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If You Want To Make Big Money Online – You Need An Email List

August 8, 2007

One of the most important things (if not THE most important thing) you should do to have a successful online business is to start an email list. Why do you need an email list?

It Has a Proven Track Record
Just about every Internet Marketer I have ever heard speak (and that’s a lot of them) has said that the single most important thing that contributed to their success is their mailing lists.

To Capture Your Target Market
Your newsletter subscribers are (or should be) your target audience. When subscribers sign up on YOUR website, it shows that they are intersted in what YOU have to say. Having a built in list of people who are interested in your perspective is a great opportunity to introduce them to products that will help them achieve their goals (and put money in your bank account). It’s a win/win situation for you and your subscribers.

E-Mail Lists Build Trust
Additionally, your newsletter subscribers are likely to trust you more than the average stale website because you have been writing to them for a while and building a relationship with them. You want to give your newsletter subscribers more than they expect. In fact, you always want to give people more than they expect—it’s the best way to build a relationship with your readers. And people are more likely to trust someone who takes the time to build a relationship.

It’s the Best Way to Keep Your Traffic
Let’s say that you get a constant stream of traffic to your website from the Search Engines. One day the Search Engines decide to stop giving your site traffic.

Will this ruin your business?

It might if you don’t have a newsletter. However, if your visitors have been giving you their email addresses via a newsletter, then all is not lost. You can still get in touch with the people on your list to let them know about changes to your site, new products, etc. You will continue to have an audience for your online business without having to pay/beg/cheat to get your traffic back.

Final Thoughts
One of the biggest mistakes I made when I started my online business is not having a newsletter for every one of my web sites.

A few months ago I signed up with AWeber because, quite frankly, it has a lot more power than using a free service like Yahoo Groups. Also, some people mistrust the reliability and confidentiality of Yahoo Groups. Additionally, using a service like AWeber makes your business look more professional. It currently costs 19.95/month, and you can have an unlimited amount of lists at this price. The price does go up if you have over 10,000 subscribers. If you have over 10,000 subscribers you should be able to afford the extra cost, because you should be making some pretty good money from your list.

You can go check out AWeber by clicking here.

I researched other services and decided AWeber was the best one for my new business project. If you don’t plan on having a lot of subscribers and you don’t plan on having multiple lists there are other services that might work better for you. Two of the most popular alternatives are Constant Contact and GetResponse. We have friends who own a local organic farm who use Constant Contact, and they seem to like the way it works. It didn’t really suit my needs, but it might suit yours. So far I really like AWeber and I don’t see myself changing services any time soon.

How You Can be Just Like the Top Bloggers Today

August 7, 2007

Since I’ve been blogging, I’ve noticed something that sets apart top bloggers. Other than huge amounts of traffic, what do these bloggers have in common? As part of my ongoing blog traffic series, I’m going to share the single most important trait these bloggers share and how you can have it, too. What is this magical trait?

Confidence

Top bloggers write with confidence. There are bloggers who write so confidently that their opinions are accepted as fact. Bloggers who convey an air of competence (whether they really are competent, or not) tend to build a following much quicker than those who don’t write with confidence. In other words, confident writing leads to a big increase in blog traffic. Not only does writing with confidence bring more readers, it also creates loyal readers. In fact, writing confidently is one of the surest ways to link that “guru” title with your name.

Whether it’s inherent in your personality or not, you should write with confidence if you want to see a steady increase of traffic to your blog and develop a loyal readership. If you don’t feel confident, you can still sound confident. Keep writing confidently, and soon your feelings will catch up.

So, George, what makes a post sound confident?

A large part of communication is non-verbal, but as bloggers we’re limited to written communication. So, the single most important thing you can do to convey an air of authority is to watch your vocabulary and your voice. Your vocabulary is the words you choose, and your voice is your style.

For example, if you’re using a lot of words like “sort of”, “maybe”, “it could be”, “sometimes”, “perhaps”, etc.— you’re not writing with confidence.

If you find yourself saying things like, “some people think the program is a rip-off” when what you mean is “I think the program is a rip-off”, then you’re not writing with confidence.

Over use of qualifiers, such as usually and often, makes you seem wishy-washy. So does referring to the experts for things that are a matter of common sense. Do you really need to say that experts indicate not writing on your blog for a year will result in a drop in your traffic?

Just say what you mean. We know it’s your blog, which implies everything on it that doesn’t quote a statistic is your opinion, so we don’t need to read “I think” or “in my opinion”. Just spit it out. Remember what I said at the beginning about experts whose opinions are accepted as fact? That didn’t happen by pointing out that everything they say is just an opinion.

If you are beating around the bush, trying to be politically correct or afraid someone’s going to call you out if you make a misstep, your readers will smell your fear a mile off. And when you say, “listen to me” their response will be “why should I?”

Here’s a quick exercise to boost your confidence as a blogger.

Often, people write about their biggest mistakes on their blog (I’ve done it myself). Used in a very limited way, this can be appropriate and may lend you an air of approachability and relatability, but does it boost your confidence or your confidence rating with your readers?

No!

So, here’s what you should do. Go write a post about 5 things you did right or 5 successful experiences you’ve had in your niche. What makes you an expert worth reading? Here are some ideas to get you started:

“Five reasons I am good at
“Five Things I Did To ….” (increase traffic, make a million dollars, etc.)
“5 Things You Should Copy From Me”

Let me know about your posts in the comments. Writing about your positive achievements will not only make you feel more confident, it will show your readers how competent you are, thus giving them confidence in you. Go on now, get to writing…

Make Big Money Online Winning Contests

August 6, 2007

Guest post by Matthew Henrickson

In my last post, Create Buzz for your Website with a Contest, I mentioned that you can really drive traffic, build links, or get RSS feed readers for your website with a contest. Its fun, simple, easy and most importantly it works.

Because it works so well, many bloggerss have been hosting contests, and some prizes are really appealing.

To make contests successful they really have to be easy. Bloggers are giving away large sums of money and prizes, and making it easy to win. There isn’t much of a reason NOT to enter when the reward is so high.

Win Money Entering Contests

By spending very little time entering in contests, I have personally won well over 100$ and smaller prizes including a very nice MP3 player.

In most of these contests it does take a little bit of luck, but if you enter a contest everyday, you are bound to win something. Even if it isn’t something you exactly want, you can turn around and give it away on your own blog.

Big Prizes to be Won

Blogs like INVESP are doing huge cash prize giveaways. There is 400$ up for grabs! To win that contest you must subscribe to their RSS feed. Sometime in the month of August, they will post a ‘secret word’ in their RSS feed. When you see the word you email it to contest@invesp.com. One lucky person who sends the secret word to that email will be randomly selected to win. If you win, make sure you are a member of their mybloglog community, so you can receive the full 400$.

Not Every Contest Can Do That

Not everyone can afford to give away 400$, but say you win the contest. You can turn around and re-invest 100$ of that money on your own contest. If you can market the contest right you can expect quite a few linkbacks and RSS Feed Subscribers.

Everyone likes free stuff, especially free money.

Please Take This Poll

August 5, 2007

It’s been a while since I have run any polls. I am very interested in you answer. So here goes…

Internet Marketing Tips From Around The Web 8/3/2007

August 3, 2007

Along with my regular reads, I found a few new blogs in my search for good reading this week. Here are the articles and posts that I really enjoyed this week…

Lunar Pages – The Worst Mistake A Webhost Can Make…
This was an interesting conversation that I participated in. I had already picked Lunarpages as the company I was going to host my new project with, and then I stumbled across this post on Andy Beard’s blog. Uggh! Back to the drawing board.

The Saboteurs Of Search
This article is the reason for one of the questions I asked Aaron Wall in my interview with him earlier this week. In the Forbes article, Matt Cutts confirms that it is possible to hurt your competitors websites by pointing lots of bad links at it. This is a MAJOR flaw with the Search Engines. They should not be penalizing sites for too many and or bad inbound links. If anything, they just shouldn’t count them. found via Threadwatch (which just closed down).

Why You Probably Won’t Survive as an Independent Consultant
This fictional story makes a good point about running a consulting business.

Should I Date My Blog?
Dawud had an interesting discussion about removing timestamps from your blog. I am still in the pro-dating camp, but I understand the reasons for leaving off dates.

What Type of Blogger Are You?
Chris Garrett’s poll is kind of cool. I am a little surprised by the results so far.

Run a First Time Reader Audit on Your Blog
If you are a blogger and you don’t read Darren’s blog on regular basis, then what’s wrong with you? Anyway, this month Darren is running a 31 day challenge to help you improve your blog. I really liked the idea for day 2. I have never done that before with any of my blogs. It would definitely be interesting to see the results.

That’s it for this week’s reading…

Interview with Aaron Wall of SEOBook

August 1, 2007

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Search Engine Marketing guru, Aaron Wall. Aaron Wall made a name for himself very quickly in the SEO/SEM world. In 2003 he launched his first website, and in 2007 he is one of the most recognized names in the SEO industry.

In addition to SEOBook.com, Aaron owns the popular community blog ThreadWatch.org and helps run the SEM business clientsidesem.com.


Q. If someone had told you five years ago that in 2007 people would consider you an SEO expert, what would have been your reaction?

What is SEO? I wasn’t even aware of the term 5 years ago. My first site went live in January of 2003.

Q. What prompted you to start your first online business?

A wide variety of factors, which include:

  • an emptiness and disconnect from doing jobs I did not like

  • a lack of satisfaction in working for others

  • a lack of trust for employers gained through being a low level worker, later being a manager and hearing what my boss thought of other workers, and knowing that my bosses boss was about to put me in charge if I didn’t quit…basically I saw little loyalty anywhere in the few jobs I had

  • realizing that I worked harder than most people and was probably going to work myself to death if I kept up what I was doing

  • a desire to better learn and understand myself

Q. For some people, Search Engine Optimization is a pretty dry topic, but for you it seems like it’s about so much more than business. What is it about SEO that fascinates you?

I think there is the idea that you can create something and share it with others…that small changes can lead to bigger ones. Also I love the idea that individuals can compete head to head with multi billion dollar corporations.

Q. Your book was the first product I ever saw being sold through a blog, what made you decide on that approach?

In 2003 it seemed obvious to me that blogs were given a disproportionate amount of link equity for their quality of content because they made it so easy to find out when you had something new to say. That is the main reason why blog as a format made sense for me, it was an easy and cheap way to acquire authority.

Q. When you wrote your book, the Overture search term suggestion tool showed 0 searches for SEO book. Why did you think there was a need, and did you think it would sell?

I never guessed it would become as popular as it did, but I remembered hearing that all SEO Books were crap because they were years outdated. That is a large part of the reason why I created an ebook.

Q. Search algorithms have evolved a lot in the past several years. If you were starting your first website now, instead of four years ago, what would you have to do differently?

A lot of it depends on how much capital you have to work with, how much you know about your topic of choice, and what your end goals are. If I marketed a credit card site 5% as hard as I marketed SEO Book I would probably have 10 or 20 million in the bank right now. The biggest thing I try to do with sites I start right now are to try to create competitive advantages that are hard to clone. Many of my new sites are via partnerships, and I try to get my partners to become leading subject matter experts in those fields. There is some amount of fake it until you make it to the approach, but it is easy to gain traction if you care about the market you are in. Another thing I like to do is create brands and ideas that are easy to like, and try to leverage that authority to profit from sectors of the web that are of higher value.

Q. Which SEO tools do you use on a regular basis?

SEO for Firefox, my keyword tool (which links to most of the best ones worth using), and the iGoogle homepage and custom RSS feeds (for news and link searches). I also like subscribing to a few best of breed content channels that are not freely available.

Q. What is the biggest SEO mistake people make?

  • Cloning methods that were once successful, but are of little or no merit in today’s market. For example, that guy with the one page lead generation site that is ranking probably had real content on that page in the past, or was one of the first in the market and existed back when linking was more natural than it is today.

  • Following what competitors are doing rather than creating their own competitive advantages.
  • Believing in the advice of some guru too much and not spending the time needed to develop a deep understanding of the marketplace and create something unique and of value.

Q. SEO seems to be evolving into a much more cutthroat field. Can competitors use methods such as Seach Engine Bowling to ruin your Search Engine rankings?

It can happen, but I think it is much less common than some people think. I think what is much more common is people creating hate sites that rank highly for brand related keywords.

Q. How can you protect your Search Engine ranking?

Don’t rely too heavily on any individual keyword, or search marketing in general. Make it a piece of what you do, but outside of that create a strong brand and get people to evangelize your offerings.

Q. Do you prefer SEO over WEB 2.0 traffic generating techniques? Why?

I think it is a mistake to separate the two ideas. I look more at how they can play together to produce better results. At the end of the day it is all marketing, and the one thing worth tracking is results. ūüôā

Q. In your “about me” section (one of the largest, most detailed I’ve ever seen, by the way), you talk a lot about social change. In what way do you see your current business ventures as avenues to social change?

Honestly it is a bit hard to know how what we do affects the world around us. If nothing else I think I try to push the question authority angle quite a bit. That should hopefully help some people believe in themselves more and create more creative stuff, but on the other side of the coin many of my readers represent business interests that are likely against the best interest of most consumers. There is a thin line between optimization and fraud. I can’t tell how people use the advice I give or what they market with it.

Q. One last question. What one thing must people learn now to be successful in SEO a year from now?

The market will likely look much like it does today with few major exceptions. I am thinking that right now there is too much weight put on domain authority by Google. I think they are going to find a way to break sites into pieces so one well marketed section can’t carry a low value section as well as it does today. In addition they will look for ways to implement usage data for signals of value, authority, and trust.

Over the next two or three years Google’s ad offerings are also going to become much more automated and wipe out many large markets where market leaders add little value to the market. There are also going to be swaths of content coming online. Independent publishers that do not have RSS subscribers (or some similar equivalent) are soon going to find their content buried. See this post for more on that http://www.seobook.com/archives/002327.shtml

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