When It’s Time To Diversify Your Income

businesses failIn today’s post I want to take a break from the normal themes of blog marketing and building a home based business online, and talk about a topic many web-preneurs neglect: income diversification.

Like it or not, building a home business from scratch is likely to be a risky endeavor. Something around 97% of new businesses fail, over 70% of which fold within the first year. For bloggers, over 80% of bloggers never make more than $100, and only about 2% can ever turn their online income into a six figure a year business.

As an entrepreneur, you’re likely to have all of your eggs in one basket with your business. That can be good, in the sense that it provides incredible motivation that will push you on to success, but it’s also a very bad thing when considered from a realistic standpoint of most companies failing.

Online Income Diversification: Smart Investing

Because of these staggeringly powerful statistics, it’s extremely, extremely important for entrepreneurs to consider creating plans to diversify their income wherever possible.

If you have some runway capital to begin with, you might create a strong investment plan from day 1, but if not, you should still start planning early, so that you can re-invest your earnings as quickly as possible, and have a clear plan and goals for how to do so.

Options Investing

My personal favorite vehicle for smart online investing is to have a diversified options portfolio.

Whenever I tell people this, I usually get a wide range of responses, most of which are negative. Options trading tends to have a get rich quick type of stereotype, which simply isn’t true.

There are lots of low risk options strategies you can take advantage of, and when done right, you can steadily make a consistent return on your investment, regardless of overall market conditions.

For starters, you can learn more at www.studyoptionstrading.com, and start learning about why this is such a powerful way to add to your income.

Paying Yourself A Real Income

One of the tricks to starting to diversify your online investments is to have a consistent income. When you’re starting a business, one all-too-common fault is that entrepreneurs will neglect to pay themselves a decent salary.

While you obviously shouldn’t be earning six figures while your company is struggling to get by, setting a consistent, livable salary for yourself should be a priority.

That will give you less stress, since you know what money is coming in when, and will allow you to invest predictably over time.

To come up with this number, you need to take a look at what you realistically need to live every month, and create a salary that’s larger than that number by a good margin.

You also need to consider what your business can handle. A general rule of thumb is to make sure you have operating cash for at least a 3-6 month window, so you can’t pay yourself so much money that you risk your business not being able to function and pay its bills when the month ends.

Finding that balance is key to maintaining a good diversity in your investments, both with the company and with your personal income.

 

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What To Know Before You Start an Affiliate Marketing Blog

affiliate marketingFor many people looking to start a career in online marketing, one of the first places they naturally gravitate is towards affiliate marketing.

This is an easy step to take, and in a lot of ways makes sense. Affiliate marketing is a great way to monetize a website, and is incredibly easy to get approved to a few affiliate networks and start promoting products. Even just taking random shots in the dark, you’re likely to make more money than you could with other easy methods, like Adsense or Display Ads.

But, there’s also a lot to it. Here are a few things to know before you start that first affiliate marketing blog.

Affiliate Marketing is Really Just Blog Marketing

The first thing to keep in mind is that affiliate marketing is really just blog marketing, except instead of using the blog as a platform to promote your own offers, you’re using it as a platform to promote other people’s products.

That makes sense if you’re just starting out and you don’t have any products for yourself, but you should always keep in mind whether you’d be better off on the other end of the equation, promoting your own services or products AND recruiting other affiliates to promote them for you.

But, this also means that all of the same basic principles of blog marketing apply to affiliate marketing, and it can be a tough, even cutthroat world, where the winners win big, a lot of people limp along, but most never see a dime.

The Best Marketers Create Brands

wealthy affiliateThe second thing to keep in my is that the best online marketers develop their own brands.

It doesn’t matter if they’re promoting their own products or working as an affiliate, developing a clear audience and building a website that stands out as a leader to that audience is key. This means that the best sites aren’t usually: somerandomexactmatchkeywordphrase.com, but something that’s easy to remember and, well…brandable.

This also means that you’re better off building a website (and even a community) around a topic, rather than a product. You should always pick your audience and niche first, and develop the site for that audience to begin with, and only then should you promote products to them.

Make sense? The product offer follows the audience, not the other way around.

Get Smart About It

affilorama 3Finally, you need to make sure that you know what you’re doing. Like I mentioned, affiliate marketing can be an extremely competitive world, so make sure you find a good affiliate training to help your along. Affilorama 3 is legit and a good option, as is Wealthy Affiliate.

If you’re wondering if Wealthy Affiliate is a scam or legit, as many people do when they’re first starting out, my recommendation is to simply try the free version and then decide for yourself. You can read more about making this choice over at Knolpad, or watch the video below:

 

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Why Blog Marketing Is An Essential Part of Your Social Media Strategy

social media blog strategyOne of the most common mistakes that many small business owners and new internet marketers make is to separate their blog marketing strategy from their social media strategy.

This is an easy thing to do because, really, a blog isn’t generally part of your social media network. But it does link through to your social media accounts, and your social media accounts do link back to your blog…or at least they should.

In this post I’ll cover why social media and blog strategies are so intertwined.

Your Social Media Needs Clear Calls To Action

The first reason that your blog should be included as part of your social media strategy is because your social plan needs to include clear calls to action for your reader.

You can’t simply put up a picture of a smiling puppy and think people will buy your product (unless, of course, you’re selling puppies…). And, it’s not always clear that getting new Facebook likes or Twitter followers directly relates to new customer acquisition, even if they are long term assets.

Your blog provides a good gateway to get people off social media channels and onto your site.

You Can’t Really Sell Through Social Media

The second, albeit related point is that you can’t really sell your product through social media, and you can through your blog. Thus, it’s common to structure your social media calls to action as an attempt to get readers onto your blog, and then use your blog as a gateway to the rest of your site, which has your product promotions.

That’s because going straight from social to sales usually fails, while having a relevant blog article linking the two can actually increase customer attention, build trust, and improve conversion rates significantly.

Your Blog Needs a Megaphone

Finally, it’s important to link your blog into your social strategy because blog posts, by themselves, don’t get read. Many new marketers think that they can produce content for that blog and, because their content is – of course – absolutely incredible and awesome content that everyone in the world will want to read, that the content will naturally filter its way around the internet, get shared, read, and rank in search.

The reality is far different. Most successful blogs have clearly designed promotional strategies for each and every blog post that they produce. Having your social media plan integrate with your blog schedule helps to give your blog the megaphone it desperately needs.

Not only are your social media followers more likely to read your blog than the average Joe, but they’re also the springboard for sharing posts, and helping you create the viral distribution everyone hopes for.

So, the next time you think about your blog strategy, be sure to think about social media, and vice versa. That’s how you become successful with blog marketing.

For more information and a great lsit of social marketing blogs to follow, click here.

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The Only Real Way To Rank Your Blog Posts: Stop Gaming the System and Start Providing Value

google is smartIf you’re trying to figure out how to rank your blog posts, I have a secret for you: the answer is way simpler than you’d ever imagine.

What is it? Stop trying to rank your blog posts.

I know that sounds counterintuitive, but allow me to explain…

Google Is Smarter Than You

The first thing to realize is that no matter how brilliant you think you are, or how amazing your new strategy to beat the search algorithms and come up with a foolproof way to rank your blog, it’s probably not going to work for the long term.

Sure, it might work now, for a few weeks or a few months, but you’ll be toast as soon as the next update comes rolling along.

That’s because like it or not, Google is way smarter than you are. You can spend years study trends in search data, and even write your own algorithms to crawl data and output some neat little analysis, but I guarantee you its nothing compared to what Google has access to.

So, don’t even bother trying, you’ll just get penalized in the long run, and that’s not a business I’d want to run.

Read more basics on how SEO works here.

There’s also a great, entertaining video you should watch here, which I think is the real truth about how google works:

Real People Equals Real Results

The second point to consider is that even if you were to game the algorithms for a little while and magically pop up at the top of search, that alone isn’t going to get you the results you need.

That’s because real results, and real conversions, don’t come from algorithms. They come from people.

If you can get real people to naturally interact with your website and share your content, you’ll be eons ahead of anyone working solely with algorithmic gimmicks.

Not only that, but its the real people who are going to be the ones you can convert. They’re the ones that will make a purchase, and give you good reviews, and spread the word about your product.

So if you want to rank your blog posts, the answer is simple: focus on real people.

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How To Use Facebook Ads for Beginners

how to use facebook ads for beginnersOne of the biggest mistakes I see companies make when it comes to their Facebook strategy is that they often treat Facebook Ads as if it were any other form of paid advertising.

Well, I have news for you: it’s a completely different animal.

In this post, I’ll go over a few tips that I hope will change your mindset about how to use Facebook Ads for beginners.

Forget About Keywords

The first point to keep in mind is that the ad targeting system for Facebook is completely different from most other paid advertising systems, including Adwords and BingAds.

Most paid advertising channels use a keyword-based approach to targeting. If you want to target people looking to open a retirement portfolio, for example, you try to think about what those people are searching for when they’re ready to open their account, and then bid on those terms.

With Facebook targeting, however, you have to think about the profil of the person behind those actions. It’s not the fact that they’re actively searching for what you’re selling, it’s that they meet the demographic of what you think your target customer.

Promoting within Facebook Isn’t Always Helpful

The second mistake many people make is to think of their Facebook Ad campaign as a part of their social media strategy. While this can work, it definitely limits your use of their system.

Facebook Ads can be used to promote content likes or shares or profile page followers, but they can also be used to direct users to an external blog or landing page.

Keep Your Ads Fresh

Finally, many beginners don’t realize that, unlike an Adwords campaign that you can set and forget, the Facebook Ads algorithm relies on you creating fresh, unique content within your ads in order to keep your campaign active.

If you’re new to the game and you don’t update your ads (or the content your ads promote), you may find that after a week or two your “successful” campaign stopped receiving traffic.

That’s because Facebook doesn’t want to show repeated ads to their users. So keep it fresh, and keep it profitable.

For more info, check out this great beginner’s guide.

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