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The Naked Truth About Making Money Online

The Naked Truth About Making Money Online

The Naked Truth About Making Money Online

You’ve decided that for whatever reason, be it COVID 19 or otherwise, that you want or need to make money online. And that’s great! I encourage you to do so! But before you set out on the internet, I’d like to share something you should know; The Naked Truth About Making Money Online.

Roads Traveled

I have a lot of experience in this area. I’ve been doing business online since 2003. When I first started out to make money online years back, the first things I came across were affiliate marketing, dropshipping, and services. (And by services, I mean web design and graphic design.) Since I had those skills already, and those were my strong suits as services, it seemed a great opportunity. And it has been.

Yes, I’ve tried just about everything over the years.  And even got into YouTube and marketplaces; honestly, the two places I’ve been most happy in the long run.

But I get ahead of myself. Let’s rewind back to the beginning, where you may be at this point. That starting point where you decide to work from home and attempt to make a living online. And from there, lot of us will go online in search of opportunities and encounter what I like to call….

“The Internet Marketing Runaround”

Type “make money online” or “work from home” into Google and see what happens. That’s the first big mistake you can make. You’ll be instantly bombarded with downright maddening volumes of information and people trying to sell you on “opportunities”.

And a lot of it, honestly, is bullsh*t. There are literally so many scammers out there trying to make money for themselves, it’s flat out crazy! Internet Marketers, and sketchy ones at that, will be waiting there to hook unsuspecting newbies, with the single goal of making themselves lots of cash.

They aren’t out to help you make money, they are out to exploit you and take you for what little money you have. And this really pisses me off to no end! If you really want The Naked Truth About Making Money Online, you need to start with…

How To Avoid Make Money Online Scams

I’ve covered some of the top scams you’ll encounter in my recent post here. And I’ll get into this in a bit more detail again here. Because it’s really easy to get taken for a ride on the internet and waste a lot of time, or worse, a LOT of money.

Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of legitimate ways to make money. Affiliate Marketing and Referral Programs for instance, are real opportunities. It’s just that they take a lot more time, hard work and effort than the scammers will lead you to believe. And most of those niches are extremely over-saturated, so you’ll have a tough, uphill battle trying to gain any traction there.

My #1 rule of thumb…

If it feels like you are pushing a boulder uphill, go elsewhere. But honestly, avoid the boulder and make sure you are attempting something that’s possible. This means you need to seriously checkout the niches you are looking at before you go diving in and pouring effort into it. Check the keywords; you want high demand, and low competition. If the niche you are looking into has tons of competition and not enough demand, move on and try another.

Work Smarter, Not Harder.

Moving on, I’ve seen a lot of bogus training programs in my time too. They will lead you to believe that they have training for a “make money fast” business model that will cost you a little to no money to get started. These programs will cost anywhere from $24 to $999, with the high-end ones ranging in the thousands.

I know, because I took the bait too lol When I first started out, I bought into a $3k “training program”. And I’ll admit, I learned a LOT.  Lol Staring your first set of 6 dropship websites, 4 blogs, and getting into affiliate marketing from that training will do that for you.

Ah, Hindsight…

I just wish the information we have today would have been available to me then. I could have saved myself the $3k and come out in the same place lol I came out of that training after a year with a couple of online stores that made me $500/mth each…. before my expenses. One took off and did better … before Google trashed traffic a few years back with the big algorithm change. I’ve made some affiliate money. Not much to show for my $3k investment though.

I was even able to avoid the costs of building my websites because I was already a web designer and graphic designer. Had I not had those skills in place, those websites would have cost me at least $1200 apiece!

But I’ve done much better since then, learning on my own, and trusting only those who deserve my trust, to teach me things I needed to know. So I’ll do my level best to pay that knowledge forward here with a mixture of important information. I’ll give you some useful information on what works. And I’ll  help you learn how to avoid scams…

Naked Truth #1…

When you see people making any $ amount claims, RUN! When you see people selling programs that make those claims, and tell you it will be fast and easy, RUN!

I know this is going to sound harsh but, it just usually doesn’t happen overnight like that. At least not very often. Sure, you may get lucky. You’ll hear about kids making thousands of dollars a month from YouTube videos. You’ll hear about the guy who was poor broke until he took a chance on his product and now, he’s a rich millionaire.

Sure, you might be that one person in 100,000 that hits a crazy easy and highly lucrative winner right out of the gate. But the truth is, millions of people set out to make money online each month, every year, and most fail. And this has been going on since the internet picked up monetary momentum back in the early 2000’s.

The odds just aren’t good.

Sadly, most fall by the wayside. I’m just taking an educated guess here; I’d wager that at least 50% of the people that come up with a product and try to sell it online via their own website, or start a blog looking to promote affiliate and referral links will give up within a month or two. 25% make it maybe 6 to 9 months, and all but a highly versatile and driven 5% will be gone completely within a year.

Yes, those stats include YouTube channels, selling training courses, mentoring, coaching etc.

My point here; you’ll be more successful with anything you try if you start out expecting a huge learning curve, a lot of hard work, prepared to put a lot of time and effort into making a living online.

Don’t expect that you will hit the jackpot and become rich overnight.

It’s just not realistic. Don’t even expect to make a dime in the first few months, maybe even a year. Honestly, when banks lend money for businesses, they don’t expect any overhead income until after 3 years!

Expect to have to put in your dues building and audience, building trust and gaining authority in whatever it is you choose to do. Because unless you intend to get an online job (working for someone else) from someplace like Upwork, Flexjobs or Indeed, you’ll have to build up your web presence to get sales. And even then, you’ll have to build your profile and resume, and often a portfolio. (That’s not to say that those opportunities don’t exist either, they are real as well. I’ve done quite well with them too.)

This includes Etsy, Ebay, even selling artwork on places like Zazzle, Envato, and Creative Market. Sure, marketplaces have tons of ready to roll traffic but, you’ll still have to build up trust as a seller. People are leery of buying from new shops, no matter where they are. You’ll need to build up those review stars before the sales will come flooding in.

Being reasonable about your expectations will help you avoid being among those that don’t make it.

Naked Truth #2

No one can tell you for sure, with no shadow of a doubt that you will make money at what ever you choose to get into. I’m not even going to go there. I’ve seen people succeed at lots of things online, and I’ve seen far more people fail at those very same things.

I can tell you that your best bet for making money online is to be adaptable and be willing to learn. To be willing to go the extra mile to get there. But I can’t promise you anything, and anyone who says they can… RUN!

Telling you how I would go about assessing the best (legitimate) opportunities for you is something I can also tell you that will help. I’ll have information and a checklist for you as soon as I can.

But Remember, There Are NO Guarantees.

A lot of it depends on your ability to learn, adapt, and persevere. It entirely depends on your level of drive and ambition. Because as I like to say; “Nothing worthwhile ever came easy.”

Okay, again, don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying it has to be grueling. I’m just saying, be prepared to work! Just because it’s online, and you are working from home in your pj’s, doesn’t mean it’s all fun and games. Even YouTube channels aren’t as “easy” to operate as you may think. There are all kinds of best practices and techniques you’ll need to learn and put in place in order to have your best chance at success; and I talk about some of those here. But I digress…

The Naked Truth About Making Money Online #3

Most of the time, unique, original ideas and content make for the best opportunities. Take blogging for example; having a unique, original voice in your writing is always your best bet. Be original, be yourself, be conversational and charismatic and entertaining. Be authoritative, informative and helpful, depending on the blog topic. Do this and you’ll get far further than you ever will regurgitating the same old stories and information everyone else has.

Be Creative, Be Unique

The best, most lucrative blogs have a unique voice, unique content, and a charismatic soul behind it.

Same thing goes with product. You’ll go further with your ecommerce shop if you have unique product. (ahem…well, unless you can source, ship and otherwise handle massive quantities of mass manufactured product.) Otherwise, you’ll just be competing with millions of others selling the same wares. Worse yet, you’ll be competing with the “Big Boys” like Walmart and Amazon, and that road leads to nowhere.

But here again, a creative, unique voice behind the marketing technique can go a long way, even so. Ever hear about that guy who made millions selling bandannas on Facebook? Yup, all he had was a unique approach and it worked great. Those are not the usual results though. So lets get back to what most of us will consider reality…

Play on your strong suits, be yourself and go with things that you have an interest and knowledge in. Use your existing skills. and always, always, be ready and willing to learn anything you need to in order to succeed.

Naked Truth #4

Honestly, for most, the path of least resistance, and ultimately less up-front investment, will be getting an online job. Or selling a product or service that you can provide.

To sell those products and service your best bet, to start anyway, is to sell from a Marketplace. You know, like Amazon, Ebay or the like. I’ve got more information about Marketplaces for digital product in a recent blog post here>>

But pretty much, Marketplaces enable you to tap into the traffic and customer base they already have going. That way you don’t have to go to the long, arduous task of acquiring your own audience, traffic, customers, and leads.

So, if you are new to the whole “make money online” thing, I highly recommend assessing your skills, and strong suits, and finding a Marketplace to sell them from. That’s the best way to avoid scams too.

Naked Truth #5

Never underestimate the scammers; they are geniuses at what they do. There are a lot of them out there, they do it because it pays, and their favorite targets are unsuspecting newbies who don’t know any better. I can’t stress this fact enough, because I really hate seeing people get scammed!

I don’t quite know how to explain this but, the online world has a certain “clan” of people. A certain breed of internet marketers who aren’t looking to market products or services for other businesses. They aren’t looking to help you or provide anything beneficial really. But they make millions a year saying that’s what they do.

They are selling you on their stuff just to make money. They use legitimate techniques; proven business models and some serious marketing know how to hook you. And once you’ve run their gamut of available products and services, they expect you to drop off the face of the earth as far as they are concerned and move on.

The Life Of The Lead

That’s what it’s called. Once they hook you into that first product, they know they can expect you to hang in there anywhere from 3-9 months. They know that you’ll stick around to buy subsequent products for that time period before you drop off their list and off their radar.

It’s just a statistical fact.

They use automated sales funnels to encourage and entice you through their “gamut of things”. And knowing that it’s far easier to get someone to buy subsequent items once they have already bought one thing from them, rather than getting fresh buyers, (another statistical fact btw) they will lead you through buying their entire product line if you will let them. They use a series of emails and sales funnels to get this done.

Once you have bought everything they have to offer you at the time, the emails will eventually stop coming on a regular basis. All you will hear from them is the occasional sales pitch for a new “product”, a link to their new sales funnel when they launch a new one. And if you take the bait again, you’ll start through their new gamut of products and services.

They rinse and repeat like this all the time. Top marketers will generally launch a new leading “product line” every 6 to 9 months, with smaller ones to fill in the gaps every other month or so.

Again, all that matters is that you bought into their full product line(s). And of course, they prefer it if you stay on their mailing list so they can pitch you new products and services when they launch new ones.

It’s basically a massive pyramid scheme…

They sell you their training and surrounding services and products that they claim are designed to make you money. They will offer “developer rights” to their products and services for a larger fee that will allow you to resell them to others. In reality, you can’t compete with their advertising budget, or their authority in the niche, and you will have a tough time reselling those products, if you can sell them at all. So, it’s unlikely that you will even become a part of the pyramid scheme, and they are just selling you their “products”; plain and simple.

You may not even be aware that what you are buying is their “product”. Worse yet, they will often claim that you can turn around and do the same exact thing, making money just like they do. And while we are at it, think about that for a minute; even if it does work for you, is that how you want to make your living?

While these scammers will tell you that doing business this way is a simple Naked Truth About Making Money Online, I beg to differ. Because stealing people’s hard earned money and giving nothing of real worth in return is just bad business. Period.

Again, I digress. You must to remember this …

Naked Truth #6 ~ Online Everything Is A Product

Training programs are a product. Memberships are a product. Graphics are a product. Videos are a product (yes, even on YouTube). Plugins for your website to get some feature they say you need in order to do what they are teaching you; a product. Software to help you get features and functionality you’ll need; product. Services for mailing lists and the like; product. (And they can code this last type of product or outsource it so fast it would make your head spin, if only you could see!)

Anything you can buy or sell on the internet, even information about a product, service or task, is a product. And that is the honest to gosh Naked Truth About Making Money Online.

Pay attention to that fact..

Because it’s one that should inspire you actually; it means that in all likelihood, you have LOTS of skills or knowledge right now that can make you a nice living online. So a good way to get started is to make a list of anything you may be able to monetize! You may be surprised at how much you already have to offer your customers. Be helpful, give them something they can use to make their lives easier, their day less stressful, or maybe just something they need or want, and they will love you for it… that means income! 

But moving on here… oh yes, scammers. So, the “opportunities” and/or business models these tricksters are teaching you, and selling services and products for, may well be totally legit. But that doesn’t mean you’ll make a dime at it. And it doesn’t mean they are legit either.

Read the fine print

And I mean tiny, fine print at the bottom of their sales page, or check out their disclaimer, and they will disclose that information.

“The results you’ve seen here are not typical … we can’t promise in any way that you will make any certain amount of money…” yada yada yada

Yeah, but they tell you up front you can make “x” amount of $ in just one week right?! Yup, always read the fine, and I mean tiny lol fine print at the bottom of the sales page.

What is a sales “funnel” or sales page?

These are web pages that are specifically designed to provide information and prompting to purchase something online. Basically, an elongated add with buy buttons so you can purchase said thing directly from that page. The internet version of a newspaper ad.

Basic Anatomy Of A Sales Page

Again, this is a legit way to sell products and services. If you have a good product or service, it’s worth a sales funnel, and you can make a lot of legit money with them. And you can help a lot of people doing it. Now that, is a legitimate business. I mean, I have sales funnels. But you won’t see a load of hallow promises on them. And those are the types of sales funnels you may want to check into if they have something that you could use.

But these people use them to scam you. It’s easy to spot the right off. There is typically a large print title or “tag line” and a video right at the top fo the page, followed by a “Buy Now” button and a timer to urge you to purchase quickly before “time runs out”.

If you scroll on down the page there will be loads of images, information and key points about the product… more promises and dollar signs … another button about halfway through … more technical jargon … then come the “reviews” and “testimonials” (a lot of which are fake btw so always, always check up on those before you buy) and then another buy button and another timer.

As you near the end of the bottom of the page, you’ll notice that the sense of urgency becomes more and more intense as they carefully sculpt these pages to make you feel the need to buy, “RIGHT NOW! TODAY! BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE!”

But Remember, I Can’t Stress This Enough…

Sales funnels and pages are legitimate ways to sell product and services. Techniques you may well want to use. Not all sales funnels and pages are destined to burn up your hard-earned cash, lead you off into the forest and leave you for dead. For instance, good companies that aren’t trying to pull one over on you will have REAL testimonials and reviews.

That. Is good business.

But, this particular clan of internet marketers touting “make money online”, “we’ll show you how”, use these otherwise legitimate techniques in non-legit ways (they flat out lie) to get you to buy what they are selling, and they do it well.

I recommend avoiding anything that looks like this. Most especially ANYTHING promising any dollar amount of income you can make if you buy their “thing”. This is illegal by the way. It can literally get you shut down these days if you are caught. But they might not get caught before they catch you. So do your due diligence; if it sounds to too good to be true, it usually is. And I recommend learning how to spot these tricksters before you buy into any program, product or service that is supposed to be designed to make you money online, working from home.

For Legitimate Training, Go To Legitimate Sources

Go to legitimate online training sources like Lynda.com, Udemy or some other trusted platform. And even so, always, always check the seller out, up one side and down the other. Definitely check their reviews and do a search to see if it’s a scam before you buy! A Tip: try a Google search for “x company product + scam”. See if any bad reviews and/or information comes up through legitimate scam checker sites. Those sites are the best way to find The Naked Truth About Making Money Online with the suspect!

If They Are Legit…

You will typically find that they have a long running website or blog where they will give you all kinds of useful information for free. You should be able to pick up a lot from these sites, and they should give you plenty of reasons to trust them.

I mean, I do this. I’m not selling anything except web design and graphics here on my site. I do have some affiliate links, but that’s because I’ve tried the services I recommend, had success with them, and truly believe that they will be beneficial to you in building your online presence.

It’s one of the things I do. And I love to help others. So I try to post useful information like this to my blog as often as I can. I offer it for free, to help you out. To give back to the online community that has helped me delve my income online. I like to pay it forward 😉

But, in the long run, most of my online income comes from a combination of several things; web design, graphic design, and marketplaces. I do the occasional training session or two for web design; I do love that. So last but certainly not least…

The Naked Truth About Making Money Online #7 ~ Multiple Income Streams

It would be nice to be able to just run a single business. To provide a single service or sell a single product, and be able to make a full time living online. But in all honesty, that just doesn’t happen very often. In most cases, if you find yourself making that income, it’s going to come from multiple income streams.

You are likely to need to piece it together from at least 6 sources; an ecommerce shop here, a blog there, a platform or two, a YouTube channel… yeah, it’s pretty much like that. This is perhaps, the most important Naked Truth About Making Money Online that you may ever hear.

Do some checking around. You’ll find that a most successful online money makers have at least 6 income streams running at all times. And it’s best to have as many as you can get!

But before you get all down in the dumps…

Consider this; it’s also the safest income you can get. Because if one stream fails, you can more easily start another to fill in the gap. Honestly, it’s best to have a couple coming up in ranks at all times. So when a fail happens, you aren’t too far off from covering one before the crisis occurs.

It’s far easier to get multiple streams bringing in $1000 or less each per month, than one at $6000+ per month. Like one ecommerce site to pull down $1000, a blog or two pulling down $500 each per month, a YouTube channel that nets you $400 per month, and so on. Besides, again, it’s easier to cover if you lose one of your $1000 per month streams, than turn around and come up with a single stream that pulls down a full income.

Little Blocks Build Big Castles

So I recommend that you build your little internet empire one or two streams at a time. Then keep building and growing until you have the income you need. Make sure each one is solid as you can get it before you split your time up to build another. Don’t stretch yourself too thin. Otherwise you could wind up falling short before you get a steady, solid income coming in.

Put one foot in front of the other. Get started, work smart, and keep going until you achieve what I already know you can; a good, steady income online! There’s never a better time to start, than today 😉 And that, is The Naked Truth About Making Money Online.

I hope this information helps you get there. And if you like this post, be sure to subscribe to my blog. Make sure to say “Hi” in comments if you have time!  You may also want to check out the other helpful information I have for you on my blog here. I hope to see you around. All my best.

The Naked Truth About Making Money Online

How To Make Money Online Work From Home Selling Digital Artwork

How To Make Money Online Work From Home Selling Digital Artwork

How To Make Money Online Work From Home Selling Digital Artwork

Since the virus is encouraging many traditional workers to work online, I thought I’d share this information with you today about How To Make Money Online Work From Home Selling Digital Artwork!

The Basics Of Selling Digital Artwork Online

If you are a digital artist, and have some art files sitting around collecting dust on your hard drive, you may be interested to know that there’s a lot of demand for all kinds of art online these days. Digital downloads can be quite lucrative, providing you have the artwork people are looking for.

First, some basic information. It’s important to understand that what we are talking about here is providing your customers with digital downloads of art files. So, you’ll only need to deliver your art files, in the appropriate file types depending on their intended use, via zip folder. Your customers will simply download the files from the marketplace(s) you choose to sell your files on.

As I’m sure you already have figured, the beauty of this is that there’s no shipping or dealing with physical product involved here; just digital files. Yes, that’s right! No frustrating shipping fees, packaging, or scheduling USPS pickups; just digital downloadable goods.

And yes! You can absolutely make money online, working from home, selling your digital art 😉

The Basics Of Selling Digital Artwork Online

How To Package Your Digital Files

For the most part, depending on the types of artwork you’ll be selling, you’ll simply need to compress your art files in a zip folder. Of course, if the marketplace allows, you’ll want to include a digital “packing slip” and thank you note. You can pretty much use the same information you would use to send out physical product just, of course, in terms of digital artwork.

Important Things To Know Before Selling Digital Art

As with any business, you’ll need to provide excellent customer support should anyone ask questions. Customers will usually reach you via the message system of the marketplace you are distributing your artwork on. And you’ll want to respond politely, in a timely manner. I’ll leave it at that for now; if you are interested in more information about communicating with your customers, check out my blog post here>>

Make sure to check the marketplace you want to join, and thoroughly review their policies. These can vary widely from one place to another so, be sure you know what you are doing before you apply to a marketplace, or upload artwork for sale. They will provide you with any information you will need to provide excellent services and fulfill the marketplace requirements.

Suffice to say, always make sure your artwork is top-notch, or your work may be removed. You can also have your account canceled if your work doesn’t meet the marketplace requirements.

Most marketplaces require an application and have an approval process. Most require some type of portfolio where they can view your work. (A quick tip: you can easily set up a portfolio on BeHance if you don’t have one. Here’s mine as an example>>) Lol the branding is a bit muddled right now but, I thought you might like to see what you can do with Behance so, it’s good enough to give you a fair idea 😉

Lastly, and it should go without saying but, NEVER use other people’s artwork. It’s violation of copyright law, and marketplaces will remove your work if they catch you doing it.

Digital Art Marketplaces To Join

One of the top marketplaces to join where you can sell your digital art is Envato. You can sell a wide variety of digital art there, from website and social media banners to photography, Envato sells it all! However, it’s also one of the most restricted places to sell your artwork, with some of the steepest competition online. But if you have quality artwork to sell, you should have no problems.

Two of the best places to “get your feet wet” so to speak are Etsy, and DesignBundles.net (affiliate link). Etsy of course, requires that you set up a seller shop. I found a great article with information about how you can set up your store here>>

While DesignBundles allows you to have a shop too, it operates a bit differently. Instead of getting paid for your artwork directly, this marketplace gives you a commission when a customer purchases one of your designs. Be sure to check their policies for more information.

Places like Dreamstime, 123rf and Shutterstock are also great places to sell your artwork and photography online. Again, more difficult to get into but, worth trying if you are serious about selling your artwork online, and working from home!

I know this post is a bit short compared to my usually longer posts but, it should give you enough information to get started. And of course, be sure to follow the links I shared here for more information about specific marketplaces 😉 Of course, if you have any questions you are always welcome to get in touch with me; I’m always happy to help!

How To Make Money Online Work From Home Selling Digital Artwork

Avoid Getting Scammed Trying To Make Money Online

Avoid Getting Scammed Trying To Make Money Online

,Avoid Getting Scammed Trying To Make Money Online

Gainfully working online since around 2003, I’ve seen just about every online scam there is to see. I’ll share a few critical tips with you here. Considering that COVID 19 is causing a massive interest in work from home jobs, my goal is to help you Avoid Getting Scammed Trying To Make Money Online.

I’ve spent a good deal of time checking out scam models and figuring out what makes them tick. Quite frankly I find it deplorable what these people do. I don’t like seeing people get ripped off. In fact, I hate seeing people get ripped off.

I’ve checked out a TON of “make money online” businesses and models and learned the in’s and out’s. So, I’m more than happy for the opportunity to share what I’ve learned with you here today, and hopefully save you a lot of time and effort for nothing!

I recommend following a few simple rules. Guidelines really. Know to look out for these, and know locations to steer clear of, and you are far less likely to get scammed when trying to find work from home.

I’ll also give you a list of some legitimate places to look for online and remote work, and some legitimate work from home ideas and other suggestions for those of you who are geared towards starting your own business.

Avoiding The Most Common Scams

First of all, let’s talk about avoiding the most common scams you will come across; pretty much ANY ad or any “program” touting “Make Money Online”. These so called “programs” often ask for money up front, and they also tend to make crazy claims about certain amounts of money you can make with their program.

To be clear, there is a LOT of money to be made online. It CAN be done. But legitimate online income is rarely ever “easy” or “fast”. So, a good first thing to avoid is people who make….

Sensationalist Claims Of Income

A good example of this would be “Make $200 A Day” or, “Make $1400 per Month” with their program, or list or “business opportunity” etc. Sometimes they say they are offering a job, for example, emailing people. Basically, this is just the new, online version of the old “Make Money Mailing Envelopes” scam.

The beauty of it is that they are only asking for a few dollars so, most people desperate to make money will bite because they don’t realize what’s going on. Pretty much, you copy the very same script they used to get you hooked in. Then  you simply spam other people with it to get your own “sign ups”.

Avoid these types of “opportunities”, most ESPECIALLY when they are making claims about some dollar amount you can make, and claiming you can do it fast.

Pyramid Schemes

Then there are of course, the more legitimate, shady side of legal scams. My favorite here are pyramid scheme type businesses. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying you can’t make money at these. Just be advised, these “programs” are generally just aimed at making the top tier leaders money. And getting free advertising for their pyramid scheme and products from an army of unsuspecting people who pay to get in, and very rarely ever make much back.

And don’t think these companies haven’t gotten hit by the authorities for this either; it’s happened. The trouble is, these companies have so much money, and with legitimate products to sell, they just find a way around the new regulations the authorities put in place, and continue business as usual.

Now, I’m not going to name names lol for obvious reasons. All I’ll say is there are a very specific set of characteristics to look for and avoid. Do so and you’ll easily avoid these semi-scams. Beware when they:

  1. Ask for you to purchase a certain amount of product every month in order to enroll or join the “business opportunity”.
  2. Tout these big vacation party type gatherings, generally in some exotic, tropical location, promising that if you sell enough product, you’ll get to go to the party too.
  3. Suggest that you start out by trying to sell your family and friends on said product, and if you can, to get them into the pyramid scheme too.
  4. Give you a “free website” when you join, where you are supposed to send your so called customers to buy product. (These are mass produced, cloned sites that will NEVER garner any search results because there are thousands of them just like it. Always remember; duplicate content is BAD!)
  5. The person who you contact with be your “coach” or “mentor” or something like that; basically, the person who’s enrolled you, to help you out. This is the person who will get a commission for the products you purchase in order to join. (Hence, pyramid scheme.) 

In the back end of these businesses, if ever you make it that far in your “training”, they will tell you as a “coach” or “mentor” of your sign ups to expect most people to pay for their product for around 6 – 9 months, and then drop off.

They call this “the life expectancy of a lead” or something similar, and the stats are that they will stick around for about 6-9 months because it’s just a fact that a lead will stay in on the average of that long before quitting because they aren’t making enough money to make it worthwhile. And the 9 months is how long you can, on average, expect to get commissions for the product your sign ups purchase from you.

The goal with pyramid schemes is use the “make your money back” plot, and the “free website” they give you, to entice you into using their product for as long as possible and get you to get your friends and family onboard as well. They know you will only stick around for “the life of the lead”, and that’s all they need to make tons of money off of you and your family and friends.

With new “leads” coming in all the time, the top earners know that their quota will be re-filled constantly.

Legitimate Make Money Online Opportunities

Legitimate Make Money Online Opportunities

Okay so, enough of the scary scam stuff! Now that you have a good idea of what not to get involved in, let’s talk about what does work! There are a lot of real, legitimate ways to make a living working from home. And a lot of them can be very rewarding. The key here is to have a service, information, entertainment or a product that will help others fix some problem, or fulfill some need that they have.

Affiliates

Yes, affiliates are a real thing, and they do make real money, and it is a legit way to make money. However, this one is what I would call risky business. Because when you come across the inevitable “training course” or someone claiming to set you up with an affiliate business, it’s generally a scam. You are likely to just waste a lot of time and effort.

I say generally because there certainly are some legitimate training courses out there. And good ones; I’ve taken them. They will help you to understand the affiliate business and get the basics of how to make money as an affiliate. (Although, since you pay for the course, and they know most people won’t ever make much from this type of business, it’s debatable whether or not this is a scam.)

But I digress; the thing is, to make money as an affiliate you must have an audience to put your links in front of; people have to see your links and click on them if you want to make money, and more importantly, they generally have to buy something. This means you need a following, a sizable one; preferably on multiple venues.

Successful affiliates have blogs with massive followings. They have mailing lists with thousands, if not tens of thousands of subscribers, and generally sizable social media followings as well. They have positioned themselves as an authority in their niche, and it can take years to accumulate those kinds of numbers.

Otherwise, you’ll just wind up spamming people with links, which will get you subsequently kicked off of a lot of online venues. And social media outlets are wise to this by now; they will quickly ban your account for spamming your affiliate links. An example, newbies get kicked out of Facebook for this all the time.

Again, being an affiliate is a legit way to make money online, but honestly, it takes years to cultivate a large enough audience to make any real income. It’s a lot of hard work, time and effort. And you’ll need TONS of fresh, original content as well. It’s certainly not an income that folds out quickly.

But, if you are interesting in becoming an affiliate, try the Amazon affiliate program. Try Commission Junction, and any other legitimate affiliate platform. Start yourself a blog, set up social media, get ready to create a ton, and I mean a TON of content. Join some legit programs, and get to cracking! It can be quite lucrative for those with the dedication and perseverance to succeed!

Drop-shipping

Yes, drop shipping is a legitimate business model as well. I won’t cover this in detail here because I have a post for you with a LOT of information on this here on my blog. For the purposes of this post I’ll just say that it’s legit alright, and it can be quite worthwhile. Just know that, just like being an affiliate it takes a lot of dedication, time and effort in most cases to get enough traffic to your products to make a decent living.

Work From Home Jobs

There are a good number of work from home and “remote” jobs that are actually a job; i.e. someone hires you, and pays you do work that you can do online, from home. However, with so many people looking for this kind of work, even before COVID 19 it was tough to find a spot.

I’m not saying you can’t find work from home; word has it that a lot more companies will be looking for people to work from home now. (And for the sake of our carbon footprint, along with issues like Corona Virus, I certainly hope so. Because I feel it would be a sad waste of technology not to do so.) But, again, TONS of people will be on the lookout for them too. So be ready for some steep competition when you go in search of an online job.

Be sure to only look for work at legitimate places where real jobs are posted like Flexjobs, and indeed. Companies like this are doing everything they can to spread the word about legitimate online jobs so, be sure to take a look if you are in the market for one!

The other obviously legit way to make money online is to offer a service or product yourself. Better known as a business, some people just aren’t geared towards this sort of thing. But if you have a genuine product or service to sell, you can do quite well online.

Marketplaces

These are the quickest way to get started. Simply put, marketplaces offer the benefit of allowing you to list your products and/or services on their site. You can draw from their huge pools of customers and traffic to make money.

This way you don’t have to have your own website or blog with tons of traffic to sell your wares and services. Among other things, I do this. I have a number of shops on marketplaces like Etsy and others where I sell my digital art, among other things.

I also have training courses on places like Udemy. And it’s a great way to make money and help people at the same time, teaching something you know. I find it very fulfilling 😊

Your Own Business Online

By this I mean, driving traffic to your own website or blog. A place where your services, content or products are available for purchase. This includes affiliate income, as well as products and services you may have to offer.

I have lots of information about starting, maintaining and growing your own online business here on my blog. So I won’t go into detail in this post. Suffice to say, this is not the fast track to income online. However, I do believe it is the most stable way to go. In part, because you can set yourself up with…

Multiple Income Streams

Lastly, I want to talk about this topic. Why? Because having multiple sources of income makes your livelihood more stable. Put it this way; if you only have one website with one type of product, and anything goes wrong, you’re just sunk.

Yeah, it’s happened to me, way back. It happens to the best of us so, don’t feel bad if it’s happened to you. I had a nice little booming business going from a couple of my sites. Then, the “big boys” decided to mass market and sell similar products. All of my hard-earned traffic and income just fizzled over the course of a few months. I was forced to scramble for something else.

Ah, those were the days lol

Anyway, I HIGHLY recommend diversifying your income with multiple streams, essentially, multiple little businesses. Unrelated ones if at all possible; that makes things even more sturdy and reliable. Honestly, it’s much easier to get a few nice little businesses going that each make $1 or $2k a month.

It’s much harder to take one business and make your entire income. And again, it’s not as stable as say, 4 or 5 nice little $1k a month businesses. And again, if any one of those goes down, you can just start another to fill in the gap. This leaves you with the rest of your income stable 😉

My suggestion for a stable online income is to become, essentially, a Jack or Jill of all trades. Or at least 4 or 5, so you can delve a more stable income. And most people have more than few things they know well enough to make money from. So it’s a better bet than trying to take one single business through the roof.

I recommend something like a YouTube channel, a marketplace shop or two, a website with products. Start a blog where you promote affiliate links. And of course, the all important mailing list or two… or three lol … something like that. It’s certainly worked well for me!

Help, Support & Training For Your Online Income

Again, I have lots of tips and information about all of these here on my site. The information is free; all I want is for people to be able to enjoy making a living online and be happy!

Of course, you are always welcome to get in touch for a website or training if you like. I’m always available to help hard working people who are serious about working on their own online business. So if you need help with Branding or a logo, or want to learn how to create a blog or WordPress site, feel free to contact me.

But honestly lol I suggest looking up anything you need to learn on YouTube. You can pretty much self-learn anything you need these days for free. Just be sure it’s a credible source and you’ll be good to go!

I hope this information at least helps you How To Avoid Getting Scammed Trying To Make Money Online. Hopefully, you’ll find your own little niches and be successful. Working from home, making a living online can be wonderful. Lol a lot of hard work, dedication, self-discipline and such are necessary but, I find it very rewarding. It can be done, and I wish you all the best in your endeavors!

Avoid Getting Scammed Trying to Make Money Online

On Page SEO Is Still On Your “To Do” List

On Page SEO Is Still On Your “To Do” List

On Page SEO – Still On Your “To Do” List

Yes, On Page SEO Should Still Be On Your “To Do” List!! Even with all the changes that have been made to the search engines in recent years, it’s still essential.

SEO still helps to ensure that your post or page gets optimal search results with the search engines, primarily Google. Because search crawlers will still look for this critical aspect of Content Marketing; information in your post that search engines like Google use to index the page and determine where it will be placed in search results. (Sure, search result position can change up or down over time regardless of On Page SEO quality, but it pays to be on top of this aspect.)

And it doesn’t matter whether it’s content on your website, or listings on a platform like Etsy; SEO is still a top priority if you want to get your content found online. Which is why I can’t express strongly enough; On Page SEO Is Still On Your “To Do” List

SEO Techniques To Use

Though there are more On Page SEO techniques that can be used to increase your chances of good search results, the following On Page SEO Guide includes the basic techniques that should be used on every post. Follow the instructions below to ensure basic optimization of your posts.

Title

Your keyword or keyword phrase must appear in the title. Be sure to go to Google Keyword Planner Tool and research your keyword or keyword phrase. (It is best to use keywords or keyword phrases that get more than 2000 searches per month.)

Be sure that your keyword or keyword phrase appears in the URL of the page. WordPress populates this from the text you insert in the title area of the page, however, if it does not display correctly you can manually change it by clicking “Edit” next to the “Permalink” field just under the page title.

Keyword Density

According to SEO experts, Yoast, keword density should be between 0.5 – 2.5%; however, best post Panda practices require conversational content. This means avoiding “keyword” stuffing (never a good idea to begin with), by using synonyms which are now recognized in Google search algorithms. Using synonyms will produce the optimal, conversational content now demands.

Make sure that your keyword appears in the first 25 words of your first paragraph, and in the last sentence of the page. This usage comprises 2 counts of keyword density usage, after which you can sprinkle synonyms throughout the rest of the content. But since Google now recognizes and indexes on the basis of context rather than just keywords, it’s arguably fine to simply make sure that your content reads well. Theoretically anyway, Google will be happy.

Keyword Styling

Once you have used your keyword be sure to go back through your text and “bold” the first and last instances of your keyword, then “bold” or “italic” the rest. Either way, make sure that every use of your exact keyword or phrase is emphasized in some manner.

Headings

Now you will need to place your “h titles” or “h tags”. These html headings are used by search crawlers to determine the relevance of your content to the search terms or keyword. WordPress automatically tags your post title as H1, so there is no need to use this tag. Use the remaining tags as follows:

    • H2 Heading: Place your Keyword or phrase at the top of your page text, highlight the keyword and select “Heading 2” from the Styling dropdown menu just above the content window. (See image below.) Repeat this at the very bottom of your page after all other text.
    • H3 Headings: Use the h3 tag for supportive keywords, at the beginning of new relevant paragraphs. I.E. If you main keyword is “Dog Clothes” then your h3 tag would be “Tweed Coat”, or “Dog Dress”.
    • Subsequent H Headings; h4, h5, and h6 should be used in this same manner as need for supportive keywords, but I prefer to use them only if there are multiple supportive keywords that correspond with paragraphs of text, multiple sub-topics, or if the text in the post exceeds around 1200 words.

Anchor Link/Text Links

There should be at least one internal text link to another page on your blog or site. This is known as an anchor link, and it is best when it contains relevant keywords or a keyword phrase linking to relevant information on your site. Simply highlight a portion of text that is relevant to the page you are linking to, click on the hyperlink icon in the toolbar and insert the URL into the popup window, then click save.

Image Alt Tags

Images are not just a visually pleasing aspect of your content, they are a powerful Content Marketing tool, and a crucial part of your on page SEO. A post or web page with no image alt tags simply won’t be able to get ranked in search as well as they could. Even with all other On Page SEO in place, lack of at least one image alt tag will cause your search ranks to take a hit. And in the case of the huge image search engine Bing, well, you won’t get a chance to show up on there at all. (And I can assure you, even if it’s a blog post, Bing can seriously boost your traffic!)

We can make all content more visible to search engines and sites like Bing by using the image alt tag as follows:

  • Name your image with your target keyword or keyword phrase followed by a number or letter and save it to your computer in a file designated for your site images.
  • In your post pane place your cursor in the area of the body/text that you want the image to appear, then click “Add Media” from the toolbar above.
  • Upload the image and make sure to copy and paste the exact keywords minus the added number or letter into the “Alt Text” field located at the right of the upload window. (If you don’t see the sidebar, be sure you have selected the preferred image in the pane to the left.)
  • Click Save.
  • You should not only have a featured image with image alt tags in your post, it’s best to have at least one image in the actual body of your content as well. This image should have a related title and image alt tag. For instance, if you could see the alt tag for the image below, you would see that I’ve entitled it “SEO Image Alt Tag”, as it related to this portion of the content on this page, as well as the preceding h4 title above.

On Page SEO Image Alt Tags

Once you are finished completing the On Page SEO as described above, and you are satisfied with your post, click on “Publish”, then preview to make sure the post looks the way you want it to.

Be sure to go back and double check, so you can edit any errors you find. Make sure to re-publish when finished to ensure that your edits are saved.

Internal Links

Links to other parts of your website are important for optimal On Page SEO. For instance, if I tell you at this point that SEO is important for your YouTube videos as well, and give you a text link to a relevant post on my site like I just did there, that’s an internal link. And search engines like to see those when indexing your content. It indicates that you are helping your readers find more of your content, and it’s especially helpful to your search ranks if it’s relevant to the content on that page.

Improving Pre-Existing Content

Just in case you already have lots of content that you may want to try to get searched better, Google LOVES updated content. Search engines see this as upkeep, an indication that you actively tend your web presence. So it’s never too late to fix up pre-existing posts or web pages, refreshing them with new and improved On Page SEO!

So go ahead! Go back through your content and add htags, keyword phrases, images and image alt tags. You might just find that your old content will receive a new boost in search rank results and subsequent traffic for your efforts! If you do use this guide to upgrade or update your existing on page SEO on your site, just be sure to have Google crawl your updated pages via Google Web Master Tools.

Some of the On Page SEO, such as h tags, will affect the visual layout of your content a bit. However, you must keep in mind that these are very important aspects in getting your posts searched, so don’t be tempted to leave them out. Be sure to save your work frequently by clicking on “save draft” to avoid losing any work you have done.

**Helpful WP Tip**

To help guide you with your SEO, there are several WP plugins that can help you optimize your On Page SEO. I prefer Yoast SEO, which will help you with your titles, keyword density, alt tags and more. To get it, simply navigate to your plugins area on your WP dashboard and search for Yoast SEO. When you find it click “Install”, then “Activate”.

When properly researched and applied to your posts, your keyword usage combined with On Page SEO still helps to ensure that your content gets optimal search results for your keywords. So make sure that on page SEO is still on your “To Do” list. Make sure your copy is fresh, well organized, and relevant, and most importantly, make it conversational, so your readers and the search engines will love it!

On Page SEO – Still On Your “To Do” List

Be sure to Bookmark My Blog and check back for more great tips and helpful web design information…

How To Fix Visual Composer Not Working With WP 5.0.1

How To Fix Visual Composer Not Working With WP 5.0.1

How To Fix Visual Composer Not Working With WP 5.0.1

Hey guys! So, I’ve been absent here in posts for a while… I had a little personal project I was off working on for a bit. But, I’m back with some help on a issue many of you may be having since the latest WP update; How To Fix Visual Composer Not Working With WP 5.0.1

A lot of you that use WP Bakery Visual Composer may have noticed that the WP Bakery editing features are not showing up in your WP page editor. At first it may look like a big mess but, good news – there is a quick, easy fix!

Why Visual Composer Not Working?

The reason for Visual Composer not working is that WP has created a new core feature; a block editor called “Gutenberg”. And while I have to give props to WP for finally giving us a great “in house” block style editor, it still doesn’t have anywhere near the features that top notch editors and page builders like Visual Composer and Optimize Press have.

Also, if you are using Visual Composer, you’ll notice that it includes it’s own “vc” short-code to your pages which, despite being a pain if you ever want to switch page builders, is also what helps us create those amazing page designs.

So if you find that you want to use Gutenberg, you’ll need to remove the “vc” short-code from your pages or it will show up on your live page. However, if you wish to continue using Visual Composer for it’s awesome page building features, again, there is an easy way to fix the issue.

How To Fix Composer

Fortunately, due to the unsurprisingly overwhelming popularity of Visual Composer, the guys at WP have a solution for us; all you have to do is install a free, official WP plugin called “Classic Editor”. Yes, that really is all you need to do. Simply installing and activating this plugin will restore the classic WP editor, thereby restoring the Visual Composer editor and all those great features that come with it!

I’ve tried the fix and can confirm, along with everyone else that has tried it, that it works beautifully, and gets Visual Composer working properly again instantly. I know right?! How often do easy fixes for something so seemingly disastrous actually happen? Well, apparently we lucked out this time lol

Okay so, thanks for reading my post here… I hope you enjoyed it, and that it helps! For more website tips and tricks, be sure to visit my blog 🙂  And you may want to take a look at what I have for you on my YouTube channel as well… Take care and I’ll be talking to you again soon 😉

How To Fix Visual Composer Not Working With WP 5.0.1

YouTube Best Practices For Small Businesses & YouTube Channels

YouTube Best Practices For Small Businesses & YouTube Channels

YouTube Best Practices For Small Businesses & YouTube Channels

YouTube can generate a lot of traffic for Small Businesses. But you have to follow some simple Best Practices and guidelines if you want to give your videos their best chance at success.

YouTube has changed a lot since its inception on Feb. 14th, 2005. It’s gone from a platform for one-hit video wonders, to a massive, ever increasing mega video monster.

You can find videos about pretty much any subject or topic you can dream of on YouTube. It’s become a main staple for entertainment all around the world.

You can pay-to-play videos on YouTube, which has become BIG entertainment for many people.

And because of the massive size of the YouTube audience, it’s become a top place to market products and services as well.

But despite this, businesses often find that their videos don’t generate the interest they hoped they would. Even when they pour large amounts of money into them, their videos just don’t get found, and get the likes and shares one would hope for.

And because they don’t garner any attention, their channels don’t gain subscribers like they had hoped for either.

This is a big problem, especially for Small Businesses with small video budgets. With the cost of having a video professionally created, a flop can have a major impact on your advertising dollar.

And yet, YouTube IS one of the best ways to gain attention for your Small Business. YouTube ads generate millions of dollars per year.

That’s not the only way to make money from your YouTube videos though…

It can also be a great way to pick up “mailbox” money, as some call it. Because if your channel is monetized, and you gain a large following, just having your subscribers and visitors watch your videos can make you money.

Money sent automatically to your PayPal account every month.

So how can you give your videos the best chances to get the attention, likes and shares that will help send traffic to your business?

Well, fortunately there are some important things you can do to help ensure success with your videos…and these things can be used by Small Businesses, as well as YouTubers.

It doesn’t matter what the purpose of your channel is. It doesn’t matter what type of videos you make. These will work to help get your videos found, get you more likes and shares, and get people to subscribe to your channel. And all of this will help grow your YouTube channel too.

I’ve noticed that there is a fairly even spread among YouTube channels in any niche missing out on the attention they could be getting, if they simply made a few easy to do adjustments to their videos.

So here they are…

3 Key Things Businesses Need For Success YouTube Videos

Pay attention to detail…

Your videos and content can be optimized for best results. Proper optimization will give them the best chance at getting higher search ranks than others. So you can have your videos show up above your competitors in Google search, as well as on YouTube.

➜ Your video description is very important.

When creating your own descriptions, don’t ignore those first words and just put links to social channels, your website, etc.

Make sure that you pay just as much attention to your description as you would your description for your blog post on your site.

And just like your On Page SEO for your site, you only get a few lines of text to get this done. 160 characters to be exact, so make them count.

Make sure that your video description is compelling, one that will grab attention. And add a good 2-3 paragraphs of content to describe your video below that, with your social links, website link etc. below that.

Don’t forget to copy and past your video title at the bottom of your description.

If you are stuck, do some quick research to see what’s working for others…

Do a quick Google search for videos in your niche. Pick the top results that aren’t ads and study the descriptions under video results. This will help you get a better idea of how you can craft your video description to rank in organic search.

And I have one more tip here for website owners; if you are transcribing your video and posting that transcription to your blog along with your video (and you should) you can use Yoast to help you with your description SEO.

Simply create one description for your video, then copy that and paste it into the very top of your video description.

Then just create a new description using Yoast for your blog post. Be sure to mix it up quite a bit so you have two great descriptions. One for your blog post and one for your video!

➜ Use Custom Video Thumbnails.

Did you know that you can change your video thumbnail and use a custom thumbnail?

Yes, you can create a custom thumbnail for your video and upload it instead of the default thumbnail to better portray what your video is all about at just a glance.

Because your viewers should be able to determine exactly what your video is about from the thumbnail alone. This should be evident without them having to look at the title or description.

So take advantage of this YouTube feature, get creative, and upload something eye-catching! Here’s how:

  1. Simply navigate to your creator studio on your YouTube channel.
  2. Select the video you want to add the thumbnail to and click “Edit”.
  3. Once inside the video editor you’ll see an option at the bottom that says “Upload Custom Thumbnail”.
  4. Simply click the button and upload your custom thumbnail. And you are done!

How To YouTube Custom Thumbnail

➜ Attention-Grabbing YouTube Video Titles

Your video titles are very important to the success of your video. Be sure to make your title enticing and interesting so they are curious about what’s in your video.

Do some research, go to Google and take a look at what your non-paid competition is doing. What do their titles look like?

Again, you can try using Yoast via your WP post editor to sculpt at good title too.

If you follow my posts you know I always like to include some extra value for you. This time I have a little something to help you create great titles for any purpose, even YouTube videos. So here’s a little bonus for you to download and use:

Don’t Just Post & Pray

Many businesses think that you can just create any old video, upload it to YouTube and people will come in droves to watch, like and share. The old “If you build it, they will come mindset.”

Wrong.

Just like posting anything, anywhere online, this theory just doesn’t hold water.

You need to stand out from the crowd. And aside from your video content, there are some simple ways to get that done.

➜ YouTube Paid Ads

Use the YouTube advertisement video option to boost your reach and views. You’ll do this using the YouTube Advertising feature.

You can also reach this feature by clicking on “Advertise” in the YouTube site footer, like you see in the image below.

Once you have a video uploaded to YouTube, you can use this feature to make it a YouTube ad…

Share Your Videos Yourself

Sharing your videos yourself will help boost your views. So once you upload your video, be sure to go share it around. This doesn’t have to take a lot of time.

Take a few minutes to share your video around; blogs, forums, Social, guest blog post, Medium etc.

Doing this doesn’t cost you a dime, but the word of mouth you can generate can sure help your video go further.

YouTube Is A Social Network Don’t Forget – YouTube Is A Social Network

Because it is seen as a video site, some miss the fact that YouTube is not just a video site.

Far from it. YouTube is the #2 search engine online. And you should also not forget that Google owns YouTube.

➜ Use YouTube Video Annotations

YouTube lets you add annotations and subscription requests to your videos.

Be sure to use this opportunity to put some kind of annotation in your video. And include a prompt to where they can easily subscribe to your channel. For this you can use arrows, or even inline ads.

YouTube Video Annotations & Social Recommendations

 

➜ Recommend Your Social Channels

Don’t forget to urge your viewers to visit your Social pages. You can add a feature to like your Facebook, Twitter or Google Plus pages.

You can even place a link to your website or blog. So if visitors to your site is your goal, it never hurts to make it easy for your YouTube viewers to visit your site.

So there you have it; some simple practices you can start using right away to get your YouTube videos to rank better in organic search on Google, as well as on YouTube.

And since a lot of businesses and YouTube channels fail to utilize these tips and features, you might just stand a BIG chance of outranking some of your top competitors!

Of course, your videos themselves are important too. I’m not going to get into this in too much depth here, because this post is mainly about Optimizing your videos for best results.

Bonus – Tips For Successful YouTube Video Content

But we’ll touch on a few things that will help make your videos more enticing to your viewers once they decide to watch.

➜ Grab Their Attention Right From The Start

The first few seconds of your video is crucial to getting your viewers to stick around and watch your entire video. If the first few seconds of your video doesn’t catch their eye right away, they are likely to click away from your video.

Be sure to quickly state what the video is about and move right into the interesting stuff. Don’t waste time with commentary or logo reveals that will turn them off.

That’s not to say that an awesome logo reveal can’t be used, but it’s recommended that you keep these intros down to below 6 seconds.

Your viewers will want to jump right into your unique, informative, interesting content right away, so be sure to dive right in.

➜ YouTube Video Quality Is Essential

Make sure that your video displays well. It should be clear and easy to see, not fuzzy or pixelated.

Make sure that your sound is recorded for optimal audio; you don’t want a video that is too low to be heard, or so loud it blows their eardrums out at first.

➜ Your YouTube Video Content

All of this is for naught if your video is, well, boring. Or if it’s confusing or not well laid out.

Be sure that the information or ad copy in your video follows a sensible line of thought. That It makes sense and flows well from one topic or subject to the next.

You also need good quality imagery and/or footage. Don’t skimp on your imagery, because it’s what video is all about.

Whether you are giving instructions in a video tutorial, explaining the benefits of a product or service, or simply creating an ad, your video needs to have all these elements working together to be successful.

I’ll have some more information about creating YouTube videos for you in the future. Haven’t decided whether to put that here or over on Video Graphics Edge, but I’ll be sure to let you know when it’s ready.

Perhaps I’ll even get around to an Adobe Premiere Pro tutorial on How To Make A Simple YouTube video…

Anyway, I invite you to try these tips on your next YouTube video. You will be surprised at what they can do for your views, likes, shares and subscriptions to your channel.

Thanks for catching my post about YouTube Best Practices for Businesses! I’m glad you took the time to stop by.

Until next time…

All my best!

YouTube Best Practices For Small Businesses & YouTube Channels

 

 

Easiest Way to Create & Multiply Your Blog Content

Easiest Way to Create & Multiply Your Blog Content

Easiest Way to Create & Multiply Your Blog Content

Hey everybody, I’ve been so busy lately getting everything ready for the WP Workshop I realized I have neglected my blog!

So, I thought I would hop in here and talk about blogging this evening, because it’s such an important thing to pay attention to.

Yah, I know. Looks a bit hypocritical considering I’ve been neglecting my own. But for those of you who aren’t neglectful of your blog, more power to ya!

Seriously, because you should be posting regularly. Like, two or three times a week at least. And if you’re getting that done, I commend you. It can be really tough to do.

Now, obviously I completely understand falling behind on blogging. It’s hard to reserve time for writing up a 1900+ work post (that’s what you need to be doing) when your running this way and that. Family matters need your attention, you’ve got an online business to care for, or you are trying to start one anyway, and you’ve got so many things to knock out you need 3 of you working at the same time just to keep your head above water.

And of course, you’ve gotta sleep sometime! You can’t run on coffee 24/7 (she says while sipping on her 4th cup of the day).

I know, I give myself a hard time, I push myself a lot. It’s just the way I am. I have lots of blogs to keep up with, so, I may have made it a bit tough for myself. I enjoy it though. And of course, I’ve got those videos starting up soon…but I jump ahead too fast here. Let’s just move on, shall we?

So in this post I wanted to get you some help with your blogging. Something to take the load off your overworked brain. Something to make blogging faster, easier, and more enjoyable.

How can we do that? Well, as I just about got into above, I’m about to start this regimen myself so I’ll be teaching by example soon. For now, I’m just going to say one word: video. Yes…

Video is a lifesaver for Bloggers

And it is one of the best ways to engage your audience, keep them interested in your content, and share your message. Because video works so much better than words on a page could ever do.

Easiest Way to Create & Multiply Your Blog Content

Video makes blogging so much easier (in my opinion anyway). Because you can simply record your words and use them for voice overs over slides with text, images or footage. Depending on your niche, you might just want to shoot some awesome scenery or an event, and write up some commentary afterwords. Or you can just get up there in front of the camera and talk. I mean really talk to your audience.

I’m going to give you a lot of good examples very soon with my tutorial videos on YouTube. Well, I hope they are good anyway, because I’ve got lots to show you. Like how to build your free WP blog or site, or your own self hosted WP site or blog, along with a whole lot of other stuff that I hope will really help you out.

Sure, there’s still a place for the written word. I think there always will be. After all, you are reading this. I still read lots of posts myself. I quite enjoy reading. But just because you make videos for your posts (better known as “Vlogging”) doesn’t mean you can’t have written content for your website or blog posts too.

Video Transcriptions = Blog Text Content

Actually, you need that written content to attract search engines. It gets you organic search ranks like nothing else can (except maybe images). That’s why you should transcribe your videos not once, but twice.

You see, all you have to do is create your awesome video, then transcribe it and add that written content in your video description on YouTube. Then you take that transcription and re-write it once more. You add this written content to your site or blog in a post, including the embedded video so your audience can get the best of both worlds!

Fortunately, no matter how hard you try there will always be something you left out of your video. Something that comes up afterwards, some afterthoughts, some advice you would like to go back and give. Maybe an extra direction, a tip or two. That’s the content you save for your text post.

This way, even though your videos may be riveting, your audience will become accustomed to finding additional helpful tips, tricks, instruction or advice, even just some humor maybe, when they visit your blog. Something to bring them over to your site and keep them coming back.

That way, you’ll have your audience hooked on your site, as well as your YouTube channel! And they will be able to get all that useful information you have to offer; stuff that may get left out of videos by accident.

Boost Your SEO With Images In Your Blog Posts

Now, you’ll need a few images to go with your posts. Because images are extremely important. Not just for your readers, but for your SEO too. You can use images from Pixabay.com, Pexels.com or something of the like. But you can also use snapshots of your video to accentuate your written words.

For instance, if you are making an instructional video on how to make the perfect cup of coffee, you could grab a few still frames from your video and make a static image step infographic, or even list them in order under each written phase of the task.

This way you also have images to alt tag for better search ranks. Those alt tags are still highly important to your organic traffic. I actually find that my images tend to wind up with Bing or Google Image search ranks long before my posts rank otherwise. Especially when it’s a physical product in my eCom stores.

Often, my images are right up on top because others neglect to alt tag their images! So that’s something you should definitely consider. Your competition may not be on their game and you could get a boost in traffic. Either way, use those alt tags.

Use Audio To Attract & Help Your Blog Visitors

Another way to multiply your content with video is to lift the audio and make it available for download, or just let your visitors play it from your site. Lots of people like to just listen to audio, while they are driving, jogging, maybe even cooking dinner.

And if you frequent forums you can take segments of your video transcription, re-write it again, and post that content to your forums.

All effective ways to make sure that you are providing alternative sources for your audience to consume your content. Make it as convenient for them as you can. They will appreciate you for it.

Multiply Your Blog Content With Simple Videos

This all makes it so much easier to keep up with your blogging. Because all you have to do is create one video, transcribe it once, re-write it once, throw in a few (quality) images, save a quick audio only file, and you get loads of content!

Make The Most Of Your Blog Content By Integrating With Other Platforms

I also have another great idea for you; ever heard of Medium? If not, it may be worth your while to check it out. You can easily syndicate your WP content to your account on this blogging platform via their plugin. Choose any page or post you like, don’t publish the ones you don’t want to post over on Medium. Very easy to work with.

It may not be the place for every niche, but for those with the type of content that plays well on Medium, I would highly recommend it. The crowd over there loves human interest stories, recent news, philosophical musings, even some ranting. A good place to talk about those problems you have solutions for.

And they have this cool “clap” system over there where people click the little hands to give your content a clap of encouragement. It works similar to “likes” on other platforms. Very innovative. Hope to see this platform go forward in even more interesting ways, because it seems to be quite popular. In touch with social and cultural interests. A great place for everyone to talk about various topics, expound and theorize. I love it.

And there are bound to be lots of other platforms like this popping up all over. It’s totally worth a Google search to go see if you can find another space to spread your content online. Medium currently has some 60Million+ users, according to their site. Others may not have so many, but getting on board with an up and coming platform can have big benefits in the long run too.

Video Helps You Get Great Content For Social Networking

Did I mention you can use snippets from your video transcriptions on Pinterest, Facebook, even a short snippet for Twitter? How about uploading small parts of your video to these social channels? Hopefully you get my point; just a few quick re-writes and a little video editing and you’ll have loads of content to go around!

Do Quality Content Checks

Don’t be to quick to publish your written content; be sure to use your spell checker first. It’s quick and easy to do and it keeps you from making those unnecessary mistakes that might turn your readers off. Also make sure your audio is clear, so your listeners can understand it. Make sure your video is neat and clearly visible. Your post images should be clearly visible as well.

Use Your Video For Extra Cash

And don’t forget, once you get 10,000 views on your YouTube channel you can monetize it with the YouTube Partner Program for extra cash. Some call it “mailbox” money. That nice little “bonus” for your efforts can turn into big money if your channel really takes off!

Now, as I am wrapping up here, I have something for my beginner bloggers that will help you to further your blogging efforts. It’s a helpful little eBook called “Blogging Advice For Beginners”.

Blogging-Advice-Beginners

I got my hands on it just for you, and this Blogging Advice For Beginners is something you should definitely check out!

And, if you are already blogging and want to make it profitable, you may like this as well; check into the “High Profit Blog Secrets”  eBook for FREE.

Okay, so that’s it for now. I hope you got some useful information out of this post.

If you are a beginner blogger I recommend you get off to a flamboyant start using the video method I’ve been explaining here. Check out that eBook and apply the information you learn.

If you are already blogging but need more content, there you go, that’s how you can get loads more.

And if you are already a successful blogger, perhaps you would like to leave a few words of advice for everyone in the comments below. I always promote the open sharing of helpful information whenever possible, and I thank you on behalf of myself and my readers for your thoughts.

Before I go, I’d like to point out that winter is coming quickly. People will be staying indoors more, flooding online to consume all kinds of content. It’s a great time to get a jump on your blog traffic…

So, until next time, happy blogging everyone!

Easiest Way to Create & Multiply Your Blog Content

Relax For Awhile & Enjoy The Fall Colors

Relax For Awhile & Enjoy The Fall Colors

Relax For Awhile & Enjoy The Fall Colors

Hello everyone! Today I’d like to share a video I created a few years back for Cool Notion Quest. Just a quick mix of beautiful fall scenery and tranquil music that makes for a great 10 minute work break. So take a few minutes to join me here; Relax For Awhile & Enjoy The Fall Colors…

I still watch it myself, especially in the winter when I get to missing the fall foliage. It’s one of life’s greatest experiences in my opinion, and I look forward to it every year. Hearing the colorful leaves softly crunching under your feet, the earthy, sweet smell of the autumn forest on a sunny afternoon. I enjoy taking my kids and my two Shih Tzu out for a walk in the mountains every fall. Knowing of course that it will all soon be covered in a deep blanket of snow makes it all the more enjoyable, with the last few weeks or days of warm outdoor fun at hand.

Time To Collect Your Thoughts

It’s always a welcome break from work, even though I enjoy what I do. But we all have to take some time for ourselves, get out and about, clear our minds. And this is how I like to spend my time, just about every weekend, every fall.  Of course, I take every opportunity to spend all the time I can get during summer out and about in the surrounding mountains too. I find I can collect my thoughts and focus on things better when I return from a relaxing wander in the forest. I have always found that I come up with most of my best ideas on one of these adventures too.

But there’s just something so special about a walk in the forest in the fall. More calming somehow, more relaxing. Maybe it’s the crisp autumn air, or the bright, gold colored leaves rustling in a light breeze, the welcoming smell of the forest floor. Maybe it’s the feeling of being completely at ease, or maybe its everything all together; I find it inspires me to want to create, to grow, to share, and inspires me to come up with those ideas. At the same time it relaxes me, it energizes me for the winter to come, with all kinds of new goals, new exciting tasks to accomplish before spring.

Want More Of A Break?

I also created this Sea Turtle video (because I love sea turtles and find watching them relaxing), so if you want a few more minutes of break time be sure to check it out 🙂

So I hope you enjoy the video. Sit back, relax, have a cup of coffee, and perhaps you’ll find some of that inspiration and focus as well!

Relax For Awhile & Enjoy The Fall Colors

Drop Shipping: How It Works & Best Practices For Success

Drop Shipping: How It Works & Best Practices For Success

Drop Shipping: How It Works & Best Practices For Success

It’s a fast-growing way to start an online business on a limited budget, or offer merchandise for your personal creative outlet. It means you don’t have to pay up front for your product, or warehouse and ship your product yourself. Yes, Drop Shipping can be an entirely worthwhile way to start your online business, and operate well into the future.

Want products to sell in your online store?

Need to provide Branded merchandise for your YouTube Channel, band, restaurant, blog or other creative professional endeavors?

Don’t want to carry inventory or mess with shipping?

If so, Drop Shipping can be a perfect solution to your needs. There are literally countless products available from a wide range of companies that are ready and waiting to help you get your products and Branded merchandise out the door, and delivered to your customers and fans without you ever even touching them!

From home and garden goods, jewelry, gifts and electronics to t-shirts, mugs, bags, jackets, cell phone cases and pillows with your logo or Branding, tons of products can easily be Drop Shipped for you these days. There is absolutely no need to do it the hard way or waste your valuable time and money.

So grab a cup of coffee and get ready friends, this post is all about Drop Shipping!

Drop Shipping How It Works & Best Practices For Success

If you’ve been looking for an online business model with low startup or operation costs, chances are you may have heard of Drop Shipping. Or perhaps you need merch for your Youtube Channel, event or band and you’ve come across this idea. And you are going to be seeing a lot more talk of it in the very near future all over the web. I see this has become a hot topic online these days and a lot of people have questions about it. Most especially…

Is Drop Shipping Real?

Is Drop Shipping Real?

Yes, it IS real. I can honestly, personally attest to that. Among other things, I’ve been selling Drop Ship products online for over 6 years now, from 5+ different eCommerce stores. I got started back when Drop Shipping was barely heard of by most, and I’ve been very happy with it.

So if you are looking into starting an online store with Drop Ship product I would definitely recommend it. You can also get your Branded merchandise available for your fans and followers fast and at no up front cost to you. The products and merchandise ship when you  pass on the order to your supplier, and you don’t pay a dime until you have the money for it in hand. And you are in luck! Because there are a LOT more companies that will Drop Ship for you now. Which is great.

That’s why I decided to write this post; I concluded that this was valuable information and it was time to share it with you here on my blog. Because, while my main goal is to help you create solid websites and blogs, the actual “vehicle” for your online business, I have experience with the Drop Ship fulfillment model. And it can absolutely be helpful if you are starting your online business, or wanting to expand with more products.

After all, you may not already have a product that you make, or source yourself. You may have a physical retail store with products, but are in need of different or additional product to sell if you want to go online. Or you may have a service industry business with no physical products to sell, and would need products for your online store.

Either way, Drop Shipping is a REAL, and relatively easy way to source products to sell online.

Beyond The Hype Drop Ship Business Model

Drop Shipping – Beyond The Hype

Now, I would like to address at this point all the information going around about people making Millions online with Drop Shipping. Those fast, over-night success stories look dazzling initially. And this is certainly possible. I won’t say it’s not, because many of those stories are true.

However, if you follow my blog you know I don’t like hype. I always want you to have a realistic idea of what you are getting into so you can make well informed decisions about your online business. So, I want you to know that the figures you hear in those reports are not the average result you can expect from Drop Shipping.

For one thing, you must keep in mind who reported those spectacular sales. I have hunted some of them down and checked into them extensively. I found that several of those huge success stories going around were achieved by professional internet marketing experts who know exactly what they are doing.

Also, I hunted down one of those “12 year old sells $100,000 in product in 1 month Drop Shipping!” stories. It turns out that although she did in fact make a ton of money…her father is a seasoned Internet Marketer. And I’ll just bet that had nothing to do with it.

Yes, a bit of sarcasm there. Couldn’t help it.

Anyway, just know that a lot of those stories are hype, or you aren’t hearing the whole story. But don’t get me wrong, you can do quite well with Drop Shipping. There are lots of people who make a full time living with this online business model. Enough so that the internet is teaming with Drop Ship ecom stores and products.

And the people doing this aren’t entirely all experts at Internet Marketing either. I’m no IM expert, and I’ve sold DS orders for up to $12,000 retail. Yes, for a single order, Drop Shipped for me by my faithful supplier.

But what I get a kick out of the most is doing it without ever laying a hand on any product. Okay, maybe it’s the fact that I can keep my business costs crazy low. Because I just don’t see the point in having a business that’s expensive to operate when you don’t have to. Being tied down to a warehouse 24/7, or having all that upfront cost to worry about making back before you enjoy profits are just a few things I don’t miss…ever.

There are also a lot of savvy Youtuber’s, artists, bands, musicians, and other creatives making good money from their Branded merchandise. Drop Shipping means no more need to scrape the money together to have a few t-shirts printed so you can offer your fans merch. They simply take orders, then quickly place orders with their suppliers, and have it shipped straight to their customers and fans!

You get the point, Drop Shipping IS real. I promise you.

Now, before we move on let’s briefly cover…

What Is Drop Shipping?

What Is Drop Shipping?

Drop Shipping is an online product fulfillment model wherein your supplier fills your orders and ships them from their warehouse. As I mentioned earlier, you don’t warehouse the product and ship orders yourself. All you have to do is use the images and descriptions provided by your Drop Shipper to create your product listings on your website. And when you sell an item, you go place an online order with your Drop Shipper. They do the rest.

The same thing goes for Branded merchandise. There are lots of online companies that will print your logo, slogan or message on t shirts, mugs, and other products and ship to your fans and customers on demand, one piece at a time. You charge what you want, leaving room on top of your cost for profit. They order, you place a quick order, they get their merch, you get your take. Simple as that.

Now, it may sound like non-sense, but Drop Shipping is actually predicted to go mainstream this year. Experts have called it, and they are saying that a lot of big brands will be opening Drop Ship programs in the near future. A lot of them already have. Take a look around – even Nordstrom has a Drop Ship program available now!

Crazy right? It’s just amazing the kind of products and merchandise you can source via Drop Ship now.

So after having my family wonder what the heck I’ve been doing online all these years, maybe some news station or business expert will finally explain it to them. Because it’s really hard to explain how you make money when no one ever sees you handle a product, or ship orders.

But I digress…

Of course, there is some work involved. Just a bit, but you’ll never avoid that. No big deal for those willing to put some effort into making good money. Above all, you must properly care for your customers. In fact, I attribute most of my success to providing excellent customer support. I created a post for you on communicating with your customers and providing professional support, so I won’t go into that any further here.

Suffice to say, when it comes to your customers you’ll need to send out an order confirmation, or set your eCommerce Solution to do this automatically when an order is placed. Then email your customer a shipping notification and their tracking number when your Drop Shipper notifies you the order has shipped out. You are also generally responsible for customer support when questions or issues arise.

The Pros & Cons Of Drop Shipping Your Product

Now let’s discuss The Pros & Cons Of Drop Shipping Your Product. I think we’ve pretty much covered the “Pros” of Drop Shipping:

➜ No upfront cost for product.

➜ No warehousing product or shipping orders.

➜ You can operate a sizable online business without employees, facility insurance, utility bills, a warehouse to buy, rent or maintain.

➜ You never even have to touch the product. (although I always highly recommend that you order one of each of the items you select to sell so you can see it for yourself, check the quality and test your Drop Shipper.)

Okay, so nothing is perfect, even Drop Shipping. There are things about it that can cause you big problems if you aren’t careful, so let’s discuss the “Cons” that can sour your business fast if you are just starting out.  (Keep in mind that most of these can be easily avoided with some simple, careful “Good Drop Shipping Practices” I’ll go over with you in just a minute.)

➜ No control over your suppliers’ practices. This includes item quality check before shipping, packaging and shipping.

➜ Inferior or fake products being shipped. As in, your supplier switches products out on you once you have tested the product out. (Mostly only and issue when selling name brand merchandise though, and you should avoid this unless it’s coming from a licensed vendor anyway.)

➜ Lost in transit orders. This issue happens mainly for international orders, where packages can more easily get lost, the foreign shipping carriers don’t provide tracking #’s and insurance isn’t an option.

➜ Poor management of inventory. This means errors in supplier inventory reports; for instance, they report that they have 1000 pieces in stock, but when you place an order there are not enough to ship your order.

➜ Customer Fraud. Your customer orders, receives the order, then reports the transaction as fraudulent.

➜ Tax reporting. You DO have to make sure you pay your income taxes on things sold online.

➜ Not enough room in the price for profit; Drop Ship item costs are often much higher than wholesale, + the shipping costs.

➜ Drop Shipper cross promotion. Your Drop Shipper includes their branded materials with your orders, losing you customers.

➜ Fake Trademark items. This involves selling goods that are represented as Trademarked products, like Disney Mickey Mouse items, Harry Potters’ Wand, Game of Thrones merchandise etc.

I know, it looks like a big list. But again, a lot of these issues can be avoided with some simple practices I strictly adhere to. So, let’s move on to my Drop Ship Best Practices Guide I have created to help you out here.

Drop Shipping How It Works & Best Practices For Success Guide

The followinb is an outline of my basic recommended practices for choosing and working with a Drop Ship supplier. This is pretty much how I have run my Drop Ship businesses for over 6 years, and I’ve been happy to have few problems as a result.

Creatives Note: While the following practices do apply to sourcing Branded merchandise via Drop Ship suppliers, that process is much easier because there are many trusted go-to companies for this online. So, sourcing for merchandise you can have printed with your Brand is easier than sourcing ecom store products. I’ll  be sure to do a post on that soon,and show you how easy it is!

Drop Shipper Vetting

While it is true that you have no control over your Drop Shippers’ practices, things like item quality checks, packaging and shipping issues can usually be avoided, in my opinion, by proper vetting and testing.

Perhaps I have just been lucky, but I suspect that my lack of issues is due to my careful vetting process for my Drop Shippers. First, I always use US Drop Shippers. Next, I always do my homework and search Google for reviews on the Drop Shipper.  Well, scouring the net for anything that looks suspicious is more like it.

I check their online reviews, Facebook account, I check them through ScamAdvisor.com as well as similar sites. I make sure their business is located in the US, like they state it is. I take a good look at those reviews and study them to make sure there are not too many serious issues going on.

So, basically, yes, I stalk them online! It’s the safest, most accurate way to narrow things down initially.

If there are a lot of issues being reported, anything looks weird, or anything big is wrong, I go look for another Drop Shipper. Period.

If not, and things look good, I contact the Drop Shipper in person (I prefer by phone, but email works too) and make sure I have a good back and forth conversation with them. I like to create good relationships with my Drop Shippers. I ask questions I already have answers to from their site just to see if things line up, if they are patient in answering my questions. I make sure they are helpful and polite, and provide accurate information, a good sign they take their business seriously and are legit.

If all is going well, I sign up for their Drop Ship Program if necessary. I find that good Drop Shippers will require your information up front before they do business with you. And they require a tax ID number as well. (I don’t generally bother with Drop Shippers that don’t require this information.)

I then place an order for a couple of the products I intend to sell and have them shipped to my mom so I can test the whole process completely.

When the items arrive, I look carefully at the packaging, check out the products and test them.

Then I place a few more orders and have them Drop Shipped to other family members as gifts. Want to hear something funny?

I started my first few Drop Ship stores just before Christmas back in 2010 (convenient I know), and I simply went Christmas shopping via my top Drop Shipper prospects. Of course, I got reports back from family and friends when the packages arrived, and all had gone well. They loved their presents.

Next, if all goes well I list the products in my store with a inventory of 2-6 and sell them to customers. The products go out of stock on my site after these are sold, and I wait to make sure there are no problems. (This only takes a week or so, and you can work on your email list in the meantime.)

I usually contact the customers via email the day after their orders arrive and ask if everything was satisfactory. If so, I consider the Drop Shipper safe. But I still watch things like a hawk until I’ve had no problems for another 6 months or so.

Like I said, maybe I’m just lucky. But then again, I also consider this a pretty damn good vetting process. And it seems to serve me well, so I stick with what works.

This process also takes care of the second problem, or at least for me anyway; fake or inferior products being shipped. Since the Drop Shipper didn’t know I was shipping to family, and I tested with just a few customers before starting to sell in earnest as well, I have rarely had an issue with inferior products. And I have never had a Drop Shipper send a fake item out.

As for Branded merchandise for YouTube Channels, musicians, artists and other creatives; there are a lot of trusted companies that print and ship on demand. Just be diligent and check them out before you start selling your merch. Test a few orders before you go to large quantities of sales. These suppliers tend to do a good job of shipping, getting you tracking info., handling returns, etc. And this merchandising method generally has few problems when you go with a trusted supplier.

Lost In Transit Orders

To ensure that this is not an issue, I simply do not ship physical products outside the US. International shipping does not allow for tracking #’s or insured packages. I insist that all my orders are insured, and my carefully vetted Drop Shippers will just do this by default. (Oh yea, I don’t do business with Drop Shippers who do not insure their orders.) This way, if an item does not arrive, the Drop Shipper simply files a claim with the carrier and ships out anther order to my customer at no cost to me.

Of course, I take good care of my customers by communicating well with them over the extremely rare occasion when I have an issue. Although with US shipping, I have never had an order go missing. I have shipped to Canada many times with no orders lost in shipping. Even large orders over $2000. But unless I am selling digital products, I don’t sell outside the US and Canada.

Poor Inventory Management

Again, perhaps I am lucky, but I attribute my lack of issues here to my close communication with and careful nurturing of, my relationships with my Drop Shippers. Within a month or so they know me by name, and talk freely with me about our business dealings.

I always ask after inventory in person on my lead items. This way it’s easy to spot the frauds; because unless they are really good, they won’t keep up a conversation they have to keep lying to you to over an over about. Although, I have never had a Drop Shipper I suspected was trying to run a game on me.

I have had some of my Drop Shippers have some inventory issues around Christmas, but just a few. And I really can’t fault them for just a few at such a busy time. After all, everyone makes mistakes. (I have gotten an order or two switched up when I was busy at Christmas time.) And I wouldn’t want to even try to warehouse and ship that many items myself.

So, I cancel those orders that could not be shipped and apologize profusely to my customers “for any inconvenience the issue may have caused”. Maybe give them a discount coupon for their next order “should they choose to shop with me again”.

I find that as long as you are honest, attentive and communicate with your customers properly, they will usually accept your apology. And most of the time, they even come back again, which gives me a chance to make things right! And that brings us to…

Consumer Fraud

I’ve only have that happen about once per year. I attribute this to the types of products I sell, usually higher end items that aren’t exactly cheap. My average order across all of my sites is around $110-$150. I believe this keeps the fraud down to a minimum.

Another solution I believe keeps this issue at bay; I only accept Paypal. Paypal won’t resolve a customer claim and require that you refund their money unless the customer returns the product to you. So most consumer scammers get stopped in their tracks right there, because the scam is to get ahold of free items without having to pay. So problem solved.

I have had a couple of customers try to pull this over the years, but once Paypal insists they send the item back in order to get their refund, they simply retract the dispute, keep their item, and I don’t hear from them again.

Tax Reporting

Okay, so a lot of people don’t know this, but you do have taxes to pay on your online income. First of all, you must pay 37% self-employment Federal income tax on everything you make online. So just take 37% of whatever you earn right off the top and stow it away in a savings account, or, if you are making a net of more than $1200 or so per month you should check with your accountant about paying quarterly or monthly taxes. And then, you need to check your state, county and city taxes to make sure you don’t owe anything there. If so – pay it!

Not Enough Room For Profit

Yes, this is a frequent problem. And that’s why I tend to go for higher ticket items. Because trying to get a buck or two out of cheap items is really tough, especially with shipping involved. I stick with products that sell for at least $100 so there is room for profit.

Basically, you are looking at the profit you make per sale. I only go for products with no less than a $20 profit after all is said and done; unless it’s a $10-$15 profit and I know I can really move a lot of the item. But I rarely do that. My average net profit per sale is $30-$35.

At any rate, finding a good item with room for profit is the aspect that I find generally makes finding a good Drop Ship product the hardest. Just keep looking until you find a popular product with room to move on the price. (And don’t forget to factor in your shipping costs and taxes!)

Drop Shipper Self Promotion/Cross Promotion

To avoid having your Drop Shipper cross promote to your customers on you, just be sure to find a Drop Shipper that provides something called “Blind Drop Shipping”. This means that the Drop Shipper does not include their branded materials, name or address with your orders. Because true Drop Shipping means your customers won’t know you didn’t ship the item yourself.

I also insist on going with Drop Shippers that will let you include your own branded packing slip with your orders. You generally have to specifically ask for this initially, but most good Drop Shippers will happily print your packing slip and include it in your orders for your customers. Most free of charge. If they won’t include your branded packing slip with your orders, I recommend moving on to another Drop Shipper who is willing to work with you better.

Fake Trademark Merchandise

This is simple; DO NOT sell Trademark Merchandise unless you are getting it directly from the Trademark company. It’s illegal, and you can wind up in big trouble. This means that selling those Trademark Harry Potter Wands or Disney Mickey Mouse pendants from AliExpress is not good practice. Because those Chinese manufactured products are most certainly not made by Disney. A good clue in here is the exceptionally cheap price for such goods. And if Disney or another big Brand company catches you representing your products as their Trademark goods, they could easily nab you for it!

This also comprises what is probably the most frequent reason for customers getting “fake” items. Because it obviously had to have been a Brand Name item in order to be fake. Unless the actual material its self is fake, like they shipped an alloy pendent necklace instead of solid silver. And again, that’s why I test ship a few orders to help ensure you get the item as described.

Wrapping Up…

Well, that’s it in a nutshell. That’s how I vet my Drop Shippers and avoid disaster. And I’ve turned a good profit over the years doing it this way.

Just be sure to be professional, use good common sense, do your homework and check your Drop Shippers well. Do professional business with professional businesses. Connect and communicate effectively with your Drop Shippers, and cultivate good relationships with them. Don’t be lured in by fake Trademark goods. Pay your taxes. Be honest with everyone.

And above all, take good care of your customers and communicate well with them. Because they are what makes your business tick. Without them, you won’t be in business. So take care of any problems with your customers first and foremost, and sort out issues with Drop Shippers second if problems arise.

Drop Shipping can be a wonderful thing when done carefully and properly. It can be an enjoyable experience for everyone involved. At the end of the day, when your orders are all taken care of, your Drop Shipper is happy and your customers are happy, you’ll be very happy!

Your Online Store Your Website

Your Online Drop Shipping Store

As for your website or store, I have lots of information here on my site about how to build your website. I know Shopify and other similar solutions are available, however I still recommend having your own “shell” site on WP. I use Shopify myself, as my eCommerce solution, integrating it with my WP sites. That way you know you have your business in your hands, your control as much as possible.

Maybe I’m a bit of a control freak, but I like to run a tight ship.

I prefer this method to ensure that my main business remains on my internet property. I know, Shopify is pretty safe. But I’ve been online for a while now, seen some empires rise and fall. This way if things ever went awry with Shopify, they decided to hike up their pricing, if it ever blew up or something, I could quickly set up an eCommerce solution through my WP site and be right back in business, right where my customers know where to find me.

Have a Drop Shipping question? I’m happy to help if I’m able; just leave your question in the comments box below and I’ll let you know if I have a solution, advice, or an answer!

So, that’s all the advice I have for you on Drop Shipping for now. I know this was a long post, but I hope you enjoyed it, and got a lot out of it. And I hope if you try it, you enjoy Drop Shipping, and find it as rewarding as I have.

Until next time…

Drop Shipping: How It Works & Best Practices For Success

Why You Need an Online Presence & What Can It Can Do For Your Business

Why You Need an Online Presence & What Can It Can Do For Your Business

Why You Need an Online Presence & What Can It Can Do For Your Business

If you have a business of any kind these days, it pays to have an Online Presence. What is this? Well, I’m not going to get too involved here in this post. I just want you to have a good idea of what you need to have in place to make your online business more complete.

But first, you may have heard the term “Web Presence” as well. So let’s briefly take a look at that, because it is part of your Online Presence. Basically a “Web Presence” is generally considered to be your website or blog, the pages and files on your site, and the elements that make it complete.

An Online Presence, also known as an “Internet Presence”, is everything and everywhere someone may find information about you, your business, or your company on the net. You see, you need much more than just your website or blog to be successful online these days. However, we are just going to focus on…

4 Key Elements Of Your Internet Presence

There are four main elements of your Online Presence that you should have in place, at least initially, if you want to be successful online. Of course, there are more than I will list here, but these are the ones most any business should attend to.

Now, your website and/or blog is generally top priority in most cases. That’s because your site is your home on the web, so to speak, where your audience and visitors can experience your message, your Brand, what you have to offer, and how you do business. Of course, there are plenty of businesses that do just fine without a website, relying instead on the other elements on this list. But chances are you’ll do better with a website involved.

Most of the information on here my site is about your website or blog, so I won’t spend too much time on this element. Not that it’s not vital to most businesses, but because I want you to understand just how much these next 3 elements matter, and what they can do for your business.

Why You Need an Online Presence & What Can It Can Do For Your Business

Social Networking

Consumers spend more and more time on Social sites every year. Facebook just reached 2 Billion monthly users (according to experts like techcrunch).  Meanwhile, Instagram has a whopping 700 Million users (from businessinsider.com).  And while it mainly consists of female users, Pinterest has 150 Million monthly users, with 70 Million users in the US alone (according to omnicoreagency.com).

And they are not just talking to their friends; they are buying items just like yours directly from their Social hangouts. Social Networking is your big opportunity to expand your online reach by extraordinary leaps and bounds, especially when you use it properly.

One of the best ways to do that, is to sell your products from an eStore that allows you to put your actual products up for sale, complete with a buy button, shopping cart and secure checkout, right on your Social channels. That’s why I recommend integrating a Shopify store with your WP website. And I am not the only one by far; social channels are simply booming, so it’s a place where your business should definitely have a presence.

Email Marketing

The money is in the list, so they have said for years. And today is no different. That list is just your email list, instead of a call list or postal mailing list. Top marketers recommend email lists, because they get results, perhaps even more so than Social Networking. 64% of companies rate email marketing as their most effective marketing channel (from mailmunch.co).

Among other benefits, you can keep customers and clients up to date on your business, products and services. You can also upsell your subscribers on other items or services they may like.

And while email lists are great for keeping in touch with your loyal customers, it’s also a great way to attract new people into your business. This allows you to increase your customer base by engaging new potential customers via email, and gives you a chance to encourage them to become paying customers.

Some great ways to encourage people to opt-in to your list is by offering a free, relevant digital download, like an eBook, or a music track. Perhaps you can write a small eBooklet on the ingredients you use in your handmade candles, or share your secrets on how to clear a sink drain. You can get as creative with this as you want. The more relevant, targeted and better your offer, the better you are likely to do.

It’s not a new concept. No different than those free laundry detergent packets you get in the mail. Or those free steak seasoning samples – hey, I just got one of those last week and it tasted great! Hopefully you get the point; when people find value in your free offering, they are more likely to opt-in, giving you a chance to reach out to them with information and offers in the future.

I am certainly going to buy a bottle of that seasoning the next time I go shopping!

So stick with what works. Because there is no sense in re-inventing the wheel. Basically, it pays to have an effective email marketing strategy, and build an email list.

YouTube

I don’t know if this is top priority on other peoples’ lists for Online Presence, but I highly recommend it in my top 4. YouTube has a massive 1.5 Billion users logging in to watch videos each month (from techcrunch.com) That is a lot of eyeballs to attract.

Think about it; just a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of 1/100,000th of this would be amazing for your business. Yes, this internet giant, owned by Google, is becoming a monster of a place to make your business presence known.

Even better yet, a lot of these users have recently canned their expensive cable tv in recent years for more affordable, user generated entertainment. So doing “home videos” that are relevant to your niche could have a nice impact on your bottom line.

An example; I know a nice lady that lives less than 10 miles from me making $3000+ per month selling crochet patterns online, and she got a big boost to her traffic by simply doing video tutorials on how to use her patterns on YouTube.

And since users are used to seeing advertisements on tv, they tend to watch them on YouTube too. So YouTube ads are a good way to get your message out there.

You can even ask your customers to do an unboxing and review your product on YouTube if you like. I know several business owners who had customers just do this without them even asking. And that is just one way to gain some much appreciated YouTube viewer interest.

I even know a 12 year old making some pretty good change from his screen recorded gaming! So anything someone may find interesting can get you YouTube “mailbox money” if you monetize your channel, and draw attention to your Brand.

It’s over already? Yes, I know, a short post for me here. I do tend to be a bit “long winded” most of the time. So perhaps this will be refreshingly short post then? I honestly just like to make sure I have as much helpful information as possible for you on my blog.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this post, and got a lot out of it. It should give you some good ideas about how you can better market your business online. Just remember, your customers are out there, and the more of an Online Presence you have, the better chance you have of increasing your traffic, and ultimately your sales!

Why You Need an Online Presence & What Can It Can Do For Your Business

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