23 Jan

Getting Started

When first starting out on an internet marketing project, it’s very easy to get caught up in trying to learn everything there is to know – and there is a LOT to learn.  From SEO, to email marketing, to building your website and trying to get traffic, there is a maze of information out there.  Maybe you have a great idea for a niche site with lots of great content, but then you spend hours looking for worthwhile affiliate programs to monetize your site, only to find that there either aren’t many advertisers in the well known affiliate networks, or they’re not paying what you anticipated.

Did all of the successful sites have a plan before they started, or did they just write about what they loved and then got lucky?  If your end goal is to earn money online, you probably want to have a general plan in place for how you’re going to earn money before you select a topic, buy a domain name, and get going.

Maybe you saw an affiliate program or category and you’d like to build a site around that.  That’s one way to go.  Maybe you just want to get started with a site you will you love creating, and know the money will follow eventually.  That’s another route, and it’s totally up to you.  Each way has its pros and cons.

Sites that are built by people who love the topic will have an easier time creating content, traffic, and followers. It will be easier to connect with your audience because you have something in common.  You are also more likely to stick with the project if it’s something you love.

How do I know this?  Well, two years ago when I set out to learn whatever I could about SEO and online marketing, I learned a lot about creating niche sites and getting search engine traffic.  I also researched keywords and found one that had a relatively good price per click, so that when I added AdSense to my site, I would make $1-2 per click.  I decided to build my site around that keyword, even though it wasn’t a topic that I had first hand knowledge of.  It took an enormous amount of research!  While I still make that $1-2 per click today, I only average maybe 10-15 clicks per month.  I don’t get a ton of traffic, but the site visitors I do get are very “targeted” and interested in the topic.

December Adsense Earnings Snapshot

December 2015 Adsense Earnings Snapshot


I worked on the site constantly for several months, watched my earnings and traffic increase, and then out of nowhere, something happened with a WordPress update and my plugins disappeared.  My stats disappeared along with my AdSense plugin and my Analytics tracking!  Once I discovered this, I had already forgotten much of what I had worked on, and I just let the site go dormant.  For most of a year, I didn’t earn anything and I didn’t know what my visitor stats were.

With $68 sitting in my AdSense account, but no more money accruing, I decided to stop procrastinating, fix the problem, and get my site going again.  In December I passed the $100 AdSense payment threshold and received my payment in my bank account 2 days ago.  I am ready to get working again!

Since this particular niche site is not about a topic that I have a lot of personal or first-hand knowledge of, it is a bit more challenging to create original content.  I am trying to get a forum started in order to get more unique content (through visitor posts), and as a result attract more search engine traffic.  I hope to build a bigger audience and monetize my site by getting my own advertisers directly.

I will use my niche site as an example throughout this site, as I try new things and add more features.  By only using AdSense, I’ve barely brushed the surface of what you can do to earn money online.