There’s a lot of advice on the internet focusing on how to make money with this or monetize that, as it’s, essentially, what everyone wants to do. However, running a successful online business isn’t really about making money every now and then, it’s about making money consistently…
That’s why today I will try to give you a broader look at how to make your business future-proof and set you up for recurring and dependable income.
Let’s start with advertising as it’s often the most obvious way of making money online.
Right upfront, I want to say that simply placing some AdSense on your site won’t have much effect.
The success to advertising lies in split testing. Whatever situation you’re in you can always improve your results by split testing.
Things you can split test when it comes to advertising:
- Different ad providers (for example: AdSense, Chitika).
- Selling ads directly vs using a delivery network.
- Different types of ads (text, banners, video).
- Different ad locations and sizes.
You can start by going to the Content Experiments section in Google Analytics (formally known as Google Website Optimizer), and creating some split tests.
Google will then take care of splitting your traffic in half and displaying version A of your test to one group of visitors and version B to the other group.
Over time, you can use split testing to find the most profitable combination of providers, locations, ad types, an everything else you can think of. This will make sure that your ad revenue is constantly on the rise.
Long-term product development
Products are often the main way of making money for many online businesses. There are no rules when it comes to products, and this is the great thing about them.
You can sell virtually anything you like, as long as you can find a quick and cheap way of delivering it to your customers.
Now the important thing. Most tutorial articles on the internet focus only on how to create your initial product and put it on the market. However, doing just that is not setting you up for the future. Making a product really successful will require a lot more work.
There are basically three paths you can follow with an online business:
- Create one product and expand/upgrade it over time.
- Create many products and focus on the initial stream of sales only.
- Do something in between.
I can’t honestly say which approach is the best because it all depends on your niche, your resources, experience and dedication. You can surely make money doing any of the above.
However, it’s important to know what you are doing and create a long-term plan of action.
For instance, if you choose to focus on one product and work on improving it constantly, you need to spend some time every week on planning and creating new features/elements of the product. If you’re going to make it work you need to follow a system and not act whenever you have nothing else to do.
Developing a product long-term is just like creating content for a blog. You need to create a habit of doing it.
If you’ve chosen to create a bigger number of products instead of just one, then you need to plan it out in time as well. Create a schedule and stick to it. You can, for example, plan to launch one product every 2 months, create a plan on how you’re going to do this, and then execute it to the beat.
The main message I’m trying to convey here is that product development is not about putting something together, releasing it to the market and then chilling on a beach for the rest of your life. It’s about dedicated and well thought through work … that is unless you don’t want to future-proof your business.
Content is often the main thing that drives traffic to an online business.
Of course, there are businesses with such recognizable products that they become traffic drivers on their own, but for most online entrepreneurs attracting new visitors through content is a lot easier thing to do.
If you want to make it happen, you need to create a publishing schedule and a long-term plan on what content you want to share on your site.
Hastily putting a post together every now and then won’t do the trick.
Here’s what I advise you to do:
- Pick a small range of topics you want to write about.
- Create a bank of post ideas containing some headlines.
- Create a publishing calendar and pick exact publication dates.
- Place your post ideas in the schedule.
- Before writing a post do some basic keyword research around it.
- Write the post, proofread it, and schedule it in WordPress.
The main idea of a publishing calendar is that at any given point in time you know what you want to publish next and when it will happen. It saves you a lot of confusion during your day-to-day work.
Launch and promotion schedule
I’m sure you’ve noticed that some marketers online don’t have much of a grasp on reality as they promote a different product every other day. For instance, one day they promote one product for “getting traffic” saying that it’s the best thing ever, and then the next week they promote another product for the same thing saying that this is the best thing ever…
Doing such a thing is not fair to your audience. First of all, if you’re saying that something is the best solution for something, then you better not say that you were wrong just a couple of days ago. Secondly, your audience is probably not ready to buy your stuff every other day.
This is where a launch and promotion schedule comes into play.
This will all depend on your specific situation, but you always have to find a good balance between promoting your own products and focusing on some affiliate stuff.
Since you already have your product development process set you can create a schedule for the promotion of these products. In my opinion, promoting more than one product in any given month is too much, but your mileage may vary so feel free to experiment.
Once you have the schedule for your own products put some additional affiliate products in all free spaces. It’s best to pick these affiliate products beforehand and test them yourself.
Once everything is set you shouldn’t try to fit some more promotions into your schedule. Doing this will probably only confuse and anger your audience. If you want to promote something else put it at the end of your schedule, not in the middle.
If you do this, you’ll know what you’re promoting in any given moment in time, there will be no wandering around.
Ongoing SEO and researching
Whether you like it or not, SEO is an essential element of every successful online business.
The only problem with SEO is that some people don’t do it for more than just the initial days of excitement.
SEO works only if it’s a constant effort, and not a one-time task.
Here’s what you do. Whenever you want to write a post, do a quick SEO research around it (find keywords, plan your links, etc.). Then after you publish the post, include it into your ongoing SEO.
This means that you should pick a range of tasks you’re going to do to improve this individual post’s rankings, and then execute them over time.
For example: improve the post’s inner structure, write some blog comments pointing back to the post, build some article links, spread the word on social media, etc. I don’t want to list all the SEO techniques here as you probably have your own approach at SEO, so the message here is to simply execute it and not forget about your new posts the minute they are published.
I know that the online business dream is to get rich overnight and not do anything for the rest of your life, but unfortunately this isn’t a real-world possibility, that’s why we should always try to make our businesses future-proof.
Besides, that’s where the whole fun is. Once you have this future-proofing done, you can estimate your next month’s income (to some degree), which will surely give you a better night sleep.
Feel free to share, what are you doing to make your business profitable for years to come and not just for the next week?