but you should be able to read HTML well enough to know where to add the gadget code snippet.
Best for: If your website doesn't have a shopping cart yet, you can add our pre-generated HTML to your site. Your buyers will be able to be able to add multiple items to their shopping cart, change item quantities, and remove items -- all without leaving your site.
Time required: It's as simple as copying and pasting some HTML code (generated for you in the Google Checkout Merchant Center) onto your website. This integration option should take only a few minutes, depending on the number of products you sell.
Technical skills required: A working knowledge of your website's HTML.
Putting Google ads on your website could be a GREAT source of income if you are getting good traffic (traffic refers to the number of people visiting your site). There are tons of cases in which people sustain a living from Google ads alone! You may not have noticed, but Google ads are everywhere! In fact, almost every major blog has some. It's also pretty high up there with the easiest way of making money online. Before diving into to setting up the ads however, it's important to understand how they work and how they function.
Google ads are not actually “Google's ads”, they are the ads of other companies who pay Google (often per click) to be placed on websites such as yours. What Google does brilliantly, is recognize the type of content on a website, and places relevant ads for visitors. For example, if I run an education-based website and put a Google banner ad at the top, this ad will most likely be geared to people interested in education who are more likely to click on it. Every time an ad is clicked, the party whose ad it was pays, and the party who owns the website gets paid. Google obviously takes a small cut. To better understand Google ads (known as Adsense), navigate to:
|Take some time to really familiarize yourself with the idea of placing Google ads on your site. Think about positions, sizes, colors, etc. Although it's a great tool to earn extra income, you may not see it fit for your particular website. Do the research before diving in!|
Bonus Tip: Opt-in to Placement Targeting Set up Custom Channels in your AdSense account and opt-in to Placement Targeting. Placement targeting allows our advertisers to bid on a specific ad or group of ad placements on your site. Advertisers are usually willing to bid more for targeted units.
|One very important thing to understand is that just because you have ads placed on your site, it does not mean you will be generating revenue (at least not right away). Revenue from ads comes with being established. This doesn't mean “don't place ads on your site,” it only means don't expect loads of cash to come to you in the mail right away.|
Now let's get the ad unit on your site:
Once it's all set up and running, you can manage the ad and check it's performance through your Google Adsense account. Remember to be patient. At this point, make sure you understand how Adsense works and how to effectively place a Google ad on your site.
“Affiliate marketing” is a concept you must learn if you plan on pursuing a successful online business. Understanding the way it works will be like opening up a box of treasure! According to an article on brickmarketing.com, “To define affiliate marketing is that it’s a technique where other publishers and websites will promote your business. Basically the way it works is that an affiliate is rewarded every time a visitor, customer or sale for your business is generated through an advertisement on their web site. There are many different ways compensation is provided, but the concept remains consistent—you pay them for generating business for you. If a viewer is at the affiliate’s web site, and the affiliate doesn’t quite have what they’re looking for, they can easily click over to your web site. It’s an increasingly popular technique for those seeking to maximize they’re staying power on the web.”
Vendor: You have a product and allow others to post that product on their websites for a commission.
Affiliate: You sell someone else's product for a commission.
To learn more, just research! There is so much information out there on the subject. You can start with Clickbank (http://www.clickbank.com), one of the web's leading affiliate programs and a great place to further explore the world of affiliate marketing. Now let's dive in...
In order to serve as a vendor, you must have a product. You also must provide sellers with clear and concise instructions on how to sell your product as an affiliate. Amazon and 1and1 are two companies that serve as vendors and offer an affiliate program. This means they provide you with a banner ad, or link to place on your website. If people use this link to purchase one of their products, you get a commission of the sale. In order to be an effective affiliate vendor, you must be able to provide customers, with a unique link back to your website (or particular product). To generate such a link, you must register with a company such as Clickbank, PayDotCom.com, or any other company that will manage your program and provide with you with the tools you need to launch.
Once you register with one of these companies, how you chose to market your affiliate program is completely up to you. I strongly suggest to have a page explaining the program to potential sellers. Whether it's a small link on the home page, or an item in the main menu, people need to know how to utilize the program if you plan on them bringing you business.
Being an affiliate marketer is simple. It mainly entails finding a site that has products which you think your site can sell, and getting instructions to do so from the vendor. Most vendors will give you a specific link. For example, if you are an affiliate for Amazon.com, they will provide you with a simple code to place on your site (which you can embed the same way you did with a Google ad yesterday). Once you embed this code, you will get a commission from anyone who uses that link to buy a product.
Placing affiliate links on your website is basically adverting, however you have FULL control of how you want to use the link, and you get a commission on every sale rather than a pay-per-click scenario. For example, you can place a picture of a stack of books that reads “Buy used Textbooks” and have this link (with your affiliate link) to an Amazon textbook page. In this case, you will receive a commission from anyone who lands on Amazon from your site and purchases a textbook.
Affiliate marketing is a whole new world of opportunity for people looking to monetize their website. The concept might be tough to grasp at first, but it's quite simple and can be very rewarding once you understand it.
Amazon is one of the largest, most reputable websites on the internet. In fact, it has recently become the largest online retailer in the world! I am a huge Amazon advocate because of their realization of the importance of customer experience. Simply put, Amazon makes it easy to shop online. With that said, I'd like to introduce you to what I feel is a hidden treasure in the world of monetization: aStore. According to Amazon.com, “aStore gives you the power to create a professional online store, in minutes and without the need for programming skills, that can be embedded within or linked to from your website.”
In other words, Amazon allows you to create your own store out of other people's products and collect commissions on every sale. If used properly, this can be a gold mine for you! If you have a online business dedicated to fixing Apple products for example, you can have an entire store that sells Apple products all from the user-friendly and reliable Amazon store interface.
As you can see, you can purchase products from this website. However, the website does not own these products, they simply offer them and make a profit from the sales commission.
Anyone can create an Amazon aStore, and can sell literally anything available on Amazon. Let's try it. First you must create an Amazon Affiliate account. This way Amazon can link to your bank account so you can start receiving money from sales. To create an affiliate account navigate to:
and join. Once you are all set up you can begin the process of creating an aStore:
Now, embed! REMEMBER, you can always go back and edit your aStore so feel free to play around with it until you are familiar and comfortable using it.
* If you forgot how to embed code, here's a quick refresher course:
Whether you utilize the tool or not, in-text advertising is something you should learn about (especially since it is a major monetization method) and today you will do just that. Let's first explore some of the big names of in the industry. Here is an excellent article on the 20 best in-text advertising programs compared:
If you plan on utilizing in-text ads, you will need to know how to implement them. In most cases, the process is pretty straight-forward if you are familiar with HTML. I personally recommend Infolinks. Infolinks is arguably the most established program for in-text ads (and other content-based ads) on the internet. Set-up is also a cinch, particularly on a Joomla site! In todays lesson, I will walk you through the set-up of in-text ads using Infolinks as the program:
In an article by Travis King on smashingmagazine.com, he puts selling ad space on low traffic websites into perspective: “What you need to always keep in mind is that, while advertisers are drawn to high traffic numbers, they desire something else even more: high conversion rates. There are plenty of success stories of websites that have limited traffic but sell a ton of advertising. These websites succeed because they do one thing well: they deliver the right type of customer to the right type of business.” King hits the nail on the head in his article. You can read the entire thing here:
If you're now convinced that selling ad space on your site might turn out to be extremely profitable, you are ready to get started. But before setting anything technical up, you need some sort of incentive. Here are 10 methods to sell advertising space by Catherine Franz on webpronews.com:
Now that you have some incentive ideas to work off of, let's dive into the technical aspects of selling ads. The most basic way is to do it manually. Create a menu item on your navigation bar that says “Advertise”. Provide all the specifics, or specs: pricing options, ad sizes, available space/pages, your contact information, etc. on the page. If people are interested and contact you, utilize Paypal to send them an electronic invoice (invoice via email). Once you receive payment, either ask for the ad design from the customer, or create an ad (or hire someone) and place it on your website manually.
* Creating an ad can be done in Photoshop. Refer back to the logo creation lesson and use the same strategies to create an ad.
Utilize custom HTML modules, and strategic positions so you can easily adjust what pages the ad will appear on. Another helpful tool might be to have one of these on the side panel of your website:
Have this image link to your “Ad Specs” page. My advice if you do this however, is to have other (real) ads around it. This way people can see that others are actually spending money with you.
Besides running your ad space manually, there are also automatic options. One of the top ad systems for Joomla is called SocialAds. Learn about the commercial software here:
Joomla SocialAds works just like Facebook ads, giving full power and control to the advertiser. The process is between the customer and an automated system, so you do not need to get involved. Basically, an interested advertiser sees the option to advertise, and through the system is able to create, launch, and pay for his ad without your involvement or any manual labor. Although the extension costs money, it could be well worth it for you.
Lastly (and most importantly), you need to find advertisers. In his article on smashingmagazine.com, Travis King narrows down 5 intuitive methods of finding potential advertisers:
One place to look for advertisers is in your own analytics. Look for websites that currently link to yours and that offer a service or product you could advertise.
Visit your commenters’ websites to find any advertising or promotional opportunities.
If you run Google AdWords, make note of which advertisements come up. After all, they are already spending money with Google, and Google is saying that your website is a good match for theirs. Approach them with an advertising opportunity that would give them greater visibility than what Google AdWords can deliver.
Who is advertising on those websites? They would probably be interested in your website, too.
After compiling your visitor’s interests, some businesses may immediately spring to mind. These businesses will likely gel with your content. Make a list of them and contact them directly.
Becoming an established online business takes time, especially if it's your first one. Unlike previous monetization methods from earlier in the week, selling ads on a website does not come easy; however, it can be done. As we continue in the course, you will be introduced to various tools that will help you along the way. For example, next week you will have a tracking system installed on your website which will make it much easier to determine where and when to sell ads through in-depth analysis and data from your website. Now get some rest. Tomorrow concludes our week on monetization.
This may not be appropriate for all sites, but it can be extremely beneficial for monetization purposes. If you implement a feature like this, make sure it is theme-specific to your niche. If you have an education-based website for example, you can have classified ads for textbooks. So how would you put in such a system? There are several options if you Google “Joomla classifieds”. You might have to spend some money, but it will be worth it for a quality system. Before purchasing a component: do the research, read customer reviews, test the customer support, and make sure you are purchasing a quality product.
Offer to place company's logos on your site for a fee. You can display multiple, rotating logos in a small area on your site, with a logo slider such as this one: http://www.infyways.com/store/client-logo-slider.html. You can also place .gif's in different areas of your site. A .gif is an image file type where you can set it to swap a number of images automatically. Creating a .gif can be done pretty easily in Photoshop. Here's a great tutorial on how to do it: http://creativetechs.com/tipsblog/build-animated-gifs-in-photoshop/. You can also look up tutorials on YouTube
Job boards are another tool that might not fit with every site, but nevertheless, it is a method of monetization. Susan Gunelius says in her article on about.com, “Adding a job board to your website or blog is a great way to offer something useful to readers and make money at the same time. Job boards work well on niche sites. For example, a blog about nursing could offer a job board featuring jobs in the medical field, or a blog about a specific city could offer a job board featuring local opportunities. Job boards enable you to make money when employers submit a job posting or when applicants submit their applications. Some tools are free and others have fees attached to them.” Sounds interesting? Here are a few website to check out that could help you:
Many companies struggle because of a lack of monetization. What they don't realize, is that monetization is the single most important factor of having an online business. It serves as the structure, the backbone, and the plan to reach the ultimate goal. I've personally learned this the hard way. You may very well be the next Facebook, but don't assume it. Monetize. Monetize. Monetize! This thought should be on your mind constantly while building your business.