Sometimes it’s difficult to know where to start (or go next) in your internet marketing business.
There are so many conflicting views and ideas. Some of them are out of date, others never really worked, others are so complicated that you’d need a degree to be able to figure them out.
As with a lot of things, the trick is to keep your internet marketing business as simple as possible.
Choose Your Niche
Your niche is the section of your potential market that you’re targeting.
A quick question to ask yourself is who is your target market?
If you can’t answer that, you need to decide on one.
If your answer is “everybody” then you’re going too wide. No-one can target everyone – if they could, there would only be one store in town, one restaurant, one way to search the web and so on.
And unless you live in a one horse town in the middle of nowhere, that’s clearly not the case.
Even something as ubiquitous as Google isn’t the only way. Depending on which figures you believe, they’ve got somewhere between at 62% and a nearly 80% share of the search market.
But that’s only “pure” search.
It doesn’t take account of all the people who go direct to Amazon or eBay or Facebook or CNN (BBC here in the UK) or somewhere else to find the information they’re looking for.
You need to take notice of that and drill down to find your niche.
Don’t spend forever doing this – it’s way too easy to spend days or weeks or longer researching your niche. And whilst research is useful, it’s nowhere near as useful as starting something and finding out for yourself.
Think about it – if your parents had shown you lots of videos about learning to walk, you’d still have needed to practice. The same goes for riding a bike, driving a car or using your phone. You could read all the books you wanted about swiping the screen, downloading apps and using the camera. But until you’ve actually done any of those processes a few times, you’d be none the wiser.
The same goes for choosing a niche.
Dieting is too wide (no pun intended). Here in the UK it’s estimated that two thirds of women and almost half of all men have been on a diet in the last 12 months.
You can’t begin to cover the whole market. Partly because a lot of the information is contradictory. Try combining a food pyramid style diet with Paleo and then mix in vegan or no dairy or whatever. It can’t happen. Not can a crash diet sit comfortably with a longer term plan.
The same applies to almost every market.
So drill down until you get to a manageable size where you can imagine having a meaningful conversation with someone about your niche.
If you’re stuck for ideas, pop across to the Dummies site. If they’ve got a book on your topic, there’s a reasonable chance it’s a small enough niche.
Set yourself a time limit to decide on a niche and then stick to your decision. Making sure that it’s a topic that interests you, otherwise you’ll be bored to tears with it in next to no time and your results will suffer.
Get a domain and hosting
Don’t cheapskate yourself on this.
A domain name costs around $10 a year.
Hosting around $10 a month. Just beware any too-good-to-be-true deals such as lifetime hosting for a one-off fee or any hosting company that pays out more to affiliates introducing you than you’re going to spend in the first year or even more. Because with either of those options, there’s nothing left in the pot to spend on the services you’re paying for.
That means ignoring most of the hosting comparison sites because almost all of them have a vested interest in earning $100 or more from you signing up through their link.
The hosting company I suggest has been around for a decent amount of time, answers support tickets promptly and doesn’t pay me more than you’re paying them.
And don’t cheapskate by using a free service. They may sound like a good idea but there are usually lots of things that aren’t quite right and that you need to spend money to overcome (sites hosted on the WordPress platform rather than using WordPress on your own site come into this category) and you’re not in control. So if you fall foul of one of their rules – current or future – then you can lose all your work at a moment’s notice.
It’s just not worth the risk to base your business on the whim of someone else’s computer program.
So get a domain name, host it somewhere and click the easy install for WordPress to give yourself a simple, reliable, framework for your new business.
There are plenty of tutorials on YouTube that will show you what you need to do.
Or if you’re really worried, you can pay someone on sites like Fiverr to do it for you/
Then install a few extensions (WordPress calls them plugins) so that your site is as secure as possible and functions as you’d expect it to.
Start creating content for your website
The best way to get people to do something on your new website (such as indirectly pay you an affiliate commission) is to create content.
Unless you’re one of those annoying news sites that promise lists and then “deliver” them by splitting the list into hundreds of separate screens so they can maximise advertising revenue – and you can probably tell that’s not a model I’m fond of – then you need to create content.
Lots of it.
This page will end up being over 1,000 words long (it’s nearly at that point when I’m typing this paragraph) and I’d suggest having a main page with in excess of 2,000 words of content, supported by a number of sub-pages, each with 1,000 words upwards of content.
Longer is better and I could probably make a very strong case for the main page being well in excess of 3,000 words nowadays. If you’re able to get to that kind of length whilst still keeping your readers’ interest, that’s excellent.
Do a quick search for something in your niche and copy & paste the contents of each of the first few pages of the results into your word processor. Then do a word count. Chances are that over half the first page of results will be the kind of length I’m suggesting.
The good news is that you can use the “save draft” button in WordPress to split up your typing sessions if you don’t feel up to typing that size of page in one sitting.
By the time it’s finished, I’ll have spent around 2 hours creating this page.
Some people I know create even longer pages and spend upwards of half a day creating them,
That kind of length of content isn’t going to go away.
Google and the other search engines are favouring in-depth coverage of content.
That’s because people like you and me (the same ones who usually proclaim that length of page is too long) will happily click through to long pages and spend a good amount of time delving around the content/
If it’s linked to elsewhere on the site – Wikipedia does this all the time – then so much the better.
People have been trained to click on links and they do that readily if they’re interested in the topic.
Links part way through a page are how I do my affiliate marketing – because they work, are next to impossible for ad blockers to block and people are click happy.
Split your content up, even if your English teacher would freak.
Short sentences, short paragraphs, slang and abbreviations all work nicely.
Bullet points (even though I haven’t really used them on this page) work well.
So does a small amount bolding and even highlighting if you’re feeling keen.
You can add in pictures – they’re usually eye candy but they can help people as they stop your page being a wall of text – and videos.
Videos can help people to stay on your pages for longer as well as legitimately increasing your YouTube stats for views that were made outside the YouTube website.
If you’re at a loss as to what to do on your website, create more (useful) content for Google to index and people to read.
It’s as simple as that.
Promote your content
One of the plugins I suggest you use puts social share buttons on your posts.
Unless your website is really popular, chances are that you’ll be the only person using those buttons.
But make sure that you do.
My personal routine varies a bit but I’ll almost always click at least one of the options when I publish a post on this – and any other – site.
Tweets are easy and if you use an appropriate hash tag can help news of your new content to spread outside your regular field of influence.
Facebook posts are good, especially when your content is useful and relevant to the group you’re posting in without being too much like a pushy sales person.
LinkedIn can work nicely if your site fits with their audience.
Google+ may resemble a ghost town but its owner is ever-hopeful that one day someone will start using it so it’s worth using that as well.
Reddit can be good if you fit with their readership and if you contribute to their site rather than simply self-promote.
Pinterest is excellent if you’ve got a photogenic site (another good reason for adding an image or video to your posts).
That list pretty much covers things unless you’ve got a favourite site you use and contribute to regularly.
Each of these won’t do much on their own or on a one-off basis.
The main “secret” of running an internet marketing business is that there aren’t really any secrets other than reasonably regular effort being put into them.
Making the time to work on your internet marketing business on a regular basis is a very large part of the equation.
And it’s perfectly possible to make the time for it unless someone else is scheduling every minute of every day for you and you’ve got no alternative but to following their schedule. Which (despite our protestations) is very rare.