Journey so Far

My journey in Internet Marketing started six years ago. It was a process that involved a lot of “playing” and much trial and error. After all, it’s the journey that counts, not the destination.

Journey so far, lessons learnedThis mentality didn’t help in the beginning, but at least I’ve learned my lessons.

The journey itself might be a splendid thing, but without a goal, any journey is endless and ultimately pointless. To truly understand this notion, I had to spend 6 months on my computer trying to rank position 25 for a term searched over 24.000 times a day; only to realize that the market was crawling with webmasters and the money I was making from my own traffic wouldn’t ever be particularly good. Well that’s the problem with me: once I see competition, I’m all up in it – no hesitation. LESSON LEARNED.

Vision without planning is pointless.

Well… not exactly. I’ve learned lots going through that process:

• Content is King. Myth Busted

• If you have friends and followers on social networks, you’re set for success. Myth Busted

• The most important thing is the number of people in your mailing list. Myth Busted

Making a site popular and making money from it are two extremely different things. To do both, all planets must align. Let me explain:

Content is King

Content is kingIn the Internet marketing world, it is said that “content is king”. This particular phrase has been discussed in numerous forums over and over again; most people tend to agree with it.

Don’t get me wrong. People love content and search engines worship it, so where’s the problem? Content may be the thing that will take a site to the next level, but it can’t build it up from ground up alone. Everything else is important too, okay, maybe a little less – but still. If a site doesn’t have a good up-time percentage, or if the layout is confusing, well content itself can’t do miracles.

I had various cases of friends and other people I helped who paid attention to almost nothing but the content. And vice versa. And guess what? They gave it their all and still failed. Worst of all, they couldn’t understand – or didn’t want to –  that there is always room for improvement. They ended up quitting. It’s one thing to do everything possible to succeed and still manage to fail spectacularly, and it’s another to fail just because necessary attention wasn’t given to detail.

If you have friends and followers on social networks you’re set for success.

social network friendsWhen I first started getting involved on social networks, I was amazed! I even managed to “drive” 95,000 visitors to one specific page in a week! I couldn’t imagine anything better than this.

As you can all imagine, I transformed into a “number junkie”. I became so addicted to social networks I stopped working on projects and started making “friends” online.

• Every review I got was a victory

• Every friend request, a triumph

Only four months later did I understand that this vicious circle:

• Might seem great in the beginning, but in the long run it would ruin my business.

• Would never end (apparently). You can never have “too many friends”

The point I am trying to make is that social networks are here to stay. They’re going to be with us for the years to come. Please, please, please, stop being just another user of their sites and start utilizing them in the correct way. After all, their algorithms are evolving; they know if the person who voted for your article is a friend, a visitor or merely a response to a shout received.

Good services and good content will work ten times better than a thousand friends here and there.

The most important thing is the number of people in your mailing list.

email listOne of the few things I was sure I wouldn’t do, was a newsletter. I don’t know why, but back in the days of full-time studying, I was under the false impression that Mailing List = Spam.

The problem was that I  didn’t really know much about affiliate marketing, so sending emails of what already existed on my blog, or even new stuff just for the heck of it, seemed rather pointless. I thought the money was on the number of visitors, but I was wrong.

Gathering an email list is the best thing you can do to watch your income explode. That’s what I’d read. And after my first year of Internet marketing, I was convinced. I gathered a list. 2000+ People.  Money I got from it? ZERO.

Two things to remember when you maintain an email list:

• Don’t assume that gathering the emails is the hard part

• Don’t think that once you’ve gathered a large list, your work is done.

Unluckily for me, I didn’t have someone to point this out. Never having been an author of a newsletter, and always a subscriber, I thought it wouldn’t really matter what I wrote, as long as I had huge list of people to send it to.  I was wrong.

After “spamming” people who had trusted their email with me, it was only logical that I would get some angry emails back. I removed them from the list and thought “So what, I have so many more.” Wrong again!

Some people unsubscribed; others marked my emails as a spam, finally flagging my whole domain into a “spammy” territory.

We can easily see that making money from newsletters is not as easy as it seems. So far my experience has taught me this time/effort relationship:

10%  of your time and effort should be spent on Gathering the emails

Another 10% on Finding good offers and/or affiliates

And the staggering 80% left should be slaved over Keeping the subscribers happy. After all, they are the ones interested enough to subscribe in the first place.

How do you achieve this? Teach them something; give them value. That’s the number one reason they subscribed anyway.

I took my second attempt more seriously. I tried to get feedback from my readers, tried to learn as much as I could about that my on a daily basis and sent 2-3 mails a week; more than before. Know what? They were happy! And up to this day none of them have complained about the larger number of weekly posts. Word of mouth, still a highly influential social tool, also helped; so my list got bigger and bigger.

As far as revenue is concerned, that list alone still makes me money. The most amazing part is that I don’t even have to write the content anymore! Outsourcing? NO! (Though I know I’ll be banging my head on a wall soon enough for not doing so :P)

After a year of maintaining the site on my own, my subscribers started getting a bit more involved in the process. I gave them the opportunity to participate in its maintenance and they really created amazing content. Guess what? Now some of them are actually partners and get a good percentage of my earnings from that list. Everyone’s happy.

Well that’s it for now! I think I have given you a couple things to think about, maybe I even made you laugh as you remembered your own online beginning. How has your journey turned out so far, what were your experiences and what lessons have you  learned along the way?

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