By Ed Emerson
For those who have struggled to make money online with a blog, you’ll know that there are no magic solutions to delivering success.
And every promotion that suggests traffic is easily come by, or can be purchased to deliver “riches without effort” should be avoided like the plague.
The challenge, the reality break, is that there are no quick fixes or simple no-effort solutions to making money in any field, anywhere.
Yet, there seems no end of people who will believe that possibility actually exists.
More Than Just Chasing A Buck
Making money online (or in any discipline for that matter) takes time, dedication and the firm desire to help people as opposed to just chasing a dollar.
And if your focus is solely on that latter objective then you’re in the wrong place – Wall Street is looking for people just like you, sunshine. Bye-bye…write when you find work.
Thankfully, as we’ve progressed through what is still very much the embryonic stages of digital business activity, the growing community of the ‘Wi-Fi Generation’ – who effectively monetise websites and other online offerings through things like SEO, keyword phrases, use of Google Adwords and affiliate marketing campaigns – has helped cut several paths through this jungle for us.
The Answers To Their Questions
So, I’m going to talk you through one of them – the creation of an information product (newsletter or brief) that provides answers to a specific issue affecting a large group of people.
And I’m going to show you exactly how that will drive traffic to you from interested readers. In my next article we’ll look at some (free) technology for the heavy-lifting thereafter of regular customer contact with those who’ve expressed an interest, and other ways to monetise the article you’re created.
For today, let’s get you to take the first step towards joining that ‘Wi-Fi Working’ generation who’ve figured out better ways to make good money online, and maybe even leave your day job behind.
You’re Now A Content Curator
In a recent article about making money online, entitled How to Fix a Blog (that even you’re mother won’t read) I wrote the following:
“I’m a big believer that the internet has become a dishevelled and unkempt goldmine of useful information just waiting to be curated for commercial gain. In other words, anyone who wants to make money online must learn to capitalise on how to fix the problem of organising information. And that means putting together good content from a variety of sources, and in doing so, answer specific questions that large groups of individuals need answered.”
It’s true. And it’s also true (and probably why you’re reading this) that the reason your current blog or website offering isn’t attracting the type or volume of traffic you want is because:
- You haven’t curated the type of information that your readers want,
- You haven’t set up the information to be found in the way your readers are looking for it, and
- You’ve failed to capture any contact information so that you can communicate with them again…when you want to.
So today we’re going to become “content curators.” And that process starts by following a few steps.
Making Money Online Is A Process, Not A Pitch
Gone are the days when a website was about flashy things and clever sales lines. We’ve all outgrown them.
Now we want answers from that universe of information called the Internet, and yet it’s often very hard to find them on specific subjects, because the solutions are spread piecemeal across that vast digital space.
As such, folks either; can’t be bothered looking that hard, or get steered towards a partial answer because it’s available on page 1 through 5 in their Google search. In fact, the only folks who ever look farther than that are either professional researchers, or those who are looking for the name of their own company’s article or website!
How to Make Friends with Google
Google is a significant enemy to those who don’t know how to curate content, and a good friend to those who do.
Search engines generally ignore piecemeal and inconsistent content, and reward with traffic those who stick to a line of thought filled with meaty suggestions and relevant information.
So here are a few good ways to start making friends with Google:
Step #1 – Find a Large Audience with a Specific Problem
One of the examples I’ve used previously, and one for which HNW has had great success in attracting huge reader traffic, is with people in the UK who are self-employed and are having a very hard time finding a lender who will offer them a mortgage or remortgage.
The main reason for this is ignorance of the legislative changes brought to bear through the 2014 Mortgage Market Review or MMR, finding those lenders who will actually work with self-employed people, and the proof of income and other criteria they require to do so.
There are millions of people who are facing this challenge, and with lower interest rates (cheaper borrowing opportunities) the size of the audience chasing a mortgage keeps on growing.
We wrote about some of the challenges facing that audience here in The New Rules of the Self-Employed Mortgage Game.
And we’re now in the process of creating a report that people can sign-up to receive by providing their email address in return for a free copy.
Step #2 – Research the Problem and Uncover the Answers
But finding all of that information about the self-employed mortgage market too time and effort.
And most people are lazy (there, I said it). They’ve become accustomed to being able to access the Internet for anything they want. And when they can’t find it in the first few pages of Google they lose interest. Thus the priority of finding the answers to problems that people can’t be bothered to spend the effort in finding out for themselves.
And it’s also presents a huge traffic and revenue opportunity for people who truly want to make good money online.
Obviously there is far more to conducting research than simply Googling for answers. But as in the self-employed mortgage example above, most of the information we uncovered was online. It was just sat in a lot of different places and we were willing to make the effort to organise and curate that content to attract readers to our site.
As I noted when this article started, there are not shortcuts; you have to work for it.
So start by listing out the answers you need to find, make these your headings in your article or brief, and go out and spend the time it takes to find out what others are unwilling to do for themselves.
This is the difference between someone who makes money online and someone who just thinks about it…and then continues to work for someone else come Monday morning.
Step #3 – Check How People Search for Answers
Now, if I’m writing a blog about this topic (self-employed mortgages) because I am, for example, a mortgage broker, a credit referencing agency, or an accountant who works with start-up businesses, then I want to know specifically what people are searching for when they go to Google.
What I mean by that is: What are the most popular words and phrases – in fact the exact phrase that large groups of people are searching with – in order to use them in the article or brief that I write so that Google will point those searches to my content.
I also want to know how competitive those words or phrases are. People call this process “search word” or “search engine optimisation” (SEO), or keyword research, and even primary (single words or short combinations) or long-tail research (longer phrases that fewer people are likely to use).
It’s a way of seeing the size of the groups who use specific words and phrases on search engines like Google.
It also reveals how competitive (how many other people and businesses out there who are trying attract business from this same audience) are writing articles with these words and phrases embedded in them.
Now, not many folks know that you can check how competitive a specific search phrase is (how many of your competitors use it in blog or article copy) for free by going to a website called Moz. It’s a mainstay for content curators and serious tech geeks alike, and a tremendous resource for just about anything in this space.
Sure , it takes time, but try and logic out what phrases and words you would write into a Google search box if you were, for example, a self-employed person looking for a mortgage.
And only then use those words and phrases with reasonably high search volumes and relatively low competitiveness rankings, where possible.
Step #4 – Embed Those Phrases In Your Copy
Now you’re ready to shape your copy around the headlines you created (the questions people need answered) and the keyword phrase or phrases you’ve found.
Make sure what you’re writing is comprehensive in that it actually provides answers for what folks are looking for. Set headings for each section, avoid using obscure words where possible and try and incorporate your keyword phrase or phrases at least four times for every 500 words of text you write.
If you do that you’ll find that you’ll develop a loyal audience.
If you don’t, they won’t come back or respond to your next communication (We’ll talk about using what’s called an “autoresponder” to automate the process of following up with clients in our next article on this subject).
Next, ensure that your keyword phrase appears in the first sentence of your first paragraph, the last paragraph of your article or brief and, if possible, in the title or headline of what you’re writing.
Personally, I write a minimum of 1500 words or more of text for each article that I want interested readers to sign up for, and usually much more. That’s because more copy that’s well constructed and thus holds more of your keyword phrases ranks higher with search engines.
And don’t forget to edit your images when putting them on your website, by using that same keyword phrase in the “alternative copy” box within the image itself.
Your readers won’t see it but the search engines will.
The Finished Article (So To Speak)
Now once you’ve gotten to the stage of a finished article; stop.
We’re going to look at interesting ways to monetise what you’ve created through what’s called “affiliates” and let technology (autoresponders) do the hard work of follow-up customer contact for you. Also, those same autotresponders are going to help you capture the data of those who’ve expressed an interest in what you’ve put together.
Now go, search, research and write, and we’ll see you back here soon to help you join the Wi-Fi Working generation and make good money online…and maybe even dump that day job.
Ed Emerson, Editor, HNW Magazine
If you want to catch up with the previous article in this series see How to Fix a Blog (That Even Your Mother Won’t Read) here.