SHOW ME THE MONEY ON THE INTERNET!
Once upon a time, the Internet was used primarily for information searching; then, one day, someone realized that it would make an ideal business model too. Who would have suspected that the Internet would turn into a multi-billion dollar marketing tool that anyone can use to advertise and make money with?
Even nicer is the fact that Internet users have multiple options in terms of choosing a business model. Unlike a storefront business, the virtual world of the Internet enables people to run a cyberspace storefront business selling supplies or to operate a personal services business offering consulting or writing. But even more importantly is that there are even more ways to earn income using the Internet tools provided today. In addition to simply selling, you can earn income in multiple ways through an Internet marketing plan that takes advantage of opportunities like blogging, affiliate programs, and many other avenues.
In fact, the Internet offers many options for earning income, and you can build streams of income coming from multiple sources at once. By generating multiple streams of information, you are taking advantage of the true power of the virtual economy found on the Internet. You don’t have to go to a store, unlock the doors, and try to decide how to attract customers on a limited budget. Instead, you can develop a multi-pronged approach to generating income using a blended variety of Internet tools and then sitting down at your computer and getting busy. Even better is the fact that you have access to millions of potential customers and advertisers.
Internet marketing is a work in progress too. There are new opportunities to earn income introduced every day for the entrepreneurs who appreciate the power held in cyberspace. Because the distribution of information is instantaneous and the cost is minimal, everyone has an opportunity to make money. This is probably one of the greatest aspects of the Internet – its ability to level the playing field. Earning money through marketing used to be largely limited to large corporations with enormous marketing budgets. The Internet, on the other hand, can be used for marketing even when there is almost no marketing budget to access.
This post describes the various ways to generate income via Internet marketing. It is divided into broad categories as follows:
• Advertising that generates income
• Affiliate programs
• Internet business models
The post doesn’t pretend to cover absolutely every source of income potential on the Internet. But it does cover many of the most popular methods currently in use. You can pick and choose the ones that seem to hold the most opportunity for you and begin to build a variety of income streams. For those who already have an online presence, various Internet marketing strategies can be blended with your current business model to increase your income.
The Internet, above all, is an entrepreneur’s dream come true. With some information and planning, anyone can earn an income from the Internet.
ADVERTISING YOUR WAY TO AN INCOME
There are multiple ways to use Internet advertising to generate income. A core element of Internet marketing is advertising, and it’s possible to take advantage of many of them for little, or sometimes, even no monetary investment. That’s because websites and search engines have designed ways to advertise that are complementary. In other words, you advertise and everyone involved makes money.
Streams of income from Internet advertising are generated in the following ways.
• Banner ads
• E-mail marketing
• Search engine marketing (SEM)
• AdWords and AdSense (Google)
You can generate income by establishing a set of links on the Internet. The links can be placed in two basic ways. Some links will be embedded into your website, and clicking on them will keep the customer on your site by sending them directly to the Web page desired. The second set of links is those that take customers to a different website.
Internet marketing has reached a sophisticated level of strategies and techniques that allow you to drive business to your website. The only way to make money on a website is to have visitors. So a stream of income can be generated through well-placed links. You will notice the term “well-placed” is used because a link placed in the wrong spot on the Internet can be fairly useless. For example, if you are selling food products containing meat, it would not make sense to place a link on a website that caters to vegetarians. How many people do you think will click on the link leading to your site? Not many!
Links can work both ways. You can place links to your website on the sites of others or other site owners may pay you to advertise on your site. A reciprocal link program is one where you and the other site have links to each other’s sites.
Reciprocal links provide two primary benefits. The first benefit is the fact that you increase your website traffic, which should lead to increased revenue. The second benefit is that a reciprocal link can lead to a better search engine ranking since each customer clicking on a link to your site will count towards its ranking.
You can sell advertising spots on your website to generate income.
When you go to the beach, chances are that you’ll see a small airplane flying and pulling a waving advertising banner. On the Internet, the banner is placed on a site and is usually long and narrow like a real-world banner would be. The most common size used is 468 pixels high and 60 pixels wide.
The banner ad can be static, and the website visitor will simply read what it has to say. If they like what is read, the customer then clicks on it to get to the website or product being advertised.
Some banner ads wave as much as the ones that wave behind the airplanes. They contain animated graphics and can shimmy and shake to get the reader’s attention. Streaming banners are popular on some websites with the information changing regularly.
Banners can be placed on your own website or on other websites just like reciprocal links. Banner ads are not as popular as they used to be, and some Web page viewers find them to be somewhat annoying. So you should be careful about how and when you use banner ads.
Another form of advertising that can create a revenue steam is email marketing. Email marketing is the Internet equivalent of direct marketing. You can send emails to anyone you choose, and all you need are email addresses. The promotional emails can offer interested people information about your website, products, or services. In the email, there will be embedded links taking the customer directly to the location on your website where he or she will find what is being promoted.
Email marketing should never degrade into a spam campaign. Spam is unsolicited emails. Sending mass emails to people who have not requested the information will probably not generate any website traffic, and thus, no income either. But you will manage to annoy a lot of people and give your company a bad reputation.
SEARCH ENGINE MARKETING (SEM)
Search engine marketing is not the same as search engine optimization. Search engine marketing (SEM) is a more comprehensive term that includes a range of activities designed to promote a website on the Internet, and thereby, create income.
SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION TO IMPROVE WEB PAGE RANKING
Search engine optimization is the process of designing a website so that it appears high on the list of search engine results after someone does a particular search. Search engines are sets of software, like Google or Yahoo, that collect information on websites and then produce website rankings.
Search engine optimization involves using keywords that are collected by the search engine crawlers. The statistics are used to create the non-paid rankings. The theory is that the higher a webpage is ranked, the more traffic that will be driven to a website. But there are millions of pages on the Internet now and not everyone can make it onto the first page of search results simply through keyword use. That is why it’s important to use a variety of marketing strategies to generate income.
SUBMITTING WEBSITES TO ONLINE DIRECTORIES
You can submit your website to the major search engines like Google, Yahoo, and MSN, but there are many specialty directories available also. Many of the directories are free, while others require a fee.
Directories are organized listings of topics or areas of interest with relevant websites listed. Directories can save Internet browsers a lot of time while also driving traffic to your site.
Like most advertising strategies, the income earned comes from driving traffic to your website where a purchase is made by a customer. Pay-Per-Click is a process whereby site owners bid on particular keywords that potential customers might use while doing a search. The Internet user enters a search term, and if it contains the keywords you purchased, your ad will appear. When a person clicks on the link on the search engine results page to enter your website, you must pay for the ad.
Pay-per-click also applies to ads placed on other websites that are related to the keywords you purchased. Once again, when someone clicks on the ad, you will pay a per-click fee.
The ultimate goal of pay-per-click is to generate as much website traffic as possible. The amount of the bid you place for particular keywords will determine how much you end up paying per click. A carefully managed pay-per-click program can generate significant website traffic, which can lead to more paying customers.
In the pay-per-impression plans, when an impression is loaded, the commission is calculated. Normally, the commission is set in terms of cost per thousand impressions. There are also companies that will set a flat monthly fee.
The definition of an impression is a single Web page or advertisement. There are different ways to count impressions, so you should be careful to evaluate the terms of any commission agreement you enter into.
GOOGLE ADWORDS AND ADSENSE
The Internet search engine giant Google has set the standard in many areas. The Google program AdWords is a pay-per-click program, but it has become so popular, it is being described under its own heading.
The most used pay-per-click program on the Internet is Google AdWords. In AdWords, you buy advertising space based on the keywords you have purchased. After buying the keyword, your advertisement will show up on the results pages whenever a customer searches using the keyword you purchased. Your ad will normally show up as a sponsored link on the top of the page or along the side of the results listings.
AdWords uses technology called contextual advertising to place your ad on the same Internet page that contains content relative to your keyword. So where does AdSense enter the picture?
AdSense is directly related to AdWords. The AdSense program will add those contextual advertisements on your site after selling the ads to the appropriate advertisers. The program also tracks the pay-per-clicks and remits the appropriate amount of money to the website owner.
AdSense has two parts. AdSense for Content is the program that places the contextual advertisements on your website. AdSense for Search lets you add Google search. Both programs will generate advertising revenue. AdSense for Content places the ad and then tracks the clicks to determine how much to pay you. AdSense for Search adds a Google search box to a website. The idea is that visitors to your site can use the search box to do other searches without leaving the site. The longer someone stays on your site, the better the probability that the potential customer will click on an ad, and thus, create advertising revenue for you.
You can find detailed information about AdWords and AdSense at http://www.google.com/intl/en_us/ads/ads_1.html.
Advertising on the Internet can be profitable when the Internet marketing campaign is strategically developed. Through the placement of links, ads, and keywords, it is possible to drive traffic to your website where great content promotes sale closure. But with programs like Google AdWords and AdSense, you can also earn income from ads placed on your site by Google. You also always have the option of selling your own ad space.
In the next section, affiliate programs are discussed. This is another way to generate income through your website.
There are many other types of online advertising formats, including audio or video ads. They are now being used regularly on websites, and the principles for commission paying or earning are the same as those that are applied to the more traditional text links. For example, when someone views an online video, the view would be counted similarly to someone clicking on a flat link.
The bottom line is that the more links of any kind you have spread across the Internet, the more money you will make. Links can be in newsletters and eBooks too.
Affiliate programs are the same as a performance-based marketing program. It is an online referral system that pays a sales commission to you for helping to sell the products of another website. In other words, you place a link on your site that a customer can click on to get to another site you don’t mind advertising.
The links can be single-sided links that appear on a website or they can be cross-links. In the cross-link set-up, a link to your site is placed on a website for a business that has placed their link on yours.
There are affiliate service providers specializing in setting up affiliates. The affiliate program would provide you with the information you need to set up the ad on your site. When a customer clicks on the link, they are taken to the originating site. The affiliate program tracks the referrals, sales, and commissions earned.
There are different ways to define a transaction: pay-per-click or pay-per-action. Pay-per-click pays a commission based on the number of times a customer clicks on the ad link, regardless of whether a sale is made or not. With pay-per-action, the qualifying transaction on which the commission is paid must be defined. It could be a closed sale, a request for information, a new customer, and so on.
Following are some of the more popular and reliable affiliate service providers.
• Commission Junction at www.cj.com
• LinkShare at www.linkshare.com
• ClickBank at www.clickbank.com
• MyReferer at www.myreferer.com
An affiliate arrangement should be viewed for exactly what it is: a partnership. You are allowing others to place ads on your site, and in return, your ads will appear on other websites. But you don’t want to place your link just anywhere. Affiliate Internet marketing has some basic principles to keep in mind if you want to generate as much money as possible.
First, you need to find the right partners. If you sell Bibles, you would not want ads on your site that promote lingerie. Second, if you need to establish a true link campaign strategy, you must understand the market you intend to reach and then do the research to find out how your intended market shops the Internet. There are millions of ads placed on the wrong sites; as a result, the customers fail to click through and income is never generated.
A blog is a short name for a Web log. It is a website that has a particular format in terms of information provided. There are online running commentaries or information posts that allow other readers to submit comments. Blogging is becoming a popular form of communication, which means that there is an opportunity to earn advertising income from blogging.
A blogging website must be maintained on a regular basis because material on the site needs to be fresh and updated to be relevant. Most blogging sites are dedicated to a particular topic like politics or a personal hobby or interest. That means there are keywords that can be easily identified for programs like Google’s AdWords.
The best way to make some money on a blog is to have ads placed on the site. As discussed earlier, there are a number of ways to earn money through advertising, including pay-per-click ads and affiliate ads.
Following are some of the sites that could assist you with establishing ad sidebars or links on your site that pay a commission based on customer access.
Links can be imbedded in the blogs so that they lead to another website or product listing. The blog reader clicks the link to get more information, and you get paid a commission amount that is determined by the affiliate sales provider agreement.
Naturally, you can also sell advertising space on your blog site yourself if you desire.
Some people earn money as a contracted blogger. Businesses will hire people to write periodic blogs for their company. So you can run your own business and be a blogger for another company if you wish. Or you can blog to earn supplemental income. In these situations, the money you earn from writing is your income stream.
There are many ways to make money on the Internet. The discussion up to this point has been focused on adding links and ads to existing sites. There are affiliate programs, email marketing campaigns, and many other ways to generate multiple income streams.
The inveterate Internet entrepreneur will most likely have multiple streams of income from a well-designed Internet marketing program. But the first step before the marketing is the development of the business itself. How can you choose the right keywords or pick an affiliate if you don’t have a well-defined business model?
The Internet is the land of opportunity and variety. There are multiple ways to become an entrepreneur.
• Develop your own Internet-based business
• Buy an online franchise
• Open a store on eBay
• Join Yahoo Merchant Solutions
• Sell on an auction site
• Become an Amazon Marketplace seller
• Become a referral service for a shopping site
This is a post on using Internet marketing to generate income and not about how to set up an Internet business, so the discussion will not go into detail on the types of businesses. But everyone should be aware of the various types of online business formats that are now available. Savvy Internet vendors will often combine one or more formats in order to generate maximum revenue, and that is where the power of the Internet is increased exponentially.
For example, when you visit eBay stores, there is often an embedded link on the site. The link will take the shopper to the vendor’s Internet website where additional products or services are offered. These vendors sell through eBay and through their own website. It is like having two websites to attract millions of potential customers. Income will flow from both sites.
This goes back to the idea discussed earlier. To make full use of the Internet’s ability to generate income, you should implement more than one income-producing strategy. In this way, there are multiple streams of income flowing at all times.
IT’S ALL ABOUT INCOME
Let’s face it! You are using the Internet to find information, to make money, or to do both. The Internet makes a great research library, but it is just as powerful when used for business purposes. But one of the biggest mistakes people make is not taking the time to develop a marketing plan that makes sense.
There are several ways to generate income on the Internet. As discussed, you can generate revenue through direct sales on your website. You can also generate revenue through advertising, and that is where the Internet world is getting more and more interesting.
When you do a search on the Internet for ideas about making money using Internet tools, there is a wealth of options. The ones discussed throughout this post are the broader concept Internet marketing strategies.
Following are some other sites you can visit that provide various ways to earn income using these concepts.
Provides a service for selling ads that can be placed on your Internet site (http://www.adbrite.com)
• Associated Content
Site for people who want to get paid for writing or for a video or audio file (http://www.associatedcontent.com/)
Allows you to set up a blog easily, including setting up Google AdSense (www.blogger.com)
• Quick Minisite Builder
Creation of content-based website, Amazon, Clickbank and eBay affiliate income (http://www.quickminisitebuilder.com )
Create a lens and get paid through ad revenue and affiliate fees (www.squidoo.com)
There is simply no way to create a comprehensive list of all the sites on the Internet that enable you to make money. In fact, this leads to another discussion on spreading yourself too thin.
One of the temptations on the Internet is to do “everything,” but the Internet is like real life. You can only do so much. For example, it’s possible to make money creating a blog, but a blog absolutely has to be kept up-to-date to be useful. People are not going to click through ads placed on blog sites that have not been updated for months.
In other words, it is important to not take on too much and fail to do a good job managing your Internet income-producing opportunities. It’s wonderful to have so many options available, but that does not negate the fact that you must manage your business professionally and with foresight and goals.
One of the most fascinating aspects of the Internet today is the fact that you don’t even need a website to make money! For example, you can sign up as an Amazon bookseller and sell your used books through Amazon Marketplace. You sell and ship the books and Amazon deposits your revenue in your bank account every two weeks.
Though establishing advertising links that pay is a little more complex, the entire process is getting simpler by the day thanks to the many affiliate programs and sites dedicated to connecting the right Internet partners. In the early days of the Internet, you had to “go it alone,” but that is simply not true anymore.
The key to success is remaining focused on your goals and your business plan. You can develop a business plan that does not include a website, but you still need to establish goals and objectives. It’s easy to get overstretched with all the tempting offers to help you make money. But whatever arrangements you agree to, they must be managed over time.
Think of it this way. You can set up links with an affiliate program, but if no one ever clicks through, you’ll never make any money. You can keep the arrangement going, but the question is: Why?! You need to look at your web statistics, analyze the income produced, and make adjustments as necessary.
The Internet is a powerhouse marketing tool that provides everyone who has access to it the opportunity to make money. Even better is the fact that you can generate multiple streams of income via Internet marketing. More is almost always better!