To help give you an idea of how I got to this point let me first give you a little background information. In 2008 I started my Web Development company SuperTech Media LLC. Over the first four years I built a solid book of business helping other companies start & grow their online business segments. But there is a fatal flaw with this…
The problem with this type of business is you are always needing to source “the next job” or client. Kind of makes it hard to focus on a project towards the end as you come to realize your income is about to end!
So in 2012, in an attempt to stabilize my monthly income, I decided to try building my own “brand” and use the tactics I had been using for my clients to make it a success. I settled on building a niche website because I knew I could get it ranked quickly and with minimal upfront cost (being a web developer has it’s perks).
The first place I started searching for ideas was Flippa.com. I started there because it allowed me to see what niches were creating positive cash flows for their owners, how long a typical site needed to exist before it became profitable, and reading the comments on the listings gave me insight to questions I never thought to ask.
Once I started to narrow down my search a bit by ruling out what I didn’t want to do, I found the fitness industry to be a good fit for me. I knew I could write plenty of content on it and it has the potential to become a highly profitable niche should you connect buyers with company’s offering fitness products…be it through Amazon, Affiliate by Conversant (formerly Commission Junction), or even eBay.
Next came the keyword research, this is the MOST IMPORTANT PART of starting an online business.
I cannot stress enough that doing your research BEFORE you start will save you thousands of dollars and hours down the road. Choosing the right opportunity via keyword research is just as important as the industry itself. Here’s more information on how I do my keyword research, the tools I use, and my criteria.
Once I found keywords that met my target criteria of:
This basic criteria allowed me to sort through many niches that could be profitable, but I may never rank for (at least in the short term). Using this criteria I was able find a series of fitness keywords that had monthly search volume that mostly went un-answered…JACKPOT!
So I took my first keyword and bought a direct match domain…aka the domain is the KEYWORD.com…and started to build the site using WordPress. A week later I had finished adding content and images, so I applied for Google Adsense and an affiliate account with CJ.com.
This is the boring part that most people fall off at now, you’ve done the “work”, not where is the traffic? This segment is what separates the winners from the losers, the dedication to stick with it.
Everything day I would add 1-3 new things to the site, whether it was content, a page, a link incoming or outgoing, or an image. Over the course of 30 days I had a much improved website with loads of content to rank! Google recognized this and started sending me small bits of traffic because I answered a question more thoroughly than the competition. This is KEY!
You can’t trick Google, so just answer a question better than your competition and win the higher ranking position.
Slowing add in more content from days 30-60 meant ever more traffic and actual income started to flow my way. A few months later (4 total) I had the 2nd place spot on Google for my target keyword! This is great, but not being in the 1st position means I’m losing over 60% of the traffic. Big jump in possible earnings right in front of my face, so here’s how I got after it.
Images, more content, guest posts on ezine, fitness blogs, and forums with links back to my site, did I mention more fresh content daily? This paid off, by month 6 I was in the 1st position on Google for not just my primary keyword, but several of my secondary ones as well. As traffic continued to grow I switched around the methods I used to monetize the site. Google Adsense is great, but you’re earning money by giving away your traffic for less than $1. Maybe you can do better by selling them a product directly via affiliate links and earning $3-$10 for each visitor that leaves your site…think about it!
This is exactly what I ended up doing. I switched over to an affiliate link focused site and connected directly with Bowflex. They offered a 7% commission for each sale, with an average sale being over $1,000. That means $70 in earnings for each sale! I quickly found different methods to increase conversion rates, mainly by writing more content so the visitor knew exactly what they were clicking on. Being upfront and honest, serving the visitors needs first, meant I was rewarded with a higher conversion rate in the long run.
I continue to use this methodology today. You don’t need to “sell” to be successful online, you just need to serve. Server better than your competition, provide better customer support, product imagery, etc, and the visitors will reward you with continued traffic and higher conversion rates.
Learn How to Sell, Without Selling
I know that sounds complex but hear me out. How many times did you rush to buy something because a friend recommended it? Now how many times did you rush to buy something because you dealt with an uncomfortable and rude salesman? Serve the needs of the potential customer and they will reward you with their business.
If and when you find something that works, replicate it. This is how the biggest companies in the world win over market share. Think of the printer isle at any electronics store, take HP for example, notice they don’t just make one printer model? They make ten you’re more likely to buy from them. Same with the Coke company, they make many soda brands so you’re more likely to give them your $1.50.
Nobody likes being lied to, especially during a sales process. Customers always find out the truth of the pitch after the sale because they’re the ones walking away with your product. Being upfront and honest sets the right exceptions, leading to repeat customers and increased customer satisfaction.
Being boring can kill your business. You have to EXCITE people to spend money with you. Tell them why you should be pumped about this opportunity, or what you’ve taken the time to tell them about it. Share your personal experiences and stories, nothing speaks louder than real success stories.