December 21, 2014

Writing for Profit: Is It Time To Break Free?

In a few days time I will have been using Squidoo for six years! It’s amazing to think that when I first started, my intention was simply to promote my genealogy websites and a small community that I had built. Today I am generating a not unreasonable amount of income from working in a variety of niches. But I have also spread my wings and am generating more income from my own sites.

I was asked to write an article about how I had gone about doing that and in particular about something which has enabled me to really spread my wings beyond Amazon.

It’s quite easy to get caught up building more and more pages at the free sites that are available to those of us writing online. As a way of creating an income through affiliate marketing they make things very easy for us.

Many people will be familiar with affiliate marketing sites such as Commission Junction where you are able to promote products from many companies and earn money from doing so. But you are still building someone else’s website aren’t you? We are all familiar with the problems that can create in the longer term. Not least of course is that the owners may decide to close the site, or they can lock your pages and cut off your source of income or many of the other issues that can occur when you do not own the site.

So what do you need to do? How can you start to create your own income stream which is not reliant on someone else? Over the last year this is something that I have been asked about more and more as people have become aware that this is something I have been doing.

Let me be very clear before you read any further. There are costs associated with creating your own web properties, whether that be domain names and hosting; plugins for blogs that automate processes or having content created. Some of those costs you can reduce by taking on the work yourself (content generation as an example) but some of those costs you cannot avoid. So if you are looking to increase your earnings from outside from free to use sites such as Squidoo, Hubpages, Zujava, Wizzley and other platforms, you have to accept that there are expenses involved. However, please do note that you should never spend money that you cannot afford to lose.

Throughout 2011 my focus was on building up a set of sites which generated income from Amazon. In large part this was because I was familiar with them through Squidoo and other free to use sites. That has worked and I am now seeing the amount I earn from Amazon on my own account exceeding the monies I earn from Squidoo each month.

However, something that has really got me excited during 2012 is building sites which promote products from Affiliate Programmes which pay higher commissions. Namely those that we ordinarily find on Commission Junction, ShareASale and the like. Whereas I get 7.5% at Amazon many of the programmes within CJ etc pay circa 30% per sale or above.

Initially creating these sort of sites was laborious to put it mildly and then I had a brainwave! I had been using a site some years ago quite successfully which I stopped using for various reasons which had nothing to do with the site itself. A site which enables you to generate affiliate product stores using a WP Plugin.

So I went back and took another look and was impressed with the way they had improved the offering and rather than providing specific sites each month, as they used to, they had made it so that you could now create an affiliate store populated with products from Merchants you are affiliated with!

Bingo! I subscribed to the 5 sites per month option and I am really very happy.

Rather than me trying to explain how the site works why not take a look at Datafeedr and see what you think? Is it time for you to break free and build an income for yourself?

I know some people prefer watching videos to reading about things so if that’s you take a look at the video tutorial that Datafeedr offers. One of the things that strikes me about their videos is how comprehensive they are and how you are literally taken step by step through the process of creating your own affiliate marketing websites.

StudioPress Premium WordPress Themes Writing Online runs on the Genesis Framework
The Genesis Framework empowers you to quickly and easily build incredible websites with WordPress. Genesis provides the secure and search-engine-optimized foundation that takes WordPress to places you never thought it could go.

Check out the incredible features and the selection of designs. It's that simple - start using Genesis now!

Beginners Blog: Can I Buy And Sell Stuff?

I continue my series today with questions about a beginners blog that was generated from my husband’s interest in creating his own blog. Today’s touches on a topic that we briefly discussed before about making money. However, my husband’s question was a little more direct for today’s topic.

Can I buy and sell stuff on my blog?

If you knew my husband you would get a bit of a chuckle out of this question. I sometimes think that he enjoys the “buying” part way more than the “selling” part of dealing in collectibles and antiques.  (But that is a topic for a different day.) As far as the being able to buy from other people on your own blog, I don’t know of any plug-ins on the blogging platforms that would address this option. Certainly people who read your blog might contact you and say that they have this or that for sale and do you want to purchase it. From experience I can offer this piece of advice on those offers to sell you something, be wary of them. Most of the time it is a sneaky way to get a free appraisal from you so that they can go sell it on eBay or some place else.

Now, can you sell stuff on your blog? You certainly can and by using several different methods to do just that. There are plug-ins for WordPress blogs that offer a live shopping cart. They give you an option of selling your own items. Of course, you will need to be prepared to ship those items when they sell. You can also sell items that other people have by using affiliate programs and providing links to the page where the item can be purchased. In this case, you will get a commission based on the aggreement with the affiliate for every sale that is generated from your link. You can also “sell” ad space on your blog by using Google Adsense ads on your pages. I have even run across blogs that actually offer ad space to people who want to pay a monthly or yearly fee to have an ad running on a blog.

I think basically my husband’s question was directed to being able to make money on a blog and with work and perseverance you can make sales on your blog and earn some income. How much income is based on your dedication to writing, finding products to promote, and getting a good following to your blog. It won’t be an over night success but it can be successful if you work at it.

StudioPress Premium WordPress Themes Writing Online runs on the Genesis Framework
The Genesis Framework empowers you to quickly and easily build incredible websites with WordPress. Genesis provides the secure and search-engine-optimized foundation that takes WordPress to places you never thought it could go.

Check out the incredible features and the selection of designs. It's that simple - start using Genesis now!

Making the Sale: How to Increase Sales to My Affiliate Vendors

Making the SaleI often hear comments about how impossible it is to earn money with affiliate vendors.  Those comments are usually from people who have tried to earn money through affiliates, and have not put in much effort, or people who do not understand that both quantity and quality are needed to earn.

First off, it is completely possible for just about anyone to earn money from affiliate vendors.  However, it does take work.  So if you are adverse to work, then this is not the job for you.  And yes, it is a job at the very least, or even a career for some of us.

So what does it take to earn money from affiliate vendors?

It helps if you are referring people to products that you are familiar with and understand.  Then you can write a much better referral page that will encourage a real person to buy a product or service.  You do not have to be an expert, but if you can give advice with feeling, then people are more likely to follow your referrals.

It takes quantity of referrals.  You will never do well with just one page linking to an affiliate vendor unless that page is so supremely amazing, and at the top of all charts, AND you have a dedicated buying audience.  Even Gwen Stephani has to pay for advertising to sell her children’s clothing line.  When you take into consideration all the competition you are up against, you need to have a large quantity of links going back to this specific vendor.

Link to individual products, instead of to the site homepage.  People are interested in the specifics.  They do not want to have to search for themselves.  That is a service you can offer them.

The more articles, pages, and sites you have linking to an affiliate, the better chances are that you will get more sales.  It takes a lot of work, but if you continue to follow this path, it will pay off in career level income.

 

StudioPress Premium WordPress Themes Writing Online runs on the Genesis Framework
The Genesis Framework empowers you to quickly and easily build incredible websites with WordPress. Genesis provides the secure and search-engine-optimized foundation that takes WordPress to places you never thought it could go.

Check out the incredible features and the selection of designs. It's that simple - start using Genesis now!

Cracking the Affiliate Marketing Code

cracking the affiliate codeI am always thrilled when I start to see regular, multiple, or consistent sales on a new site or from a new vendor.  When this happens, I feel like I have cracked the code to start a new affiliate marketing revenue stream.  However, I feel the same way when I start getting sales in my brick and mortar store on a particular type of item, so the feeling has to do with being successful at anticipating, guessing correctly, and putting in place a new campaign to drive sales.

This year, I have made a concerted effort to use more affiliate marketing companies including Google Affiliate Network, Pepperjam Network, and Squidoo and Wizzley in anticipation for driving traffic to my websites in anticipation for the holiday season, and winter sales, I consciously chose vendors from those networks if I could.  I have also increased my links to Shareasale significantly this year.

These experiments are now paying off.  Shareasale, which I put the most focus on, is showing sales on a daily basis.  The other networks are showing sales, which they never did before.  The experiments that I have put into place show me that my sites are being found, the referrals are being clicked on, and people are buying based on my recommendations.  This is a huge success, and I am sitting here rubbing my hands together figuring out how to expand this progress.

As I have mentioned before, I am a huge proponent of spreading the risk when it comes to income.  And I also like the idea that different networks pay out during different times of the month.  If I was getting monthly paychecks from all of them, I would be getting paid throughout the month instead of mostly once a month or twice a month.  I learned this year that Pepperjam pays out twice a month.  Why didn’t I know this sooner?  Certainly a good reason to send more sales in their direction.

I don’t know why this is, but I have found that once I start getting sales on a network, more than just one, the sales continue to grow at a faster pace.  My theory (untested) is that this is just the culmination of the the large amounts of preparation work that I have put in before this point, which begins to pay off with sales.  November and December are very good times to test theories that you may have or experiment with specific ideas because sales always increase during this time of year.  Therefore, you will automatically get more traffic than you would any other time of year.  Once you see what works, then you can just continue to add to your efforts until they pay off during more than just the holiday shopping season.

Image credit

StudioPress Premium WordPress Themes Writing Online runs on the Genesis Framework
The Genesis Framework empowers you to quickly and easily build incredible websites with WordPress. Genesis provides the secure and search-engine-optimized foundation that takes WordPress to places you never thought it could go.

Check out the incredible features and the selection of designs. It's that simple - start using Genesis now!

Google+