Transcript continued from the Episode 065 Show notes
There are three courses that I talk about that I personally think are fantastic…
There’s the Micro Site Profits course from the guys over at Internet Business Mastery that essentially teaches you the fundamentals of internet marketing through building Adsense sites. That whole thing that they teach over there is scalable to authority sites and affiliate marketing and everything else that you want to do. I got started by building Adsense sites, so that’s something that resonates with me quite a bit.
There’s Forever Affiliate, which as you know very well I’m going through right now. In fact, we’re going to get a little update on where I am with the Forever Affiliate course today. I’ve been making a lot of progress with that and I’m very impressed with that. In the Forever Affiliate program you’re essentially focused on making many sites similar to Micro Site Profits, but the target is really affiliate products that pay high commissions, so that’s a little different than Adsense.
In the Micro Site Profits course you’re typically targeting keywords that are about areas or topics and in the Forever Affiliate course you’re targeting keywords that are about products. But fundamentally those two courses are very similar and they both involve the creation of mini sites.
The other course that Joe mentioned that we’ve talked about before is the Internet Business Mastery Academy where I was a charter member. I think that’s absolutely fantastic. If you see yourself as a guy like Cesar Abid who introduced the podcast today, who wants to be the podcasting voice of the entire construction industry and trying to establish himself as an expert there, if you see yourself doing that in a niche and wanting to build a website, a web presence, and perhaps a podcast and other kinds of media to establish yourself as an authority in your niche, then Internet Business Mastery is definitely for you.
If you’re just getting started, that can be a lot to bite off. I love the Internet Business Mastery Academy, it is set up for beginners, and you can make it through there. But it’s a long and winding road. Sometimes it can be better to start off with something a little easier to bite off. That’s exactly why Jeremy and Jason created Micro Site Profits, to create that.
My advice to you is to read the sales pages of both courses. I know both people very well, I know people that have been in both courses, I know some people that have actually done both courses, I’ve been through both courses and I think they’re both very solid, they teach internet marketing fundamentals, and I think you should pick the one that matches your price point and your interests.
If you like the idea of promoting particular products and investing time in researching products and writing good content for the web around those products, Forever Affiliate is definitely for you.
If you like the idea of talking more about topics of interest and monetizing those topics with automated ad programs like Adsense, which you can certainly expand upon later, then Micro Site Profits may be for you.
In both cases, these programs are run by people that I know, like, and trust, and respect. I think you can be successful with either program.
Personally, right now I’m most involved with Forever Affiliate. I have my focus there right now, so if you’re looking to follow along with what I’m doing, I guess that gives more of a leaning to Forever Affiliate. But I will tell you that one of the things that’s really cool about Micro Site Profits is that there’s an incredibly active private Facebook community that you get access to whenever you join that course, so there will be plenty of support there as well.
I think you’re good to go either way. If you want to my affiliate links for these affiliate links for these programs they’re at LateNightIM.com/msp for Micro Site Profits and LateNightIM.com/fa for Forever Affiliate. There’s even one for Internet Business Mastery Academy at LateNightIM.com/IBMA. I hope that helps you on that. I think the key thing for you is going to be to pick something, and I think any one of those three would be excellent.
Take action – the key to being successful is taking massive action in this business. With regard to this information paralysis and what to do when you can’t decide what to do, there’s a lot of this going around in internet marketing and it’s a very common problem. You’ll see two things.
You see people that are in the spot that Joe is in where they’re trying to figure out how to pull the trigger and go, and they want to make sure that they pull the trigger and they’re aiming at the right thing. I think that’s the right minded idea, but at some point you have to jump off and go. I definitely recommend that you do that. Pick someone that you know, like, and trust, and you follow what they’re doing and you stick with it.
The other thing that’s key is that you have to push all the way through. You have to avoid being distracted by the 14 other things, you have to avoid picking Forever Affiliate and doing that for six weeks and then jumping over to Micro Site Profits and doing that for six weeks, and then jumping over to the next shiny object and doing that for six weeks. You could do that for months and months, years and years, and you’ll look back and you’ll have spent thousands of dollars on things that are half finished.
I tell you this because I have that in my personal experience. Remember, I’ve been doing this and experimenting with things and trying things since 2007 and I’ve had my fair share of distractions along the way, so I know of what I speak.
What I think you should do is pick something and then decide what you’re going to do, do it, and then put your wallet away and stay focused on that to make it work.
Whatever You Do, Don’t Quit
I want to share something with you in this regard. Andrew Hansen, who you know as the Forever Affiliate guy, one of the things that a lot of people know about Andrew is he is an incredibly good affiliate marketer, he knows how to make money with affiliate marketing, he does it in a very straightforward way, Forever Affiliate is a very white hat approach to everything, including the link building, and he’s just a straight up good affiliate marketer, no nonsense kind of guy who really understands what’s going on with Google and the search engines. The thing that is not as well appreciated with Andrew is what a great motivational teacher is inside these courses. I want to share with you a part of an email that he sent out to the private coaching forum earlier this week.
Remember, for a little context in this, we’re just starting week five of a very aggressive Forever Affiliate private coaching course where we’re moving along at quite a pace. The regular video course that you buy, of course, is self paced. If you sign up for the coaching it lasts six weeks, and to get through all this material in six weeks people are moving along at a great clip.
Here’s what Andrew has to say to people in general as he’s been in the forums and had his finger on the pulse of the community of 300 Forever Affiliate coaching students there…
I have something important to tell you today. About this time in the coaching program something curious happens for all of us. The first couple of weeks are over and the excitement may have worn off a bit. You might have hit a couple of hurdles or feel like you’re getting behind. You might feel like you’re not as far along as you thought you would be.
This is the time we need to be very careful, because at this time little decisions get made in our minds that have big impacts and we often don’t realize it. We make little decisions like, “Maybe I’ll take my foot off the gas a little bit,” or, “Maybe this isn’t for me,” or, “Maybe I’m not cut out for this,” or, “Maybe I made a mistake with X,” and so on.
The point is this is where you have to stop for a second and think. You have to stop and consciously remove yourself from the thinking pattern you’ve been in and just take yourself outside of it for a moment and see things like the reasons you are in the course to begin with and what you hope to accomplish.
You might be able to see how far you’ve come from where you started. You might even be a little bit proud of yourself. You might see that wherever you are right now in the program, you’re not the only one, that there are other people in the program that are exactly where you are. With these things in your view, you might make some different decisions.
Here’s the thing. This is the point where people start to quit. But you – you – you can’t quit. You don’t have a good reason to quit. Most people who buy internet marketing courses don’t do anything with it, but you’re not most people. You’re committed, you’re here, you’ve taken action, and you’ve taken a lot of action, even if you feel like you’re just getting started. You’ve done more already than most people will ever do. That has put you closer to success with this business than most people will ever get. Closer to success than you ever realized.
Listen. If something is bothering you, if you’re downtrodden, discouraged, or having trouble getting motivated, don’t sit around and let those silly thoughts stew and push you into a decision that you’ll regret. You have my undivided attention for the six weeks of the program and that’s why I’m here.
People are making sales with this program now every day. On average, a new sale thread in the forum is already popping up each day. There’s no reason the next one can’t be yours. Don’t quit on the one yard line. Pick that energy up and let’s do this. See you on Thursday. – Andrew.
Here’s the thing. That email is specific to what’s going on in the Forever Affiliate coaching program, but it absolutely generic to every internet marketing program that I’ve ever been a part of. The points that Andrew makes are that it’s really easy to get started on something like internet marketing when it’s new and fresh, and you’re excited, and it’s all good, you have all kinds of energy. But then two things start to happen.
One thing that starts to happen is you start to second guess some of the decisions that you’re making. “Did I buy the right course? Am I picking the right niches? Did I do the keyword research right? Is my website okay? Is my content good enough?” And on and on… All of that doubt mounts up and eventually gives you a reason to quit, it lowers the barrier to quitting.
The other thing that happens is you hit obstacles. You try to outsource some articles and the articles come back horrible, or you have a budget for outsourcing and you can’t quite get it done for that price, or there’s some PHP problem on your website that you don’t know how to solve, or your server is not working right, or something or even many something.
That lowers your barrier to quitting and eventually you decide to watch NCIS for a couple of nights instead of working on whatever it is that you’re supposed to be working on. A few nights turns into a couple of weeks and by then you’ve lost all your momentum and it’s impossible to find your way back.
That’s what Andrew is talking about. Again, Andrew is talking specifically about what’s going in Forever Affiliate right now, which is one of the most vibrant and exciting communities that I’ve ever been a part of online, but he’s looking after these people trying to make sure that they complete the program because he knows that if they can complete the program they’re going to like the results. You can learn a lesson from what Andrew has to say to his coaching students. Whatever it is that you’re working on or you’re contemplating working on, you need to go ahead and keep pushing and keep making progress on that business.
Joe, I hope that helps you. Take some action. Don’t be afraid to do that. Follow through and, whatever you do, don’t quit.
A Forever Affiliate Update
Enough motivational mumbo-jumbo, time to talk about affiliate marketing. I want to talk about two kinds of affiliate marketing. I want to talk about my own personal affiliate marketing, real quick because I promised you I would, and then I want to talk about general affiliate marketing. We’re going to keep talking about finding niches and thinking about keywords and so forth.
One of the things that I would promise I would do as I’m going through this Forever Affiliate course with the intention of actually creating new passive income streams. We know that the hit rate on these kinds of sites is not 100%, even for somebody who has been doing it for quite some time like I have. So I would really like to end up with 10 sites that were really profitable by the end of the year. Not just a little profitable, but 10 really good strong sites.
My experience with something like this is that 75% of the sites will profitable, but only half of them and maybe even slightly less than that will be really profitable where I feel like I made a bunch of great decisions in a row. So I’m planning on building 20 sites total between now and the end of this year using the Forever Affiliate methodology. I’m sticking to it, I would say, exactly.
We’re going to find out what happens. I’m going to report to you the status of these 20 sites every couple of weeks here on the podcast. I’m not going to tell you exactly what the sites are, I’m not going to tell you the URLs, but I am going to tell you the earnings on the sites and what’s going on with the keywords and the traffic and all that kind of stuff.
I’ve broken the Forever Affiliate course down into around 50 trackable actions that I need to take on each site between now and the end of the year. Now, obviously I’m not going to be working on every site the whole time equally between now and the end of the year, I’ll do a few at a time. What I’ll report to you is the percent completion of these 20 sites. I’ll be able to tell you when site one is 37% complete, site four isn’t started yet, and site three is 20% complete. We’ll track through the building of the sites and the promotion. I’ll also be able to tell you what’s going on with the earnings.
When we get to the end of the year we can see what happened. Maybe what will happen is there will be enormous amounts of cash flow and maybe what will happen is there won’t, but whatever happens you’ll know about it. That’s the plan for Forever Affiliate and my participation in that.
Let’s Talk About Keyword Research
The other topic I wanted to get this week is keyword research. This is a difficult topic to talk about in a podcast. We’re going to, but it’s more well suited to a webinar. One of the requests that I got on the Facebook fan page – tons of traffic by the way starting to come on the Facebook fan page and we had a lot of fun this week goofing off over there and talking about different stuff, both in the public Facebook fan page at LateNightIM.com/facebook and in the private Facebook fan page for Forever Affiliate members. We’ve been having a lot of fun and that private group is up to 30 people. If you bought Forever Affiliate through my link and you want to join us, come on, we need you and we’re having a good time there. I invite you to come chat with us over on the Facebook fan page, I’m pretty active over there and if you say something I’m likely to reply.
Last week we talked about finding these keywords and ideally we’re picking these niches based on keywords that we think we can win. We’re finding keywords in our niche that we think we can win. We talked a little bit about what that means.
One of the criteria that we decided we have for keywords was that they needed to have enough traffic to make it worth going after the keyword. If only 100 people per month are searching for a keyword and we expected a nickel for every 10 visitors, that’s not enough visitors to make it worth our while. We have to pick keywords that have enough traffic so that it makes sense to go ahead and pick those keywords.
That’s something that you can get straight out of the Google Keyword Tool or you can use one of the two tools that I use. Lately I’ve been using Keyword Canine almost exclusively. It pulls its search volume results from the Google Keyword Tool, but you can find that tool and learn more about it over at LateNightIM.com/kc. Josh Spaulding and Jon Leger continue to add features to that and the one of the features they’ve added recently is a related keyword niche discovery feature that I’ve been using quite a bit with Forever Affiliate to do keyword research.
The bottom line is, depending on what revenue you expect to generate for each keyword, that will kind of give you a sense of what size keywords you need to attack, how many searches per month you need to make the keyword worth attacking.
Again, there’s not a magic number. A lot of internet marketers that are teaching online will tell you things like, “You need to search for keywords that have at 1700 searches per month.” Well, it depends on what you’re going to do with the keyword. Sometimes, by the way, it depends on how many keywords you think you’re going to attack with a site.
The Corn Sheller Site, as an example, has 10 keywords that are major contributors to the search rankings and they’re pretty diverse. There’s the keyword “corn sheller,” obviously. But there’s also “antique corn shellers,” “John Deere corn sheller,” and a bunch of other corn sheller related keywords. There are some keywords that don’t even have the words corn sheller in them that are contributing to the search traffic. You need to kind of take all that into consideration.
That’s pretty easy, because you can read those numbers and kind of decide. The hard part is trying to decide what the competition is like. I guess one of the things that we see is a lot of these tools, including Keyword Canine, have an algorithm in them that will give you a stop light chart that will tell you whether the keyword is easy, medium, or hard to rank for. Actually, some of those can be pretty good. I like the one in Keyword Canine and I kind of use it.
But really the only way that you can determine what the competitive strength of other people on the first page of Google is, is by analyzing the particular keyword that you’re trying to rank for and judging that against the kind of work that you’re willing to do to get the ranking. The typical measure that we use for deciding whether or not keywords are competitive is the number of backlinks that they have.
More specifically, particularly in the post-Panda and post-Penguin era, there is more and more evidence that suggests that the quality of those links is being taken into consideration. If you have a bunch of spammy links from some blog farm in Russia, which is where a lot of those link farm originated out of, you’re going to find that those links have less authority and will often eventually result in a penalty.
Just because you look at a website and at the moment it’s ranked but it has 50,000 links, that doesn’t mean that those guys are going to dominate for all time because Google is making their way through those websites and knocking them out. You’ll find sometimes there are websites that are ranking for keywords that you would love to own and could make a really good profit with if you did own the first ranking for those keywords, and you’ll find that they don’t have thousands of links, they have hundreds or tens of links.
The other thing that I think has become more and more important is that there’s less emphasis on the amount of links, at least it seems to me based on what I’m seeing both in Forever Affiliate and in my own experience as I cruise around the internet trying to figure this stuff out, there’s less emphasis on the total number of links and a lot more emphasis on the number of referring domains.
This is not really a new idea, but when you’re looking at tools like Majestic SEO, for example, make sure that one of the things that you’re paying the most attention to when you’re looking at competition is the number of domains that are linking back to the domain that you’re competing with.
Just as a refresher, I know most of you know this and we’ve been over this many times but we get new listeners every day. Remember that what causes a page to rank in Google has to do with on-page search engine optimization (SEO), in other words cues that help Google understand what the page is actually about like the title tag for the page, and off-page SEO like backlinks.
What we’re finding is that you don’t need nearly as many backlinks as you used to and the quality of those links is a lot more important than it used to be. Most importantly, the distribution of the anchor text is way more important than it used to be. One of the things that you’ll find, and there was just an article in Search Engine Journal about this, is one of the most critical things is to make sure that your branded links far outweigh your keyword targeted links.
What are branded links? Branded links are links that have something to do with your brand. If the name of your blog is The Late Night Internet Marketing Blog then you should have a ton of links that just say “Late Night Internet Marketing Blog,” even if the keyword that you’re trying to rank for is something like “learn affiliate marketing.” You shouldn’t have 80% of your keywords that say “learn affiliate marketing” like in the old days, because that’s not natural.
Most of your anchor texts should either be what your blog name is, that’s your brand, or your naked URL, which is also your brand, because when real people link back to you that’s usually the way they do it. Or they’ll link with something completely random like “click here to read more” and that sort of stuff.
Those are the kinds of things that we’re starting to see in these rankings. I guess what we need to do in a future episode is talk some more about how to pick keywords based on competition, because that’s really the key idea there.
The tools that I like are Market Samurai and Keyword Canine. They both give you a pretty good idea of competition. I think it’s important that we talk some more about what those tools are doing underneath the covers, what kind of data they’re looking, and we’ll try to do that next week. I’m looking forward to that.
Wrapping Things Up
Thanks for being a part of this one. I hope you enjoyed my rant on staying motivated and not quitting internet marketing. As I’ve said many times, most of the people that I know that have “failed” at internet marketing have quit too soon. You don’t want to be part of that mess. I hope you enjoyed our call from Kansas City, that was really cool. I’ll see you soon.
Thank you for listening to the Late Night Internet Marketing Podcast…