C.R.E.A.M. – How To Make Money On The Internet

I peep at the shape of the streets
And stay awake to the ways of the world cause shit is deep
A man with a dream with plans to make C.R.E.A.M.
-C.R.E.A.M Wu Tang Clan (Inspector Deck)

bling!Often friends run Internet business ideas by me and every so often I get the blatant question, “How can I make money on the Internet, how can I get residual income so I can free up my time and do what I want?”  They believe they can dedicate a weekend, a week, a few months, and set something up which outputs tens of thousands of dollars into their checking account. Yes, those people are out there but they are few and far between. I may point you to some of these individuals in this post but realize they have a mix of sophisticated programming knowledge and the will to power.

Be Authentic – Do Something You’re Passionate About

The Algorithms are on the perpetual quest for validating authenticity. Is this website authentic? Are you authentic?

The signal for authenticity is the social web. This is where the story begins and will end. But first… where did we come from?

The Black Hat. The Sheisters. The Shady.

If your website ranks high in a natural or a paid search result- think ranking 1,2,or 3, you’ll get traffic to your website. If a keyword or keyword phrase gets 100s of thousands of monthly searches and you are in spots 1,2, or 3 you’ll get traffic and if you’re selling something with a smart design and concept you’ll make money on the internet. This is the game and the hustle.

So back in the day, think 7+ years in Internet time, people would research and identify lucrative keywords, build websites focusing on these words and by using wise and researched URLs, title tags, descriptions and keywords one could easily rank high. The game wasn’t that competitive. Eventually people stuffed keywords in their meta descriptions and we’ve evolved to a point where meta keywords aren’t a signal at all and some believe with Bing it could even be a negative ranking factor. (Note – title tags and URLs are STILL VERY IMPORTANT)

With the ease it became competitive. And the algorithms got smarter. The internet evolved and linking, particularly backlinks, became important. With linking also came content. It always comes back to content. Content is king. Content will always be king.

So here’s what the black hats did- They built a pretty legitimate-appearing website which may have a decent user experience focusing on keywords they wanted to target. This is still a viable option and plan. However, what they would do is set up “dummy sites” all over the globe most notably Eastern Europe, China, and India and massively crowd source content, garbage content, stuffed with these keywords and then LINK BACK to the legitimate website.

You can’t really play this game anymore.

Use White Hat Techniques – Google Always Sees Black & White

Panda and PenguinYou may have heard about Google Panda (content) and Penguin (linking) updates. These Google Algorithm updates were ways to identify and weed out sites that were using content farms and link farms.

I was at a Wordcamp Detroit over 3 years ago and one of the presenters, Brad Gosse, a passionate and avid Internet Marketer, gave me insight into this world. Brad wasn’t shy about his Internet Marketing roots in Pornography and commented there’s no money in porn anymore. He pointed out porn pioneered a lot of the technology on the Internet – namely streaming video and content management. Back to the point about content and link here – at one time when he was managing porn sites he was managing over 800 sites. Think about that! It was a revelation to me for the mentality you must have to hustle on the web.

A word advice – beating the search engines is never a long-term strategy. If you do try to “game it” you will get penalized and you will likely lose your rankings and whole business model. If you are aware of this then maybe you can go in it for the short-term.

Two Must Use Links for Keywords and Websites –

  • Search Engine Land Keyword List – Search Engine Land is THE place to go for Search Marketing. This link is to an old post with valuable research tools.
  • WordPress – If you are new in this space – learn it and host it yourself. I may post on WordPress but there are a bazillion places on the web to learn.

Some Ways to Make Money On The Internet

Affiliate Marketing – You have a product to sell, preferably an e-book, and use a site like Clickbank to find others who will set up their own websites and sell that product for you on your behalf… for a percentage. From what I gather the people who do this have a half-dozen websites they manage and the aggregate has them accumulate significant income. You can work both sides, both offering products to sell and being someone who gets the percentage. The website OfferVault has a whole catalog of these arrangements to discover. There are a lot of individuals who you can pay $100/month and they”ll share all their secrets. Be careful, the internet can be a dark and shady place. One person I have a lot of respect for who does a fair amount of free webinars is Matt Carter and he freely explains and is well adept in this field. Part of his success is the fact he offers a ton of free content.

The easiest way to think of Affiliate Marketing is Amazon’s Affiliate Network. Put simply, what you can do is take a product on Amazon, virtually anything, and then target that product and set up a site around it. Off the top of my head I just picked “charcoal grills” because there was an image on the Amazon home page. If you Google Charcoal Grills you will see a page on About.com comes up first with Top 10 Charcoal Grills.

Now if you click on this page you will see a comparison of these top 10 grills. Each one of those price comparisons and links will eventually take you to this individual’s Amazon affiliate id and he gets paid if a person actually purchases a grill. Amazon will write him a check. In the screenshot below see all the links back to Amazon’s price comparator. They are also receiving additional revenue from the AdSense ads at the top (another hustle – get enough traffic and start earning revenue from AdSense or other ad network).

Another variation of this method is to create an authoritative website on Charcoal Grills, ie CharcoalGrills.com that would rank very high and your online catalog links back to the Amazon affiliate store. Measuring your ROI, you can feasibly point AdWords ads to your site and create more customers that way.

Warrior Forums – Best of luck here. Put on your flak jacket and put on your rubber gloves. This is the seedy nightclub of people touting their wares. Think “pay me $25 and I’ll show you this amazing business model”.  There is something to learn here, just be careful.

Engines Try To Mimic People. People Want Authoritative Social Content.

With the site I manage, DevelopYourEnergy.net, I work with my Qigong instructors to offer pdf courses and videos online. We are all extremely passionate about the benefits of Qigong for personal health and happiness and the betterment of the Earth. We participate on Facebook, Twitter, and Google +, though not as much as we should. The point is we practice what we sell and back everything up with support and a money back guarantee on our intro Qigong 101 course. We have taken the conservative approach and it’s paid off, our rankings have increased steadily through the years. There are others in this space who have gone the way of affiliate and other “black hat” techniques and they are no longer around in the search engines. The Panda and Penguin updates destroyed their presence.

Copy BloggerIt is important to do frequent copy updating. I have found the website Copyblogger to be an excellent source of information and education to produce valuable engaging content including successful email marketing. Make sure to sign up for their free online marketing course. The emails you get from them are invaluable to understand what it takes to create successful copy that is shared.

Figure Out Your Currency

Aten RaWhat if your currency and success isn’t cash? Maybe it’s followers, engagement, even consciousness? Maybe it all goes hand in hand. I’ll end with a website which has intrigued me the past year. I have seen this website grow from a few hundred followers to 44,500 Facebook followers  and 44,400 subscribers on YouTube. One could make the inference people are subscribing to both, which implies a very devoted and passionate following. The website began with Jordan Duchnyz and is called The Spirit Science. A person could spend a lifetime trying to understand the information shared here and that’s basically what Jordan set out to do. Using his talents as a web animator (like all the web savvy kids out there trying to land a design gig), he set out to uncover and discuss the mystical world of esoteric and sacred geometry. His Spirit Science Playlist on YouTube has the potential to tickle your consciousness, at least make you think. Followers in his community anticipate his next video and literally follow him around the world as he tries to uncover the light within and around him. Jordan is a bodhisattva and doesn’t seem to be in it for the money, but you will see on his website there is a donate button and I suspect he funds a lot of his travel and technology expenses for this. Why not?! It’s similar to a musician or band crowd sourcing funding on KickStarter to keep them playing and putting out records.

The point to conclude with here is I discovered Spirit Science in a Google+ feed I was following relating to chakras in my qigong research for DevelopYourEnergy. Someone had shared the Spirit Science video on Chakras. I watched and pretty quickly got swept up in the FREE and VALUABLE content on the Spirit Science website. On the site I found an abundance of resources and links to other sites, Jordan refrences everything he discusses. He shares knowledge freely. There is also quite an active community in the forums section. In a way he’s earned my conscience currency. Masters of acquiring and engaging with people like Spirit Science have a lot to teach us as we try to escalate up the awareness and ranking ladder.

Be authentic. Share. Be in it for the long haul. Contribute. Make it easy. Understand the technology.

Finally I leave you with the Wu Tang video which kicked off the spirit of this post. Wu Tang to Spirit Science. There’s a 360 degree cypher for ya.

Everything written here are the views of Tim Aten and Tim Aten only. They have no relation, nor are they the views of any of my employers past or present.

Comments

  1. complexgentleman says:

    Great post! People don’t realize that making money online is a marathon not a sprint race, so it’s not instant gratification. Having a great content plan is essential, like you said content is king!

  2. Or, as I’ve heard it put before, via Japanese Business process – “grow small”

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