There is a conflict of interest in all online marketing advice you will find in Google’s search results. Marketers and online business owners often need to choose between giving the best advice and maximizing profit. People usually choose to increase their profit even if it means recommending an inferior product. A perfect example is when people recommend web hosting that pays higher affiliate commissions (Blue Host or Host Gator) rather than a better company with lower commissions (Siteground).
This phenomena is very widespread wherever affiliate marketing is used. People need to get paid and I understand it, more power to them. Just don’t be a sucker and take advice from a commercial search engine result. Particularly for online business, the best advice does not come from the first page of Google. It comes from private Skype groups, niche Youtube channels, a few Subreddits, Twitter accounts, and forums. You need to know where to look. The myths listed below are based on misinformation I see spread everyday as well as myths I personally believed in.
All traffic is made equal
More traffic, all other things being equal, is a massive positive. If you are a beginner one of your primary goals should be to maximize the amount of traffic hitting your website. You should be using different social channels, traffic leaking to forums, and optimizing for search engines. Once you have a solid amount of traffic coming to your website you will analyze it in Google Analytics and realize some traffic sources have a much higher conversion rate.
The common situation is that social traffic converts at a much lower rate than organic traffic. Looking at a more micro level you will notice some of your posts drive more profits than others. This is often because that post has as certain searcher intent behind it. For example traffic from the SERPs for “Size 9 women’s red shoes” will always have a higher profit for every page view than “Women’s shoes“. This is because there is more commercial intent behind the search. If you want learn more about the search intent check out this research paper from IBM research about information retrieval. To learn about keyword research for conversions (how to target higher converting traffic) check out the video below by the SEO agency From The Future.
Starting always costs several hundreds of dollars
This should be an instant red flag for anyone who knows anything about internet marketing. Starting an online business does not cost more than $100. You need to buy a domain, web hosting – that is genuinely all you need. Sure if you are using WordPress it is a good idea to have a premium theme, but it’s not absolutely necessary. So why do marketing gurus tell beginners it costs hundreds or thousands of dollars to start an online business?
To put it bluntly there are a lot of suckers out there. If you sell a thousand dollar course and only 1% or .5% of people buy it you can still make a ton of money. Targeting those naive and misguided people has made people fortunes for all of human history in different forms. And those fools are never going away.
Of course if you have capital you want to invest in starting an online business you can use it for genuinely helpful purposes such as to buy premium online marketing tools. You can also use it to outsource content creation to premium content creators for example articles, videos, or infographics. You can hire a virtual assistant to handle linkbuilding outreach or other general administrative tasks. Having capital to invest in an online business can help you grow faster but it is not necessary to start an online business.
You can start an online business for free
I hate to see people that are afraid to spend $100 to start a business. These people usually fail in their online business efforts because they approach it from a position of scarcity and insecurity. They believe that if they spend money they might not ever make it back. They believe that making money is difficult and money is scarce. These people usually came from a household where they were told to save money and that spending money on anything that isn’t a necessity is bad. And this advice isn’t bad for the average person. If your only source of income is your career this is a good idea, but if you are a business owner that is scared of spending money it can seriously slow growth and lower your potential income.
If you try to start an online business with a free domain and hosting such as a free blogging software you need a reality check. When was the last time you spend money on a free WordPress blog or a Blogspot blog? I can’t remember ever spend money or clicking an affiliate link on one of those websites.
Remember that scared money don’t make money. As long as the pockets of your jeans are nervous and insecure you will struggle to make money. You need to make the realization that billions and billions of dollars exchanges hands on the internet every day. All you need to do is go where the money is and capitalize on the exchange.
The golden age of online marketing is over
If you spend any amount of time on online marketing forums you will see people say the golden era of online marketing is gone. Black hat marketers remember the “good old days” of being able to rank in the SERPs in a couple of months by using spam links. If this is your idea of the golden age of internet marketing then yes, those days are all gone. If you have a low quality website or are trying to cheat search engines then you will have a hard time.
If you are building a high-quality, authority website then there has never been a better time to do it. More people use the internet than ever, and the amount of money people spend online is higher than ever. Lets look at the statistics, global eCommerce sales growth continues to grow at 20% per year. Retail eCommerce sales are predicted to be almost five billion in 2021, and they were only 1.3 billion in 2014. Affiliate marketing is massive as well 16% of all online orders are generated through affiliate marketing. We live in the era of trillion dollar tech companies, if you think it’s hard to make money online you need to get rid of your scarcity mindset asap.
I think the best advice in the world is just do it. Once you have a plan, execute on it and stop procrastinating by reading books. For a beginner in online business it’s different, the risk of failure on a first project is at least 95%. From that likely failure a beginner will learn thing they can apply to their next project. Online marketing is all about making mistakes and learning from them quickly.
The thing is that people make mistakes in online marketing that they cannot recover from. For example they might start a “niche site” reviewing books they read. They choose this topic because they love to read and know that a lot of people online would like their website. They build the site and after a year and a half they have a really solid traffic and are converting 2000 customers to Amazon! Unfortunately the average price of these books is $10 and at a 4% commission rate with 2000 conversions per month they only earn $800 per month.
That is an awful amount of profit for someone who has spent so much time building their website. If they chose a more profitable vertical to enter and were promoting a $100 product with a 40% commission rate and only had 200 conversions per month (10% of the previous example) they would earn $8,000 per month. People need to sit down and make a real business plan for their website that includes using an excel spreadsheet to run the revenue and profit projections.
SEO is a zero sum game
Many smart online marketers believe this myth and it all comes down to what you consider a zero sum game. In a given search engine result everyone will be competing for the same rankings, specifically targeting the top results on the first page. Everyone is targeting the top spots and if someone moves above you in a result you ranking drops and so does your traffic. In this sense SEO is zero sum, but over time there is more money being
-need to discuss this because many smart people say this.
-not true because the total profits of the front page of a SERP are increasing!
-more people are getting plugged into the internet, the economy is growing so more money is being spent for each individual serp result on average. Obviously some results have less traffic than in the past e.g. best CD player.
If you are doing affiliate marking make a niche site
Wrong advice, choose a vertical to dominate not a niche. I will repeat what I said in my affiliate marketing guide
Vertical selection is a place where many people make a massive mistake. When you build an affiliate marketing website you are not choosing a niche, because a niche is too small of a market for you to target. Let’s look at the definition of a niche.
Niche – Denoting or relating to products, services, or interests that appeal to a small, specialized section of the population.
So, if you need clarification of why this is a bad idea – it’s because there is very limited money in a niche market. Choosing a niche market greatly limits the maximum profit you can earn with your website, instead you need to choose a vertical.
A vertical is a massive industry that has billions of dollars being spent in it yearly. So, if you establish a 5% share of one of these industries you will be making millions of dollars per year. You want to keep the potential scope of your site wide, so it is worth the effort you put in.
It takes 6-12 months to start making money
Some traffic sources take longer than others to generate larger amounts of profit from. The obvious example is SEO where new websites are “sandboxed” for months at a time to discourage spammers and people building websites with short-term goals in mind (usually $$$). The thing about SEO is that it is only one traffic source, and people that are over-reliant on it are usually poor marketers. Good online marketers can drive traffic (converting traffic) from many different sources starting in their first month.
Things like traffic leaking and learning to dominate social media channels will help to generate income while a site is starting to rank in the search results. A lot of money can be made in the first month of an online venture, the most obvious example is paid traffic. However online business owners who do real marketing can start making money immediately on a new project as well.